Saturday, May 11, 2013
Let me look geeky. I love my Pebble watch! The investment worths every cent and the long wait since May 2012.
When it arrived in early April of 2013, in style:
The Pebble grew stronger as days pass by, with updates coming from the team every 2 to 3 weeks as promised. From a few built-in watch faces to endless possibilities, thanks to the community users that are actively developing them. I felt the pain of not being able to do much when I first received the Pebble, but with an update that came one or two weeks later, wow, satisfaction.
Hundreds, thousands of faces available here. I can even design my own faces, if I want to learn. Haha.
Of course, one of the reasons why I chose to back Pebble in Kickstarter, is the ability to support Runkeeper! However, it did not come until recently, and I see there are still many improvements that can be done. Now I can look at my pace, without having to fish out my phone and unlock the screen!
I had even tried swimming with Pebble. No problem! The spec says it can dive up to 5 atm, so swimming pool depth has no problem at all.
Till now, I am still bathed in the ecstasy of Pebble watch.
Next task, hunt for a good wrist strap replacement!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
After more than one year of not doing anything about my Korea travelogue, and one day stumble upon this old picture of a tree in Seoraksan, I decided to revive the memory by continuing on to the Seoraksan National Park write up.
There were only three of us, Jess, Marcus and me. Effy was down with knee injury, and hiking is simply not MK's thing. Therefore they decided to stay at the youth hostel to rot away.
Armed with nothing more than a thin layer of T-shirt, shorts and a pair of jogging shoes, we began the hike. Too reckless. We saw the locals were at least still dressed with sweater.
It was not really difficult for the walk up to Ulsanbawi. The scenery was filled with all the Zen-ness and serene of the Far East. Not until we reached the Ulsanbawi rocky area, where the inclination suddenly increased to a point that any step being taken wrongly we would slide and permanently disabled, that we felt the vertigo swirling within. Of course, not forgetting to take a break, and take a picture with the buddies before heading up to the peak.
After another 30 minutes or 1 hour of steep climbings, through narrow staircase seemed to be precariously built on the rock, we arrived at the peak. The clouds were so thick at that time that we felt some drizzles. Bad ideas to wear like summer here. Luckily it did not rain.
I strongly recommend anyone interested in a hike to Seoraksan. This was totally the Asian experience I sought after in Japan and Korea!
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2 years, I hadn't been back to the my grandparents' place, the place where dad grew up in. How time flies, so many things happened and so many things have changed but I felt like I went back just few months ago.
Looking back at the photo archives of 2012, indeed, there are so many missing pieces of memory I have yet to fill up into this blog. And, I haven't been shooting that much already. Work life really deviates my past interest.
Two years ago, I shot in iPhone 4 and also films on my Olympus OM1 in black and white. Too bad I haven't got a chance even now to scan the prints. There are pictures that I really love. This year, I shot mainly with my iPhone 5 and Olympus mju 2. I wont' know when I will go and develop that roll of film yet. It's such a hassle to shoot film these days even though I love the tone. How I wish I can have my own film scanner.
As usual, CNY is about reunions and a bit of firework!
Photography taught me how to appreciate little things in life. Instead of getting myself confined and bored in the estate, I stepped out of the house, to run, to cycle, to walk cute poodle in the countryside. Yea, I could gone missing from the house for few hours then reappeared!
Thursday, January 10, 2013
As the sun was slowly setting, I rushed to the shore of Inamuragasaki（稲村ケ崎）to catch the legendary sunset of Shōnan.
The sun went down slowly into the horizon, golden lights poured over the Enoshima island（江ノ島）and all over the city of Kamakura. Sea breeze carried the water droplets with golden sparkles and cooled the warm streets.
A little girl was strolling on the black sandy beach along with her father. The girl screamed happily as the waves came hitting on the shore and splashed water onto her feet. Kicking the sand, the little girl skipped and hopped in the yellow mist. Blissful.
Bikini surfers were cycling past me, on their way back from their sun-tanning holiday I supposed.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
How about a run to the countryside of Singapore? Is there even a "countryside" in Singapore?
It was our Running Group's series Run number 2, which we have yet to name the group. The reason I did a write up about this run is simply because I have some pictures which I think are nice to share out to. Too bad this time only Edward and me, and we kinda had an almost non-stop session. Of course, except for a few small stops as I wanted to take pictures.
We started our run from Kranji MRT station, at around 7:30am. It was a just nice timing for a run here. In fact, a nice day for a run as well, weather was cool and sunlight was not too harsh.
The first half of the route towards our destination, the Sungai Buloh wetland reserve, was... pollution and busy traffic. Point to take note of, if you are not enjoying the hustle and bustle of industrial area, skip this and take a bus to somewhere near the reserve.
After about 4 or 5km, we passed by some canals that link to the Straits of Johor. We could actually look across the sea and find the Johor skyline at the opposite end. At the right timing, the view was spectacular. I paused for a short while to enjoy it.
We finally ran into Sungai Buloh reserve, hoping to find a way out at the other end of the reserve so that we could pass by some farms and take a bus to Choa Chu Kang. Unfortunately, there is only one entrance, one exit. The others were being fenced up and locked away.
The wetland was interesting. We spotted the signboard warning visitors of crocodile. Crocodile in Singapore? Must be kidding. Less than 5 minutes after we ran past the signboard, we spotted a monitor lizard on the path but it immediately shied away when I tried to get closer. Well, right after the monitor lizard it was the crocodile's turn! It was lying beside the elevated pathway, I wonder if it could just climb its way up if it wanted to?
Sunday or public holiday would be better days to visit the farms and marshland, as bus services are available near the reserve in 30 minutes interval, otherwise visitors would have to flag a cab or walk some distance back to the canal for bus ride back to Kranji MRT or Choa Chu Kang.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
I met a lot of things that impressed me along the Kanman path. This is supposed to be the main highlight of my Nikkō trip, if I did not encounter the river of Kurogawa beside Zen Hostel.
The first lunch I had in Nikkō after finished touring the temple complex in the morning, was a local specialty, Yuba（湯葉）and ramen. Yuba is basically made of tofu skin that is quite common in Chinese food. However, the Japanese version looks like they roll the tofu skin into a ball. As always, this Yuba Ramen seems really healthy.
After lunch, I traced along the heritage trail of Kanman and passed by the residential area, and a small shrine. The ground of the shrine was covered with moss, the feeling when I stood in the compound was the same as other shrines, peace and Zen. Summer wind blew occasionally.
I was getting nearer to the Abyss here, tracing along the Kanman path following the map. I crossed a bridge overlooking the river that seemed safe enough for the Japanese to wade into it. Nice, is every river in Japan looks that inviting during summer?
Kanman-ga-fuchi Abyss（憾満ヶ淵）, one of the reasons that made me so determined to come to Nikkō.
As I walked past the Emperor Taisho's（大正天皇）poem monument, I saw maple leaves with that summer green that was translucent against the sunlight, a small Zen shrine, and Jizo statues.
Surreal and hauntingly beautiful. A river lies beside the path. The path lined with 74 Jizo statues（地蔵尊） or also known as Narabi Jizo（並び地蔵）along the Kanman-ga-fuchi was relatively tourist-free, which make this place even more dreamy. The statues were there, really at peace, and dragonflies resting on the top of the head, relaxed.
Found this in YouTube, the walk along the Jizo Statues:
I continued my journey, leaving the Jizo statues behind, and wished I could stay longer to take in more of the Qi around them. No signs of monkeys still, despite hearing from Japanese that Nikkō has nothing much but many monkeys.
After walking past a water dam, a small Sasuke-Inari shrine（佐助稲荷神社）, I came back to cross the Dainichi Bridge（大日橋）back to the side where the heritage area is. The view, was breathtaking, again.
Dragonflies zipping here and there. Some even with body as huge as my finger. Ahh... the goodness of Summer. Not forgetting that I finally encountered the Cosmos wild flower that I saw in the photos and artworks of Japanese artists!
After crossing the Dainichi bridge, the Kanman Path was completed. Short and sweet. Left with about 2 hours before sunset, I decided to venture into the Urami-no-Taki（裏見の滝） that was praised highly by Scout the Zen hostel host as the best waterfall of Nikkō area. Indeed, despite a boring 2km walk uphill along a neighbourhood area that offered nothing much to see, the waterfall was great.
Encountered a middle aged couple while admiring the waterfall. Using my limited Japanese language, I still managed to understand that the Oba-san told me her son is of the same age as me, and discussed with the Oji-san that the statue behind the waterfall with a sword is a statue of Acala（不動明王）.
I was little bit impressed by myself.
In the end, they are yet another nice couple that saw me walking on my own down the path where I came, and offered to hitch-hike me and let me save 2km of journey. Something I had learnt here, Japanese are friendly towards tourist, especially if you are able to speak a little bit of Japanese to impress them. The couple is only one of the many Japanese that offered me assistance. I asked them to take a picture of me and I think Oji-san did a good job!
As the sky turned darker, I head back to the Tobū Nikkō station and then called Scout for a ride back to the remote hostel from Shimogoshirō station after having Ramen dinner.