Love Live Cosplay Documentary feat. MilkyWay

MilkyWay

Yes, I’m calling it a documentary coz I’m being pretentious and I spent 12 hours editing it. I was actually quite lucky coz I never read my emails (sorry guys but it’s true). It just so happened that I couldn’t sleep (see previous post) so I was going through all my stuff and I found a flyer about a cosplay event by Evolve Mall. I went to the event page and came across a promo video featuring the MilkyWay girls.

I thought it was really good. I’ve been watching a lot of cosplay dance covers by Love Live groups coz I want to make my own and also to improve my video editing skills. I creeped on the MilkyWay posts and found a girl called Vicky, who turned out to be one of the leaders. I messaged her the night before (yesterday) and asked if I could tag along and film them, not just their performance, but also shadow them and eat with them and interview them.

I gave her my number and she said she’ll discuss it with the other group members and got back to me 20 minutes later saying it was okay with everyone. Thus, I went there this morning to film them. They actually had two performances but I only managed to get the first one since I had to leave at 3 pm. It was a really fun experience since I’m a huge fan of Love Live and it’s always nice to see a local group do so well.

MilkyWay Love Live

I have been trying to make more YouTube videos lately – this is my second one specifically for this purpose. My better half and a LLSIF friend told me the first one was ultra shaky and barely watchable and I took that feedback to heart. This time, I spent 12 times the amount of post-production work on the video. Well, it probably won’t take so long for a pro but I just installed Adobe Premiere CC a few days ago!

I did learn a lot of things about video editing too, and I found out that I really like doing it. I like talking to people and getting good video and I like arranging the sequences to make a cohesive film. The music sequences in this one isn’t as good as I want coz I didn’t have a tripod with those swing/tilt/stabilize things. I’ll need to get one so next time I do something like this, I’ll have one static camera pointing at the stage (like how the music video is) on tripod while I actually hold the second camera.

I did have a second one today but I couldn’t operate both. The idea is the static one is for wide screen whole stage shots while the one you’re holding (with stabilizer) goes for close ups. Thus, I can focus on the trio who’s currently singing and this will allow me to cut from the full stage shot to a close up. Also, in the interview segment I had a lot of trouble deciphering the words.

That’s completely my fault coz I didn’t wire everyone up. I also didn’t have 9 microphone units but they’re actually quite cheap so I’ll definitely get some if I want to explore more on doing videos like this. When you record something with external sound, it gives you a lot of flexibility especially with B footage and the voice overs can even go on unrelated stuff, which I wish I did for editing ease.

Also, my Chinese isn’t very good. I can understand conversational Mandarin but once you get to difficult words, I’ll be totally lost. I went to New Zealand at quite a young age to study and I didn’t learn Chinese in Malaysia anyway. I had to puzzle out the meaning via context (very useful) and a bit of guesswork so I hope the translations are somewhat accurate.

I wanted translations and closed captions for YouTube coz the video is almost entirely in Chinese. YouTube is a very English-centric medium, unlike Nico Nico Douga or Youku so English subs are necessary. I want it when I watch the Love Live Sunshine radio dramas and skits anyway, wouldn’t be able to understand otherwise. Turn on CC if you want to read the English subs, I also spent a few hours writing them.

I’m getting a lot better in many ways and even though I’m very frustrated at not being able to sleep (the insomnia is killing me) at least I’m learning new skills and doing stuff that I love. Thanks to Vicky and the rest of the MilkyWay cosplay group for letting me hang out with them today! It was a really interesting experience and I’ll see you all at the next event.

I’ll be concentrating more on YouTube videos now so let me know what you think – feedback and criticism is always welcome. Cheers!

Huawei P9 smartphone

Huawei P9

I got a chance to play around with the new Huawei P9. It’s co-engineered with Leica and meant to reinvent smartphone photography. The thing that jumps out the most is the dual-lens at the back of the phone. That’s right, this smartphone has TWO lenses instead of the usual one at the rear. It also has 2 sensors so you can capture more light. I took it out to snap photos during the weekend.

Huawei

Nowadays, smartphones are primarily used to take photos of weekends, food and miscellaneous daily happenings to post to Instagram, Facebook, blogs. That’s what I use mine for anyway, and the image quality so good that I don’t feel the need to carry a regular digicam or dSLR anymore. It’s still not as good as a dSLR, of course, but the Huawei P9 is really close, close enough that I’ll choose the portable smartphone any day.

Professional Mode

The Huawei P9 has dual 12 MP cameras with a professional mode! This allows you to control all the aperture, shutter and ISO settings and save photos in RAW so it feels like a dSLR.

Tokyo Secret

The technologies packed into the smartphone camera is quite impressive too – there are now built-in dual-core ISP (image signal processors), professional DSP, and depth-measurement ISP for improved image focusing, speeds and processing. This allows you to take action shots of fast moving objects in low light conditions.

HDR

There are several presets you can use to take good photos well, like the HDR mode.

Document

The P9 has a feature which automatically takes documents too! I found that quite useful.

Chateraise

The lens are co-developed with Leica so the image quality is really good.

Honey Wings

I love how bright and vibrant the colors are.

Pocky Brazilian Orange

I got this new Pocky Brazilian Orange just to show off the intense color production of the camera. I can’t go back to using faded looking smartphone cameras after this beautiful shot. Oh, and the Pocky is pretty good too, it’s a Japan import to celebrate the Rio Olympics and it tastes intensely orange-y.

Panoramic

This is the Panoramic mode.

Photos

The camera will also auto-detect faces and focus on them.

Flash

There’s also a 8 MP front facing camera for selfies too! This was taken in pure darkness and the built-in flash went off, illuminating my face well enough to temporarily blind me. It also colored my face pretty decently, when you keep in mind that this was taken with zero other lighting, it’s really impressive. I remember when 8 MP was a lot for a rear facing camera in a smartphone and now even the front-facing ones are 8 MP. Amazing!

Beauty Mode

The Huawei P9 also has a dial for “Beauty” which can go from 0-10. You remember those third-party apps that some teenagers use to artificially enlarge and add shine to their eyes and add a BB cream smooth sheen to their skin? It’s all built-in now – no need for 3rd party apps.

Beauty

I took one as a demonstration. This is ultra boosted up to a 10 so it looks mildly ridiculous. I personally don’t approve of apps like this coz I don’t like how it looks. I don’t use them myself but that may be due to the fact that I already have nice eyes genetically (thanks mom). I can see that a lot of people like them though, so to each his/her own.

P9 Home

The smartphone also does everything well. I like the automatic step counter and the vivid 5.2” FHD display. The 3,000 mAh battery is pretty useful too. I don’t need to recharge every few hours and it works for up to 24 hours at full capacity in my daily tasks. There’s a fingerprint sensor and a virtual triple antenna with WiFi+ 2.0 which switches automatically between HSDPA+ and WiFi networks. I love the feel of the aerospace-class unibody aluminum and 2.5D glass. The Huawei has all the functions of a modern smartphone you’ll expect and more.

HuaweiP9

I actually saw the Huawei P9 advertisement in the cinema and thought it looked like a brilliant smartphone. As the smartphone market matures, non-camera technical specifications have increased so much that it makes little difference even in the most graphics intensive games. As such, it falls to other things to differentiate one smartphone from another and I like the direction the Huawei P9 is taking with the camera. It’s the most useful thing on a smartphone for most people and I appreciate how the superior camera and lenses allows me to capture high quality photos in such a small and sleek handset.

15 Best Stalls from Bazaar Ramadan in Klang Valley 2016 (KL & PJ)

Bazaar-Ramadan

I’ve always looked forward to Ramadan. It’s the time when families and individuals have the chance to showcase their food to the public. These are people who don’t have restaurants, cafes or stalls – just regular folks cooking and selling their food at Ramadan bazaars across the country. I like the idea of trying out random people’s cooking and I’ve been eating at Bazaar Ramadan almost every day. Here are my favorites:

Bubur Lambuk

Bubur Lambuk

This is a classic Ramadan specialty. It’s usually given away to the poor in mosques, but obviously this is a more premium version. The porridge is full of root vegetables like yam and the shredded chicken and fried anchovies they put on top is awesome. It’s RM 4 for a small tub at Bubur Lambuk Subang at the Subang 2 Ramadan Bazaar.

Putu Piring Zainab Gula Melaka

Crowd

This is one of my favorite putu pirings around. Check out the massive queue which forms up around it!

Putu Piring

The putu piring is a steamed confection made on the spot. It’s RM 0.60 per piece and it’s really good.

Nasi Kerabu

Blue Rice

The distinctively blue rice in nasi kerabu comes from butterfly pea flowers. This stall in Subang serves it with a relatively large fried fish and superbly hot chilli sauce. The amount of chillies they put in here would shock most people. The woman who runs it is from Kelantan and has a suitably authentic level of spiciness in her chilli paste.

Nasi Kerabu

I like her crunchy ulam (raw vegetables and herbs) too.

Pak Ya Popia Power

Popia Power

This is the famous stall at the Bazaar Ramadan in TTDI. They have three (3) kinds of popiah – popia basah, popia goreng and popia sira madu. It’s RM 5 for 5 pieces. I like their popia basah (wet popia) and popia sira madu (honey glazed popia). The first one is made with regular popiah skin and the latter is fried and drizzled with a honey glaze. The popia goreng (fried popia) is decent too but these two are the best.

Murtabak Maggi

Murtabak Maggi

I first had this in 2008 when I came to KL to work the second time. This is from Bazaar Ramadan Kelana Jaya, where my first office used to be. They make the murtabak with Maggi instant noodles and stuff lots of meat and vegetables inside. It’s just RM 3 for a heart shaped piece.

Maggi

It best eaten when hot, these things taste horrible when they’re cold.

Maggi Murtabak

They give you a generous pack of chilli sauce to put on top too.

Puding Karamel Original

Puding Karamel

This is a creme caramel from the SS6 bazaar. It’s RM 3 per slice or RM 5 for two. The quality varies wildly – sometimes it’s delicious and other days the pudding is overcooked and egg-like while the caramel tastes burnt.

Creme Caramel

I guess that’s one of the things about home cooks. When it’s good, it’s great.

Lompang Labu

Lompang Labu

This unusual dessert is made from pumpkins. There are 10 pieces in a pack for RM 5, together with some desiccated coconut. I found it at TTDI. It’s surprisingly good!

Nasi Briyani Johor

Briyani

There is a well known nasi briyani gam stall in TTDI that used to be good. However, I feel that their quality has dropped in the past few years and the other two competitors have surpassed the original. Rahimah Catering serves a pretty good version of lamb biryani for RM 13 at the very end of the TTDI bazaar Ramadan. There’s one in the middle that serves up awesome bone-in lamb shank biryani for RM 20 – RM 22 (depending on size) too.

Lai Chee Kang

Lai Chee Kang

It’s RM 5 for a small container or RM 10 for a big bag. The TTDI Lai Chee Kang stall says it has 28 ingredients. I was dubious. I thought it’ll be 20 different types and colors of jelly. I was mistaken.

Laici Kang

This is legit. I dug and ate dates. Saw some barley. Cincau. Peanuts. Snow fungus. The best thing inside was nutmeg, they had lots of that too! Truly epic.

Nasi Tomato

Nasi Tomato

My favorite one is at the Kota Damansara Bazaar Ramadan. It’s only RM 5 for the Nasi Tomato Ayam Merah (tomato rice with red chicken). The owner of the stall is the wife of a police officer that lives in the low cost flats opposite AEON BIG in Sunway Giza. The first time I had it, I thought she had accidentally dropped a whole fucking bowl of salt into the chicken.

Salty Chicken

I told my better half about this amazingly salty chicken I had and promptly had diarrhea the next day. Haha. I’m sure it’s unrelated though as I’ve had it many times since without incident. I asked the lady about the shockingly salty chicken and she told me she does it on purpose coz her husband likes it that way. That’s why she only gives you a small amount of gravy coz the amount of sodium in there is enough to kill a small horse. It’s the saltiest thing I’ve ever had…and the best! smirk

Ikan Bakar Special

Ikan Bakar Special

There are many smoked/grilled fish stalls in bazaar Ramadan all over the country and most of them sell pretty much the same thing. The one in TTDI just has a wider selection than most and you’ll spot it by the epic lines which form up to buy a catfish or a skate. The prices vary according to what you get but it’s quite competitive.

Nasi Ganja Omak Den

Nasi Ganja

The guys who runs this stall offers free drinks with your meal. They only sell one dish – nasi ganja omak den, and they do it well. The chicken is fried on the spot and you can choose the cut you want. The rice is spiced and they serve an Indian style gravy to go with it. I love the heavily spiced chicken and it’s good value for just RM 6.50 inclusive of the drink of the day (usually air sirih or air somboi).

Spiced Chicken

The word “ganja” is the local term for cannabis. There’s none in here of course and the etymology of the name is somewhat stupid, it’s meant as a testament to it’s “addictiveness”, never mind that THC/CBD isn’t physically addictive.

Nasi Ambeng

Nasi Ambeng

Nasi ambeng is a dish of white rice topped with fried coconut flesh so it tastes like coconut rice. They also put fried bee hoon, salted fish, and vegetables as sides. The main protein is usually chicken cooked in soy sauce. I was home late one day and chanced across this dodgy stall at Kota Damansara with two young boys manning a small booth with about 10 servings to sell. I took a chance and ordered one and it was delicious!

Sup Gearbox

Cow Offal

This stall in TTDI serves only cow offal. There are plenty of offcuts for sale – tongue, tripe, heart, lungs etc. You can have it with rice, in kueh tiaw or in a soup. I prefer it in a soup. It’s one of the best sup gearbox I’ve had. You’re supposed to suck the marrow out of the large bone.

Nasi Burung Puyuh

Quail

I love quail. I usually get it at Shah Alam but the one at TTDI is decent too (and a lot nearer to me). It’s RM 5 per quail or RM 7 if you want rice to go with it. I recommend the rice pack, their chicken rice is delicious!

Nasi Burung Puyuh

The lady will give you a tasty broth to go with the rice too, nicely packed in a plastic bag to go.

Bazaar Ramadan 2016

The biggest Bazaar Ramadan in Klang Valley is probably the bazaar in Shah Alam Stadium but TTDI and Kelana Jaya is pretty big too. I would say TTDI has more choice than SS6 but even the small ones in Subang 2 and Kota Damansara has something to offer. The stalls are all about bringing home cooked food from families as a purchasable option before Hari Raya and that’s the part I love the most about this month. It sure was good eating, too bad we only have a couple more days before it ends!

Sarawak State Elections 2016: Voting at N54 Pelawan, Sibu

Sibu Voting

I don’t know what you’re saying but I agree with everything.

I’m back in Sibu for the Sarawak state elections! I just bought my ticket a couple of days ago. To be honest, I didn’t feel like flying back to vote. There’s been a lot of talk of “political fatigue” and I think that’s the general feeling among the masses. The people aren’t swarming the polling centers like the “Chinese tsunami” last election to protest against the government and the love affair with the Opposition might have plateaued.

Sibu Elections 2016

Whatever the reason, a lot of people aren’t making the effort and spending the money to come back to vote. I felt the same but at the last minute decided to shell out the cash for a plane ticket to exercise my right to vote.

Sibu Kampua

I am privy to a rather interesting political Whatsapp group and despite not contributing much, I read every single post. These are a bunch of diverse people from traditional media journalists to ex-political party members from SUPP, a BN offshoot in Sarawak.

I heard someone mention that this Sarawak state election is a referendum for Najib. I was quite surprised since I have never thought of it that way. I think a lot of people like me don’t see it that way. Instead, we see it as a referendum for Chief Minister Adenan. These are two very different people.

Sarawak State Elections 2016

I’m an Opposition supporter. I vote DAP (Democratic Action Party) every single time. I come from a middle class Christian Chinese family in Sibu, Sarawak. To make parallels with the political scene in the United States, I would be considered as a WASP – a rather conservative voting bloc. I go to the BERSIH rallies. I told my better half that I come from a Chinese majority town and even she was surprised when I showed her the official government census data from my area.

I vote in a constituency known as N54 Pelawan and out of the eligible voters, a staggering 91.2% is Chinese. The distant second is Malay AND Melanau combined for just 4.9%. This is often refered to as the “Muslim” voting bloc but that isn’t entirely correct coz a lot of Melanaus are Christian. Ibans constitute another 3.1% and the dreaded term Others come in at 0.8%. These figures aren’t representative of Malaysia as a whole but it’s fairly accurate for Sibu.

Sibu Church

What surprises a lot of first time visitors is how many churches we have here. We don’t have a lot of mosques – they’re all tucked away in kampungs and such, but there are many churches in town. Sibu is an overwhelming Chinese majority town and a sizable portion of the Chinese are Christians. This unusual quirk is due to the person who first came to Sarawak (he was a Christian evangelical) but that’s history, what is interesting is our demographics now.

Anyway, as I was saying, I (and I bet a lot of others) see this election as a referendum for CM Adenan and to be fair, he seems like a great guy. I can’t deny that he has done a lot for Sarawakians. He has also stemmed the worrying trend of Islamic extremism by keeping a ban list of extremist preachers and passed a controversial law which allows Muslim converts to revert back to Christianity (in the landmark case of Roneey Anak Rebit).

This has endeared him to the local Christian Chinese community and he was also the first to open the civil service to UEC holders (a Chinese examination). The latter doesn’t really affect me since I’ve studied in New Zealand ever since I was 15 and graduated from Australia (this blog started in Melbourne), but it’s nice to know he’s looking out for everyone. He has also pushed for greater Sarawak autonomy and rights. By most accounts, he’s doing a stellar job.

I certainly think so.

(Please don’t lynch me, fellow Opposition supporters)

Sibu Voting Center

However, I was also talking to some older people today and they all saw it as a referendum for not Adenan but for Najib. That makes it an entirely different issue altogether but the problem is, not many people see it that way. I certainly didn’t, and I think that’s one of the greatest successes of the PBB political machine. They have pushed the man Adenan so much that a lot of people (myself included) have divorced the national issues with Najib from the Sarawak state election.

…and that’s dangerous coz if BN does well here, they’ll have the confidence to call the general elections sooner.

Vote

Despite what I personally think about CM Adenan, I feel like it’s healthy to have a strong Opposition and that’s why I will always vote for DAP. It’s not coz they have a realistic chance of winning – it’s about not giving the current government such free and unchecked reign.

DAP

I voted for David Wong Kee Woan (DAP).

My Partner’s Birthday: Hakuto Jelly, Japanese Snacks and Valrhona Feuilletine Cake!

Happy Birthday

My better half just celebrated her birthday yesterday on the 13th of April. I got her a huge box of presents and we had sushi and birthday cake before going out shopping for Japanese snacks. She told me she wanted to get Japan imports for her birthday and we spent a few hundred dollars on that alone. However, I also packed her a gift using back the box she gave me on my birthday (which I originally gave to her).

Birthday Yee Ling

Happy birthday dear!

Birthday Card

I found a hilarious birthday card that goes “Old Already Lor“. smirk

Typo

It was from Typo in KLCC. I always get her serious cards so I thought I’ll go the funny route this time.

Liquid Soap

I also got her liquid hand soap since she has been using the same one for over a year.

Bath Body Works

I got two different ones from Bath & Body Works.

Handmade Soap

There was a booth outside selling fancy handmade soap and I thought they smelled really nice. The promoter told me you can also hang the soap-on-a-rope in a car so it acts like an air freshener so I got one sliced like a mango for her. She likes things like these.

Hakuto Jelly Shop

I also went to Isetan to get Hakuto jelly (白桃ゼリー). This is a dessert they make with hakuto peaches from Okayama and the mineral rich spring water there. We’ve seen this before but my better half didn’t want to get it coz it was quite expensive. Hakuto jelly is costly due to the price of the peaches which are used to make it.

Hakuto Peach Jelly

The smallest box of two goes for RM 85 while a box of 4 goes for RM 170. You can also get a 3 piece box for RM 127.50.

Sakura Mochi

I also managed to get sakura mocha. Haha! We ate this exact same thing in Hokkaido and it was very good. The ones here are imported from Japan and made using sakura cherry blossom flowers and leaves too but my dear didn’t like them as much. She much preferred the ones we had in Sapporo.

Shopping Basket

Oh, I got so many things that I took the shopping basket from Isetan to my car. I didn’t even realize I inadvertently took it out until I almost got to my car. Oops!

Birthday Present

I got home and packed all the birthday gifts into the box – the mason jar she likes, a jar of Reese’s peanut butter and chocolate spread, matcha chooclates etc.

Birthday Gift

The box!

Birthday Candles

I had gotten a row of candles that goes “Happy Birthday” for RM 13 too. I thought it’ll go well with the cake.

Bisque Cake

The cake is from Bisque. I had ordered it a week before and this one is called The Michelangelo. The base price is RM 218 but you can customize it as you wish and the final bill will be sent to you. I added a lot of fondant writing.

Valrhona Birthday Cake

The cake is really good! It’s made with feuilletine, Valrhona Jivara chocolate and hazelnut paste as the base so there’s a crunchy textural element. The top is vanilla bean cake with chocolate pearls and there’s also Valrhona Dulcey blonde mousse mixed into the layers. I like how they put gold leaf together with the chocolate pearls.

Feuilletine Cake

It tastes like Ferrero Rocher as the base, with the same texture sensation. The fluffy and light vanilla bean cake is a nice pairing since the base is really sweet. The blonde chocolate mousse makes it very rich and easy to eat. It’s one of the nicest birthday cakes I’ve had and we all enjoyed it, including the kids. I even had some for supper.

Hakuto Jelly

She unwrapped the presents (the Shimizu Hakuto Jelly was wrapped really nicely) and we headed out to Okashi World with the kids to buy Japanese snacks. They have a promotion where you can buy up to RM 200 on your birthday and get 50% discount so we took advantage of that. I ended up spending RM 380+ there but it was worth it coz she really liked the Japanese imports and the kids loved the candy too.

Japanese Snacks

It was a great birthday that we spent together with the kids at home. Happy birthday dear! I look forward to making more great memories with you. Love you always! <3

Horlicks NutriQuest Roadshow @ Orange Concourse, Sunway Pyramid

Horlicks NutriQuest Game

I was at the Horlicks NutriQuest event over the weekend. It took up one of the concourses of Sunway Pyramid and the Horlicks NutriQuest roadshow is open to the public. However, on the event day, media and bloggers were invited to join the exclusive campaign launch session. The roadshow was meant to introduce a new game for iOS and Android which is incorporated with the story elements of being Tall, Strong and Sharp in the mobile game play. The story elements are coincidentally also what Horlicks is all about. Horlicks wants to engage kids of all ages through fun adventures available online and on ground by being Tall, Strong and Sharp!

Horlicks MidValley

Dr Greedy is the key character in the game. He is an evil scientist and the mastermind of the robbery in the Horlicks Factory because he does not want our kids to benefit from the nutrition provided by Horlicks. I also met him in person over the weekend. Haha. He (and his Metaloids) destroyed all Horlicks caches to prevent kids from growing Tall, Strong and Sharp. You’re one of the adventurers that steps up to stop him. This was reflected in the booths too – in addition to the one which had demos of the game running, there were three (3) activity booths.

Horlicks Tall

Tall is a Horlicks NutriQuest booth set up according to your height. Thus, this goes up if you’re higher and down if you’re lower. It’s all about giving a fair chance to kids, so it’s set to your relative height. You’re supposed to catch the Horlicks star. Are you tall enough to defeat Dr Greedy?

Horlicks Strong

Strong is where they set up a Bop Bag. This is a HUGE plastic Dr Greedy which has been bottom stabilized so it never topples over. You try and punch it as hard as you can to earn a stamp on your card. This is meant for kids but I tried punching the Bop Bag as hard as I could. It actually went over but didn’t topple, just as it was designed to do. Nifty.

Horlicks Sharp

Sharp is where they had a wild west rogue’s gallery of Dr Greedy and his henchmen. You’re armed with a semi-automatic Nerf gun full of foam darts. Your aim is to take out the entire board with just one bullet each. It was quite a challenge since Nerf guns don’t always shoot straight. I had fun at this booth, as did most older kids.

Nerf Gun

Stacy Wallace, the General Manager of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare Malaysia launched the Horlicks NutriQuest Campaign and the mobile game app with the media after that. We also had lunch at Delicious courtesy of GSK. I have two kids and there was one (1) watch in the media kit so I asked her if it was possible to get another one. Thanks to her, I managed to get another one so the kids won’t fight. :)

Horlicks NutriQuest

Plus, she’s a mom too so she knows how it’s like having two kids. You either don’t give it to them at all (since you only have one) or you get another one and she was kind enough to procure another watch for me. What’s this watch, you say? Well, it’s an item from Horlicks which you can redeem too!

Horlicks Fun

Each Horlicks pack will have Horlicks NutriCoins inside within the duration of this campaign and the Horlicks NutriCoins can be redeemed for both in-game levels *and* exclusive prizes through online redemption.

Horlicks Event

I’ll showcase more about the Horlicks NutriQuest interactive adventure game in a separate post. Horlicks also offers 23 vital nutrients which are essential for growth and children development and I though it’s a great idea for the NutriCoins to be redeemable for awesome merchandise like watches in addition to in-game levels such as to unlock exclusive levels in the 4th Dimension world.

Dr Greedy

No, I’m not acting cool. I’m defeating Dr Greedy in-game and IRL at the same time! The game is very we-well-polished and fun, go download it for either iOS or Android now!

Driving with Shell V-Power Racing!

Racing

The first time I experienced Shell V-Power Racing was earlier this year. I liked how it works for me, so I did a bit of reading up. To my surprise, I found out that it’s the first performance fuel in Malaysia, which has been around for 10 years! Can’t believe that it’s been around for a decade and I only got to know about in it 2016!

Station

Anyway, I tested it out recently and was pleasantly surprised, which was when I started using Shell V-Power Racing. I’ve been using it for 2 weeks since and it’s been very beneficial to me, as someone who drives a lot every day, a road warrior if you will (though not the Mad Max kind). You can really feel the performance when accelerating from a dead stop.

V-Power Racing

Shell V-Power Racing is formulated by 120 scientists and specialists around the world dedicated to the research and development of fuel. When you start accelerating from traffic lights (for example), you can really feel the fuel unlock a lot more power from the engine and better yet, it’s now Euro 4M compliant, so the emission standards are better for modern Euro 4-compliant cars too.

Shell develops the fuel by leveraging its Technical Partnership with Ferrari. Shell V-Power Racing contains a unique double action formulation, which is designed to unlock the potential of your car and actively clean your engine, in addition to reducing friction to produce more power. Awesome stuff!

Shell V-Power Racing uses the same Friction Modification Technology (FMT) used in Shell V-Power race fuel by Ferrari Formula 1 cars. It’s designed to reduce friction by introducing a surface coating component, which protects critical engine parts. I really like how Shell V-Power Racing cleans my engine while I’m driving and I’m sure that will have a lot of benefits down the road.

Shell V-Power Racing also helps unlock valuable energy by enabling a more efficient energy transfer from the fuel to the wheels. The way Shell V-Power Racing removes existing deposits can also enhance the responsiveness of your engine and with regular usage, Shell V-Power Racing can even help maintain a new car’s performance and in some cases, even recapture an engine’s performance!

Interesting fact: Shell V-Power race fuel supplied to Scuderia Ferrari’s Formula 1 team contains at least 99% of the same types of compounds normally found in the Shell V-Power Racing road fuel we get in Shell stations in Malaysia!

It’s nice to finally have a performance fuel, which not only actively cleans your engine, but is also formulated to reduce friction in critical engine areas and deliver high performance. These benefits are designed to give you an edge throughout the day, whether you are making short or long trips.

Shell Euro4M

Shell V-Power Racing is now available in over 45 stations around Malaysia. Drive into your nearest Shell station now or check out the list of stations where Shell V-Power Racing is available.

Omakase birthday dinner @ Nobu Kuala Lumpur

Nobu Kuala Lumpur

My better half made reservations at Nobu KL for my birthday dinner. Nobu Kuala Lumpur is located at the 56th floor of Petronas Twin Towers (Tower 3) so it has an amazing view of the city. We managed to get a table for two by the window and the panoramic view of the sun setting over KL made for a very nice and memorable dinner.

Nobu

There are two types of omakase at Nobu KL – Nobu Signature Omakase (RM 385) is a selection of their most popular dishes and the Special Omakase (RM 455) is the “real” omakase, which consists of specially made dishes by the chef which you can’t find in the regular menu. The latter changes daily and contains off-menu items so I went with that.

Nobu Waitress

They also have a 5-Course Omakase (RM 280) which is only available from 6-8 pm on Sunday and Monday. The regular omakase menu has 7 courses. My better half opted for this coz she thought she wouldn’t be able to finish a full omakase. The friendly waitress served us with a bottle of Tau Sparkling Water (RM 38) as soon as we were seated and service was attentive without being intrusive.

Special Omakase (RM 455 per pax)

Nobu Appetizer

Cold Appetizers
The omakase follows the format of 2 cold entrées, followed by 2 hot entrées, with 2 mains and a dessert to end everything. This is the first course with four (4) separate bite-sized or larger dishes. I’ll write about them individually, from left.

Tomato Chawanmushi

Chilled Tomato Chawanmushi with Fresh Truffle
I really enjoyed this one. The waitress helpfully suggested the eating order so the flavors would go from mild to moderate and this is meant to be the first appetizer. It was super refreshing – the chilled chawanmushi and the acidity from the tomatoes was perfect for the hot nights we’ve been getting. There was a fair bit too, so it’s not just minute portions.

Tiradito

Whole Fish Tiradito with Yuzu, Rocoto and Coriander
Tiradito is a Peruvian raw fish dish which is somewhat similar to ceviche but with a more Japanese influence. It’s quite unusual since the acid marinate is not overwhelming so you can still taste the rawness of the fish. There’s also a hit of spiciness from the rocoto at the end. I liked it.

Seared Scallop Caviar

Pan Seared Scallop with Jalapeno Dressing and Caviar
This beautifully cooked scallop had a small helping of caviar on top. The salty sturgeon roe elevates the scallop and the edible flower provides a textural crunch to the dish (as did the sliver of carrot).

Salmon Kelp Roll

Salmon Kelp Roll
The simple sounding name is deceptive – this is a really complex dish! The raw salmon is rolled up into a sausage-like tubular package, with bits of kelp stuffed inside. I thought to myself, okay a salmon roll then, popped it into my mouth and nearly gagged from surprise. The combined textures and flavors are amazing! It’s my favorite appetizer.

Nobu Sushi

Assorted Sushi Chef’s Selection
The second course! We have (top to bottom) engawa (inside of flounder fin) sushi with miso salt, otoro (fatty tuna belly) sushi with wasabi salsa, hirame (fluke) sushi, and aji (horse mackerel) sushi topped with scallions and grated ginger.

Aji Sushi

I liked how some of the sushi had unusual toppings like wasabi salsa on top. That’s a very Nobu-style dish, with influences from Latin America.

Otoro Sushi

The otoro and engawa can’t compare to the superb sushi we had at One Star Michelin Isezushi in Otaru a few weeks ago, but this isn’t Hokkaido, so I can’t expect the freshness and quality to be the same. I wish the otoro was fattier though. It can’t hold a candle to the stuff in Sapporo but then this is Malaysia.

Beetroot Dry Miso Salad

Baby Spinach Salad and Beetroot Dry Miso with Konbu and White Fish
I just realized the skinny mumbling Malay waiter mixed up our dishes! He gave this to my dear and gave my better half’s dish to me. Ish! What an nincompoop. Our regular waitress was more on point. I only discovered as I was writing, in the video I took I remembered asking him which was which and he *still* messed up the order. How incompetent, I’ll write an email to them later.

Umami Chilean Seabass

Chilean Seabass (Umami)
This is a nice charred piece of Chilean seabass. The fish flakes beautifully and tastes fresh and light. It’s cooked to perfection too, it’s quite remarkable that they managed to produce a bitter tasting char on the outside while still retaining the moist tenderness on the inside. I like the tsukemono (pickles) that came with the dish – it really cuts through the richness and provides a burst of much-needed acidity.

Nobu Waygu Beef

Smoked Waygu Beef with Grilled Shimeji Mushroom and Truffle Teriyaki Sauce
I love Waygu beef and we ate quite a lot of it during the kaiseki-ryori dinner at our ryokan in Hokkaido. This is a different implementation, the flavor is quite heavy-handed but in a good way. I like the grilled Shimeji mushrooms too – they’re superbly umami and savory tasting. The Waygu beef was decently marbled too.

Lobster Miso Soup

Lobster Miso Soup
This came out as an apt course to wash away the heaviness of the beef course before dessert. It’s a miso soup with lots of lobster flesh inside. I suppose this is what the RM 70 supplement you pay extra for the Special Omakase is for. The dashi-based broth was hearty and I enjoyed drinking it. I like how they put in a generous amount of lobster too.

Green Tea Parmesan Cheesecake with Truffle Meringue

Green Tea Parmesan Cheesecake with Truffle Meringue and Yuzu Sorbet
This is a deconstructed dessert with the matcha cheesecake topping on one side, the base as a slice and the meringue as little dots scattered around the plate. It sounds modernist but it works very well. I enjoyed the rich matcha flavor and the dessert works beautifully when eaten together. The yuzu sorbet was very refreshing. It’s a wonderful end to my omakase dinner.

5-Course Omakase (RM 280 per pax)

Nobu Salmon Tartare

Salmon Tartare in Wasabi Soy Sauce topped with Caviar with a side of Fresh Apricot
The presentation of my dear’s first dish was impressive. It came in a double bowl filled with ice! The inner bowl contains the salmon tartare mixed with onion and garlic in wasabi soy sauce. There’s a caviar topping too and the combination works well together. Very appetizing. You’re supposed to finish it first before starting on the apricot, which is served right on top of the ice cubes.

Tuna Sashimi Salad Matsuhisa Dressing

Tuna Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa Dressing
I know exactly how this tastes like coz it was sent to me in error! It’s not the fault of our original waitress but a bumbling Malay local who confused our order. However, our waitress should have ensured this did not happen in the first place. Oh well. Matsuhisa is the name of the owner e.g. Nobu Matsuhisa, the Japanese style dressing is his trademark.

Nobu Tempura

Chilean Seabass Tempura with Amazu Ponzu
My better half popped one of the tempura pieces into my mouth and I thought it was fried well but wasn’t particularly spectacular. I then noticed the ponzu sauce and dipped into it, it went famously well together! I was sorely tempted to have another but I thought I shouldn’t be eating so much of my dear’s courses. It was very nice together, the amazu ponzu sauce was brilliant and the tempura is unfaultable – perfectly done.

Nobu Quail

Pan Seared Quail with Wasabi Salsa and Tomato Ceviche
I tried really hard to like this dish and to be fair, the quail was cooked perfectly. It was still tender and moist in the middle while crispy on the outside. It’s cooked karaage (Japanese fried chicken) style. However, I felt like this was severely underwhelming though. It could have been a very nice dish but ultimately fails in taste.

Natsu No Fruit Pearls

Natsu No Fruit Pearls
This is a brilliant dessert that (somewhat) saved the meal. It’s the last course of my dear’s omakase menu and consists of lychee, guava, mandarin orange, and rock melon “pearls” on top of mango shaved ice and a “rice soup” that’s poured over the dessert. The pearls actually contain pure, concentrated fruit juice inside – it POPS as you bite it, and *bursts* spectacularly in your mouth, filling it with liquid. It’s very novel and the entire dessert was well conceptualized and refreshing.

Nobu View

Dinner at Nobu Kuala Lumpur cost RM 889.70 for the two of us. I have to say that after going to Nobu in Melbourne and having dined at Michelin star restaurants in France and elsewhere in the world, Nobu KL was a disappointment. The food was subpar and while the service from our waitress was awesome, the other staff were very mediocre, especially the Malay guy who mixed up our orders.

Nobu Malaysia

I did enjoy the meal coz I was with my loved one and the ambience is unbeatable! However, I really felt like the food could be better for the price. It’s not fair to compare Nobu KL with the great Japanese food we had in Japan, but I thought it would be better than this. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I feel like the people who talked up Nobu haven’t really been to truly great restaurants around the world.

Nobu KL

However, it was a good experience and I wanted to see how Nobu KL was like. Thanks dear for the expensive dinner and wonderful night! <3

Happy Birthday: Realistic durian cake, Nobu KL omakaze dinner, and presents!

Birthday 2016

It’s my birthday today! I turn 35, and it’s been an awesome day so far. My better half surprised me with dinner reservations at Nobu KL. I didn’t know she had already planned this and was about to tell her I was feeling like Japanese food. She sounded a bit reluctant (which was strange) and I found out that she had *already* booked a table for us.

Nobu KL Dinner

Dinner was great! I had the Special Omakase (RM 455 per pax) which is the most expensive item on the menu. I felt a little bad about how costly dinner was (the bill came up to almost RM 1,000) but my dear asked me to go for the most premium omakase since I didn’t want a smartphone. Yup, she originally planned to buy me a smartphone.

Dinner Nobu

I’m more of an experience person than a material goods person. I’ll rather have awesome trips and meals than phones, clothes, etc. It just makes me happier and I value the experiences more…and recent research suggests that I’m right! The happiness you feel from experiences lasts longer and is more fulfilling than material goods.

Kids

The kids made me something for my birthday too! I got a hand-painted picture and a card! :)

Birthday Present 2016

My better half also got me a birthday present, despite me telling her not to. She packed a big box full of Japanese candy. It’s the perfect gift for me coz I love Japanese stuff. It contains:

Baskin-Robbins Popping Shower Very Berry Chocolate

Baskin-Robbins Popping Shower + Very Berry Chocolate
This is a nod to one of the first times we met. Baskin-Robbins is very popular in Japan and these two flavors are awesome. I like the Very Berry Chocolate which also has bits of real strawberry inside, as well as a thin layer of crunchy cone. However, the Popping Shower one took the cake – it’s an intense popping candy that’s so energetic, I thought it was going to come out of my mouth.

Baskin-Robbins Japan

Explosive stuff! These are only supposed to be sold in Japan (due to licensing issues) but she managed to get one for me.

Pocky midi Gudetama

Pocky midi x Gudetama
Haha! I love Gudetama. He’s a humanized lazy egg with bacon for a blanket. The theme song keeps repeating in my brain when I see it. This is Pocky’s collaboration with Sanrio (who created Gudetama). Pocky midi Caramel Latte Gudetama is the result and it’s too cute to eat.

Pocky Strawberry Latte

Pocky midi Strawberry Latte
This is another one in the Coffee series that’s exclusive to Japan. The Gudetama one is Caramel Latte and this version is Strawberry Latte. I haven’t opened it yet, I’ll eat this with my dear.

Pocky Winter Melty Chocolate

Winter Melty Cocoa Pocky
This is a rare seasonal limited edition Pocky that comes out only in winter. It’s thicker than a regular Pocky and has rich chocolate dust that melts in your mouth into a beautiful creamy goo. Unfortunately, the low melting temperature means that there’s a reason this is a winter-only special – the chocolate dissolves in our temperature.

AEON TopValue CalorieMate

AEON Japan’s CalorieMate
Yup, this is AEON Japan’s attempt to create a Calorie Mate like energy bar. I had the original in Japan (was looking specifically for it) and I quite liked it. This tastes different from the original Calorie Mate (Cheese) though. AEON’s store brand is a lot sweeter while CalorieMate is a lot more savory. They’re both good, in different ways. This is more of a meal replacement than an energy bar, they’re the pioneers in Japan.

Oreo Rum Raisin Chocolate

Rum Raisin Chocolate Oreo (0.4% alcohol)
These are made with 70% cocoa! Just like Kit Kats, Oreo has a lot of different flavors and types in Japan. And just like the recently released Sake Kit Kats, the Oreos also contain alcohol inside. They put powdered alcohol (yes, it’s a thing) that boosts the adult treats to a 0.4% alcohol content. These are definitely not halal Oreos (would be funny if people couldn’t read or if there wasn’t a “Contains Alcohol” sticker on them).

Gudetama Chocolates

Gudetama chocolates
I also got a few Gudetama chocolate treats (shaped like an egg) and a Japanese amulet she got for me at a Shinto temple in Hokkaido.

Moonlight Cake House

My dear bought me a birthday cake at Moonlight Cake House. She had ordered this way in advance and it was a beautiful durian cake.

Birthday Cake 2016

It was in the freezer waiting for us and we picked it up to eat together with the kids. The wonderful smell of durian wafted out as soon as I took off the Saran wrap.

Durian Cake

Holy shit, this looks like a real durian!

Real Durian Cake

The durian cake is made up of a wonderfully fluffy and light Angel food cake and has bits of real durian flesh inside. The outside is made with whipped cream spikes so it looks like a real durian. I think they added gelatin or another stabilizer so it can stand but it’s just cream so it’s not sweet. The best part is that the two sides of the durian are not symmetrical (like real life) so one side is bigger than the other. The hand piping is beautiful too – it’s not just one shade of green, there are brown accents so it looks authentic. There’s even a stem made of chewy marzipan to complete the look.

Blowing Candles

I ate the durian birthday cake with my dear and the kids. It was a wonderful birthday! Thanks for all the treats, dinner and gifts dear. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me and for being with me. <3 I'll write about the Nobu KL dinner tomorrow! (╭☞ ͡ ͡° ͜ ʖ ͡ ͡°)╭☞

The best money exchange app!

Convocation

I always have one eye on the currency exchange rates. It’s become a bit of a habit for me, since I left Malaysia to study in New Zealand when I was just 15 years old. I spent over 4 years in Australia for my university and spent a lot of time traveling around the world after that. I’ve been to multiple destinations in Europe (Germany, France, London, Amsterdam and Georgia) as well as Sri Lanka, Taiwan and China and Hong Kong.

Champs Elysees

I have travelled to Korea on a business trip and made my way to Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia on work related trips too. I’m both a leisure traveler and a business traveler so I can see things from both sides. It’s important to be able to check the money exchange rates quickly, especially if a trip is short-notice. I’ve known about the eforex.com.my website but now they have a mobile app!

eForex

I went to download the eForex app to review it and I’ve kept it since it’s so useful! You have to register to use all the features and it can be a bit of a hassle. However, it’s an important step since you need to provide your personal details anyway when you exchange money in person. This way, you only have to do it once!

I felt better with that knowledge and entered all my details, which allowed me to create my own profile.

eForex App

The eForex app basically allows you to check live rates and buy foreign currency anytime anywhere from the app. They do it well with a minimalistic and easy to understand interface. You’re shown the few major options where you can instantly purchase currency or check your favorite currency rates live.

Today Exchange Rates

I really like the one-click instant update feature. You just need to click on “Today’s Rate” on the main landing screen in order to see all the major world currencies on one page from USD, Euro, GBP, etc. These are today’s live exchange rates and I’ve been clicking on it several times a day to monitor USD and the Japanese Yen since I will be travelling again in a couple of months.

Add Favorites

You can also set your favorite currencies here. Just click on the “…” options on the right and “Add to Favorite”. This will remember the currencies you exchange the most and put it in the Favorites List.

Favorite Currencies

There is also a wonderful feature where you can just input a single number in Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) and it shows you the equivalent rates today on ALL your favorite currencies. This allows me to type in 10000 and instantly see how much RM 10,000 would get me in JPY, SGD (my sister and dad lives there), NZD, USD and Euro. Very nifty!

Pick Up

There is also a sidebar where you can see where the nearest Pick-up Points are. You can browse through the list or enter in your current location to see if they have a branch nearby. eForex app is made by Merchantrade so they have a lot of outlets.

Kota Damansara

You can also see exactly where the outlet is (and use it to open Google Maps) or click to call the place directly. This allows you to easily purchase foreign currency and go and pick it up at a location. You just need to bring along your MyKad/IC (for Malaysians) or your passport (for non-Malaysians) along with your Transaction Confirmation Slip or eForex Pin Number (which is shown in the eForex app).

eForex Purchace

The online payment system is secure and you don’t need to carry huge amounts of cash to money changers anymore since you’ve already paid via the app. You can even purchase now and collect the foreign currency at today’s rate up to 6 months down the road – a great feature that is usually reserved for large companies! This is the first app in Malaysia which allows you to buy currency directly from the app.

Travel Reminder

There are also other awesome features like Rate Alerts (so you can know when your favorite currency hits a certain point) and Travel Reminder (which prompts you to buy currency when you’re about to fly off). It’s a simple app to navigate, yet with lots of important features which makes eForex an awesome app for frequent flyers, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure.

Australia

Check it out by typing eForex in Google Play or App Store and you can download the free app and see how it works out for you. I’m quite fond of it, instead of having to type in “100 USD to MYR” in Google (which is a shortcut to see today’s rate, albeit from a US perspective so it’s not accurate) I can just click on the app to see a host of my favorite currencies rates updated live. I can now get the current confirmed exchange rate instead of an estimate to see if it’s a good day to exchange money. Lovely!

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