Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Feeling the thick bristly hair scratching your legs is one of the more exciting parts of riding on an elephant. Having their trunk search around to find your leg and snort on it is another. One of my favourite experiences in Thailand was riding and feeding gorgeous elephants. It's polite to let the elephant sniff you and then feed it some jackfruit before you climb aboard the basket. Once you're settled in, the mahout will clamber aboard your elephant's head and the journey will begin. The movement feels quite odd at first - kind of a pendulous sway - but you quickly become accustomed to it. The langourous heat of the Thai jungle is more bearable on top of an elephant; especially when you go through the river and he playfully squirts you!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Four Things...

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
English Teacher

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over, and Have:
Natural Born Killers
Pulp Fiction
Moulin Rouge
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
(Can I only write 4?!)

Places I've Lived:
Numerous places around Brisbane, Australia
Numerous places around Saitama and Tokyo, Japan

Shows I Love to Watch:
Sex and the City
Red Dwarf
The Bionic Woman

Four Websites I Visit Daily (and more than once daily):
Go Lloyds (to check exchange rates)
Sudoku (to fulfill my addiction)
Amazon Japan (to browse and plan my next purchase)

Four Favorite Foods:
Gelato & all things Italian
Thai Food
Japanese Food
Mexican Food

Four Places I Would Like to Visit:
Kenya, Tanzania & Zanzibar
Eastern Europe

Four places I'd rather be:
Swimming at the beach
In a plush cinema watching a movie
Browsing in an all English bookstore
Anywhere with my better half

Four albums I can't live without:
Nirvana - Nevermind & In Utero
Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking
Radiohead - Okay Computer & The Bends
Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
(Choosing just 4 is way too hard!)

Four People I am Tagging:
Alex, Chiyo & Hiroki
Chelsea's Mama

I know I didn't exactly stick to four things...but thanks
melbo for the tag!

How can it be Monday morning already?!

You Are a Double Espresso

Hey Energizer Bunny Girl! Do you ever slow down?
You're a mix of high energy and ambition, perfectly matched with strong espresso
When you want something you get it - by any means possible
You're driven, determined, and no nonsense. Which is just how you like your java.

Friday, February 24, 2006

And the Gold Goes to...

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Would the Real Japan Please Stand Up...

When you say "Japan" most people immediately think of


and shrines
...but the reality is not so pretty

it's train lines, advertising and power lines

and people on bikes waiting for trains to pass.

However, both versions of Japan are equally fascinating!
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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

You Are What You Eat...

This was in my inbox today so I just had to share it!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How to have fun in Hawaii...

There are so many fun things to do in Hawaii:

Watch the passing crowd on Waikiki Beach
2. Eat breakfast on the beach at
Duke's Canoe Club
3. Go
4. Watch
leis being made
5. Go
6. Watch a free
hula show
7. See the
torches being lit at the beach
8. Climb
Diamond Head
9. Watch the
sunset from Waikiki Beach

Monday, February 20, 2006

Still got a lot of good living left yet!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Return to "hell"...

This is another jigoku in Beppu, Kyushu. This time you are looking at Umi jigoku or "sea hell" which funnily enough features a pond of hot blue water. Who knew steam could be so photogenic?!
Well...I'm off to soak in my own personal onsen
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Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the Sands Resort...

In London I went here:

to see this:

I woke up in the morning and decided I wanted to see some kind of show. So I went to the tkts booth in Leicester Square to see what was available that day. Without knowing what the show was even about, I purchased the ticket and set off to find the Savoy Theatre. Filled with toe tapping tunes like "That's Amore", "What Kind of Fool Am I", and "Luck Be a Lady", it was an entertaining way to spend the afternoon. If you get the chance to see this - I recommend it; just be prepared to get the songs stuck in your head for days!

"When the moon hits your eye
Like a big pizza pie
That's Amore."
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Looks like I'm living in the wrong city!

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cherry blossoms everywhere...

Up close and personal

Attempted arty shot

Too gorgeous to stop snapping

Masses of luscious blooms

All shots were taken at Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture last April.
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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Gryffindor Rocks...

gryfindor crest
You belong in Gryffindor! You are honest loyal,
brave and true. Not that but your pretty
smart too! Your in this House along with the
Weasleys, Harry, Nevile, Fred and George,
Lavender Brown, Ginny Weasley, Oliver Wood,
Lee Jordan and Hermione. Your house was
founded by Godric Gyffindor, and your colors
are gold and red.....wear them proudly.

Which Hogwarts House Would You be Put in?? *with pics!*

Oscar 2006 Presenters...

Hosted by Jon Stewart

The 78th Annual Academy Awards will be televised live from the Kodak Theatre on Sunday March 5, 2006 - a week later this year due to the Torino Winter Olympics!

Kirin Nuda Life Sparkling

Waiting for the train yesterday I found this new drink:

With a name like Kirin Nuda how could I resist - so I forked over my 130 yen and discovered that it actually tastes quite nice. It's a sparkling water with a faint lemon flavour. At 0 calories I guess you drink it so you can look good in the nuda?!
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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

How to Avoid Jet Lag Naturally!

Jet Lag: A temporary disruption of bodily rhythms caused by high-speed travel across several time zones typically in a jet aircraft.

  1. Avoid coffee, tea or products containing caffeine 48 hours before your flight. (Unfortunately this also includes chocolate!)
  2. Get at least 6 hours sleep the night before flying.
  3. Once onboard, adjust your watch to the time of your destination.
  4. During the flight, drink at least 1.25 litres of water (bring your own bottle).
  5. Avoid coffee, tea and alcohol during the flight. Drink only water and juice - especially tomato juice (as it may be an effective blood thinner).
  6. Try to sleep as often as possible - make sure you take your shoes off and keep warm.
  7. Dab a small amount of your favourite essential oil under your nose and on your temples to relax you and keep the bad smells of other passengers away from you.
  8. Pre-order a special meal - especially the low-calorie meal as it contains more fruit and vegetables and is not as heavy in your stomach.
  9. Before and after every nap, walk around the plane and do some stretching - deep breathing is useful too.
  10. When you arrive at your destination, go outside and walk. If it's still daytime, walk for at least 30 minutes. If it's nighttime, walk for at least 10 minutes.
  11. Eat your meals based on the time at your destination - if you are not particularly hungry snack on fruit, yoghurt and vegetables.
  12. Keep drinking at least 1.25 litres of water a day.
  13. Enjoy your trip!

Follow the same procedure when returning home.

I followed the above plan when I recently travelled from Japan to London, Paris, London and back to Japan...and for the first time I had no jet lag whatsoever! I could hardly believe it as I'm usually exhausted for at least a week when I return from London. Cutting out the coffee for 48 hours was a KILLER but I managed it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Rose in the Deeps of his Heart
by William Butler Yeats

All things uncomely and broken,
all things worn out and old,
The cry of a child by a roadway,
the creak of a lumbering cart.

The heavy steps of the ploughman,
splashing the wintry mould,
are wronging your image that blossoms
a rose in the deeps of my heart.

The wrong of unshapely things
is a wrong to great to be told;
I hunger to build them anew
and sit on a green knoll apart,

With the earth and the sky and the water,
remade, like a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms
a rose in the deeps of my heart.

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The Code Vs. Vlad...

Last night I saw the full trailer for The Da Vinci Code . I'm still disappointed that they cast Hanks as Robert Langdon ... but I digress... when I saw the shot of him peering through the glass pyramid of the Louvre, it got me thinking of how incongruous - yet so right - these designs actually are. Francois Mitterand was perhaps truly visionary in commissioning I. M. Pei to design these. The play of light on the panes of glass is magical and they are a breath of fresh air in Paris' already stunning architectural masterpieces.

I was amused by the range of Da Vinci Code tours currently available in both Paris and London . No matter what your opinion of this pseudo-historical thriller - I enjoyed it - the reawakening of popular interest in art and history can only be a positive thing. As I was recently reading The Historian I started to think about the moneymaking possiblities with this story: The Historian tours through, Hungary, Bulgaria and Istanbul?! Though I'm not sure this book will have the same resonance as The Da Vinci Code did. As it's significantly longer and a little more challenging to read (It placed first in a poll of novels most often bought but never read in 2005). It doesn't have the same kind of "breathless" pace of's more a "fireside kind of chat" story. Langdon is a more Hollywood style of character than Paul. Reading both; Da Vinci feels more as though it was written with an eventual screenplay in mind than The HistorianPosted by Picasa

Monday, February 13, 2006

Current Top 10 on my iPod Mini:

This is what I'm listening to most this month:
  1. Ya No Hay Mujeres Feas - Tito Puente
  2. L'Amant (Da Lata Remix) - Ken Hirai
  3. The Caterpillar - The Cure
  4. Bestrafe Mich - Rammstein
  5. Something I Can Never Have - Nine Inch Nails
  6. Let Down - Radiohead
  7. More - Madonna (Dick Tracy Soundtrack)
  8. Just Because - Jane's Addiction
  9. World of Sleaze - Regurgitator
  10. Man of Constant Sorrow - Skeewiff

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Chicken that's finger licking good!

I'm always surprised by how cheap chicken breast is in Japan - it's the cheapest meat to eat here! I made this for dinner tonight:

Mustard Chicken
2 x chicken breasts (chopped)
as much garlic as you like (chopped)
4 brown button mushrooms (sliced finely)
dash of mirin*
3 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon wholeseed mustard
1 tablespoon sour cream

Put chicken, garlic and mushrooms in a non-stick frypan and splash with mirin. Leave to sit covered for about 10 minutes.
Saute until chicken is cooked and then add spinach and mustard stirring well.
When ready to serve; quickly stir sour cream through.

Serve with pesto pasta.

*Mirin is a slightly sweet mild sake (Japanese rice wine) used for cooking - substitute white wine if mirin is unavailable.

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The porcelain bus has many uses...

So I was recently sent some images of a restaurant decorated with bathroom paraphernalia and given the challenge of locating said restaurant and eating there if it was located in Japan. Assignment completed - the restaurant is Marton in Taiwan's southern port city of Khaohsiung; so I guess we won't be eating there this weekend!

Toilet Restaurant has loads more appetising pics.
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You say carousel...I say merry-go-round

Place de Hotel de Ville, Paris.
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Take a trip to "hell"

This is Chinoike jigoku (blood pond hell - due to its reddish brown water) in Beppu, Kyushu. The hells are onsens (hot springs) for viewing not soaking due to their high temperatures - between 50 and 99 degrees Celsius! There are nine of them and they are very popular tourist attractions. Beppu in Oita prefecture is a famous bathing town - there are over 3000 onsens to soak in. Unlike the usual rarefied atmosphere of ryokans (traditional inns), Beppu revels in its tackiness and is often referred to as the Las Vegas of onsen towns!
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"When 900 years you reach, look as good, you will not..."

"Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will."
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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's snowing...

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Monday, February 06, 2006

The most sophisticated bascule bridge ever built?

The design of Tower Bridge was the result of a public competition - the winning architect was Horace Jones. It was built over a period of 8 years and involved the sinking of 2 massive piers into the river bed to support it. The framework contains over 11 000 tonnes of steel. Steam was originally used to power the pumping engines but since 1976 this has been replaced by oil and electricity. The energy produced was then stored in accumulators which fed the driving engines which drove the bascules (French for see-saw or balance) up and down. Amazingly, the bascules only took about a minute to raise to their maximum 86 degrees. In 1952 A London bus had to leap from one bascule to the other when the Bridge began to rise with the bus still on it!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

K-K-K-Ken strikes back...

Very excited to watch A Fish Called Wanda on cable tonight!

It's K-K-K-Ken, c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me!
How are you going to c-c-c-catch me, K-K-K-Ken?
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An explosion for your tastebuds...

This was the most scrumptious ice cream I've ever eaten in my life. Made by Berthillon - artisan glacier - it was chocolate, praline and orange flavoured. Even now I can remember the velvelty texture and rich flavour. Maison Berthillon first opened in 1954 and their main store is located at 31 rue Saint-Louis-en-I'lle. Not only is this the most delicious ice cream in the world, they only use natural ingredients (i.e. milk, cream, eggs and natural flavours). This is how ice cream is supposed to be.
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"I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles"

Leaning forward Monsieur asked coldly and carefully:
"What did you do in Paris?"
To which I responded briefly and warmly
"We had a good time."

E.E. Cummings
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