Sunday, September 30, 2007


Argh! Another favorite food haunt of mine is closed!

I was craving for Sweet and Sour fish so I thought of having dinner at CitySuper at Silvercord. But alas, the place was already closed when I got there. And "closed" doesn't mean they've closed for the evening. It means they're shut down, boarded up, complete with the obligatory goodbye sign. That means no more Roti Canai, Shrimp paste fried rice, Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Japanese Curry Rice.

This is the second food place that closed in recent times. First was Food Fare in Pacific Place. Now this...

Hmmm... I think it's about time to go on another culinary expedition.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Kanpai Fried Chicken

Japan has a lot of good beer brands: Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo - just to name a few. Like the Philippines, beer is very much part of Japan's culture - which explains the line of drunk sararimen lying asleep on the eki floor every weekend. Hahaha. But seriously, they love their beer. They really, really love their beer.

Despite knowing that, this still caught me by surprise when we bought dinner at KFC.

Beer at KFC? That's new! In the different countries I've been to, this is the first time I've seen beer served in a fast food joint. Heck, even in Germany - which is the world's beer capital - they never serve beer at KFC or McDonald's. Then again, Japan is known for doing unconventional things.

Gosh, maybe next time I go to Japan, i'll find a sleeping, drunk sarariman at KFC.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blessed Meals

Last Friday night while we were navigating the stores around the Umeda area, this cafe caught our attention. "Caught" might not even by the correct word. It grabbed us by the collar and slapped us silly. That's because the cafe looked like this:

The Christon Cafe in Osaka is designed to mimic the interior of a church. Instead of abstract paintings, you'll see statues of different saints. At the bar, there's a stained glass window featuring a religious scene. There are altars behind tables. In alcoves all around the dining area, you'll see Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and a host of other saints. How's that for dinner guests?

Mark asked if we wanted to try and have dinner there, to which I answered "no." I've always admired Church architecture and make it a point to visit a church in every country I go to. But seeing Church architecture interpreted in a bar and restaurant is something - well - hard to stomach. It's hard to discern whether the place is a tribute to Catholicism or a critique of it.

Makes me wonder, though. Can the waiters there turn water into wine? And probably they only serve loaves of bread and fish. After all, they're the easiest to multiply.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

No Golden Ticket, though

My colleague just came back from Japan (which makes us 3 visitors from the office to the Land of the Rising Sun this month) and brought this:

Way cool chocolate! Although the format on the outside is a bit different from the one in the flick (theirs had a paper label and gold foil), what's inside definitely made up for it. Rich, thick milk chocolate with bits of rice crispies and dollops of caramel. It's so, SO sinful.

If the chocolate in the movie was this good, now I know why Charlie was craving for it.

And speaking of sweet things, H&M will open 2 branches in Hong Kong this weekend. That should whet the appetite of all the fashion hungry people in Kowloon. (The new stores are both in Kowloon side.)


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another Shopping Post

Photoshopping, that is.

It's been a while since I used Adobe Photoshop since the regional office rarely does print work and if we do, we've got the artists to handle all that. Makes me miss those times at Adformatix and DY&R-A when I'd photoshop and lay-out my own print ads, especially for Robinson's! (One of my all-time favourite clients.)

This morning, I opened my Photoshop to quickly whip up some invitation studies for a friend's wedding. Inspired by traveling and their nautical theme, one of the studies was a set of postcards with Nautical visuals. Since the three photos had different colour qualities, I decided to just turn convert them into black and white. This also adds a bit of nostalgia and class. And so it won't be too plain, I added some text on each card - lyrics from one of my favourite songs: "You & I."

After looking at the results, I realized that my photoshop skills are still there - albeit a bit rusty.

This is one in a set of three postcards. Not so bad for half an hour's work.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coat me on that

Last night's trip to Maple turned out to be serendipitous.

My initial plan was to drop by Uno Uno at Granville to check whether they had the hooded sweater that I bought from their Wan Chai branch. Turned out that they didn't. So to console myself, I dropped by neighboring Maple to check out their sale. And on the racks, I saw this gorgeous peacoat which has an A-line silhouette, puffy capped sleeves, and a highly detailed neckline. It looked like a coat that will fit the streets of New York and London, but it was made of this light material that can easily fit Manila.

I took the black peacoat and brought it to the cashier to ask if they had it in another color. She told me that there's only 1 piece of that coat in each of their branches, and I'm holding the one and only piece. Needless to say, I panicked and immediately bought it. Harharhar.

On my way back to the flat, I dropped by another - albeit smaller - Maple branch, and they had the same coat - but in khaki! I took the khaki peacoat and brought it to the cashier to ask if they had it in another color. She told me that they only had 1 piece, and I'm holding the one and only piece.

Hmmm... It figures. They give one branch one piece each in a different color.

Too bad the other Maple branches were a bit far off and it was almost 9pm. If this were a weekend and it was still daytime, I'd probably go to the other 4 branches I know to find what other colors they have and if they're available. (Honestly, it would look smashing if it were in red or aubergine.)

Needless to say, I have 2 coats. And that's enough to make me a happy shopper.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Going Bananas

Scattered all over Tokyo Eki is this ubiquitous stall called Tokyo Banana. Since I often take the Narita express to and from the city, my journey usually begins and finishes at the station, and I never paid much attention to the shop. All I know is that sells yellow and brown chiffon cakes which - eventhough they look very interesting - I never got around to buying.

On my trip last week, I had 30 minutes to spare before catching my train and started roaming around the Eki. It was then I realized that I still haven't bought any pasalubong for the house, and as fate would have it, the stall in front of me was Tokyo Banana. In less than 15 minutes, both my hands were carrying bags of bright yellow boxes.

Fast forward to a few days later, people were telling me how much they LOVED my pasalubong. Ate Bullet called from Manila to tell me how yummy the cakes were, and my colleague Joe told me the same thing. Curious at what they were raving about, I opened the box that I bought for myself.

By Golly Gulaman! (As Madz would say...) Now I know what they were raving about. The cake IS really good. It's a light as air chiffon cake with a creamy banana filling. It's a perfect snack or dessert because it's light and sweet, and not overwhelming. It was too light, I finished 2 cakes immediately.

Personally, I think this is a better Japanese pasalubong compared to the usual suspect - Mochi. The next time I'm in Japan, i'll definitely try the other cakes they have to offer. (On hindsight, I should've bought that choco-banana cake.) And maybe even try the "Strawberry Cake from Ginza" that's next door.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gorgeous Ginza

In my recent travels to Japan, I'd often stay at Shinjuku because of convenience and the fact that it's the place I know best. From here, it's easy for me to go to Shibuya and Tokyo, and even to Urasa. Once, due to unavailability of rooms, I had to stay at Suidobashi which is also a nice place.

This trip, however, I thought of trying something totally new. I've been reading about this hotel for quite sometime, and I thought this would be the best place to stay on this trip. The area is Ginza and the hotel is Ginza Washington Hotel.

Tucked inside one of the quiet sidestreets, it's the perfect place to escape from the noisy, shop-laded streets of Ginza. Unlike the other hotels in the Washington chain, this one is only 12 floors and has an aura of a boutique hotel. Not surprisingly, the corridors and rooms have that boutique feel, too. And compared to the nightmare of a room we stayed in the night before at Shinjuku, this place was a welcome, welcome change.

The rooms have a dark wood, burgundy and white motif. The beds are comfortable and spacious, and it's well laid out. There's a mini-fridge, a TV which also doubles as a computer, and it has free broadband internet. Woohoo!

What's wonderful about Ginza - aside from the shopping - is that there are a lot of interesting buildings. But the shopping part has to come first. In one street, you can find the usual luxurious suspects like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Prada, Lanvin and Christian Dior. There are also the casual, everyday brands like Gap, Uniqlo and Muji. Fast fashion freaks can get their fill at Zara. There's a big Shisheido building for make-up mavens like Arnie. And those who are into jewelry can easily hop on to the Tasaki and Mikimoto buildings.

Segueing from Mikimoto to interesting architecture, they have a beautiful shop here. The building is surrounded by a pearlescent pink material, and the windows are odd shaped. It easily stands out among the glass and concrete skyline of Ginza.

The Apple store is also a sight to see. It has about 4 floors of Apple stuff, and when we went there, we got to play with the new iPod Nano with video. I want one!!!

We later found out that it was a holiday in Japan, and that's why all the main roads at the Ginza strip were closed. In lieu of cars, we saw benches and parasols, and the locals immediately took to the streets and relaxed. Because the roads were clear, Mark was able to get a nice photo in Ginza.

Another great thing about Ginza is its convenience. It's only 1 station away from Tokyo Central Station, it's near the Yurikamome station. It has a number of JR and Metro stations around it, and there's a good mix of shopping and eating places. And given all these plus points - shopping being the major one - I think i'll be staying in Ginza the next time I find myself in Japan.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Osaka Castle

While we were at the Osaka Castle, Mark and I were figuring out how we can get a photo together. The "self-timer" option wasn't viable since the camera was too big and it would be difficult to perch it on the floor. The "cellphone shot" option won't work unless we had arms that could extend to 20 feet. Thus, we scouted around for fellow tourists who looked nice enough to take our snap.

We surveyed the area and spent a couple of minutes looking for prospective paparazzi. Then we chanced upon an old lady with a professional looking camera like what I had, and Mark approached her. Thankfully, she was nice enough to oblige and she even had to kneel down to get a good angle. Yup, she was definitely passionate about pictures. She even took two shots, and asked us to check if we're happy with it. And we were.

So thanks to the nice Asian lady, we have a photo in front of the Osaka Castle.

Next time, we should really bring a professional tripod.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reality Attax!

It seemed shorter, but I've actually been out of Hong Kong for two weeks. The first week was spent in Manila for work and a pseudo-vacation, and the second one was spent in Japan for a hotel-hopping holiday. (Yet another alliteration...) This morning, I flew back here and opened my musty smelling apartment then went back to work.

Once I got it, reality immediately grabbed me by the collar. Less than an hour after I arrived, I've attended two debriefings and talked about two major productions in October. It's amazing how these things wait for you before they start rolling again. And to make matters worse, I received my tax statement for this tax period! AAACK! Well, it's not as high as last year's bill so I'm thankful for that.

Since we're on the subject of Reality and Japan, my "real" computer is back. Yup, after crashing and taking my files with it, our IT guy was able to fix my computer and retrieve all my files! Woohoo! Now I can post these photos of the cool stuff I bought from the Japanese store 2 weeks ago:

My jeans:

And Ate's shoes:

That said, now I've got to get back to work. (After writing this, of course.) Gosh, I've got to download and write highlights about my Japan trip, too.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Greetings from Japan

Mark and I saw this Lioness at the Tennoji Zoo in Osaka. There were a lot of people taking her picture (that included us) and she looked totally bored and unfazed by the attention. And this was the best pose she could give us.

Being a show lion must be totally boring.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Natural Selection

While reading the on-line version of Adobo Magazine, it was a pleasant surprise to read something about my first agency.

Adformatix was my first training ground, and whilst I've learned a lot from my regional postings and my long-ish stint at DY&R, "Adfor" as we fondly called it (to the chagrin of our President) will always be the place where I learned the most. (And Sir Conrad will always be my favorite mentor.)

A lot of my former colleagues laugh at this, but I've always enjoyed my stay there. And the thought of coming back is something that isn't impossible. After all...

"Together, we're awesome."


Monday, September 03, 2007

Oh, Narciso

Here's the Narciso Rodriguez dress in question. After thinking about it for a week or two, (ok, a week), and after numerous texts with Arnie, I've decided to get this for Ate Bullet.

After showing it to Mamu last night, she said that it has to be the best purchase ever. And I concur!

Sunday, September 02, 2007


After mailing out the bill payments yesterday morning, I decided to drop by id:c to check if there are any cool, new arrivals. This is the shop where I get my jazzy jeans from Japan (an alliteration there) and was where I got my favorite Guadalupe jeans.

Not surprisingly, I was able to find a pair that was funky yet functional. It was a straight cut jean with these Indian meets macramé details.

The jean wash was light enough for daily use, and can be easily dressed up and dressed down. But to keep it from going into blah-land, it has interesting details such as the macramé-d back pocket, and this detail is mirrored on the front pockets as well.

Funky jeans should be the highlight of any trip, but in this case, it wasn’t. While I was walking to the cashier, these pair of shoes instantly caught my eyes. It was this loafer style shoe in blue (now we’re into rhyming) and it’s something that would fit in perfectly with Ate Lissa’s shoe stash.

According to a lot of fashion rags, blue and patent are some of the emerging trends this FW 07/08. And these shoes have those two trends ticked off. It’s patent, and it’s blue. But it just keeps on giving because if you look at the heel, it’s as funky as the rest of the shoe.

Looking at the pair, it’s easy to imagine it paired with jeans (both skinny and wide legged), shorts (in all lengths), and a dress. With all that going for it, how can I not buy it?

When I’m able to get something nice for my siblings and myself at the same time, that’s when shopping becomes really cool.