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5 Dec 2013
6 Dec 2013
7 Dec 2013

I have to say the places we visited on the fifth day was more picturesque.  

Our rest stop towards Lake Toya, which was our first destination. 

Lake Toya - This place is too beautiful for words! 

Next, we visited Mt Showa, an active volcano. Also known as "Showa New Mountain", it rose from a flat wheat field to its current height of 290 meters after a series of earthquake between 1943 and 1945. 

Our last destination was Jigokudani or "Hell's Valley", which displays hot steam vents, sulfurous streams and other volcanic activity. 

This place reeked of sulphur. 

Boiling hot.

(To be continued...)
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Our fourth day started with a trip to Sapporo Chuo Market. This place is famous for its Hokkaido crabs, Atka mackerel, shellfish, squid and salmon.  

I'm sure beer lovers would love to pay a visit to the beer factory as our next stop is to Asahi Beer Factory. Asahi is one of the top alcohol brands in Japan and they produce other beverages besides beer as well. During the tour of the factory, we get to know the main ingredients of beer making and where they are brewed etc. Unfortunately, most of the zones we visited are non-photography areas thus no photography or videos are allowed. We also get to sample Asahi beer and I have to say it tastes not so bad, considering I'm not a beer drinker, ha. 

Okurayama Ski Jump - that's where our next destination is. Below is a spectacular panoramic view of Sapporo city. 

The snow wasn't thick enough to ski, but peeps could still take the ski lift.    

Our last place to visit is Hokkaido Shrine, which is a Shinto shrine located in Sapporo. We didn't get to go in since it was near to closing time when we arrived. 

(To be continued...)


You must have heard stories or watched some films about a person being able to see ghosts, but have you wonder if there is also someone who may make that person who can see ghosts couldn't? No, I'm not referring to a priest or someone who has that special power but an ordinary person. 

South Korean drama "Master's Sun" lead heroine, Tae Gong-shil has the ability of seeing ghosts after she had had an accident several years back. Thus, she has been living in fear and frustration ever since. Used to be a popular student during her school days (thus her nickname "Big Sun") she now became a crazy and a weird woman in other people's eyes, because she sometimes talk to ghosts, which other people cannot see. 

Joo Joong-won, the lead hero is the CEO of Kingdom; a conglomerate that includes a major shopping mall and a hotel. He is a calculative man and he measures all relationships (no matter if it is personal or business) by money; he is the kind who would lean towards anything/anyone who benefits him. Based on the two protagonists' characteristic, their worlds shouldn't collide but it does, on a rainy night, to be precise. 

Joong-won thought Gong-shil was insane as she murmured to herself at times and touched him for no reason; while Gong-shil thought he was her savior because whenever she touched him the ghosts around her vanished. 

Joong-won didn't want to believe what she said, but it is hard to ignore her given her persistence and the things she had witnessed had proved to be true. Soon he has found himself fallen in love with her, while she has learnt not to depend on him too much as she felt by allowing him into her world might put him into danger. 

I'm a fan of both horror and romance genres so naturally "Master's Sun" appeals to me. However, what makes this drama so interesting is the chemistry between the two lead artistes. Actor So Ji-sub had portrayed the role of Joong-won perfectly through his superb acting skills (his signature in this drama is saying "Get lost!" to Gong-shil many times together with his 'go away' hand gesture). 

His two other movies, "A Company Man" where he was cast as a professional killer, and "Always" where we see him as an ex-boxer who has a dirty past but has redeemed himself and fallen in love with a blind woman, remains unforgettable to me as he has shown a tough and soft side of him respectively. Definitely a talented and versatile actor, I would say. 

Actress Gong Hyo-jin (Tae Gong-shil) may not have a face that turn heads, but her excellent acting skill speaks for everything. Through her role, she has shown us not to be afraid to embrace our fear and to conquer them; and that sometimes things are not what we think they are. You simply couldn't help but to like her character in "Master's Sun". 

Can you tell that I loved this drama? I truly do, so much so that I watched it the second time and bought the book version. 

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So I mentioned on my last WW post that we get to see snow fall on our second day of the trip, and it was so beautiful!

This is the view from our hotel room in the early morning and and there was snow flurries. It must have snowed heavily the last night because there was so much snow as compared to when we had first arrived at the hotel the previous evening.

Our first stop was to Sounkyo Gorge, situated at the foot of Mt Daisetsuzan. The mountain is accented by dramatic columnar cliffs that are lined with famous waterfalls. They called these waterfalls as Ryusei-no-taki (Shooting Star Falls) and Ginga-no-taki (Milky Way Falls).

Milky Way Falls.

Snow fall!!! Yes, we were all so excited! I could stand there all day enjoying this experience and taking in all the beautiful scenery! (Surprisingly it wasn't that freezing cold as we'd first expected.)

Our next stop was this beautiful Farm Tomita. Due to the winter season, there wasn't any flowers to be seen outdoor but there is a greenhouse where they do plant some flowers and lavenders. 

There is also another area where they exhibit dried flowers/plants and I have to say this place is a lovely sight! (Now who said dried flowers are dull and boring? Not me, definitely.) 

Our next destination was Furano Wine Factory. I'm not a big lover of wine, but it's definitely an eye-opening experience to see how wines are being fermented and stored in barrels. We also get to try some red and white wine before leaving; and guess what, we ended up buying a bottle of grape juice and a bottle of white wine respectively before proceeding to our next destination.

Our next visit is Furano Cheese Factory; but since it was a weekend we were unable to see how cheese are being made. However, we did sample bits of cheese and each of us bought a cone of ice cream, it was yummy! (You'd think it's silly to eat ice cream on a cold weather but we just couldn't resist!) 

That's typically how our lunch/dinner looks like (a hotpot filled with mixed vegetables with udon or rice), since we are vegetarians. Some of their side dishes are salads, Yasai tempura and a dish of cold tofu. I loved the hotpot; it was a nice treat on a cold weather. 

(To be continued...)

So it has been a long, long while since the last time I posted a 'Wordless Wednesday' post. With our vacation (Hokkaido and Seoul) in December last year, I figured this would be a great time for me to share the pictures we took and I hope you enjoy viewing them! 

It was the first time we visited Hokkaido though; as for Seoul it was our second visit. The first time we visited Seoul in 2012, it was winter season too but it was a regret that we didn't get to watch and experience snow fall. You see, I live in a hot and humid country (Singapore) whereby summer is all year around (well, except the monsoon season towards year end) so of course you can't blame me for making a huge fuss of it, hehe. Anyway, the first day we arrived Hokkaido we were disappointed to note that it wasn't snowing; so you can imagine how excited we all were that it snowed on the second day during our visit (which I'll share during my next WW post)!     

The above three pictures were taken during our journey in the coach. If I'm not wrong, I think the tour guide did mention to us that the fields we saw (second pic) are actually lavender fields and they are a beautiful sight especially in June/July when they are in full bloom! Aside from lavenders, they also have sunflower fields too. Well I'd want to visit again during the blooming season if given a chance! 

Our first destination is at Kitanomori Ice Pavilion. The Ice Pavilion is kept at a constant temperature at -20oC; but the highlight of the pavilion is visitors can enter a spot and experience the mind blowing temperature of -41oC! The tour guide said there was a year that Hokkaido experienced a -41oC temperature (the coldest temperature ever recorded) so they had built this pavilion for history sake. Well I regret to say I didn't get to experience the -41oC temperature (though I have to say I already couldn't stand the -20oC temperature, let alone -41o) since my youngest daughter didn't want to enter the coldest zone, and I couldn't blame her.  

So that was our first sight visit on our first day. We didn't go anywhere after that because it was already evening due to our prior flight schedule but everyone with the tour group was somewhat prepared of the cold temperature and we were all hoping that we would be able to see snow fall, which I mentioned earlier that it did the following day. 

(To be continued...)
ISBN-13: 978-0099520320
Publication: July 2013
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Trade Paperback, 432 pgs
Source: Personal Library

First of all, Happy New Year to you! I hope last year is a great reading year for many of you; as for me I've to say my reading has been slow for last year so I'm hoping that this year will be a better one. 

Back to the subject, I'm sure many readers have heard of Jo Nesbo, especially for those who are avid readers of crime thrillers. As for me, I'm ashamed to say I've not read his books yet but it's always better to read it now than never, right? So I picked up the first Harry Hole thriller, The Bat. There are a series featuring this smart investigator and I've heard so many good things about this series so I knew I'd be in for a good (reading) ride. 

Harry Hole is with the Norwegian police force and he is asked to investigate a murder case together with the Australian's police. The victim, Inger Holter was a Norwegian girl residing in Australia and the Australian's police thought that Harry Hole would be able to provide some assistance. Harry is being introduced and partnered to Andrew Kensington, an Australian Aborigine and homicide detective for the Sydney's Police. Despite the difference of their culture, environment and other issues, Harry acquainted with Andrew in no time and they started to share bits of their history aside from information surrounding the case. 

Unlike my previous reviews, I'd not delve into the synopsis so this time around I'd share what I think of this book instead. From the beginning, Inger Holter's boyfriend is approached as a huge suspect, considering he was a local drug lord and it seemed that they had had a huge disagreement prior to Inger's murder. However, as the story goes, it soon delves into Australian aboriginal culture and folklore which I felt pull my attention away from the plot itself. Don't get me wrong, I think it is always interesting to learn more about other cultures and history, but I just felt the thrill of the investigation part isn't strong enough. However, I liked it that the characterization of Harry Hole isn't a perfect one; he was flawed and he has a past which makes him think twice about drinking and I think that makes him more human rather than just a fictional hero. Plus, I think a perfect hero is simply boring, ha. 

Having said all that, I will continue to read the rest of Jo Nesbo's books, since I have a few of them sitting on my shelf. And I have a few blogger friends who have raved about them so that concludes everything.