Hatsuka

When it comes to counting age in Japanese, the only weird number is the one for 20 years old: “hatsuka” although in kanji it is still written the same way in Chinese. Nevertheless, this post will be one to reflect upon the day that was my 20th birthday party and on my thoughts and feelings of the things that led up and happened on the day.

 

I’ve never been one to care much about my birthday, let alone my birthday. It’s not really a day where I care about how I’ve turned a year older or about what type of presents I would be receiving that year, if I was receiving any. As such I guess I prefer letting my birthday just pass by silently, without anyone noticing and making any sort of fuss over it. I really do still wonder how it is that I eventually organised a birthday party for myself, and how so many people were invited and actually came. I suppose at the end of the day I should care about my birthday because it was a day where people showed that they cared about me.

 

LAN

In the morning I had organised LAN although I never forced any RSVP on it; and that was because there was no need to book for LAN, nor to find out exactly how many people were coming. After all, you can game with as many or as few people. However, at 11am I would never have expected no-one to come. Apart from Jacky who accompanied me to the city, there was only Andrew and William who was there. Jacky ran off with Brandon to organise my present while I camped in City Hunter for three hours playing games with the other two. I think it was a pretty fun 3 hours; I mean, these were two people I haven’t gamed with much and so it was good to spend some time with them. We played Left For Dead 2 for a while and then Team Fortress 2; yeah that took up 3 hours. I wanted to play Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2, but our cheap $2.50/hr computers didn’t have them haha!

 

After LAN the three of us went to Subway off George St because I was still suffering from a stomach virus, which I now don’t believe was food poisoning but in fact an illness I caught off my brother. It caused a very dismal Christmas for me. Soon after lunch, people started arriving for karaoke. But throughout the morning, I was already being spammed with a lot of text messages about where people were, and whether they were still coming or not. Honestly, it was very hard to keep track of where people were.

 

Karaoke

Many people were either late to karaoke, coming for dinner only, or weren’t able to make it at all. I guess that was a bit of a disappointment having people say they were going to come but in the end changing their minds and such. Nonetheless, there were still a fair number of people who came. The bad thing today was that there was a surcharge (stupid Christmas being on Saturday) of $2. But funnily enough, the 15% birthday discount reduced the price back down to $12 ($11.9166666) to be exact. Because people weren’t here at 3:30pm, they let us sing for half an hour and then coming back out to pay at 4pm. By then we had about enough people to fill our one whole room and maximise the discount. But at that time as well, many late people had also come and it was difficult for me to count the number of people who were now here. It was also hard for the staff to keep track of this number as well; and so when it came to paying I believe not everyone was charged. What none of you saw was that after I gathered $12 from everyone and paid, I actually had $16 left over. It was as if I didn’t pay my share AND made a $4 profit haha! Worry not, I kept that in mind for the rest of the evening.

 

The two karaoke rooms were split into high school friends in one, church in another, and CBS people constantly mixing around in both as we always do. Both rooms doubled up on songs, and I had to keep jumping back and forth between rooms to catch up with everyone that had come. Mandy at the last moment had decided to come to karaoke and of course I was especially fearful of what would probably happen at karaoke; dinner was a separate issue as well. Nevertheless, I think I took enough preventative measures to delay the inevitable, and I was glad the room she seized was the one with fewer people, and the one where nearly everyone knew what was going on. There were a still a couple of confused and worried faces but everyone did their best to provide support.

 

Presents had also begun to stream in and so I kind of just dumped them all over the place since I was more engaged with talking to people than securing my presents into a single pile. My voice was somewhat more dead than usual that day; it died before the three hours was up. Everyone made me sing Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” by myself, with my cracked voice. I do wonder whether people were laughing at me or with me the entire time. But yes, everyone sang happy birthday towards the end of the three hours, and I mustered the courage to stand and face my friends at that moment. I already said before I didn’t like making a fuss over my own birthday and I really do have difficulty accepting any sort of “special treatment” for that day. By this time most people had arrived; there were several late comers who were just early for dinner.

 

Again, I want to make clear that I refused to give a speech on that day for the reason that I had no words prepared and in order to give a proper speech regarding all my friends, I really do have to sit down and take time to think things through thoroughly.

 

Dinner

Everyone went ahead after karaoke to go to dinner. The reason I trailed behind was to help Mandy, who struggled to walk. I would definitely have been a bad host and friend if I had just gone ahead and not waited for everyone; it’s definitely not my style to neglect even one person. The funny thing was that I had to keep relaying orders to the forward group to tell them to eat, even though by the time we got there (which was 15 mins later) my table was still the first one to order T.T”

 

We went to Kobow which isn’t too bad a place as a Korean restaurant, but there were many that were better, but perhaps not cheaper. Again because of my stomach virus, there was a restriction on what I could and could not eat. Rather there wasn’t anything I could eat, but I had hot pot anyway, it was probably the safest option. Halfway through dinner, people made me go around to each table to have them toast their drinks to me; this is definitely something I would never do by myself. The bad thing about the whole ordeal was that I had a shot glass with Korean shots poured into them at each table. I stopped at what I believed was the second shot, but everyone else said it was my third; definite signs of getting drunk there. So thank you guys for trying to get me drunk. There were many things I did which even I was aware was due to the influence of alcohol. I had about a third or more of a bottle of soju (funny, I played some guy on StarCraft with that name) which apparently approximated 3 standard drinks; that’s probably more than what I would have safely tried for my first time drinking (properly).

 

I went around talking with as many people as I could again and despite Mandy getting into trouble with the people around us, there was still a pretty good vibe amongst everyone. I was glad to have been able to catch up people I haven’t really had a chance to speak with for a long time, as well people I haven’t seen for ages as well. It turned into a pretty good night and we stayed for quite a while even after we had all finished eating.

 

Dessert

Again my stomach was not in the mood for any sort of dessert; but luckily neither was anyone else. So instead, I took everyone to George St McDonald’s near Town Hall and I used the surplus I had obtained from karaoke, to buy a bunch of soft serve cones for everyone. And with the help of Leslie’s employee’s card, I saved 20% off for 22 soft serve cones. The staff were kind of puzzled at our order and it took them a while to churn out all 22 cones. Some people *ahem* Sharon were a bit impatient in waiting for their free soft serve cone but eventually everyone was satisfied. To be fair, even after buying everyone ice cream I still had a bit of a surplus; oh well.

 

We lingered outside McDonald’s for a while afterwards again, nearly blocking pedestrians as we normally do. Eventually people started going home, and I thanked everyone for coming.

 

All in all, I really enjoyed my birthday party that day, even though my self esteem kept from feeling up for it. I guess I’m still touched, though not emotionally as much as I should be, by everyone for their company and their kind thoughts. But this point will be further reflected in my proper reflection post  coming soon. In the mean time, thank you to everyone who did come, or who tried to come. Though I haven’t pondered much on the presents I received, I am still very thankful for even the smallest of gifts. To close things off on a decent note, here is a picture of all your birthday cards to me sitting above my desk:

 

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Pre O-Week Week

Okay, here’s some unstructured blogging, won’t be easy to follow, maybe. Anyway this week has been pretty hectic for me. Of course there’s no official title for it, and it didn’t follow any particular pattern or trend; things that happened one after another. So let’s get started shall we?

 

 

Sunday

Okay so perhaps the week doesn’t start on Sunday, but whatever. As everyone should remember this was the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, the awesome 2-in-combo that Chonny V-logged about. So at church we had to give in to the Chinese side, respect tradition and at least have lunch with them. Things were already rough because our pastor kept refusing to have a combined service with them. Skip the intricate details in the middle and we end up having a heaps shorter service, followed by lunch, which was pretty awesome. As always, when Chinese people want to celebrate for Chinese New Year, they do exceptionally well in regards to food.

 

I can’t quite remember what there was to eat but there were some good desserts. Anyway after lunch some of us from the ABC side stayed for the Chinese side’s afternoon shenanigans. There was singing, followed by some reflective words from the minister about things that happened over the year. It completely skipped my mind that our church is nearing its 1st anniversary of having moved to its new location. A lot has happened over the year at church huh? We had performances from the elders, as always. It’s not something that sparks our young minds in particular, but one can come to appreciate what they enjoy at their age; it was just some dancing and singing. There were some games which involved charades and guessing the Chinese New Year phrase, the ones that your parents say apart from…”Goon Hei Fat Choi” – whatever the proper English ping ying for it is.

 

It was quite a boring afternoon but I managed to sit through nearly all of it. Not the most interesting of all Sundays but certainly one that was pretty time consuming.

 

 

Monday

Okay Monday was another sort of bad day, hoping that certain people don’t read this. The legendary “Tensei” Victor Chan was having his 18th party at Bicentennial Park. It does bring a bit of shock, a bit out of normal expectations. The thing that became apparent for me was that Victor is a year younger than the rest of us; I knew there was something weird when I read he was celebrating his “18th birthday”. But such is the “Tensei” that he would start school a year early, according to him.

 

We met up at Olympic Park station at about midday. “We” was a very ambiguous term at the time; I had imagined “we’ would encompass…a decent number of people. But the net result was only 6, including myself. Yitian dogged me for his parents, some post-CNY celebrations? And then many others were no-shows. It ended up being me and 5 Ruse people – all of whom weren’t as rowdy as my group, or as the NSBs. There was a lot of silence, while walked back to the park.

 

But I’ll just keep things short here. There was a lot of awkward silence while everyone silently wondered what we should do, or rather, was waiting for someone to say something. There was a lack of initiative which for the first time in my life, actually created minutes of complete silence. It was sooooo awkward…but I couldn’t stand up and take charge and provide direction. The party was not mine and these were not people I’ve ever seen before in my life haha, how could I be complete “chill” or “lax” with them? We did play cards, for most of the day, played handball a bit later in the afternoon. Food was complete fail; lunch was nothing more than chips and lollies. I was really hungry when I got home *sigh* I bought drinks and cups in the morning, really saved the situation because otherwise we’d only have chips and lollies, hardly fit for lunch.

 

Victor suggested bike riding in the afternoon; not something I’m familiar with, but it was a good suggestion, despite the hot weather and the odd cost of $15 to hire a bike for the first hour, and $20 for two hours…odd. After Ellen’s party I’m trying to be more cautious in my spending. Other people weren’t so keen for the idea either, so we just continued to play cards…fail. I left closer to 4pm because I was sort of at my limit for wanting to stay. It was not a fun party, I was there solely for Victor’s sake, and I am glad to have been 1 of 5 people that actually showed up as guests. It’s not always that you get to celebrate a “Tensei’s” birthday haha!

 

 

Tuesday

Had my wisdom tooth (singular) taken out. Talked to Jess the next day and she raised the observation that everyone seems to be having their teeth taking out these days; true or not? Anyway went to a family friend who was a dentist and had him perform the operation. Because it was only one tooth – and because it was a local dentist – I didn’t get knocked out, unlike most of you people, who were given the grace of sleep. I, unfortunately, was kept awake through the entire horrific sequence of events. From the first needle in the gum, to the second in the tooth, to the third, etc I lost count of the needles that I was stabbed with, the first one hurt a bit, that weird numbing pain, and a quarter of my mouth went numb. If you’ve never been awake for the operation, trust me, you don’t want to. Essentially the dentist just hacks awake at your teeth and the gum around it. And there’s the classic high-pitched whirring from some instrument which gives kids nightmares. That thing was so loud that it gave me a headache throughout the operation.

 

It took an hour to get one silly tooth out. Of course, my tooth resisted, by having to grow in a retarded direction, like nearly perpendicular to how the rest of teeth normally grow. Yes, it was growing sideways, and so the hole that eventuated was quite a big one. The dentist was trying to just force my tooth out; he was using a lot of force and perhaps got tired of the slow hacking process with that gum-cutter. He had a lot of problems and had to revert back to other tools before trying again.

 

Finally it came out, and I was lucky to get a good look of it before he chucked that annoying tooth out; other people don’t get the privilege to huh? He stitched me up and I was out by midday. The anaesthetic lasted until 4-5pm in which pain finally took over and worsened my headache. As most animals are, pain really does annoy you, it just sits there in the background constantly annoying you, and it really does mess your mood up. I wasn’t feeling sick, I was heaps annoyed because of the pain and the headache; sent me into a pretty bad mood for the rest of the night. Haha but that was night one, things would get better the next day, yes?

 

 

Wednesday

CBS Orientation Day (which I didn’t go to last year because I was in Hong Kong). Caught the train with Jess but saw Katie and some Baulko kids from the year below us at Pennant Hills station, how fortunate sort of. Oh I almost forget to mention. On Tuesday afternoon, while it still hurt to open my mouth for anything, be it talking or eating, Alan (our MTS) called up to ask me to be a Tour Guide for today’s Orientation; conscripted at the last second, nice. Anyway we got there and registered and met up with people we hadn’t seen for a few weeks haha. It’s funny because the last time we actually went to uni was for our final exams last year; so we haven’t stepped on uni ground for a good 3 months.

 

The Orientation was mostly like others except there was a talk from Carl Matthei and some interviews with older people about “Surviving as a Christian at University”, that is quite an interesting topic to address which might’ve given me a head start last year, rather than having me figure out first hand what being a Christian in university actually meant. Most of it was just sitting and listening. We moved off into faculty groups and guess which one was largest? Obviously Commerce; there’s no need to comment on the others haha! We had so many new first years, but we also nearly had the same number of second years, so our “grade” haha. I’m glad that there’s so many dedicated Christians in my age level.

 

During morning tea I ran off with Quentin to fix up our ID cards. Me to get a new travel concession sticker and Quentin to get a brand new ID card. He was unfortunate to not have had a haircut before today, and to not brush up on his complexion haha. Sad thing for him was how his ID photo turned out. I don’t have it of course but just to Sharon (if you read this part), if you haven’t seen it go do so. Poor Quentin was darker than…Obama in his photo. And I thought my photo was bad because I was dark, he was completely black nearly.

 

We hurried back and joined everyone else for more “lectures”. We eventually moved out towards lunch to conduct our tours; but before that we played a game and introduced each other. We made a huge circle in the quad because of the sheer number of people that were there. We had an intro from Alan and Emily, people in charge this year. And then we had some short interviews from older people. We played “Bang” with half the group (so two games), using it as an opportunity to learn names, a classic variation we played at church earlier this year.

 

The tours were rushed but we took them up and down campus. We made the first years trek the stupid stairs that supposedly “transport [us] from lower campus to upper campus”. They’re a pain and everyone who goes to UNSW must learn of it haha! Lunch was sandwiches with cordial, a nice budgeted lunch. I for one had a huge problem having lunch. In light of Tuesday’s events, today was a real test for me; it was pretty impossible for me to eat solid food, even with three quarters of my mouth intact. I had a banana and slowly got through my sandwich, with the hard hot dog bun. It was a very hard lunch time for me haha.

 

The afternoon session was rather short, just a few more words of encouragement about how to continue living as a Christian in this new uni environment, given also the lifestyle changes. Let’s face it, there are heaps more distractions now than back in high school. High school was simply bliss and ignorance. I went to pick up some of my textbooks after the orientation. They were so damn expensive; I haven’t bought them all and the bill comes to over $400 T.T” I’m still missing 3-4 more books, which come to another $300 or so, dang this term. My Actuarial Studies courses are horribly plagued with 3 prescribed textbooks. Impossible!

 

Everyone else went to get their travel concessions so I eventually caught up to them. Some of us went out to Town Hall to get Charlie Chen his present. It’s safe to talk about it now because he has obviously received it by now. It’ll be fun to look at what happened behind the scenes. We went to Myer, where Steph had the idea to get him cologne. None of us minded so we all looked hard and carefully at what was on sale. I don’t know how many different products we tested; Bec was holding like 20 or 30 so test cards with different scents on them. We spent a good hour and a bit just sniffing this and that, wondering what was suitable. Eventually we finally decided on one and we were all on our way home. It was hard to decide though, a lot of fun however.

 

 

Thursday

Got called up by work to pop down to the office for “further training”. The e-mail I got from the main receptionist that works on weekdays also mentioned problems that I had. I was so freaked out from reading that, I thought I was close to getting sacked. I admit that I like how easy my job is; I really do need to value it properly. I thought I was going to get a scolding about missing this and that, I hadn’t felt like I messed up a lot that it should draw the attention of everyone. Nevertheless I walked in thinking that they won’t dare sack me, since they had told me once that it was hard to find casual weekend workers who were constantly available. I secretly felt I was safe from being sacked; just had to distance myself away from that edge.

 

Luckily the receptionist told me only a few things. The ordeal lasted no more than an hour, which was interrupted by phones calls once a while. I suppose today doesn’t count as adventurous but I was pretty worried after reading the e-mail on Wednesday, thinking that my job would be in jeopardy. Tooth was still slowly getting better today, being the second day.

 

 

Friday

Ronnie’s housewarming party. I was the first to show up at his place, at 11am. His apartment is rather interesting, the building I mean. The lift didn’t work when I first got there; so I went back out and called Ronnie. Apparently he had to activate the lift from his apartment so guests could use it. That’s pretty cool, so random people can’t just invade the property. But there were stairs I heard?

 

Ronnie put on The Dark Knight in Blu-Ray and left the apartment in my stead when he went out to pick up Anita from the station. Others arrived before he got back so I had to answer the phone and get the door. Ronnie’s apartment is pretty good, rather nostalgic of Hong Kong really. They had a lot TVs and computer monitors; fairly loaded so it seems.

 

Ben brought mahjong, including a portable table; I so need to get myself one of those. His mahjong tiles were inside a…picnic basket. A lot of people were expecting to find food in it but found mahjong tiles instead, that was funny. Some of us played mahjong, others played with Ronnie’s board games; anything groupy was fine. We had lunch at about 1pm, everyone pooled food and snacks together and we had a decent lunch together. Poor Ronnie had to run out and drive several rounds to pick up people who were arriving at different times and then to get some chicken because Mandy faced traffic and failed in bringing Coles roast chicken.

 

The afternoon was long, we chatted and played more games. Some of the discussion went on to what games to play for another CBS day for O-Week next Tuesday; yes the fun hasn’t stopped yet. So we played a few games to see how they went; anything that was group building was good. We tried doing that activity where you sit back to back with someone else, link arms and then try to stand up. We tried it with 4 people; the girls failed repeatedly at standing up but us guys succeeded in one shot – that just shows the synergy that us guys have with one another.

 

I can’t remember what else we did. Oh, we played blind poker (sort of) where everyone holds a card on your forehead, so you can see everyone else’s card except your own. And then you’re trying to not get the lowest card, a bit of deceiving here and there but it was pretty funny at times when people traded away their really high cards for lower ones.

 

People started leaving as it got closer to night, the few of us stayed were juggling between my suggestion of The Princess Bride, and Mandy’s Italian movie Life is Beautiful. In fact let’s have a vote here, which do you prefer: The Princess Bride or Life is Beautiful. I shall make a poll on my blog here soon. Me and Mandy kept arguing, but she was more persistent, and whinny so I just gave in, out of courtesy. Adrian and Ken were playing some weird Lord of the Rings chess, and Brandon was just bored out of his mind; he wanted to watch Battlestar Galactica, which had near zero support haha!

 

At night we went out to Ikea to have dinner, because there’s heaps cheap food there. We had chicken schnitzel with chips, or pasta, for like $4 which was pretty good. Doesn’t fill you over the top but the price certainly makes it worth it. Ronnie bought some glassware as we walked through the rest of the store, and we then went to Coles to buy ice blocks. There wasn’t much food at Ikea at night, the restaurant was nearly out of food; but then we actually went there at like 8:30pm so that was sort of expected. And there was no desserts, how fail.

 

Went home after that. Jess drove me back to her house. While I waited for my dad I went inside and watched Family Outing along with Marcus; it’s fairly funny, I might not mind picking it up if I hadn’t made my commitments to anime already, otherwise I’ll have too many things to download haha. Oh and last thing, my camera broke today. I think I know why but it’s a fairly stupid reason. The touch screen cracked so now I can’t use it. Damn I hope warranty covers this; but even so it’s going to be a pain to get it fixed. But still I’d hate to blow another $350 to buy a new one; argh so frustrated from breaking my camera today.

 

 

Saturday

That’s today. I had work. It was long. I am tired. Badminton tired me out more. Me and Tim were nearly evenly matched, he beat me 21-19 for two games and the last one went to 22-20. Teased Claudia about being a weird NSG girl, but then again they’re all weird haha! And now it’s Sunday and I really need to sleep because of youth group in the morning. What a long and adventurous week, sort of. Ah, my beautiful camera. But on a brighter note I think my tooth had nearly healed up. The stitches are sort of coming out because I keep playing around with my tongue. I need to get them out on Monday next week.

Ellen’s B’day Bash

Having only known Ellen for less than a year, I was indifferent to her idea of having a triple party, with two of her friends who shared the same birthday as her. In total there would be about 40 guests packed into the Belgian Beer Cafe. But anyway let’s backtrack to events prior to the party.

 

Caught the train down to Town Hall; City Rail is once again slow as always; so many delays which tempts you to rage at them; and it would work if only they weren’t a monopoly for rail transport. Either that or I’m just bad with buses. Anyway met up with Nat after work. She spent the day buying the present and card for Ellen. Don’t you just love leaving gift-buying to the very last moment? Anyway she got Ellen some girly things so I won’t make much of a comment – I’ve never heard of a make up bag which is called the “Pencil Case”, in fact I had mistaken it for a pencil case at first haha. Anyway I brought my collection of Papermate pens in case we needed them to sign the card. I actually had a revelation this morning which persuaded me to bring the pens. I thought that Nat wouldn’t have pens on her seeing as she had work. And so she would rely on me to bring pens. But then I thought she wouldn’t call me to tell me to bring pens in hope that I would just bring them without her telling me to. And funnily enough she told me exactly that. Talk about synergy! The card was a bit weird because apart from a traditional “Happy Birthday” at the front, it was a card for pregnancy. I can’t believe she and Adrian jointly decided to get that card.

 

Okay back to the restaurant. We all loafed around for a long time at the back, just chatting and stuff. 6pm is a bit early to eat anyway. So we talked until about 7pm and then all sat down to order. In case you’re wondering,the menu is on the website, go take a look and come back. I found it a bit heart-aching that the entrees started at about $18 while the mains were priced from $25. I didn’t even look at dessert as a result. We all decided to get one main each and then share in 1 Kg of mussels, for $26 (that wasn’t too bad). Despite the price, the quality of the food almost matched the price:

 

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The top left one is mine. We all shared our food, just to get a taste of what each one was like. They were all pretty good. The mussels were good too; one whole pot between perhaps 5-6 people, easily filling. A  lot of people got drinks, particularly Belgian beer (duh!). Of course not all of us were keen to drink (or buy drinks for that fact) so we shared the drinks as well, just a couple of sips for tasting. Phil was full on about how the Belgian beer was really good for the entire night, even after the bottle was empty. Kevin was simply a guy who didn’t like the taste of alcohol.

 

Andy raised a good point tonight in regards to photos. The aim of taking photos for the night was not to catch people in poses, but rather to capture them for what they’re actually doing if they weren’t disturbed. Which makes sense because posing and turning to the camera doesn’t really reflect what actually happened at the event. Therefore it is better to take “natural” photos. I don’t know, you compare:

 

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Of course the third photo truly reflects some of the things that happened at the party; Steph engaged in texting people.

 

We ate for a long time, a couple of people showed signs that they were drunk, just from their cheeks; there wasn’t any bizarre behaviour thank God. And the moment of truth came; that is, the time to pay the bill. I hadn’t thought about how it would happen, but if everything was this expensive, then this photo should be no surprise:

 

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Yes, between the 40 or so people there, the bill came to a figure I have never seen before at a restaurant. Ronnie begged indifference at the bill, saying that he once reached over $2K at a Chinese Restaurant (because of lobster, etc). Anyway it was a real pain collecting the money. And once again, this is what your future actuary and mathematician is here for. Phil helped me mark off the dishes as people paid for it. It was my job to keep track of the money and all. Of course Adrian was also a banker so he helped me double check the money. It’s certainly hard to keep track of a wad of bills that is meant to come to a total over over $1000.

 

We fell a bit short which caused us to shout aloud and round up the rest of the money. Eventually we had it all, but in exchange we missed out on the birthday cake. In the end I only managed to grab this photo:

 

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Yeah I couldn’t get the cake in it as well, Michelle’s mud cake, nice! Nobody had room for cake anymore, and chocolate mud cake for that fact. I tried to finish it as best as I could but the final verdict was to just leave it behind. My Asian side perked up and I ended up taking the cake home. I will not let food go to waste like that, just leaving it behind, what foolishness. Kudos to Adrian for his generosity in giving money for the cake and slipping $50 to cover his main dish and the mussels.

Andy’s B’day Dinner

Hey guys. Yeah I haven’t blogged in a while; surprised. Well you should be. I’ve been really busy since this semester started and so haven’t had time to blog. I don’t think I do either but due to popular request I’ll make a few posts since a lot of exciting things happened recently.

 

Let’s kick things off with Andy’s birthday dinner on Friday night. Let me tell you it was relatively troublesome organising this because Andy didn’t make an absolute decision on what to do, and none of us could agree on something to do. We narrowed it down to dinner but then a location and restaurant was more difficult. Eventually after much hit and miss, we concluded on a Japanese buffet, $28 at some place called Kansai; somewhere in the city.

 

We all met up at the restaurant at about 6:20-ish and all went in. The place seemed smaller and dankier than I had expected, although I had compared that with Shinara, where we had Nick’s party. We moved straight into our meal and scrambled through the menu to see what we could have, what seemed appetizing and what seemed worth the money. $28 again was a relatively high price to pay for a meal but hey, the meal was pretty good in the end, and certainly worth the money as you will all see soon enough.

 

I suppose one advantage a Jap buffet has over a Korean buffet is that Jap food comes cooked and edible, or raw and edible really. Whereas Korean buffet (normally BBQ) comes uncooked; and the hassle of having to wait while the food cooked was a bit of a hindrance to our eating capacity on that night. There was a variety of sushi, a strange variety at that fact, rolls, and other Japanese dishes like tofu, or sashimi salad, random stuff like that. All of it was sort of expensive but indeed were delicious.

 

Lots of people liked the exotic sushi – dragon, rainbow and volcano, each with different ingredients and sauces; they were fancy in a good way. My favourite was the octopus, which came in spicy and teriyaki flavours. The hand rolls were good, although most of it was composed of rice, which clearly isn’t worth as much as other ingredients. Memorably, Andy kept ordering the sashimi salad, which had a value of $13.50 I think, and it was a small dish; he stomached like three of them and was not full. Well already he had eaten his $28 fill, which means he made a gain on tonight’s buffet, and yet he was not full. He claimed that the sashimi salad wasn’t filling at all, but I guess we all wanted to try some other stuff.

 

       

 

One of our major ‘moves’ during the night was round about our 4th or 5th order. We were trying to get a good variety of dishes, calling on those volcano, rainbow and dragon sushi from before, the teriyaki salmon, Andy and his sashimi salad again, and finally some other strange sushi such as ‘Italian’, which is the second picture. The only problem was that the waiter misinterpreted what we said. Andy was like: “We want four pieces of _____ sushi, four pieces of ______ sushi…” We thought evidently that the waiter would’ve perceived it as four small pieces of cut up sushi. Instead he wrote all our orders down as ‘rolls’ rather than pieces. So instead of getting four types of sushi, 16 pieces, we got 16 rolls, which is 64 pieces of sushi. We figured something was wrong when a waiter came back and said: “Your order is too large to do in one go. We’ll give you have of it now and then the other half if you still want it.” We couldn’t remember how big that last order was but we did get a lot of sushi in one go. I think we did manage to cancel ‘the other half’ and thank God we did.

 

The rest of the night went a big bad because we had a lot of difficulty stomaching our insane order. Everyone was really full by the time we got down to the last 16 pieces or so; and everyone who ate from that point on was “taking one for the team”. But I guess most people shunned the Italian sushi because it was baked with cheese, which is already weird enough. I liked it though, I like cheese; I was just too full to finish it.

 

Anyway here is the last few moments of our dinner. The context is that we were down to the very last piece of Italian sushi; Kelvin helped us finish off, and then we started working out how much we ate in value; that’s just typical of our group haha, getting our value’s worth. Indeed it was a wonderful night to spend with friends again, got to see Andrew Peng for the first time in more than half a year; it was good to have most of the group together again.

 

Nick’s 18th

The number of people in our group that are turning 18 is nearly nil. So tonight we celebrated Nick’s 18th at a nice Korean BBQ restaurant in the city: Shinara. But of course there was more to the day than just having dinner; oh no. The day was more exciting.

 

Backstage

Well Saturday proved to be a mildly glum day; more bad weather, less sunshine. And that typically created a procrastinating feeling in me. So even though I tried to do work, I didn’t get much done. I was working out a few things with UltraStar and before I know it, I was rushing to cook ramen for lunch and then heading off for the train.

 

I under-estimated the amount of time it would take for me to talk to the train station; I guess the glum weather slowed me down, made me feel tired and all. So I actually had to run down Pennant Hills Road to get to the station in time, with like 1 minute to spare; felt annoying to show myself to the public as some desperate Asian kid running ridiculously down the road clutching his bag awkwardly o.0”

 

Caught the train with Chris and Matt, and met up with everyone else in front of St Andrew’s Cathedral, as I had planned ^^ By that time the rain had started falling heavily and we carefully and quickly rushed ourselves over to karaoke. Nick’s gf was there too, but she didn’t join us for K; in fact she didn’t even show up to the dinner at all, what?!

 

Karaoke

Anyway we went to Big Echo for karaoke; they used a similar system to a few other karaoke bars, which sucks because they all have outdated Japanese songs and it annoys me . Also annoys me how they music videos aren’t even the original ones and they look just so retarded; God bless SingStar for that. But yeah there weren’t many Jap songs for me to choose form so I was a bit disappointed. They had the popular The Fray songs which was good, and some other ones which “just had to do” since there was nothing else to choose. Everyone else stuck to Mando songs; mostly Jay Chou and Leehom. See I don’t have my Jap songs to counter their Mando songs haha T.T” oh well

 

We K’ed for 3 hours, throat became sore and there was some “weird” stuff going o throughout the time, Matthew picking love songs and a few of the guys getting a bit close haha! Still a good way to pass time with friends and of course with birthday boy Nick. Three hours is a long time, and I gues it was fairly suitable for seven people, with four microphones each. The room was fairly nice, fairly spacious; could’ve fit up to 12 people I reckon.

 

Korean BBQ

Funny how more stuff happened at the BBQ in the 90 minutes, rather than the 3 hours in karaoke. But that should be natural since we paid a whopping $29.50 for those 90 minutes. Nick previously investigated a price of $26.50 and also a time limit of 2 hours; huge change of plans at the last second? Man I figured there’d be some tricks to Korean BBQ; not entirely pleased with all these conditions that had to be met: Firstly we had 90 minutes in the restaurant. And then we wouldn’t be able to continue ordering food after the 60-minute mark. Now that calls for strategy; and here’s the penalty twist: we have to pay $2.00 extra for each unfinished plate of food! Ooh, this really calls for some ingenious strategy.

 

The problem was that we couldn’t each too much, and yet we had to eat as much as we could in our time limit. And as I immediately discovered, our limit to eating as much as we could was grounded by the fact that we had to wait for our food to cook. We sat for the first fifteen minutes without stomaching everything but rather watching our food cook; it felt like such idle time. And there was only one or two dishes which were prepared cooked, we kept ordering that the most.

 

The food wasn’t too bad, quite a wide variety of meat; we kept spam ordering as fast as we could. I think Nick has a similar mindset to me, where we have to strategise everything to achieve the best outcome. So we both kept yelling at the Matthew, Eric and Kelvin table for being idle and having nothing to cook on their grill; IDLE!

 

Well our clothes did stink up at the end of the night; I’ve lost  a jacket now, won’t be able to wash it for a while due to all this bad weather. I think cooking the food was rather annoying; even I wasn’t too familiar with the types of meat. And from my mum’s brainwashing, trying to make me a health freak, I was trying to cook the meat without getting it too burnt; but I was quick to accept the fact that I’d rather the meat a bit singed rather than risk it raw, even a tad raw. I got a bit impatient waiting for the food to cook, because I al;ways had in mind the amount of time we had left.

 

By the end of the night I was fairly stuffed, not to the best extent but I guess to the best of my first time at a BBQ restaurant, and the 90-minute limit. Luckily we had Jono to finish off whatever we ordered extra. I accidentally ordered a few too many Korean pancakes in my final super round of ordering, so I just fed it to Jono, good boy! Well I think I’ve said enough of tonight. Here are some photos: pay attention to my beautiful octopus!

 

      

      

     

     

  

 

Here are some videos: the first one is of Kelvin’s rice tea spiked with soy sauce:

 

 

The second is Charlie vs Matthew in an arm wrestle; with one twist at the end:

 

Jono’s Belated Birthday Dinner

Jonothan Wang’s official birthday is recorded at 30th March (right?) and yet sadly, our group has been kind of disorganized for these past few weeks that we haven’t had time to sync our times too well. And yet within a few days of planning over e-mail, we managed to set up a dinner for Jono AND get him a present, all in the span of four days haha! Now that is efficiency.

 

Anyway I’m sure Jono has seen his present at this point so it’s safe to say. We got him a foosball table; or more precise, Charlie got him a foosball table and we all chipped him, although I do suspect that Charlie is paying more than the rest of us for it; won’t reveal the price here. The events of today took a while to finalise because there were a few conditions that needed to met. But to be concise, we had Charlie drive the foosball table to Jono’s place in the afternoon and we all agreed to meet down at Eastwood at about 6pm…but the time dragged on 6:30pm for some reason; ie no-one was punctual, not even me. A bit more on that later :P:

 

Ah whatever. Here’s some backstage stuff that everyone missed out on haha; I always seem to get myself into silly adventures when no-one is around. Today’s random objective was to run to Beecroft train station in 10 minutes. Well technically it should be 15 minutes because I walked over to Jacky’s place first, to use as a starting point. He claims that walking to Beecroft station is faster than to Pennant Hills station, so I wanted to test his theory out. Looking at the directory, I don’t believe him but I still wanted to test his theory.

 

The train would be at Beecroft at 5:30pm; I left the house at 5:15pm, stupid decision really. I was planning to leave at 5pm and take a leisurely walk to Beecroft but I guess I was too caught up playing Fire Emblem haha! Anyway I figured that normally getting to Pennant Hills station in 10 minutes isn’t too much of a problem, but I did wonder if I could make it to Beecroft in time.

 

I began jogging towards the station; and I started running faster, realizing that 10 minutes would be too little time unless I really gave some sort of effort. Fist off I jay-walked Pennant Hills Road, and I would like to emphasise that this is a big “no-no” since it was peak hour as well and cars didn’t pile out at all; don’t do it, unless you really know what you’re doing. Up along Beecroft Road I estimated that my time was running out fast; in fact just past the observatory park I had like 4 minutes to get to the station; I should’ve jay-walked somewhere when the traffic piled up because once I ran past it, I couldn’t find a way to cross the road, until I got to the lights. I pelted across luckily as the lights turned red, full pelt down that slope, down the stairs, through the corridor and up the stairs. Actually I saw the train and I got near the station; and there were only precious seconds left. And as I emerged onto the platform…the train pulled away.

 

I missed the train by a mere 10 seconds,time I could’ve saved had I put in more effort; but then I really didn’t want to push myself, it wouldn’t be nice to my body duh! But I did prove that I can get to Beecroft station in about 10-15 minutes so I do kind of feel proud. Even though I missed the train I felt like I achieved something, even if only immaturely tangible. Still it was fun; my body cooled down really badly as I sat there for 20 minutes waiting for the next train, cooling sweat is not good, nearly gave me a cold T.T”

 

Anyway back to the dinner; here is where, Kelvin, there is stuff posted directly for you. We had problems choosing a place to eat. Firstly Tim proposed three options to Jono: Chinese, Korean and Japanese, the types of food we could have. Having picked Chinese (because Nick didn’t want the “fumes” from Korean BBQ, if there even are any) we went around a bit looking for a place to eat. I would say I knew Eastwood the best out of all who went tonight – me, Jono, Charlie, Nick, Yitian and Tim.

 

Where could we eat? There aren’t many places to choose from. The Peking restaurant was too expensive. There aren’t many other competitors we could choose from because they all had similar expensive prices; The Golden Jade restaurant is even more expensive. So ultimately we went to Cafe de Macau. I know, Kelvin, I know. It’s a crap place, but we didn’t have a choice. And besides, for a person who says “好朋友茶餐廳的食物是美味” I’m not quite sure how to accept your advice haha!

 

Ultimately we all ordered separately; we we’re half planning on just ordering dished of food and sharing but clearly it’s not something we’ve tried, yet we should, One major I realized at the time was that we had very limited Cantonese users amongst the group. And shamefully the one with the best Chinese of any sort was me T.T” I swear I tried really hard, I could easily order what I wanted: 海南雞飯 plus lemon honey tea.

 

Everyone else ordered in English, most of which I could almost translate into what is written exactly on the menu, nearly. But yeah I let them speak; I spoke in Cantonese the entire time to waiters so at least they knew there was one “fob” there; surely they would’ve ripped us off if we all proved we couldn’t read or speak Chinese haha.

 

Will finish this post later.