"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"We are drawn to our television sets each April the way we are drawn to the scene of an accident." - Vincent Canby, on the Academy Awards


Japan trip
Day 2 - 7th June - Ueno koen (上野公園), Shopping Arcade, Tokyo
(Part 4)

I call this series "Co-Curricular Activities in the Park":

These youths are wasting their parents' hopes for them.

Incidentally, PDA (Public Display of Affection) is rare in Japan. Holding hands is the furthest it goes. Most of the PDA you see is between foreigners.

Lions totem pole. "Lions" stands for "Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nations, Safety". Okay.

I then crossed over to the pond area to see the temple (Benten do).

Stalls lining the approach

Water lilly covered pond

Shrine (Temple? Then again it doesn't make that much of a difference)

Benten do plaque

Fish trying to escape from one part of the pond. I don't know why they were blocked.

Stalls closing


'Don't drown'


There was a guy with a French accent talking to a Japanese girl on a park bench around here. Interestingly, he was talking in English and she was replying in French. Hah.

Oden: Japanese Yong Tau Hoo. Seafood products in a dashi (soy) broth.
I was very very very pissed off by this, because the bowl you see cost me 1150Y. I was wondering whether it was a park surcharge or a gaijin surcharge, but it must be the latter given how hideously expensive it was. Probably because she felt ashamed for ripping me off, the auntie later offered me some kelp, but I was pissed off and refused (besides, she might have charged me 200Y for it).

The sausage is supposed to cost Y200 and the other pieces about Y80.

[Xephyris: you bought so much oden ah?
oh that small bowl]

I was so pissed off that, as in Venice, I visited McDonalds. The soda fountain had Coke, Ginger Ale, Qoo Grape, Fanta Grape and Coke Zero - but no Sprite. Sprite and 7-up are rare sights in Japan.

I wanted to eat a McPork, as I'd vowed in December, so I asked the guy at the counter which burgers had pork in them. It turns out the one he gave me was a Teriyaki Pork Burger (270Y) and not a McPork (100Y - for 170Y more you get sesame seeds, mayonnaise and a nicer sauce - whee). Even then, it was less than a quarter the price of my oden (no wonder McDonalds is so popular in Japan, and so popular among tourists worldwide - you don't get ripped off there).

The Teriyaki Pork Burger was incredibly light and juicy. The patty is probably the Breakfast Sausage they serve in McDonalds in most parts of the world. The contrast to the Chicken Breakfast Sausage in Singapore is amazing. Whereas the ersatz product has an unpleasant cloying taste (the result of artificial flavouring to make the chicken approximate the taste of pork), the real thing is light and subtle.

Teriyaki Pork Burger

Shopping arcade near Ueno station

"Freak market" - Yup, perfect country for it.

Foreign food in the basement of one of the buildings

Live turtles

I don't know what they're trying to do. This must be a vending machine price war (100Y for a "Reguler Bottle (sic)". Then again maybe it's almost certainly the glass one).

"Smoke is billowing from a stand ashtray. If it were my home, I wouldn't be so calm."
I really love this series. I don't know how effective it is though (probably more than putting ulcers and brain tumours on cigarette packs)

This shopkeeper has an autograph from Amy Allen (Aayla Secura)! You can get them at the online store, but probably not personalised.

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