Archive

24 January 2016

Once More, with Feeling

I spent the first day of the year helping my mother weed through several closets, the bottom half of each rendered unusable by water damage. Our house, which has never seen even an inch of water in its more than two weeks of existence, suddenly found itself submerged in floodwaters twice in a span of weeks, leaving behind several inches of mud. It was as destructive as it was disgusting.

As I inspected each article of clothing, one after another, I can't help but feel guilty over the effort it must have taken to schlep these items to safety - these shirts that have been outgrown years ago, these coats whose existence have long been forgotten, these dresses that are never going to get worn in the foreseeable future. These were things that, at one point in time, I was convinced I simply must have; things that I spent my hard-earned cash on. And now here they are, completely unused for years, tossed in the donation pile, but not before burdening other people with their storage and maintenance.

I cannot deny that shopping has always been my therapy of choice. I remember the first time I had to work overtime against my will, for reasons beyond my control: I left the office for a dinner break, went straight to Levi's, bought a pair of pants, returned to my desk, and slaved away into the night. When I was having apartment troubles thanks to the prick that ran the HOA, I cried for a couple of minutes, and then proceeded to stock my closet with shoes. I shop when I'm stressed, I shop when I'm bored, I shop when the world seems to be spinning to fast for my liking. The moment I transitioned from getting crazy excited about new purchases to actually being embarrassed by them, I knew it was time to stop, but obviously, that was easier said than done.

I refuse to make my life all about acquisitions, and that is why, regardless of how miserably I'm failing in this whole minimalist endeavour, I am picking myself up and stubbornly soldiering on.

So, a reboot.

Six months, no shopping. I'm getting rid of that loophole where I allow myself to buy one thing each month, because that is just me giving myself an excuse to shop.

I still have some exceptions, though. These are things I know I would need along the way but have not gotten around to buying: ear muffs, a spring trench coat, and one good pair of jeans. Apart from these, I am only allowed to buy replacements, and only of things that have run out or are legitimately destroyed.

See you in June ;)

(Just kidding. Will post monthly updates.)

21 December 2015

Philippians 12:21

Steve Harvey giveth the crown, and Steve Harvey taketh away.

The Philippines has not won Miss Universe in more than four decades. I myself have been waiting for this moment since Dindi Gallardo lost to Dayanara Torres in 1993 (technically the first pageant I watched was in 1992 when Namibia won, but I didn't know who Miss Philippines was, nor understand the whole concept of the pageant in general).

And now that it has finally happened, it had to be like this.
Goddammit Steve Harvey. You had one job.



Holy mother of cringe.
Seriously, what in the actual f*ck.

And while it's admirable, the level of composure that the girls showed after this... blunder, I think the only acceptable way to have gone about it would be to tear the crown to pieces and throw chunks of it at the other girls.

A piece for Miss USA, a partial Miss Universe.
And a piece for Miss Colombia. She has been severely humiliated, but she still looks like a rock star.
And none for Gretchen Wieners Steve Harvey.

... Still a great night

20 December 2015

Five Things

{Calbee Yuzu-Chili Potato Chips}

So, so very good, and now I can't find it anywhere. Damn seasonal flavors.

{Baumkuchen}

I've seen more baumkuchen in Yokohama alone than in a Weihnachtsmarkt. I even won one as a consolation prize in our office Christmas party. It's good, but I cannot for the life of me understand why it is such a big deal in these parts. I feel the exact same way about Tokyo Banana.

{Guess the Product}

The only characters I can decipher say "Toilet". And then you have a car, no water, and two people with an urgent need to pee (quite an accurate rendering, I must say). Found in the section with the emergency kits and things, so I guess that somewhat clues you in as to whatever this is for. I wonder what that white powder does, though (probably not the smartest thing to keep in the glove compartment, no?).

{Make Your Own Cup Noodles}

The Cup Noodle Museum is a ten-minute walk from the flat. There's not a lot to see (there is only so much you can say about instant noodles, after all), but you can make your own cup noodles - you get to design the cup and select the soup base and toppings. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would (and Abe doubly so - it took him almost half an hour to finish "designing" his cup whilst I being the creative genius that I am merely colored in the letters and signed my name). It was 800 yen well spent (500 for the entrance, 300 for the DIY cup noodles).

{"Mischief" Coin Bank}

This is a gift, but I needed to "test" it, yes?
Will definitely get the panda when it's back in stock.
A video posted by ella yap (@ellayap) on

11 December 2015

What I've Been Loving Lately: House Things

Back to (ir)regular programming ;p

I have gone from "OMG this apartment is so awesome" to "who in his right mind would place the only full-length mirror in the house in the bathroom in front of the shower" (seriously, who?) so I guess it's safe to say that the honeymoon phase with the new flat is over. I still love it to bits though. And while I still have a long list of things to do before I can say I've settled down completely (and by that time I'm probably about to leave), it feels more and more like home everyday.

Dansk coffee mugs

My apartment came with a pair of white, nondescript mugs, which I like but they hold such a paltry amount of coffee that it gets cold almost immediately. It took me three weeks to get bigger ones because these days I've been so picky. I think it comes with the whole "minimalist" territory, i.e. if this mug is the only mug I'm getting then it better be perfect. It's annoying and very frustrating, but it has done a good job of keeping me from accumulating stuff.

Anyway.
I found these mugs in the outlet store in Torihama. I am unfamiliar with the brand, but they do have a lot of very pretty enameled cookware (which I am also tempted to get). I've always wanted a red coffee mug, thanks to years of watching Nescafe commercials, and quite predictably I got a white one as well. They hold a good amount of liquid, and the handles are surprisingly ergonomic.

My Kitchen Drawer
Surprise! It's a grill!

I am told it's a common feature of Japanese kitchens. It's technically a broiler, with a heating element on both the top and bottom. The best part is once you slam it shut all the smoke goes straight to the ventilation system - I can now cook pork belly without smelling it on my clothes for days. 

Naturally I inaugurated it with twice-cooked adobo (wrapped in shiso leaves because we're fancy like that) and it performed superbly. It works for roasted veggies as well, and for reheating random deep-fried things from the depachika.

Laundry Gel Balls

Granted, measuring out the proper amount of detergent for a load of laundry is not rocket science, but there is just something so immensely satisfying when you chuck in that gel ball and call it a day. Plus they are so cute and squishy! And they smell awesome too :)

Spiced Apple Cider
Whenever I drink apple cider I think of Prague, that one time I ducked into a random cafe to escape from the cold winter rain.

I got this from Dean & Deluca, and while I'm sure it's nowhere close to apple cider made from scratch, it's perfect for lazy winter nights when I'm all bundled up in the couch watching Animal Planet - all I have to do is boil some water, mix in a bit of syrup, and hmnmnmnmnm instant comfort <3

03 December 2015

Minato Mirai 21

So I've been living here for a month now. An entire month. It's kinda nuts.

Minato Mirai feels like that one corner of Sim City that you always keep pristine and pretty - full of gleaming high rises, picturesque buildings, and a giant Ferris Wheel thrown in for good measure.

And to think I was initially opposed to living here - the agent in charge of arranging my accommodations only recommended one option, and because I have become jaded after dealing with one too many failed rentals I was naturally apprehensive (and maybe a bit suspicious). Thankfully my fears were unfounded because I am utterly smitten with my apartment. I often find myself wanting to hug my kitchen (and maybe I have).

Having lived (comfortably, may I add) in studios just a wee bit larger than a shoebox, this flat feels like an overabundance of space. For Japan, most especially. And with a grocery in the next building, a park right across, and a network of malls a stone's throw away, it's hard to find fault in the location.

A couple more minutes of walking and you're in AkaRenga, the Red Brick Warehouse (now a mall), a welcome sight after all that steel and glass.

Life's been good, and I am grateful.
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24 January 2016

Once More, with Feeling

I spent the first day of the year helping my mother weed through several closets, the bottom half of each rendered unusable by water damage. Our house, which has never seen even an inch of water in its more than two weeks of existence, suddenly found itself submerged in floodwaters twice in a span of weeks, leaving behind several inches of mud. It was as destructive as it was disgusting.

As I inspected each article of clothing, one after another, I can't help but feel guilty over the effort it must have taken to schlep these items to safety - these shirts that have been outgrown years ago, these coats whose existence have long been forgotten, these dresses that are never going to get worn in the foreseeable future. These were things that, at one point in time, I was convinced I simply must have; things that I spent my hard-earned cash on. And now here they are, completely unused for years, tossed in the donation pile, but not before burdening other people with their storage and maintenance.

I cannot deny that shopping has always been my therapy of choice. I remember the first time I had to work overtime against my will, for reasons beyond my control: I left the office for a dinner break, went straight to Levi's, bought a pair of pants, returned to my desk, and slaved away into the night. When I was having apartment troubles thanks to the prick that ran the HOA, I cried for a couple of minutes, and then proceeded to stock my closet with shoes. I shop when I'm stressed, I shop when I'm bored, I shop when the world seems to be spinning to fast for my liking. The moment I transitioned from getting crazy excited about new purchases to actually being embarrassed by them, I knew it was time to stop, but obviously, that was easier said than done.

I refuse to make my life all about acquisitions, and that is why, regardless of how miserably I'm failing in this whole minimalist endeavour, I am picking myself up and stubbornly soldiering on.

So, a reboot.

Six months, no shopping. I'm getting rid of that loophole where I allow myself to buy one thing each month, because that is just me giving myself an excuse to shop.

I still have some exceptions, though. These are things I know I would need along the way but have not gotten around to buying: ear muffs, a spring trench coat, and one good pair of jeans. Apart from these, I am only allowed to buy replacements, and only of things that have run out or are legitimately destroyed.

See you in June ;)

(Just kidding. Will post monthly updates.)
No comments
21 December 2015

Philippians 12:21

Steve Harvey giveth the crown, and Steve Harvey taketh away.

The Philippines has not won Miss Universe in more than four decades. I myself have been waiting for this moment since Dindi Gallardo lost to Dayanara Torres in 1993 (technically the first pageant I watched was in 1992 when Namibia won, but I didn't know who Miss Philippines was, nor understand the whole concept of the pageant in general).

And now that it has finally happened, it had to be like this.
Goddammit Steve Harvey. You had one job.



Holy mother of cringe.
Seriously, what in the actual f*ck.

And while it's admirable, the level of composure that the girls showed after this... blunder, I think the only acceptable way to have gone about it would be to tear the crown to pieces and throw chunks of it at the other girls.

A piece for Miss USA, a partial Miss Universe.
And a piece for Miss Colombia. She has been severely humiliated, but she still looks like a rock star.
And none for Gretchen Wieners Steve Harvey.

... Still a great night
No comments
20 December 2015

Five Things

{Calbee Yuzu-Chili Potato Chips}

So, so very good, and now I can't find it anywhere. Damn seasonal flavors.

{Baumkuchen}

I've seen more baumkuchen in Yokohama alone than in a Weihnachtsmarkt. I even won one as a consolation prize in our office Christmas party. It's good, but I cannot for the life of me understand why it is such a big deal in these parts. I feel the exact same way about Tokyo Banana.

{Guess the Product}

The only characters I can decipher say "Toilet". And then you have a car, no water, and two people with an urgent need to pee (quite an accurate rendering, I must say). Found in the section with the emergency kits and things, so I guess that somewhat clues you in as to whatever this is for. I wonder what that white powder does, though (probably not the smartest thing to keep in the glove compartment, no?).

{Make Your Own Cup Noodles}

The Cup Noodle Museum is a ten-minute walk from the flat. There's not a lot to see (there is only so much you can say about instant noodles, after all), but you can make your own cup noodles - you get to design the cup and select the soup base and toppings. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would (and Abe doubly so - it took him almost half an hour to finish "designing" his cup whilst I being the creative genius that I am merely colored in the letters and signed my name). It was 800 yen well spent (500 for the entrance, 300 for the DIY cup noodles).

{"Mischief" Coin Bank}

This is a gift, but I needed to "test" it, yes?
Will definitely get the panda when it's back in stock.
A video posted by ella yap (@ellayap) on
No comments
11 December 2015

What I've Been Loving Lately: House Things

Back to (ir)regular programming ;p

I have gone from "OMG this apartment is so awesome" to "who in his right mind would place the only full-length mirror in the house in the bathroom in front of the shower" (seriously, who?) so I guess it's safe to say that the honeymoon phase with the new flat is over. I still love it to bits though. And while I still have a long list of things to do before I can say I've settled down completely (and by that time I'm probably about to leave), it feels more and more like home everyday.

Dansk coffee mugs

My apartment came with a pair of white, nondescript mugs, which I like but they hold such a paltry amount of coffee that it gets cold almost immediately. It took me three weeks to get bigger ones because these days I've been so picky. I think it comes with the whole "minimalist" territory, i.e. if this mug is the only mug I'm getting then it better be perfect. It's annoying and very frustrating, but it has done a good job of keeping me from accumulating stuff.

Anyway.
I found these mugs in the outlet store in Torihama. I am unfamiliar with the brand, but they do have a lot of very pretty enameled cookware (which I am also tempted to get). I've always wanted a red coffee mug, thanks to years of watching Nescafe commercials, and quite predictably I got a white one as well. They hold a good amount of liquid, and the handles are surprisingly ergonomic.

My Kitchen Drawer
Surprise! It's a grill!

I am told it's a common feature of Japanese kitchens. It's technically a broiler, with a heating element on both the top and bottom. The best part is once you slam it shut all the smoke goes straight to the ventilation system - I can now cook pork belly without smelling it on my clothes for days. 

Naturally I inaugurated it with twice-cooked adobo (wrapped in shiso leaves because we're fancy like that) and it performed superbly. It works for roasted veggies as well, and for reheating random deep-fried things from the depachika.

Laundry Gel Balls

Granted, measuring out the proper amount of detergent for a load of laundry is not rocket science, but there is just something so immensely satisfying when you chuck in that gel ball and call it a day. Plus they are so cute and squishy! And they smell awesome too :)

Spiced Apple Cider
Whenever I drink apple cider I think of Prague, that one time I ducked into a random cafe to escape from the cold winter rain.

I got this from Dean & Deluca, and while I'm sure it's nowhere close to apple cider made from scratch, it's perfect for lazy winter nights when I'm all bundled up in the couch watching Animal Planet - all I have to do is boil some water, mix in a bit of syrup, and hmnmnmnmnm instant comfort <3
No comments
03 December 2015

Minato Mirai 21

So I've been living here for a month now. An entire month. It's kinda nuts.

Minato Mirai feels like that one corner of Sim City that you always keep pristine and pretty - full of gleaming high rises, picturesque buildings, and a giant Ferris Wheel thrown in for good measure.

And to think I was initially opposed to living here - the agent in charge of arranging my accommodations only recommended one option, and because I have become jaded after dealing with one too many failed rentals I was naturally apprehensive (and maybe a bit suspicious). Thankfully my fears were unfounded because I am utterly smitten with my apartment. I often find myself wanting to hug my kitchen (and maybe I have).

Having lived (comfortably, may I add) in studios just a wee bit larger than a shoebox, this flat feels like an overabundance of space. For Japan, most especially. And with a grocery in the next building, a park right across, and a network of malls a stone's throw away, it's hard to find fault in the location.

A couple more minutes of walking and you're in AkaRenga, the Red Brick Warehouse (now a mall), a welcome sight after all that steel and glass.

Life's been good, and I am grateful.
No comments