Category Archives: Thots

How To Really Enjoy Niseko, Hokkaido

Four fabulous tips from a first-timer.

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1. Don’t Rush

There is a reason wise men say do not “tread on thin ice”. Not only will you stumble, fall and maybe drown – often uncontrollably and in the most unglamorous fashion – you may end up doing all three in front of the ultra cool ski coach you were trying to impress. Hence, stroll. Don’t rush. And never ever tell the ojisan and obasan at my favourite cafe in Niseko (IF Cafe) to hurry with your orders. Every drip of coffee, every pot of creamy pasta sauce, every dollop of mascarpone cheese topping is prepared from scratch and with love. こだわり (Kodawari): The one word you need to know when it comes to Japanese culture.

2. Don’t Stinge

Niseko is not a place (in my unhumble opinion) to travel on a budget. To fully profit from your stay in Japan’s #1 premium ski resort , stay in one of the swanky hotels at Grand Hirafu, preferably one with a view of Hokkaido’s spectacular backcountry and the breathtaking snowcapped Mount Yotei. Many hotels are merely a few hops away from the slopes – perfect for the serious skier. If you are a beginner like me, enjoy standing tall and proud in your ski gear, because you are about to fall flat on your face right in front of kids who have just completed their double-black runs. Don’t forget to pamper yourself with world-class concierge service, one that arranges everything from best cheesecake and coffee deliveries to ski/snowboard/snowshoe hikes, onsens and dinner reservations at Rakuichi.

3. Don’t Grumble

Things will go wrong. Murphy says so. My flight to New Chitose Airport was cancelled after I waited for six hours, no thanks to the heaviest snowfall in 50 years. All flights to Sapporo were fully booked for the the next three days. I had to fly to Hakodate, and take a three-and-a-half-hour taxi ride that cost JPY62000 (approximately S$770) before I finally arrived at Niseko. You might have read about how groups of Chinese tourists had clashed with Japanese policemen and caused riots due to the flight delays. If only I had the chance to share with them how we could all deal with immense frustrations by singing. I serenaded “let it go~let it go~”, followed by “let it snow let it snow let it snow~”. It worked. Even if it was annoying to my fellow travellers.

4. Just Ski

It is as easy as ABC. Really. Get a competent coach. I had two – my godsons, Ethan (13 years old) and Kiefer (10 years old). Watch how gracefully I skied.

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Martini Monday

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Today is #SpeakMyMind Day. Tired of being meek and quiet Asian woman. Today I shall be brave enough to say what’s on my mind.

Cathartic just writing it. In a way, the women tale of woe is rather similar to anyone of you who have ever felt this level of exasperation working in a society with double standards. A woman cannot be unattractive, or old, or too smart (for her own good). How many times have you been advised to “play dumb”? When you are angry it must be that time of the month hence you are cranky. If you unfortunately hold some power, you are likely to have slept with someone or killed someone to get there “corporate bitch”. You will be interviewed for your work, but the headlines will most probably read “She Has Broken Up With Boyfriend” “She Is Still #Single” “She Is Single Hence A #Lesbian“. This is amusing until it is not. Ok it is still #funny. I am still grateful I was born female.

But don’t you mess with mama. I am running a business not running for Top 10 Most Popular Award.

Don’t be mad, be prepared.

 

 

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Sweet Dreams Are Made Of These.

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My sleep, like everyone else’s, is often occupied by not one but a montage of dreams. Last night I had a few random ones and as part of my self-inflicted therapy, I decided to write it down for the first time and see if they make any sense.

  1. Obama spoke to me “be kind, be useful”.
  2. I saw a musical starring my favourite comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus and after the show I queued up for an autograph and she obliged. Her co-star gave me his number and invited me to call him.
  3. A doctor paid me nightly visits at home because I was ill. I did not feel sick at all. But he was awfully young and good-looking.
  4. I offered someone an olive-branch.
  5. I was supposed to meet someone really important and I did not have my make up on, and I felt doomed.

Oh well….maybe I am over thinking this. Dreams are remnants of the millions of insane thoughts in our head, and so I was told.

 

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Good Enough.

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My whole life I was never good enough.

You always wanted me to be wiser, prettier, livelier, quieter, funnier, sweeter, quicker, wittier, lovelier, fatter, thinner, taller, stronger, calmer, thriftier, bigger, louder, richer, sexier, smarter.

I am never good enough for you.

Is this an Asian thing? Where putting someone down is deemed good education, so that we do not get too certain of ourselves? We are often obligated to say “I am humbled…I don’t deserve this…I am so blessed…I am so grateful…”. Until these words no longer mean a thing.

One day if I am a parent, a teacher, a leader, a friend, a wife, a partner, I will tell you, you may not be good enough. But you are good enough for me. I just want you to be happy.

Don’t apologize for who you are and how you work.

We only have one life. Celebrate it. Please.

 

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Agree To Disagree

Where are the voices of intelligent dissent? We should learn to convey our differences in opinions in a calm and collected manner. I enjoy the beauty of a well-articulated debate, of intellect and fact. Unless it is life-and death, I think everyone should chill. Find your own life priorities and cling on to it.

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Thank You, But No.

Life, is not just about what you stand for, but also what you are against.
I am for courage to pursue one’s own dream. I am for kindness and generosity in helping others achieve their goals.
I am against smearing, lampooning and hurting others. Period. It doesn’t end does it? This cycle of hate and irresponsible gossip. Let’s not pretend to be objective when there is no objectivity. We are real people, when you hurt us we actually do bleed. There is no reason good enough to justify such human behaviour.

For public figures some argue that there is no such thing as privacy, and I have no rebuttal for that, whether that hypothesis is fair or not. In fact I am inclined to agree. But I am not asking for privacy here, I am merely asking for decency.

Well, reaction is easy, understanding is hard. It’s all about the optics anyway. Who looks better, richer, happier. It’s gotten so easy to flaunt, that our empty lives could get away looking well-travelled and fulfilled.

I have fought a few battles in my short 40 years of life, and I must admit, sometimes losing was a relief. Sometimes taking a sabbatical break from the race turned out to be the best decision. And yes, sometimes, saying “thank you, but no” is as cathartic as crying.

It’s never over.

But life is too short to get mad.

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(photo credit http://www.styleXstyle.com styled by Daniel Goh)

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Back To Basics 

  

 

I’m used to being laughed at. Oh well I have been laughing at myself all my life. I might not have beauty nor talent but I do have a sense of humour. So spoof and lampoon away. What’s the fun if we take everything seriously all the time? N’est-ce pas? 

 

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