mcalex22: (Gintama Toushi Gin Sauna)
( Jan. 1st, 2014 03:51 am)
It's now nearly 4am and I am stil awake so here's my new year greetings to everyone.

I hope that 2014 is a good year for all and everything that can go well does happen :)

click on the pic for a bigger version
mcalex22: (Sherlock trio)
( Oct. 10th, 2013 12:25 am)
Sydney gets a fair share of celebs! I don't see most of them (eg never saw Keanu Reaves, Ewan MacGregor, Angelina Jolie etc when they were living here) and I've been to cons and queued at movie premieres.

But Tom Hiddleston gets a big tick in my book for being a really nice bloke and all-round Mr nice guy! He did a free signing session at Kinokuniya in the city. I couldn't queue for the free passes to the autographs and photos (only 150 were given out) as I was at work, but after work, I stopped by and glimpsed Mr Hiddleston. He was all smiles, dimples and all. Despite looking a bit tired, he was beaming!

Fans were allowed to pose and he sure did a lot of fun poses! He sang happy birthday to a few fans, had a fan sing to him, read a poem in Icelandic etc.

Here's Tom Hiddleston, on the phone to a fangirl's friend!

click on the pic for a slightly bigger version

2 more pics behind the cut )
mcalex22: (Gintama Toushi Gin Sauna)
( May. 16th, 2013 09:32 pm)
I'm currently here in Uluru, having a mini-break before year-end. Call it an early birthday pressie to myself. The air is drier, my sinuses have cleared and I can see so many stars in the beautiful sky - no city lights and you can see Orion's belt (I think).

The iphone photo is actually nicer but here's a photo I took at sunset just now (I drove there).

click on the pic for a bigger version

I had quite a lovely flight here; used some points to upgrade to business class, sat behind the cockpit and one of the pilots (he was actually there as an observer because there was a trainee pilot on board) sat next to me. We got to chatting about flying, the Air France aircrash... he used to be an airforce pilot. What a long and interesting history.

Anyway, time to take a warm bath, enjoy the night and head to bed as I want to see the sunrise tomorrow!
It's the lunar new year and yesterday (new year eve) my family had a gathering and dinner. There was too much food and not the healthy kind. I surprisingly fell asleep before midnight (on a Sat night!).

It's the year of the snake and I look forward to hearing the lion dances in Chinatown (I work near Chinatown) over the next two weeks.

Here's the dinner: the best dish was the soft shell crab in vermicelli!

Off topic, I found out just yesterday that NBC has cancelled Do No Harm after 2 eps. I don't know the ratings but this was meant to be a sort of Jekyll/Hyde type show (reminds me almost of Moffat's Jekyll). NBC seems to be incapable of making good decisions... were the ratings that bad???
mcalex22: (Hetalia Group)
( Jan. 1st, 2013 03:09 am)
So I went to see the NYE fireworks in North Sydney but I was late and they'd closed the gates!!! Fortunately they reopened them and I managed to dash through... this year, [ profile] derry667 and I were joined by [ profile] tipper_green and her parents. What a treat.

click on the image for a larger version

Yesterday I went to the Opera House to watch the Doctor Who symphonic spectacular, which was basically music from Doctor Who plus aliens in the concert hall. I already knew the music but hearing it live and seeing clips from the show plus the aliens made it all a better experience. Seeing Ben Foster, Murray Gold (who was actually in the audience, then playing the piano and then announcing) plus Alex Kingston and Mark Williams made me a happy fangirl!

But it was quite cute to also see so many excited kids; some in bow ties, tweed jackets and/or fez's, all holding a sonic screwdriver of some sort. There were older fans (those who grew up with William Hartnell) and young fans. We were all kids yesterday. And I cried and cried because I had to relive moments of the Ponds (I miss them so much) and also say goodbye to No 10 again.

On Thursday Morning, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Alex Kingston at the ABC store in Sydney, signing autographs. I missed out on the autographs because I couldn't leave work early enough and I also missed out on seeing Mark Williams aka Rory's dad/Arthur Weasley.

Nevertheless I was only a few feet away from her and she was very lovely and gracious. We were allowed to take photos freely and everyone was all polite (it wasn't too big of a crowd).

On Sunday, I will then go and see the BBC orchestra play music from Doctor Who at the Sydney Opera House. It should be fun and I look forward to seeing Alex and Mark there (hosting the event).

In other news, it's 2 weeks to xmas and all the international xmas cards were sent out last week. [ profile] tipper will be in town in a bit and I can't wait to see her!
mcalex22: (Gintama Toushi Gin Sauna)
( Aug. 10th, 2012 12:40 am)
Well, I am finally back in Australia. It is rather overwhelming and a little depressing. I feel like a foreigner at the moment and there are so many sensations everyday... it's like I'm experiencing new things and remembering old things.

On Tuesday, I drove to [profile] derry667's place and it was nice to hang out with her. Before I returned to Australia, I spent over a week down south, in the Kyushu area of Japan. It was hot and yet, incredibly beautiful. I spent my days walking around, and enjoying the sunsets. I also went to the beach a lot, and got stung by jellyfish!

Here is the sunset I took when I was on the ferry from Iojima Island on the way back to Nagasaki city.

It's been over a month! Those of you who have received my comments know that I lurk around LJ. I do read other people's posts and comment when I can but as for my own life, there's not really much to say.

The last couple of weeks have been kind of busy with packing and getting things sorted as I have to leave the apartment in under 3 weeks' time. I didn't write because to be honest, I have been also a bit depressed. I'm sad about leaving and sad that no one seems to care. I don't mean it in a bad way but I guess people have their own lives to worry about and so far I haven't really had anyone come up to me and ask to catch up before I leave except for a few friends in another city.

The students don't seem to mind and I guess it's because they are teenagers and life goes on! But I will miss them with all my heart!!!

I have also been immersing myself in Civilization 5 (I'm obsessed) and also trying to catch up with various locals. I recently met an old lady to get lessons on wearing a yukata and tying an obi.

Here's a photo of me. The bow looks easy but it takes practice to perfect! She was really a lovely lady and I gave her grandkids some pressies. I can say that I'm now all out of kangaroo toys :)

Anyway, hope everyone is well. I suppose I should watch the last ep of Whitecollar last season before the new season starts! Otherwise, I'm really enjoying Franklin and Bash (not sure why but I love the shorter guy), Suits seems to have taken a different mood this season (I'm really loving Louis), Awkward's back, Teen Wolf seems to have upped the ante and I am really going to miss Eureka!
I have a gut feeling that one day I will just feel like doing it and I will do a lot of it. But right now I will start with the clothes.

I can't believe that in under 8 weeks' time, I'll be vacating this apartment and homeless! I might have to stay in Tokyo somewhere or maybe someone will offer me a place. I won't be back in Oz till August so I have a 2 weeks of traveling.

Today I was fortunate enough to hang out with some very lovely locals; an ex-colleague and his Russian-born wife who took me around. Here is Mount Shirane, an active volcano about 2000 metres above sea level (I'm on it) and the crater lake. The colour is blue-green due to excess sulphur in it (the lake is actually very acidic).

Fandom wise, I have now seen MIB3. I liked it even if it didn't get good reviews. I am not sure if Snow White and the Huntsman is worth it but I am interested in the new Spiderman, the Dark Knight sequel (which probably won't happen till I'm back) and Prometheus.

Shows-wise, Suits, Teen Wolf and The Glades are returning. I'm also enjoying Common Law (cute guys in the lead - not teenagers but guys around my age group).
mcalex22: (Gintama Ginpachi Sensei)
( May. 9th, 2012 09:50 pm)
So I see some Avengers squee on the flist; I think that overall most people (well I haven't seen any overtly negative comments) liked it! If you haven't seen it, I do highly recommend it. Lots of action, good story, very hunky (and beautiful Scar Jo) cast plus good humour. It pretty much gave every character good screen time and from what I've heard today on twitter, there is going to be a sequel (can't wait!!!). I will definltely say that I loved Jeremy Renner's arms (hello Mr Bourne) and Tom Hiddleston's smile (and those eyes).

Also I saw a couple of posts on the flist about Simon Pegg and Zach Quinto tweeting about their time on the Star Trek movie set and their adventures in California along with Benedict Cumberbatch. I think that B. Cumberbatch is an excellent actor but on a personal level, I don't find him physically attractive. But he is compelling in the numerous roles that he has played and he is an incredible actor. I follow the Pegg on twitter so I am constantly amused by his twits and pics. If you haven't already seen this gorgeous photo that Zach Quinto took, check it out :)

I am now back at my apartment but I've been very tired because I am still recovering from a long week of exercise. It's kinda nice to be back in my own place again though strangely quiet and lonely because I was living in a big city for over a week! Also now that I am back, I have to actually do some housework.

I am still totally in love with Taiwan. I can't believe that I didn't go there sooner. The food, the people and dare I say, good-looking Chinese guys (who were very tall). I never found Japanese guys overtly attractive but I liked the way the guys in Taiwan looked!

Anyway, here is another pic and good night for now!

this is a photo I took from a train station. You can see Taipei 101 (2nd tallest building in the world) in the background
I am currently staying in Tokyo (after returning from Taiwan) before returning to my home prefecture.

So far it's been great! I can't believe that several men (real men) have chatted me up... this never ever happens in Australia so I am rather shocked. One was a rather delightful Spaniard who currently resides in Chicago.

Anyway, Taiwan was a big blast. It's such a beautiful country with lovely people and incredibly good food. I love listening to Mandarin and Hokkien and eating all the food from my childhood in Malaysia (though Malaysia does better friend oysters, I reckon!).

A picture of of the north-eastern Coast from the top of Chiufen Village on the cliffs... It was 35 degrees Celsius when I took this!
mcalex22: (Hetalia Group)
( Apr. 28th, 2012 06:45 am)
My only regret about leaving for Taiwan today is that by the time I get back, the beautiful cherry blossoms would have all fallen.

I have a list of things to do and places to visit in Taiwan, but seriously, I can't deny that I'm happy to be able to watch Avengers in English! (It's not released in Japan till August this year).

Until next time...

Unfortunately it's raining a lot so it's hard to take good pictures! But I took one at school just a few days ago.

My predecessor and her bf have finally left. It's weird suddenly being alone in the apartment after having someone around on and off for 2 weeks! I got used to them around and now it kinda feels lonely again.

I spent yesterday in the big city, deciding to treat myself to some movies. I actually really enjoyed Battleship; though I had no idea who was in it so I was pleasantly surprised that I loved it! I also saw the latest Titans movie with Sam Worthington... though I didn't really enjoy it that much. It just lacked something the original had. But I was surprised because the cast were pretty impressive! I recognised Bill Nighy and thought, "What's he doing in this movie?".

I'm in Taiwan next week so I get to see Avengers in English next week!!! Japan isn't showing Avengers till August and I'll be gone by then. Speaking of being gone, I have to pick my departure date and I honestly can't decide! It feels so final but in just 3 months' time I will leave this apartment. People here don't realise that I'm probably not going to see them anymore... for me each time I see my everyone, I know that it's nearing the end!

Shows-wise, I started watching Scandal and am loving it! I love the characters and the lead female just rubs me the right way. I like her and I like the mystery of the show!!! Is anyone else watching it?
Though my town is still kinda harbouring around winter. No snow but it's windy and cool!

I went to Tokyo last weekend to do some volunteer work in a soup kitchen in Ueno Park. My biggest regret is that all this time I've been here, I wasn't aware of this charity work and never got the opportunity to help out till now. It would really have eased the loneliness I felt when I first got here.

Anyway, here are some cherry blossoms in Ueno Park. Unfortunately while it was warm on Saturday, it was also wet and windy. I wonder where those homeless people sleep? They were ever so grateful for the food we gave them but I can't help but worry and wonder where they are...

Spring break has started... although it's still technically very cold and wintery - well, the temps are like Sydney winter.

I went to an end of term party for the school in Niigata. Niigata is surprising very near where I live and this town that we went to is a ski town. You'd think it was still winter because of the abundance of snow!

Here is a pic of the beautiful town Yuzawa, it is still covered in a lot of snow!

I will be in Tokyo later this week but otherwise am not doing much. I should start packing for my return but I am feeling rather lazy.

The party last night was lovely; I will miss some of my fellow teachers who are leaving and I hope that the new students are going to be better. Niigata is famous for good sake; which was great as I drank a lot of hot and cold sake. I don't think that I really got into drinking sake till I came to Japan; I am not really a beer person and I think that sake really compliments Japanese food!

Some rambling about Japanese )

In other news, one of my favourite animes Gintama has ended. Well, ended sounds final. It's not a しまう situation - or it is since it's regretful (though I'm not sure if I could use shimau to express my regret at something that happened that I didn't do/control) but not final. I will miss it but I'm confident that it will be back when the manga produces more material. I just got depressed and annoyed because I read so many speculations in English forums and boards and I hated reading people's comments; which I thought were not based on facts but speculations. In Eli Ossan2's words まだ始まってもいねえよ。

In my words, また帰えて来てね。
Living alone in the country can be very lonely so when I meet up with friends, I really relish the company.

And I like it that we're all from so many different countries and we can talk about so many things. I will definitely miss this because I don't get to meet people from all over the world in Sydney; I don't mix in the crowd that exposes me to international people... funnily enough!

Anyway, yesterday, a couple of us gathered together, went shopping and made Pizzanga... I Like it because it wasn't so cheesy (the supermarket didn't have ricotta and so we used mozarella and other cheese), we put a lot of veges in it (carrots, capsicums, onions, mushrooms) and it was quite tasty. I have to give many thanks to my American friends in Japan, who are way better cooks than me. But when I get back to Aust where I have an oven, I'd love to try this out!!!

mcalex22: (Sherlock trio)
( Mar. 20th, 2012 11:18 pm)
I'm back from Tokyo and funnily enough... off to Tokyo next week hopefully to do some volunteer work and network! I went to Tokyo for a conference and since then a lot has happened.

My laptop broke down so I had to buy a new one; and in a hurry, I got a Sony Vaio. I probably paid more than usual as I had to get one with an English OS and it was only available in Tokyo. It's been a mixed bag, weather-wise. We still get snow (last week and this week) so spring isn't quite here yet! I have been busy updating my link profile, résumé, and looking at job opportunities in Australia and Japan, although I doubt that I can find anything as an accountant in Japan because I'm not bilingual enough.

Here's a pic I took from the staffroom last week - on Graduation Day (for the 3rd graders) - yes that's snow in March!

click on the pic for a larger version

Incidentally, a JET (another English teacher whom I don't know) made a video in the series of "Shit, XX says". His is titled "Shit my Japanese students say." You may not quite get it if you don't know Japanese or Japanese schools but it amused me greatly because this is how my students actually behave. Most of them spend their time in class procrastinating and doing anything but study... I honestly don't know how they get through school or learn anything. It's so different from when I went to school in Australia.

Here's the link if anyone's interested; I kid you not, I actually have students who behave like this, as silly as it is. He's got the accent, how they behave and what they say down to the pat!

For those interested, these bunch of people ( have attempted to explain the meaning for non-Japanese speakers.
It's now been over a week since the big Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami... it honestly feels like a month has passed because everyday of the past week, I was glued to the news (local mostly) and in contact or worrying about friends in the affected areas. I have had so much I wanted to say but I held back because at times I was just so distraught that I didn't know what I could say without sounding like I was all over the place.

More behind cut )

Well, here is a photo I took last week when I had to walk to elementary school. It snowed a lot as I crossed the bridge to the Tone river. If you wonder what the specks are on the photo, that's actual snow falling as I took the pic with my iphone.

click on the pic for a larger version which seems to logically consider some facts.
mcalex22: (Gintama Toushi Gin Sauna)
( Sep. 6th, 2010 12:41 am)
I had a great tme hiking with my 1st year junior high kids last week. They are very delightful, energetic and oh-so well-behaved!

I also got to know one of the teachers, and we went to an onsen (outdoor resort hotbath) after the hike and we also hung out yesterday.

The good news is that I finally got my Japanese mobile phone. 6 weeks after I arrive! But I had help when I went to pick it up; I didn't realise until my friend/colleague/fellow teacher translated everything how much I'd not picked up with my limited Japanese.

I am now slightly sunburnt and slightly peeling.

We went to Mt Tanigawa. Here's a pic:

I noticed quite a number of posts on the flist about the recent "buttons" that LJ had added. I confess that it took me a while to figure out what they were referring to... suffice to say, there has been a lot of demands of not posting to twitter or FB. And some people have even totally abandoned LJ entirely.

For the record, my dreamwidth username is also mcalex22. And I do cross-post at times... though not always since I keep forgetting. It's easier to do so when I have access to semagic. And I'd like to emphasise that I have no intention of reposting anyone's comments/posts etc to Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else.

Hell, if you know me, you'd know that I'd ask your permission before even reposting in my LJ. I do have a FB and twitter but my FB is incredibly private and for networking. I keep in touch with people the bunch of people I work with and my family abroad. I have not set up a username and I have no intention of ever mixing LJ and Facebook.