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Monday, August 07, 2017

JB Cafe Hop: Waku Waku 日式烈日松饼@ Mount Austin

Hi readers! 
Time to intro another JB cafe. Have been very busy lately, I have tried to keep the JB cafe list updated despite unable to write full reviews. To add on to the list, I have two more pretty joints that deserves a full post. 

As usual, was out with my JB cafe hop buddies -- the cousinssssss. Honestly I am still surprised that new cafes are still budding out and every cafe has something interesting to offer. The JB cafe scene is just happeninggggg. 

Waku Waku 日式烈日松饼@ Mount Austin
First, to fill up our tummies for lunch, we've decided to go for desserts instead of a usual meal. Waku Waku serves waffles which are paired with a generous scoop of ice cream and atas-premium looking toppings like meringue cookies, marshmallow walnuts, chocolate ganache and more. Honestly, taste is not the only thing that matter now, the visually appealing waffles are enough to brighten up your day. Besides customized waffles, you could also try unique desserts like the japanese-style pudding and strawberry smoothies. I would say the dessert offerings over here can make a girl go nuts. Anyway, still would like to recommend the customized waffles, where you get to choose your waffle flavor (GreenTea, Plain, Chocolate), a scoop of ice cream, with interesting flavors like earl grey and black sesame, toppings that gives you the extra crunch and sweet and finally the sauce! All these for RM18.90! What's more, if you like Waku Waku's facebook page, you'll get an additional scoop of chocolate ice cream, which is what we had for each of our waffles!



Personally I like the texture of the waffles, it's not as airy crunchy, but more cake-like. So it's kinda chewy and there's a delicious aroma. And the best part is, you don't get that greasy taste and smell from usual waffles. But the surface is still slightly crunchy and goes well with the ice cream and toppings. 

Cousin Zack's waffle
Chocolate waffles
Black sesame and Chocolate Ice Cream
Marshmallow Walnut
Chocolate Ganache 
Salted Egg Yolk Sauce


Mine
Original Waffles 
Mango and Chocolate Ice Cream
Chocolate Ganache
Meringue Kisses 
Cream Cheese Sauce

Gotta say Mango and Choco wasn't a good combo haha. They are delicious ice creams on their own but I have to accept the fact that they are just not meant for each other haha. Other than that, loving the cream cheese sauce which is more like paste actually haha. Super fragrant and yummy. The choco ganache and meringue kisses add the right amount of sweetness. 

Cousin Vince's
Matcha Waffles 
Earl Grey and Chocolate Ice Cream 
Meringue Kisses
Pistachio
Maple Syrup 


seriously, I can look at this all day...

but oh well, good things might end bad :P
The disaster after digging into these pretty waffles haha

Yummy waffles aside, the cafe is sure to be a go-to place for ladies. White tables, white walls, floor length windows the minimalist interior is great for awesome photos. We were lucky enough to get the seat at the wall of plants. 
had my mortar board with me haha...
gotta snap for the ocassion



Me: Sis I grad liao!!!
Cousin: You have no idea what you're heading towards. 



hehe photographer of the day! Cousin Zack who's back from the states. 

okay last one liao

ok last last one

alright really last oneeeee!

Anyways if you love desserts but don't want something too heavy, I really think the waffles here have the right balance. Go have your waffles in your own way!

Waku Waku 日式烈日松饼
53, Jalan Mutiara Emas 2A,
Taman Mount Austin,
81100 Johor Bahru,
Malaysia
Opening Hours: 3:00PM – 11:00PM



okay this is the final onee :P

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Thank you, Convocation

Haizz after convocation, it's like waking up from a sweet dream :( back to mundane life but oh well, there should always be special events in life to keep you motivated. throughout our ordinary days.

And it's not right to not pen down this very special day.

Part of me kind felt like convocation shouldn't be a big thing, afterall I have completed my studies months ago, I have already started working. Whatever that is worth celebrating is already in the past. What's the big deal of convo? The only reason why I look forward to convo was just because I get to have two days off work hahahhahahah. But oh well, as pointless as it seems, as tiring as it seems, as superficial as it seems, I am grateful of this day.


On a fine Thursday, woke up in the morning, triple-checked on my robes and invitation card, with flowers and balloons in my hand, my feet on my favorite pair of pumps, head out the house, thinking about meeting my family and friends, thinking about how to not pokai on stage, thinking about the moment. Was all smiles when I met up with my parents at the dimsum building, manage to show them around and took some photos over there. Then it's the ceremony at Nanyang Auditorium, the place where we first had our Freshman Welcome Ceremony, where we wore the academic dress as well. Time really does fly. As if the ambience wasn't enough to bring back memories, there was this graduation video that had tears welled up in my eyes. It was a girl, visiting the many places in NTU and it really struck me that I'm never gonna be sitting in those tutorial rooms anymore, I'm never gonna be listening to all the knowledge from the smart folks and I'm never gonna be hanging out at the canteens with friends. It's never going to be the same...  But oh well after that, the inevitable part of convocation comes: the certificate presentation. God will not let me have an easy day, my pumps decided to stretch its mouth at the very last minute. Was praying hard in my head that my shoes won't fall apart and I will not trip or do anything silly. And just as I imagine, that moment on stage happened in a blur. I can barely remember anything tbh. After that, sorry to my fellow graduates but I really fell asleep haha. When it's finally the end, time to make good use of technology and just grab whoever you know and snap photos.  


Being away from home, I have heavily relied on this bunch of coursemates for a lot of support, both emotionally and intellectually haha. They are the reason why everything is okay, nothing can be bad with them. From sharing tutorial answers to random chats over lunch. Thanks for all the help and company. My life would have been so damn dull without you guys. 


Really hope more good things will happen to this bunch of kind souls. 





Also grateful to have met this junior (along with others who weren't here) in university. Friendly and fun people whom you can share your thoughts with. 

another group of friends whom I had known since the beginning of university. 

The Taiwan Exchange bunch! Though we may not be the closest friends, but I truly am grateful for the memories we shared. Exchange life is something that I'll never forget. 

Winnie the FYP group mate!! Missing Bryan who is enjoying in BKK now. I thought my social circle was pretty much stagnant but these two awesome peeps came into my final year. I really appreciate the conversations that we had, especially all the 交心 ones haha. And so much funny stuff to talk about. It's amazing how we became so close,  hope for the best for both of you!

The MCKL buddy T T 
words cannot express how gamdong I am to have you here. Feel so guilty that I didn't attend yours. But what's more, is realizing how much you have put into our friendship. Thanks for always being the one to jio me out every now and then and also always tolerating with my attitude haha. And of course to Vienna who couldn't make it, thanks for sending your kind wishes! Grateful for our occasional meet-ups in SG, you guys are also support-team! 

Finally of course, the people whose love formed the very foundation of me. Even though there are times where the walls get shaky, there were also times where the walls broke down, but I never lost myself because they will always be a part of my existence. I know I have taken your love for granted. Despite putting studies, work and friends in between us, you guys never gave up to hold me tight. Thanks for staying healthy and safe, thanks for trying to take away all my worries. Studying away from home has really shown me the power of family. Love you all so so much and I cannot imagine how would I survive without you, my Daddy Mummy and Gor. 





Finally, praise the Lord for this wonderful journey. If my family was the foundation, God would probably be the music in me. You can't see it, but you can totally hear it and feel it. Thanks for listening to all my prayers and blessing all the people I care for. Thanks for always assuring me that life is good and there's nothing to fear of. When I was weak, thanks for always finding a way to tell me I'm strong and I have the power to be happy. When I was evil, thanks for encouraging me to be kind. I hope I am living the way you want me to and I promise I will try to be a better person. 


I'm a lucky girl.
You know part of me keep telling myself: "Convo oni maaaaa" "Walao everyone oso got degree larrr, daisaiii arrr" "There's nothing to be proud of." But after convo ended, I went to bed with all the playbacks in my head. It wasn't just about getting yourself a "sand paper", it was a journey that has shaped my perspectives to life and people, an important gift to my very existence. These four years have taught me how to be happy more than the previous 20 years in my life. Whatever external or internal force it may be, there has been constant knocking down of my walls and I'd learnt to pick the pieces up on my own. Building brick by brick with loads of happy and fun memories with the people I met here, decorating with interesting experiences and knowledge about the world. Totally received much more than what I asked for. I'm grateful for this opportunity, and once again, Thank God for making this happen despite the odds.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

#carmenxjapan Day 12: Osaka City Sights part two

Turns out completing the series of posts is harder than I thought, especially when there's no internet. Was gonna give up but hey I'm gonna try anyway, before I get occupied by work. So where was I, it's the second day to explore the lively and vibrant city of Osaka and with the Amazing Osaka Pass(AOP), heading off to some of the attractions at Osaka Bay area and going back to the bustling streets of Dotonbori at night once again. 




Tsutenkaku Tower
Before heading to the Osaka Bay area, went to visit the Tsutenkaku tower nearby. It's an observation deck which was (and still is) the iconic building of Osaka back in the 1910s. Like whatttt seriously, observation deck is already a thing 100 years ago??!!?? Anyways, the tower is still in the middle of the ShinSekai district which has transformed throughout the years. Not only you get to have a beautiful view of the Osaka skyline, at the observation deck is also the enshrined Billiken, aka the God of Things as They Ought To Be which is also a ubiquitous figure in Osaka. But I guess the part where I enjoyed most was the small exhibition that showcased the history of Shinsekai, which was a beautiful, prosperous and glorious district. 

Not only Billiken, many of his relatives are around too. Each represents a type of blessing. 

One of the smaller Billiken statue, the actual Billiken is now a tourist attraction where tourists could take souvenir photos. I was abit intimidated by the overly excited and friendly host who was entertaining the visitors who wanted to take photos with the Billiken and so chicken-ed out from taking photo with the actual statue haha. 

This is how the original Shinsekai looked like. The Tsutenkaku was modelled after the Eiffel Tower while the bottom of the tower resembles the Arc de Triomphe in France. Shinsekai was also the home to an amusement park and thus was pretty much the hang-out spot in the past. Just learned that Singapore also has its counterpart which is also named New World (Shinsekai in English). Honestly why don't we have something like this now? An entertainment district with pretty lights. 

dioramas of Osaka's lifestyle in the past century. 

also there's this special Glico store where you could get almost every possible flavors or packaging of your favorite snacks like Pocky, Pretz and Collon. 


Osaka Bay - Tempozan Harbor Village 
A modern district built on man-made shores along Osaka's Bayfront. There's this mega mall with ferris wheel and Lego discovery center. Also in the area is the signature Osaka Kaiyukan which is a massive aquarium, home to God knows how many species of underwater life. From the looks of it, the area is like a family outing spot where both adults and kids could enjoy while learning. 

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Tempozan Marketplace

How can an Aquarium look this good on the outside. I decided not to visit the Kaiyukan due to time constraint and also its slightly more expensive admission fees at 2300yen. But I'm sure it's well worth the price and will definitely visit next time. 

Santa Maria Cruise Ship 
Also included in the AOP, I got to enjoy a 40 minutes cruise along the Osaka bay on a voyage ship, which kinda reminds me of One Piece for some reason haha. The cruise ship is modeled after Christopher Columbus's expedition ship where he discovered the New World. The weather was lovely, so it was a pretty fun experience to just sit back, check out the establishments around area, you can even spot USJ too, and also enjoy the warm sea breeze. 




statue of Christopher Columbus, the explorer. 

The Tenpozano Bridge


Tempozan Ferris Wheel
Another way to take in the beauty of the Osaka Bay is to hop on the mega-size ferris wheel at Tempozan Marketplace. I know, i know, second ferris wheel in the trip and honestly before Japan, I really forgot when was the last time I hop onto a ferris wheel. So don't miss your chance to just relax in one of these gondolas and enjoy the pretty view. 

Honestly, still think having the whole gondola to myself was an awesome experience haha. Just don't think and rest your back. 


I chose to ride on the Crystal carriage. 


I know the photos don't really look nice but there's something about the sunny weather and open area that made me stayed a little longer. After having lunch, I continued to just sit by one of the benches and got myself an ice latte. Guess I was too tired from all the constant walking in the past week. 


the vast skies and wide ocean, with ports working hard. 

Ebi Burger (300yen) from First Kitchen
Shrimp burgers are a norm in Japan and they taste so yummy T T

Iced Latte is everywhere, you could easily get one for 150yen at Family Mart, and it taste good T T



Osaka Museum of Housing and Living
As if the Osaka Museum of History wasn't good enough, there's another museum dedicated to present the ancient facets of Osaka's days to visitors. Again, Osaka's museums really do not disappoint. The presentation, the replicas and explanations are aimed to educate visitors especially foreigners like us. Love the life-size replica of an ancient town. The lighting of the "town" changes to reflect different times of the day and damn it feels very real. You'll hear roosters in the morning, thunder at dusk, birds chirping etc. For those who wanna try kimonos, you could also reserve a ticket for kimono fitting and stroll the mini Edo-town in your kimono outfit! The kimono experience does not require any additional fees but has limited tickets per day. 



old shop houses in Edo period

some lion-dance look-alike made with closets haha


it's night time and there's the moon! haha 

dawn of the next morning, the lighting's very impressive

the bell tower which existed in Edo era, similar to the one we saw in Kawagoe

after the mini-Edo, the following two floors showcases miniature models of Osaka's buildings and housings in the more recent decades and there's where you see Osaka's rapid and advanced transformation. 


these DIY models are for sale too

Naniwa Hot Spring
around 20 minutes walk away from the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living is a hot spring spa which is also included in the AOP as well! Seriously isn't this tourist pass awesome? Anyways, what is a Japan trip without dipping yourself in the hot spring waters. Gotta say I really enjoyed the dip even though it was really cold in the open air. Some magic the hot spring has, felt totally warmed and heated on the inside and I didn't sneeze for the rest of my trips. Besides the hot spring, there's like the indoor sauna rooms and cold bath. Feeling totally refreshed after showering. Super syok. Too bad our weather isn't suitable for this, can't find any better way to recharge.  



sorry I need to selfie, feeling too good hahahaha

the cafe outside of the spa
additional R&R time with some snacks and drinks here

Iced Cocoa! again haha (110yen) 

Corndog (250yen) 
Snack time and yes I love corndogs, not only they are crunchy, fragrant and yummy. It's super filling as well. And in Japan, you can squeeze mayonnaise all you want. 


Shinsaibashi 心斋桥 and Kougaryu Takoyaki Balls 甲贺流
After the energy boost, decided to head back to Namba area which I was totally mesmerized with on the night before. My dinner menu was already decided on the day before and it has gotta be Takoyaki balls! I randomly picked an outlet from the list of suggestions at Google search and turns out it's one of the most highly reviewed Takoyaki stalls. Kougaryu is located at the Shinsaibashi area which is another shopping district next to Dotonbori. Compared to Dotonbori, the shops and boutiques here are more upscaled and atas. Not only there's hipster local brands but also many of the luxury brands as well. You think shopping is big in Orchard, wait till you see Namba in Japan haha. 

Kougaryu Takoyaki Balls 甲贺流 location: 
2-18-4 Nishi Shinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi


loads of youngsters flood the streets of Shinsaibashi

This my friend, is the Michelin-rated Takoyaki balls in Osaka 
There's plenty of variations to choose from (which has different toppings) but the crew member recommended the most conventional and popular choice which is the Takoyaki balls topped with Mayonnaise and the homemade special sauce. 

Takoyaki Balls (400 yen) 
400 yen for 10 balls of happiness. This is so good and I am surprised with the difference in texture. The takoyaki balls are more springy while the outer layer isn't as crunchy. The inside was more gooey but very fragrant, and people, the octopus is a much larger chunk unlike the ones in MY. And of course, to top it off, the magic of Japan's delicious mayonnaise and the slightly tangy sauce. Super satisfied and biting into the piping hot takoyaki feels even better with the chilly weather of Osaka at night. 

Just opposite of Kougaryu is the Sankakukoen (Triangle Park) which was crowded with all the young souls. Very hipster and I knew it was the best spot to enjoy my Takoyaki. 

after dinner, continued to explore around Shinsaibashi's shopping districts and finally made my way back to the vibrant and crazy bright Dotonbori. Despite my fears with large crowds, I wasn't gonna give up enjoying the bright atmosphere in Dotonbori, not when this is something so rarely seen in MY and SG. So I found a place to grab a coffee, again, while I could silently let the Dotonbori river, the mega neon signs and all the vibrant crowd entertain me. 

One of the cafes that overlooks the Dotonbori river is Honolulu Coffee
Love its super cozy and exotic interior. Btw, Japanese love all things Hawaiian. This cafe really presents the charms. Got myself a venti sized Soy Latte (480yen)

Honolulu Coffee Location:
1F, Doton Bldg., 1-6-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Love the ambience so so much, here you have seats right at the windows with Dotonbori's view. 



One more photo before I say goodbye to all the bright lights of Namba. 

sorry one more selfie to keep this energized face in record. 


Next, one of the best days in my life haha, it's the closest I could get to living the dream of a witch at Hogwarts!



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