"The happiest place on earth"

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.
New blog picture:

Not until Singapore becomes a real democracy which respects human rights!

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house." - Rod Stewart


An exchange on the comments box of the blog post, HUNGonline: The dangers of blind faith: Is City Harvest Church encouraging fraud?:

Roger: What is the point for you to post so much critism that benefit u nothing in the first place....you want to stir people up to hate CHC? or what I don't really understand why you want to criticize Benny Hinn or CHC so much like you are holding grudges against them for some reason....if you don't like CHC so much don't go la....not like someone pointing a gun on your head telling u to go attend CHC or Benny Hinn service....just live your own life and leave them alone la although I am not from CHC nor a christian all your comment and post are very obviously being bias to them. Even Police and Judges need evidence to convict or nail someone to their crime. The source the source that you provide can't be even used as hardcore evidence against them...so just stop your bullshit and just live your own life la.....

Me: I assume Roger and people like him would use the same attitude towards Katherine Kuhlman and other Faith Healers, Conspiracy Theorists, MLM-ers and more.

No wonder that "Mahjullah Singapura" is an oxymoron. Maybe we should change to "Bo chup lah Singapura"

Roger: Then you tell me why you want to interfere with things that doesn't concern you in the first place, just because your working a proper 9am-5pm doesn't mean that others have to be the same as you plus you also didn't donate any money to Benny Hinn why you're angry with him about? does everybody need to work a proper job to be so called a "good person" some people are just born rich or they just happen to be a millionaire. If you envy them then work hard for your 1st million dollars la...instead of staying at home criticizing christian millionaires....

Me: Why report magic stone salesmen to the police? Why interfere with things that don't concern you in the first place?

Just because you're working an honest job which doesn't con people of their money doesn't mean that others have to be the same as you. Plus you also didn't buy any magic stones, so why are you angry at magic stone salesmen?

Does everybody need to work an honest job to be called a "good person"? Some people are just good at cheating other people of their money.

If you envy them then go and sell your own magic stones... instead of trying to stop other people from being cheated

Roger: So what you trying to say....Benny Hinn is a magic stone salesman now? since u can say so much thing about him means your more capable then him la isit? if yes show me your private jet and your 12 bodyguards la....if no then shut up and mind your own business la....

Me: Unfortunately I do not profit from the misery/gullibility/stupidity of others, but I can point you towards someone who used to have gold taps in his office. I think you'd get along very well with him.
"The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us." - Paul Valery


Japan trip
Day 10 - 15th June - Koyasan, Kongobuji
(Part 1)

It seems more Japanese men than women cross their legs when seated.

If you don't know katakana, it's useful to learn it before going to Japan because they steal a lot of words from English (and then don't subtitle the signs in Romaji).

Hyperdia is especially useful for train travel in Japan because, unlike in Europe, they don't print out "How to get from X to Y" instruction sheets in Japan (or at least if you don't know any secret passwords in Japanese).

I don't know why you must turn off your mobile phone (as opposed to not making calls, or even just not using it) in and around priority seats in Jap trains. Maybe they think the radiation harms unborn children and exacerbates disabilities.

This day, I went to Koyasan to catch the Aoba Matsuri, celebrating the birthday of Kobodaishi/Kukai, the founder of Koyasan in the 9th century. I must thank spiderpig for pointing out that I should realign my itinerary to catch this Matsuri (which let me see the one in Osaka as well).


There was a memorial service at 9am at Koyasan, but I'd have to leave at 6:30 to catch it so I passed. The procession later would be more interesting anyway. Although I caught the 7:50 train from Osaka, I was still 40 mins too early for the first Koyasan Express. I thought this meant the train wouldn't bee too crowded, but lots of people were also going to see the festival; old Japanese folks are capable of amazing alacrity in running into connecting trains to get seats. To make things worse, my JR pass was not valid at all, so I had to shell out Y1230 (though my Amanohashidate supplement alone was Y1380).

At Gokurabushi, where we had to get off the train for a cablecar (the train doesn't go up the mountain, apparently), I saw more (mostly old) people running for the cablecar than in Tokyo and Kyoto at peak hour. It was quite an amusing sight (damn, should've video-ed it, but by the time I started recording they would've run off already - that's how fast they were!) In the end, I missed the cablecar since I went to the toilet (and it was full), but there were 3 a hour so it wasn't too bad. And I got a front seat too, since the rush was past.

"Welcome to KOYASAN, the World Heritage" - cablecar station

Funicular track

Train schedule. This was for my reference on the day but what the hell, I'll just post it (now you know why I post train/bus schedules here)

From the Koyasan cablecar station we had to take buses down to Koyasan (>1km away) because walking on the road was forbidden. Smells of rent-seeking behavior to me, pfft.

Although the population of Koyasan is 7000, there's a "高野山大学" (Koyasan University; I saw some students walking around in the coat). Wth.

Bus schedule and view on what probably counts as the main road of Koyasan (the picture was meant to help me locate the bus stop)

Another bus stop

Car playing the festival's theme song

Breakfast was woefully inadequate, so I had a morning snack.

Onigiri with weird, pink, spicy slime (probably roe) inside. This was a premium onigiri because the seaweed was separated from the rice (and despite having some practice I still couldn't open it properly). Hah.

Old people walking around

Stage, opposite Kongobuji Temple

My first stop was Kongobuji Temple, headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism; many of the places I'd visited previously were HQs of various sects, but I just didn't list them - it'd be too tiring. The number of Buddhist sects in Japan and their histories make the Reformation look like a playground dispute (though there seems to have been minimal violence accompanying religious competition, unlike in the Abrahamic religions).

Kongobuji Temple plaque. Entrance was free, since it was a festival day!




Main hall

Mud 'fence'

A peek at the treasures within


Presumably because it was a festival day, there were a lot of monks running around.

Monks rushing into the temple

Monks falling in

Monks going in after removing their shoes

Roof carvings

Within the temple there was another of those cute anti-smoking posters. I can't decide whether my favourite in the 2008 Summer collection (yes, they rotate them - wth) is:
"As long as you don't look around your feet, the seas of Japan are beautiful" or
"I carry a 700°C fire in my hand with people walking all around me"

Huge tree trunk



"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman (attributed)


Japan trip
Day 9 - 14th June - Osaka
(Part 5)

I saw a few girls in leggings and a few supermen; as we know, Japan leads Singapore in fashion. Yet, hypothesis testing through visual inspection confirmed my suspicion that Japanese women generally eschew bra padding (and more so, it seems, than Shanghai and Hong Kong). This is assuredly one trend that won't be flying over. The lack of bra padding is even more remarkable given how, from the AV selection, Japanese men seem to like well endowed women and how they're smaller than Singaporean women.

I hadn't had a proper lunch, so I was looking for a good dinner. I went to a Edo-era themed food alley next to the aquarium ("Naiwa Kuishinko Yokochi" [misspelt somehow], described by Lonely Planet as a "faux Edo period food court" with Osaka specialities).

Food alley

Dinner. I now see that it was an aquarium special. I chose chicken (though it says pork here, for some reason).

Rice with fried chicken on top, mayo, egg strips, and gyoza in the shape of pork ribs (with chives and meat inside). The last were probably "hitokuchi gyoza", translated as "Steam baked meat pie".


2 of the rules of food are that mayo is good and deep fried is good. So this was quite nice.

Other shops had things like sauceless takoyaki you could eat with your hands, but it was getting late so everything was closing.

"Ziddy brand has a cool and grown-up atmosphere. Our smart items are suitable for fashionable kids."
This sign was amazing for using English (almost) correctly.

I then went to check out a busier (probably the busiest) part of Osaka, and headed to Namba JR station.

When I emerged I thought I was in the Esplanade:

Osaka's equivalent of the Esplanade ("Shingapōrumura")

Shingapōrumura 2

With my reckless Kanji-guessing this seems to be an ad for a Narita-san traffic safety prayer service. On top of a building.

There was this place called Amerikamura (America Village) which Japanese kids go to to live the American Dream.

See the silly Statue of Liberty in the distance.

After wandering around, I concluded that besides the dumb statue, the only thing American about it was some clothing stores (but then due to globalisation you can get such clothes anywhere in Japan) and a "Manhattan Records West", which has as much relation to Manhattan as Manhattan Fish Market. I didn't see any Starbucks (I saw one in Dotonbori), McDonalds or fast food.

I actually had a message for all the kids: "If you want to go America, you better start speaking English. Or Spanish. Mucho Gracias", but in the end I didn't confront anyone with the cold, brutal truth, in case they'd picked up another aspect of American culture: street violence.

More of Amerikamura

"Loose House". I'm guessing it doesn't have the same connotation(s) in Engrish that it has in English.

Moving out of that area I also saw Apple and Nike stores - and a Bridgestone store (well, it has an American-sounding name).

More streets of Osaka

I then moved towards Dotonbori, a shopping area.


Soemon cho

Dōtonbori river area. Unfortunately I didn't notice the picture was blur.

Blade Runner-esque neon lights

I then saw a very familiar sight:

"無料案内所" (Information centre)


Yes. I had landed up in the red light district. Again. Fortunately (or otherwise), here I got solicited a grand total of 0 times. Actually out of all the red light districts I visited on field research (or inadvertently stumbled into), the only one where I got solicited was Kabuki-cho in Tokyo.

"Free Feel Cafe". Gah. Given that it was near the red light district: gah gah gah.

Wth Ferris Wheel

Since I had already glimpsed (even if not tasted of) one of Osaka's twin attractions, I diverted my attention to the other:


More food, including grilled pork

Even more food

Are you sick of food yet?

Food street

Unfortunately, I was quite full from my filling and late dinner (I don't know how Jap women finish their food)

Building facade: Dotonbori Gokuraku Shoten-gai, a theme park dedicated to - you guessed it, food.

I then walked back to the train station.

Popular ramen place. Unfortunately I was still too full to eat more.

Ramen ticket vending machine. This is a gem to illustrate gains from specialisation, as the store only has 2 items on its menu, and both are essentially the same.

At this shop I knowingly encountered a group of Taiwanese women for the 2nd time (the first time was at Fushimi), and offered to help them take a picture (Taiwanese get visa-free travel to Japan. No wonder it's a popular destination for them. Don't forget the resemblance Kanji has to 繁体字 [Traditional Chinese characters]). Oddly enough, neither group had any guys - probably the girls come for the shopping and the guys have their betel nut girls to occupy them already.

Strangely enough, given my abominable Mandarin, the Taiwanese girls asked if I was from Taiwan. Wth. Maybe they thought I was an aboriginal Taiwanese.

Man KOed by the roadside. Either he drank too much or (more likely, this being Osaka) ate too much.

Disturbing magazine I had come across this day:

"I bring up a girl till the day when a girl grows up"
Unfortunately, due to logistical issues I couldn't capture the whole page, but there is a picture of a schoolgirl above this text.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes