nevertheless it had been a fulfilling year. Oh well u chart ur own destiny, so make it happen my dear friends. If things are not in favour then change. Prollie I'm a very stubborn person, adamant and tenacious. Ppl will see it that I'm lucky that I alwiz get things done my way, but that's bcoz I fought for it and make it work to achieve what I've set out to do.
So we started off our 2014 with a great dinner and most of all with the company of good friends. Watched the magical fireworks from his residence on top of a hill. It was an evening of reflection and vision of wat we would like to do for 2014. Read more about the celebration *here*
Beautiful and well manicured Zen Garden in Kumamoto....
January 2014 marked our first trip to Kyushu. We've set out to make a destination each month. Today on 31st Dec 2014, travelling together or individually, I must say we did :)))) Bravo...well done to JS and Monkey.
We saw for the first time, an active volcano about to erupt and was in the 4km radius danger zone. I don't know to say we were lucky or unlucky. Our plan was to charter a helicopter to fly over the volcano mountain but bcoz of the active activities and warnings, everything was closed. So I guess either way u can only see one. Fly over the volcano on a safe day or opportunity to watch the volcano about to spill everything inside its stomach.
Mount Aso...it's alright we don't get to see u that close. There will be another time bcoz as if on cue, the sky opened up a bit and the glorious sunlights penetrated through the winter clouds and thick smokes from the volcano. It's as if they agree that we will come back. :)))) and yes we will!!!!
Read bout our Mount Aso visit *here*
Our private onsen outside the villa. The ryokan we stayed in Kyushu near to Mount Aso was undeniably one of the best. We lurve it so so so so much~~~~ seriously ryokans are so addictive. Even Mr. JS is so addicted to it and insist we must at least 2 nites stay in a good ryokan at every trip to Japan....and so we did. Every trip without fail. :))))
U get fed wholesomely for dinners and breakfast inside ur own villa/unit/room/cottage etc. It's like a feast...so u do nothing but to soak inside the 45*C hot bath eat, sleep, have tea and sweets, sight-seeing, more food and hot dip inside the bath and even more food. It's like being Gloria the hippo in Madagascar.
Takefue is highly recommended for its hospitality, food, environment and hot springs. Read more about Takefue *here* and our dinner feast *click here* plus the kind of breakfast we have *click*
the James Bond Island......the famous haunted island out in the open sea - Gunkanjima. This was quite off the usual international tourists track. On that day, we were the only non-Japanese tourist. It was quite an experience though :)))
Read bout it *here*
Come February, Monkey and the Gals started Fit Pole lesson. It was just for fun and it was meant to be for a month. We thought it's fun but it turned out to be very difficult.....Monkey is afraid of heights, every time when asked to climb the pole her face sulked into a grimace and complained way too much to the instructor.
cry cry cry cry cry cry
u can do it!!! come on~~~there's no failure in life. Failure only happens when you give up!!!
Now straighten the legs and ur elbows!!! Learn to relax!!!!
and remember to breathe!!! u won't fall unless u let it~~~
oh well those words were still ringing in my head and oh my it's so true. U will only fall if u let urself to.
Same goes to getting/being hurt...the hurt cuts as deep as u let it be. So alwiz move on in life. Don't let it affect u too much bcoz no matter what the Earth still spins and nobody gonna wait for u to grieve for so long or ponder/cry over spilled milk.
Look at that timid scared like a mouse face!!!
What started out to be for fun and a month's trial continued on for months. We challenged ourselves to do better and to conquer my fear for heights. We learned to take control of our minds and body. 3 weeks ago, we've graduated from beginner's class and will be entering Intermediate Level next week :)))) Bravo to the gals in my group. I wouldn't have done it without all of ur support, giggles and fun time spent.
Nothing is without sweat....take a look at all the bruises we get after each classes *here*
we had a great birthday celebration for Mr. JS in March and all his friends. Some flew in from Singapore and Ipoh. Glad to have all of you in our lives :)))
Monkey continued her 2014 Resolutions Project which started in 2013. The idea is to learn to cook/bake/prepare something outta my kitchen. The most challenging would be this!!! Dog cookies by Thomas Keller. Even macarons didn't seem that difficult. I don't know if it's the time taken to prepare this or it just involved too much of work. At the end, I don't even get to eat it but the dogs did...
To have the recipe *click here*
Then Monkey was off to work in the cold cold Moo-Moo-Land....Switzerland. 2014 also marks the 8th year I am with the current company. :)))))))))))
after work, Monkey took off to visit UNESCO city Bern. Click here to *read*
Do Re Mi....Mi Re Do....Do Rae Mon
bcoz we have set out to travel more in 2014.....we decided another destination which also in the Land of the Rising Sun :))))))))
so JS brought Monkey to Japan for her birthday....and made me feed all the smellie deers at Nara the ancient capital. Those hungry buggers....ate everything including papers, and they roamed freely in the city of Nara.
Read bout our excursion in Nara *here*
and booked us for a memorable dinner at the famed 3 Michelin Stars, Best restaurant in Japan - Kikunoi in Kyoto. Even the hobbits get to come along. We had a private room with a Zen Garden.
Read bout the dinner *here*
I got to choose 2 more destinations in this trip and off we went to Naoshima, an island dedicated just for modern and contemporary arts. Never in my life, I would imagine, we will visit this place and be one with the Pumpkin sculpture by Yayaoi Kusuma. What makes it more interesting was, we stayed in the Museum for a nite....as in they have accommodation with stunning views of the inland sea.
This visit was quite enriching in terms of architecture and we fell in love with everything by the self taught architect Tadao Ando. Read bout it *here* and *here*
and from an island, we hoped into another one down south of Honshu - Miyajima....just to have this spectacular view of the Torii out in the sea.
*read bout Miyajima island here*
It was in Miyajima Island that we hiked up Mount Misen....HOooooo-Yaaaaaa. *read about our hike here*
and quickly rushed home for our dearie friend's 40th surprise birthday bash!!!!
another milestone another year my dearest friends :)))))))
2014 was also the year I had my very first....full line up of all the Domaine Romanee Contis...
including the momma of all THE Romanee Conti!!!!! It was a dinner that required ONE YEAR of planning to do...to source all these bottles and to gather the ppl for this. Including sufficient time to save $$$$$$$$$ for these.
*Read about the dinner here*
Lavender season in Furano, Hokkaido.
2014 was not only the year to fulfill my dreams but also one of the hobbit's dream to visit a lavender farm :)))) Sheep Sheep is made from lavender and he smells so good everynite...made me sleep better with its soothing nose.
*our lil adventure in Furano here*
Monkey requested this....very touristy kinda thing to do according to our Captain who organised this Gourmet Trip. The mission of our Hokkaido trip was to savour and enjoy all the good food and access to really good restaurants. But Monkey had to request this at Niseko....I wanna go to a melon farm!!! my favourite fruits!!!!
n bcoz I was so adamant and persistent....off we went to the melon farm...everyone of us...hahahaha. Thank you for doin this with me people!!!
*click here to see how we harvested the melons*
in Niseko, Captain brought us to this artisanal Soba master...and it ultimately the best soba on planet Earth. *click here to read and discover*
Monkey and Sunflowers!!!! Bright and cheery~~~
I wanna be eppy like this everyday!!! and I will :)))))
bcoz we wanted to be tourists in Hokkaido, the group broke into 2...the shopaholics and alcoholics. We took the train and went to visit Nikka distillery....and in the end bcame shopaholics too for all the purchases made there...WUAHAHAHAHA.
We promote responsible drinking~~~~
it was a fun day *Read here*
prollie bcoz we were tipsy from morning till evening....kekekeke but Captain was happy when he saw us at dinner for coming back to Sapporo in one piece. :P
Once we were back, Monkey organised a Durian Fest for friends. Not just any durians but the very best one...the Musang King from Sg. Ruan. After that, I've been receiving many many requests to be invited for the next fest in 2015. Ok ok we will try to do something bigger ok?
Little did we know that Shy Chatwin could be such a skilled worker in opening those durians, and it was his first time...hahahaha
*read bout it here*
and to live it up to a destination each month, we headed off to Bangkok for a short makan trip...and discovered this really awesome crab omelette. Thanks to recommendation by Peakie D, Globe Trotter Wei and Martini King Baldesh. If you would like to know where *click here to find out*
not forgetting my must have simple chicken rice in Pratunam. :)))))) Simple and yet so tasty....now I am hungry~~~ damn!!!!!
I thought it would be some quiet months ahead to play with my piano...and JS flew all of us for some private beach time~~~~
I lurve how soft the sand feels.....:)))))))) and the breeze~~~~
2014 also saw many spectacular sunsets...these were taken at Kota Kinabalu.
Sunset with the hobbits at Naoshima island, Japan.
and sunset at Marseilles facing the Mediterranean Sea. So powdery soft. I am still finding time to blog bout our trip in Southern France. Please have some patience with me~~~~~
JS gave all of us an Autumn treat and flew everyone including the hobbits on First Class to France. :)))))) Thank you very much, we enjoyed the comfort and hospitality and facilities so so much that it's really hard now to fly Business Class...WAKAKAKAKAKA.
so in France, we did our annual winery visit, spoke and interviewed vignerons....be mesmerised by their deep passion and knowledge in wine-making...alwiz left me looking like this after the meeting.
looking like this = in deep thoughts, with even more questions and curiosity.
Read about Joseph Drouhin *here*
Mr. JS's private collection of CDP Celestins.....sorry that I published this if u intended to enjoy them yourself. My intention is to let all ur friends know...so u will be pressured to share them out. Private collection oso means something that he stashed away fr Monkey, just in case she "accidentally" opened some prized and rare gems...or something he's keeping for my birthdays, our anniversaries and occasional surprises.
and for his deep passion for CDP, we visited CDP this year as well
*click here to read*
and for his deep passion for CDP, we visited CDP this year as well
*click here to read*
apart from chasing after all the good wines....we oso went around Southern France chasing after the works of Vincent Van Gogh. From his home, to his apartment and finally to his mental hospital....so we were travelling from Avignon to Saint Remy to Arles and Aix-en-Provence. I really salute us for all these energy. Do look out for future postings on these destinations.
in Lyon, we managed to book a table at the Father of Noveulle Cuisine. While we were clinking glasses enjoying his amazing chickens.....he was actually sleeping upstairs. I've asked if we made too much of a noise to the Maitre'D and he assured us that Mr. Bocuse has got ear plugs. They got it all sorted don't they?
Read bout it *here*
I was also very happy to hiked up this rocky island out in the Mediterranean sea. Was looking out for Corsica. Hello Corsica!!! can u see me? I am coming to you one day u know??? U wait for us okay?
came back from Southern France in time for BFF's beautiful garden wedding. Congratulations again my dear!!!!!
then last week Kindy Chai came back from the States and we had an amazing time in Sabah, scaling up Mount Kinabalu....errrr maybe 25% of it...hahahaha and we went to Poring hot spring and climbed up the hanging bridges on its canopy walk.
couldn't ask for more :)))))
so come run with me and move forward...to welcome Mr. 2015.
He can't promise you that it will be a better year or it will be an exciting one but u gotta work hard towards it :)))
Happy New Year 2015 my dear readers :))))