31 July 2015

popped rice

Yesterday was like Christmas, 3 packages came in the mail including this tea from Eco-Cha.

It's the heavy roasted sibling of the light roasted dong ding that I originally got from their kickstarter. Speaking of which, the documentary has recently been released.

30 July 2015


It's both a blessing and a curse that my lunches have become more extravagant than my dinners. The blessing is that my office has a well equipped kitchen that allows me to bring nicer lunches. The curse is that work is pretty tiring that I come home with little energy to cook dinner. Though school was pretty draining too, so I should step up my game.

That is not to say that un-extravagant dinners are not good. I'm quite liking this pork bone soup + rice / noodle combo that's covered me this week.

The soup is a hybrid of my dad's pork soup recipe (with dried mushrooms for that lovely umami) and korean soy bean soups (with doenjang for that lovely umami). Aka lots of umami, which is always good. Throw in a lot of kale and a soft boiled egg and it's a completely meal with either rice or noodles. It can even be a one-pot meal, except it's a little hard to drink the soup out of my pot.

Dinner literally takes however long to bring the soup to a boil plus 5 mins (my perfect time for soft boiled eggs).

28 July 2015

terracotta tiles

Coolest site visit yet

26 July 2015

kyusu #1

Presenting, the newly acquired sibling of my yixing: a tokoname kyusu.
Specifically, a dragon pot!

I've been stalking artistic nippon for the longest time ever since I came upon the kyusu appreciation thread on teachat. Was originally looking for a houin or a shiboridashi since I like the gaiwan's ergonomics, but couldn't find one that had both the aesthetics that I wanted at the right price point. Then this pot came up and it was quite love at first sight...and over budget, but splurging on teapots is one of the privileges of having a paid internship. 

First the packaging.

The lid has really good tolerance, very much appreciated. Same with the fancy paper and the neatly tied ribbon. Even the bubble wrap was neatly folded like how you would for gift wrapping. On top of that, the packaging tape was orderly taped, which is a feat in itself. Overall it goes to show the care by both the craftsman and the seller. I (and teachat people) highly recommend ordering from AN.
Bonus points for prompt email replies from AN, one of my biggest pet peeves.

Onto the pot itself.

I didn't expect to like a rather ornamental tea pot, but the dragon got me. In fact I might make it a rule to only purchase pots with some animal tie-in since my yixing has a lion on the lid too.

The lid tolerance on the pot is great too, it indeed passes the test in which water stops flowing out of the spout when you cover the air hole on the lid. This pours oh-so-wonderfully, I'm tempted to say that it drains faster than my smaller yixing. I tried filming the pour, but I have terrible depth recognition from looking at the screen and ended up spilling half of the pot. One downside of this pot is thatt the filter holes don't go right against the edge, so there will always be some water left inside the pot, which can increase the bitterness of subsequent steeps. 

Brewed some chinese green tea as a test run since I have no japense greens left. It brought out more of a beany smell to the wet leaves, and helped mellow out the bitterness. I surprisingly tasted some perfume-y floral at the earlier steeps, and some unami in the later ones, will have to confirm these with subsequent sessions.

25 July 2015


Table during the weekend (typ.)

From this, I can conclude that the most likely death for my laptop is water damage.

Tried brewing some shou puer in my little yixing pot today. It taste ever so subtly cleaner, the earthiness is ever so slightly elevated, and the later steeps taste a tad sweeter all relative to how I usually brew it in a gaiwan. Honestly I can't tell whether it's real or just a placebo effect of knowing that's how unglazed clay usually interacts with the tea.

PS. I learned how to mimic vsco's fade tool in photoshop :D Just drag the bottom-left node in the curves adjustment up. The color balance adjustment is also better than the gradient map for doing subtle split toning.

24 July 2015


Yet another sunset photo because I don't want to do anything in this humidity.

20 July 2015

qi lan

Some yancha on a slow weekend afternoon.

Psst I just bought this little guy a friend. Super excited for it to arrive.

17 July 2015


Under-exposing the photo helps.
Okay fine, I exaggerate in post processing, but the statement above is still true.

The actual sun is cropped out because it's just an over-exposed circle of pure white pixels.

Oh yeah I just remembered that I post a collection of my sunset photos, which I've neglected to update for almost a year, opps.

16 July 2015


Someone teach me how to properly take sunset photos "orz

These are a couple of minutes apart.

The black blur is my window frame out of focus, but please do think of it as artistic intent instead mhmm.

15 July 2015


Okay I'm ready to have a life outside of FE again. Mostly because it would take another 10 hours or so of grinding before I'm ready to recruit the next set of children.

image via.

Quick thoughts 16 chapters in the main story line (& many other hours grinding on other maps):
  • Galeforce is the bane of my (FE) existence "orz But it also makes the children really OP, I can solo all the maps with either Lucina or Morgan, and easily so with both especially with their parents supporting. 
  • Gold is less of an issue than I thought, maybe because I'm not intensely reclassing everyone. 
  • Not really liking the support conversations of the kids, they are too much of their archetype. Severa is definitely more tsun than dere, and very much a jerk to Cynthia in their level C dialog. But Cynthia and Owain do get annoying really fast. I was expecting Lucina to be much cooler (as in nonchalant) from her promo images, but she's as righteous as she can be. The parent generation is much more human like in their support convos.

10 July 2015


A short story to illustrate my current addiction to FE:
I discovered that I lost my wallet and that I missed my chance to recruit Gaius. I was much more frustrated at having missed Gaius.

The silver lining is that it forced me to re-choose every character's marriage partners, and my new line up has awesome support convo.

But ugh wallet,
UGH Gaius! (no more Asuka ver. Severa)
image via.

08 July 2015

Fire Emblem: Awakening

image via

I am addicted to this game and that is perfectly alright. The support conversations are fantastic.

07 July 2015

After Dark

This might just be my favourite Murakami book, but that could just be the product of circumstances.

It's a short novel, which is so welcomed after the long 1Q94. I feel like After Dark is the prototype for 1Q84 as both contain many similar elements. Not a coincidence that the 2 novels follow each other chronologically? In fact, After Dark is like Fuka-Eri's version of air chrysalis where it's distilled down to the essentials, whereas 1Q84 is the version that Tengo added to, but with a lot more fantasy and over the top.

Some of my favourite quotations:
What it wants to do is exclude the encroaching world of reality and go on sleeping without end in a soft, enigmatic darkness.

That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual important or not, it doesn't matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They're all just fuel.

The new day is almost here, but the old one is still dragging its heavy skirt. Just as ocean water and river water struggle against each other at a river mouth, the old time and the new time clash and blend. Takahashi is unable to tell for sure which side - which world - contains his center of gravity.

My memory card also just arrived, off to play FE.

06 July 2015


Finished the last of Verdant Tea's samplers.

Here's the TGY:

I accidentally deleted the photo of the DHP, but I have nothing to say about it aside from the fact that it has no mineral taste so I don't qualify it as a yancha. Otherwise it's a good roasted oolong, but definitely not a DHP.

This TGY is overwhelmingly floral, which isn't surprising for such a green oolong. Later steeps had some sour and vegetal notes poking through. The wet leaves also smelled strongly of butter.

Overall probably won't order from Verdant, since there's just so many other vendors with more unique tasting teas and/or better quality to price ratio.

05 July 2015

make believe

Finally finished reading 1Q84, man that took a while.

Two more quotations:
She had something she needed to talk to Aomame about, but if she actually put it into words, the facts contained in the "something" might irretrievably become more definite as facts, so she wanted to postpone that moment, if only briefly. Such was the apparent significance of her silence.

"It's a distance that can't be measured."
"Like the distance that separated one persons heart from another's."
The second one reminds me a lot of 5cm.

I enjoyed book 2 the most, specifically the chapters where Aomame converses with Leader. Tengo and Aomame's plot had a fitting ending, with as much closure as you'll ever get from Murakami. Fuka-Eri just disappeared, can't say I'm surprised but it'd be nice to hear some form of an ending with her.

I dislike Ushikawa's character. He's supposedly vile, but enough is revealed about him to make you feel some form of pity. He feels very murky whereas the other characters are clear. I'm not sure what to make of the Little People making an air chrysalis out of him. His sudden narration in book 3 also felt disruptive to the rhythm of Tengo / Aomame.
Conversely, I really like Tamaru's character. It was nice to see his ruthless side in the end. I'd very much like him as my protector.

A couple more days until my memory card arrives for my 3DS, let's see if I can finish After Dark.

03 July 2015


It's been another rainy week here.

02 July 2015


My 3DS is arriving soon, so I figured I should start playing Transistor before it inevitably gets delayed for another year.

image via.

Supergiant's art direction is spot on yet again. The graphics is just gorgeous.

One boss in and I've learned that I enjoy turn based play style much more. Probably because I really suck at action. No wonder I barely managed to pull off mystic artes in Xillia. This also means that I made a few bad choices in skill selection at level ups. I had the idea that I'd go for more tactical skills, but nope shoulda just went blow everything up.
I also like how the lore is revealed through skill mastery, it's a good incentive to try different combinations of skills.

01 July 2015

spring/summer 15 midpoint check-in

Finally received my credit card in the mail, and proceeded to spend a lot of money.
On one hand the purchases have been planned & are accounted for in my budget. On the other hand, the ease of shopping online is a little unnerving. I totally understand how people can rack up so much credit card debt.

That aside, here's what I've purchased for workwear so far:

I've followed my plan fairly to the point. Remaining items:
  • Navy ankle pants: will put off until a/w because the ones I have my sight set on don't go on sale anyways. Skirts are more comfortable to wear in this hot and sticky weather.
  • Tops: debating between red brick or mulberry for another Everlane silk blouse, not in a hurry to get them though. Perhaps one more shell, but only if I love the design and it's heavily discounted.
Removing all the casual items because I ain't got no free time durr. This has been a particularly busy week, luckily my dad is here to visit and cooks me delicious food. Otherwise I'd just be done eating dinner right now.