Thursday, August 31, 2006

Scare. Wonder. Hope

Sometimes it is a wonder how our body works. One minute we can be healthy and the next minute without any reason, we can be down. On Tues, I had to rest at home as I had the symptoms of suspected stomach flu. Stomachache, diarrhoea, nausea, on and off fever.

I felt miserable. I lost my usual appetite for breakfast and food and water. I lost my mood to blog. I looked terrible. My parents advised me to stay at home and not to follow them to the park to feed the cats. I would also feel bad to scare the cats away with strange rumbles coming from my stomach and farts.

I realise I am not as healthy as before. I take longer to recover and have been falling sick more often the past 2 years. I still remember when I joined the workforce 6 years ago, I did not even take a single MC for the first few years.

Today I feel almost well again. No more tummy aches. I am looking forward to the weekend. Last night and tonight I was able to feed the cats and give them massages. Hopefully, after this scare, I will make the effort in exercising more regularly and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

We paid 900 Yen to be admitted into this indoor park in Tomiura where visitors could pet the cats.

There were some cats who didn't mind being touched, some walked away and prefered to explore the area on their own. All the cats seemed to be in healthy condition.

There was a big fat cat.

I was amused that it patiently waited for most of the cats to finish eating first before it started eating.

Visit kuro.shiro.neko's blog for a video on feeding time and an observation.
After our trip to Otaru, we had set dinner in Sapporo. I had some eggy porkchop with warm soba soup while kuro.shiro.neko had cold soba and tempura set.

In Otaru, we shared a lavender, milk and melon ice cream and seaweed rice cracker.

We didn't really have a proper lunch. We had some grapes we bought earlier and some drink because we didn't to have too full a stomach before our hot spring experience.

There is a shop selling cat figurines and decorative items.

Some streets away was this stray cat.
kuro.shiro.neko took a video of a nice Jap passerby who offered the cat some fish cake.

It was my first time trying out onsen/hot spring. They have separate facilities for males and females. I felt rather comfortable since every female was in a state of undress like me. We had to scrub ourselves clean using the shower cream and shampoo provided. I should have brought along my hair treatment :) The water temperature in the pool was about 40 degree celsius. It felt really hot at first but after slowly dipping in our feet, then legs and bodies, it was bearable. But I couldn't stay more than 10 mins without feeling light headed.

Of course we couldn't take any photos of the insides of the building, so we had to make do with the outside :)

The canal of Otaru is apparently quite famous, so I took a photo of it. Posted by Picasa

In case any of you didn't believe that Japan is as hot as Singapore, this photo (taken on 12 Aug, Sat) shows that the temperaure of Otaru/Hokkaido was 31.8 degree celsius. Posted by Picasa

There were a number of books on cats on the streets of Japan on the shelf of the Kinokuniya Book store in Sapporo. This is one of the times I wish I know how to read and speak Japanese. Posted by Picasa
We have heard about this famous Genghis Khan lamb dish in Sapporo and thought we should give it a try. It was quite a disappointment. Perhaps it is due to the quality of the meat and how it is being prepared at this restaurant.

The meat is seasoned in 3 different ways and not well cut.

We ended up feeling very oily inside.

Nice paper bag for a small package of milk chocolate covered strawberries that we bought.

The package contains about 8 chocolates/strawberries and cost 315 Yen.

The chocolate looks like it has been rolled into a ball by hand instead of a machine :) The milk chocolate is rather sweet but it goes well with the sourish taste of the strawberry inside.

On 11 Aug (Fri), we visited the Ishiya Chocolate Factory. When we see the tin containers with cat cartoons, we knew we wanted to get them at the end of our factory tour. We paid 1500 Yen for the admission to the factory and an opportunity to bake cookies. More about baking later!

It's interesting that they have a cat's paw prints to lead visitors around the factory.
Even the signs to the toilets have cat picture :)

The factory has displays like the following:
, expensive looking cups

We could also view the cookie making process:

We were wearing the hat and apron and baking in the room earlier like the Japanese families :)

While waiting for our cookies to be baked in the oven for about 30 mins, we explored the other sections of the factory. One section has toys on display:

We also went to the factory store and they have many types of cookies, chocolates and cakes in nice packaging:

As we were travelling on our own, we could only manage with getting some of Ishiya famous chocolate cookies for our families. The factory also sells these handmade cute shoes and girls:

And finally, we collected our cookies in shapes of heart, cat, rabbit and girl. I chose almond cookie dough while kuro.shiro.neko had the cocoa one. The cookie dough was already pre-prepared and all we had to do is to roll the dough and use the cookie cutters to get the cookie shapes we wanted out of the dough. It was easy at first as the dough could be stuck to the table surface or our cookie shapes became dismembered. hee. It was fun.

The gates and outside of the factory also have cute cat figures: