Happy Father’s Day!

Family dinner at Boon Tong Kee to celebrate Father’s Day! My father used to lament that Mother’s Day is celebrated in a bigger way than Father’s Day. Can’t dispute that.

Found a blog post of the last time we celebrated Father’s Day with the two grandfathers when they were still alive.

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Bye Okinawa!

Ending with a parting shot of some of our meals in Okinawa. The most famous Okinawa dish is stir fried bitter gourd (goya) with eggs and tofu and spam … reminds me of a typical “菜饭” dish. I enjoy eating bitter gourd so that was my standard order at local restaurants. My boys obviously did not think the same, they had so much trouble looking for udon … which does not exist in local restaurants because soba is the main noodle they serve.

Fruits were notoriously expensive. We had to wait till we got to the more ulu parts of Okinawa before we could get more reasonably priced apples and melon.

T’s favourite eatery was Yoshinoya! He thinks the beef bowls in Okinawa tastes fab and he rates it “more than five stars”!

Motobu

We stayed in Motobu town in the second half of our trip. It was so far from everywhere that we had to drive quite a bit even to get to the supermarket. And wow, the supermarket had a great view of the Motobu Okinawa Sesoku Bridge!

Cape Zampa

The last touristy place we visited before we returned the car.

The waves were strong and crashing into the rocks when we got there. There was a lighthouse, but me and KL didn’t go up. Not wise to linger too long at the cape because it was threatening to rain, plus the boys were waiting for us in the car.

Zakimi Castle

Our last day sightseeing in Okinawa. We checked out of our Motobu accommodation and drove back to Naha. Along the way, we stopped at Zakimi Castle ruins, another UNESCO world heritage site. There are 9 such sites in Okinawa, and we managed to visit 3 on this trip.

The Zakami Castle ruins weren’t sprawling, and you could literally walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes. Still, it was a nice walk if you think about how the whole place is steeped in history. 

T was still feeling unwell, so he and K stayed in the car while me and KL took a short walk around the ruins.

Cape Hedo

KL and K went to Cape Hedo today. According to KL, this was the most scenic drive among all the days we spent in Okinawa. From the Cape, there were great views of the sea, mountain, cliff. They also went to Daisekirinzan, a tourist spot that KL described as “cheesy”. But the views from the mountains were apparently “wow”. 

Anyway, me and T were homebound today. Boys really are taking turns to be sick on this trip. T woke up feeling bad and absolutely leave the house. He didn’t even want to eat pasta, and just survived on two small jellies the whole morning (he puked that out later). He didn’t have a fever, so I just let him nap the whole day while I caught up on dramas. I watched a lot of dramas on this trip because I spent three whole days indoors! T was able to take a small portion of rice and beef (from his favourite Yoshinoya) in the late evening, so I think he’s going to get better tomorrow!

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

We spent the whole day at Churaumi Aquarium today. There was so much to see inside! 

We had lunch and ice cream at a cafe that overlooked a massive tank! Food was so so, but the view of the sharks and manta rays was priceless!

The dolphin show had a really great view of the blue sea! Glad we caught the show!

Blistering hot day! I had a cold bubble tea, K had a frozen slushie, T and KL had ice cream to keep cool! And T had a lot of fun playing with the cool mist in the garden.

Emerald Beach Okinawa

Best thing to do on a scorching afternoon is to head to the beach! 

Emerald Beach is the nearest nicest beach to our accommodation. The beach was so clean and the water was crystal clear! 

Boys had a lot of fun trying to knock each other off some floatation device that was anchored at the play area of the beach.

Cycling in Okinawa

We rented bicycles today to get to Nakijin Castle. Along the way, we passed the beach, many homes, many farms. 

On Google Maps, the route was supposed to be 7km there, and 7km back. But the actual terrain was so tough! There were too many slopes to get through, and it didn’t help that the sun was scorching hot today. 

We stopped halfway for a cool drink, and decided that we’ll just turn back at the entrance of the castle. So we didn’t get to visit the castle at all! I’ll like to think that it was a good 10km workout for all of us!

Nakagusuku Castle

We drove to Nakagusuku Castle today. This fortress is a UNESCO world heritage site that was built in the early 15th century. The stone walls are really well preserved. There were however, no signs in English to explain the heritage value of the ruins.

Weather was great, and we enjoyed just roaming around the ruins. The panoramic view over Nakagusuku Bay was great too!

Cape Chinen

We drove to Cape Chinen today. View was good, but not great because it was so cloudy by the time we got there. We had a short 15 minutes to explore before it started pouring. 

It’s been raining every single afternoon! Is it always like that in summer? Anyway, it was still a good drive. Boys had fun winding down the windows to “touch” the clouds when we were driving around the cape.

Okinawa Peace Memorial Park

K has no more fever! Whew, he’s finally well enough to go out! KL rented a car for the rest of trip and today, he drove us all to the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park. 

We visited both the Peace Memorial Museum and the Himeyuri Monument to learn about the local experience in the last few months in 1945 before WWII ended. Both the museum and the monument focused on the Battle of Okinawa. The museum was nicely curated, and it was hard going through the entire place without feeling upset about the senseless killing. 

BUT … this perspective was of course a Japanese one. Although the “war” experience for locals in Okinawa started in 1945, for many others in Asia, the war had already been raging for years. That was something that the monument failed to mention, and which the museum very briefly alluded to.  

Kokusai Street

Kokusai Street is like the main shopping street here in Naha, Okinawa. It’s a short 500m walk from our accommodation so this is where we head to for our ice cream, meals, souvenirs. And we just kept going back (or rather, we had to keep going back) because K totally couldn’t leave the house for two days, and Kokusai Street was the furthest we could venture without him. 

T and me went to Macs to pack dinner just now. T had a lot of fun using Google Maps to get us there, even though it was along the same street and I totally knew where Macs was without referring to a map. 

K had some porridge, some nuggets, for dinner. He looks so much better now. If he continues to recover, we should all be able to go out tomorrow!

Sueyoshi Park

KL and T visited this park today. They said it was an eerie park because there were plenty of graves, nobody in the park, and they couldn’t find a temple they were looking for. There were rain clouds, T was unhappy (he said it was a scam) and so they only spent an hour there.

K was sick with a fever. He was basically stuck to his futon, and I stayed at home with him the whole day. Took the chance to catch up on my K dramas.

Random Walk

We were so hot when we left Shuri Castle that we hopped onto a taxi to get to the nearest mall … which turned out to be Aeon Haebaru Shopping Center. The mall was smallish, so we stayed for only a short while. And then horrors, there were no public transport options outside the mall. KL tried to warn me before we hopped onto the taxi, but obviously I didn’t pay much attention to what he said.

Anyway, we had to walk 3km up-slope and up-slope under the hot sun just to get to the nearest train station! I totally like random walks, but I really cannot say the same for the rest of my family!

Shuri Castle

We visited Shuri Castle today. The castle is a UNESCO heritage site that sits within the Shurijo Castle Park and the whole area could be covered by foot in 1.5 hours.

The boys went on a stamp rally, where they had to go around the park to find stamps. After completing the rally, they get to redeem stickers. This activity keep them very occupied!

PS: T wanted to try sitting on the throne. But can’t get close, lol!

Hello Okinawa!

We’re in Okinawa this June school hols! Jetstar flies direct from Singapore to Okinawa in 5 hours. So our flight really wasn’t too long, but timing was bad and we arrived super early in the morning in a sleep deprived state. First day was spent just lazing around. We napped most of the day away and headed out only for food. Highlight of the day was eating Blue Seal ice cream!

It’s T’s first trip to Japan. I can already tell that he really likes Japanese convenience stores (also known as conbini), lol! He posed like a crazy happy person in the conbini on various days of the trip …

Bits and Pieces in May 2019

All about food this month.

The boys are not addicted to games anymore so we have lifted the udon / pasta ban too. I need to quickly finish the stash of udon at home before they expire!

My mum is still cooking dinner twice to thrice a week. Took a pic of the special fried rice that she saved just for me. My version comes with prawns and egg!

And finally, on one of those rare day, KL decided that he would cook for the three of them instead of packing from the food court downstairs. They were just about to tuck in to their instant noodles and sausages when I got home from work!

38 years old!

Turned 38 over the long weekend! We drove in to JB for a staycation. We had Macs for lunch on the first day, as the boys were rushing to catch the Avengers movie. I had to pose with my burger because I have not eaten Macs for lunch for years! And couldn’t remember what made T upset in the last pic, but it’s a funny one so I’ll post it anyway.

Drove back early on Monday to beat the jam. Early enough to go for a jog, have dinner at our favourite Jap restaurant in Liang Court, and come home for cakes. Ate plenty of cake earlier this week in office. My thoughtful colleagues gave me a big slab of kueh lapis and a pandan chiffon cake, cos they know this is what I like at the moment!

Happy birthday to my bestest friend too! Like me, he turned another year older. It’s pretty awesome to literally grow older TOGETHER every year!

Munchkin

This is what’s they’re up to this month. In between homework and revising for exams, they’ll be sprawled on the floor sprouting Munchkin speak for an hour or more.

Gardens by the Bay

Few weeks back, we brought them out to cycle. KL and K rented bikes, T had his own child bike (with a snack pouch), and I scooted. We started near Macs at East Coast Park, cycled to Gardens by the Bay, cycled back to return the bikes. Weather was good, and we completed 17km in slightly over 2 hours.

T was kept happy with his snack pouch. He ate a lot of Poky sticks and he didn’t whine a single bit!

Pollution

4 May 19
(Our car was queuing behind a snaking jam outside JCube)
T: And that is why I don’t like the city. It’s polluted. I like our home.
(I had to explain to T that the whole in Singapore is considered a city.)
Me: Why do you think where we live is not in a city?
T: Because it does not have a mall. (Wow, he forgot about Star Vista. And no, we do not live in the suburbs or countryside.)

11 May 19
(We were in Marina. Saw a plume of black smoke coming out of a building)
T: I hate the city, there is so much pollution.
Me: The whole of Singapore is a city, this place is just called the city centre.

T: I think I will get asthma when I go back home (because not used to air in the city centre).
….
T: No smoking by law. What’s the point when it’s so polluted?

Fetching the towel

Found a blog draft that was dated August 2015 …

31 Aug 15
K: I am done (with bathing), can you give me my towel?
Me: TT, bring the towel to him.
T: I always have to bring the towel.
Me: I always have to cook for you.
T: Not always, sometimes we go out and eat.

Random conversations with a five year old

Found a blog draft that was dated August 2014 …

18 Aug 14

T asked me if the (Pasir Panjang) war museum was already built before he was born. He wanted to know whether there was a war going on before he was born. 

Mid August 14

Me: Do you want to be a bus driver?
T: No
Me: Do you want to be an aeroplane driver?
T: Nooo, that’s call a pilot
Me: Do you want to be a pilot?
T: No
Me: Do you want to be a train driver?
T: Yes!
Me: Why?
T: Because trains are easy to drive

 

Values

Found a blog draft that was dated June 2014 …

I have totally no recollection what this post is about. Did I come up with this because I read a book or attended a course that talked about values? Were these values from a quiz that we did online? Hmm …

Kok Loon
Practicality
Balance
Creativity

Kaizer
Health
Self-control
Happiness
Fun
Love
Joy

Titus
Happiness
Health
Self-control
Love
Fun

Jane
Learning
Happiness
Fun

Growing up very fast

Found a blog draft that was dated June 2014 …

K was growing up very fast. He was then a few months short of seven, but there was already plenty of things that he was doing independently …

  1. Since second week of January: Bringing himself home from school everyday. Journey requires him to spend 20 minutes on public bus (7/8 stops) and 5 minutes on foot (1/2 traffic lights and a few blocks).
  2. Since second week of January: Completing his homework and packing his back on his own by 4pm everyday. He does so because he wants the reward of being brought to the park/pool/library/gym, and on my end I’ve also been diligent in doling out the playtime (except on days where T is being punished for bad behaviour and playtime is cancelled) so he’ll continue to be motivated to finish his work on time.
  3. By and large, he has no problems tackling his English, Math and Chinese homework on his own. His handwriting is slightly untidy and I can see that he’s making quite a lot of effort to correct it now. The only homework that he has problems with is art. He always wants me to be around when he does his art homework. Maybe art is not really his cup of tea because he’ll tell me things like he doesn’t know what to draw, can’t squeeze poster colours out from their tubes w/out messing up, etc. It’s good that art homework only needs to be submitted once a week cos I really hate to be hovering around him when he’s doing his homework. It’s his homework and he’s the one attending school, so why should I be the one teaching him how to do it or dictating how he does it?
  4. 27 Jan 14: Started CCA and managed to get home using a slightly different route. In his school, P1 students are not encouraged to take on a CCA. But I begged the Form Teacher to let him try because I really wanted him to be meaningfully occupied with a few more hours in school per week. We discussed a few CCA options over email (Chinese dance was even one of my options) and ended up with Math Club which he likes but is only 1 hour per week. After CCA ends, he has to take a different route home because the regular gate he uses would have been closed by then. We verbally instructed him to walk a certain route to his regular stop. But after the first day of CCA, he decided on his own to take another route to another bus stop which his same-bus passes everyday. No problems with getting home after CCA now since he knows 2 routes to take.
  5. 6 Feb 14: He got himself lost at a bus stop he’s never alighted before, but still managed to get home after some verbal instructions from me, phew! He called me on his emergency phone and said he was lost and at NUS. Actually, it’s UTown and he’s been there a few times with us and it’s about 2km from our home. He told me that night that he wanted to try getting down from another bus stop (that’s one stop after his regular stop but still walkable to our home) but claimed the bus didn’t stop. Luckily, he was calm enough (he said he cried but I didn’t really hear that on the phone) to take verbal instructions from me over the phone to cross to the opposite side of the road and take the same bus home. And luckily there was a safe pedestrian crossing for him to use because it’s a school zone. He took 20 minutes extra to get home that day.
  6. 10 Feb 14: He walked into the dentist’s office with two other classmates and got a dental checkup for himself at recess time! The boys were tempted by the free toothbrush and toothpaste that the dentist gave out with each checkup. Haa, boys! Recess had already ended but their dentist visit had not. The boys were a few minutes late for the next period and when they went back to their classroom, they realized their classmates were not there. They had the good sense to go check the school hall and found their classmates there. 
  7. 9 Jun 14: He got lost. He attended a holiday camp in school and was dismissed at 5pm. He missed the bus and thought of taking an MRT then changing another bus. Problem is that he’s NEVER tried this before. He got onto a train that brought him to an opposite direction. He took two stops to realize his mistake, then he got off and got onto the other side. When he dropped (finally) at the correct MRT station, he got onto a bus that brought him to an opposite direction from home. He took a stop to realize his mistake and then walked a long way home. All in all, he took 1.5 hours to get home when usually it’s a 20 minutes journey.
  8. Even with all the anecdotes above, he’s still young after all and definitely has a bit of a scatter brain … especially when it comes to taking care of his small belongings. He’s lost quite a few things since school started –> his watch (cheap from Daiso), 50 cents, wallet + $3 (because he was playing with it on the bus).