A Bird’s Life

It’s the little things that matter.  What is it that make one happy?  Is it money? Is it wealth? Is it getting that newest bag or that trendiest fashion item? Or is it the little things?  In my thirties, I realize that for me now it is the little things.  A thought, a gesture, an experience.

The other day, I came home and since the weather was so lovely I sat on the front porch to take in some fresh air.  The weather was cool, the wind blew, trees wavered in the wind and birds flew here and there preparing their dinner (or so I think).

This for me was happiness.

I sat there looking out into the open sky whilst sounds of birds chirping filled the air.   Birds would fly and perch on the electrical wires forming a sihoulette against the darkening sky.  Someones one, sometimes two, or maybe more.  I could hear as the gush of wind ruffled leaves of nearby trees.   I wonder what makes birds happy.  Do birds know what happiness is? Or is it simply having food and wings to fly sufficient for them?  If so what is sufficient for us?

Can watching  birds fly around be sufficient to make us happy?

Yes it can. For that moment, that period of time. I was happy.  It’s the little things. Yes it is. What do you think?

Yakult Yakult

I’m always looking for something healthy to eat and drink, but when you are on a weightloss program things get a lot tougher.  I love drinking Yakult.  If you don’t know what it is, it is probiotic drink made by fermenting skimmed milk with a special strain of Lactobacillus.  This is supposedly a very healthy drink that is supposed to regulate your bowel movements and help you in a zillion ways.

It’s an awesome drink that refreshes me every time I drink it.  I love it.   The funniest thing is that it is only sold by direct sales.  It’s not easily found in stores and you have to find it from one of the Yakult ladies dressed in their brown uniform with a brown cap.  Originally from Japan, this drink is now sold worldwide.

However, if you are on a diet, I have to tell you this.  BEWARE.  Yakult is extremely high in sugar with roughly 17 grams of sugar in a 100g serving!!  That’s already around 6% of your suggested daily intake.  Sugar, as I’ve mentioned before slows down your metabolism.  If you have it first thing in the morning, it does no good for one who is trying to lose weight.  Oh, it’s also roughly 75 calories, which is relatively high for such a small bottle.  I always had two at a time!

Some also claim that to really get all the added benefits of Lactobacillus, you need to drink a lot more than that one bottle.  I have no scientific evidence, so you will have to do your own research.  Just note, beware of the sugar in Yakult!

Bangkok Dining: Ramentei

 

Talking to a Japanese friend about Japanese food and ramen, I cannot but think about taking you to this ramen place I’ve been going to since I was young called “Ramentei.”  If you live in Bangkok, I’m sure many of you have heard about this place and have been to it.  They have a couple branches, with the original one being near Villa Supermarket on Sukhumvit 33.  There’s another one next to Thaniya Plaza where one goes to see golf materials, and there is also one between Suriwong and Silom roads.

What I love about it, is that it’s simple, serves good food fast and you know what to expect.  Delicious ramen, served efficiently and in a relatively clean restaurant.   Some locations are older than others, but overall, it’s clean and good.   You can choose between sitting in the Japanese style tables, or on regular tables.  I personally prefer regular tables since I always think they’re more comfortable and don’t require my pushing myself to get up.

What’s good? My current favorite is the Hiyashi Ramen. I’ve suddenly grown to enjoy cold ramen and especially when it’s full of vegetables and delicious sesame infused sauce, I cannot resist it.  You get to enjoy the full flavor of the noodle and its texture.  Alex had the pork ramen and that too was good if you enjoy hot soup with meats.  I’ve had other kinds of ramen though and so far I’ve enjoyed them all.  Also, I like the fact that Japanese people also frequent this place (which to me means that it is a sign of approval).  If the japanese come here for ramen, then it must be quite good don’t you think?

Oh another thing, if the portion is too large for you, you can always ask for the smaller bowl.  I think they take around 20baht off your bill, which isn’t much, but then you don’t have to worry about wasting food that could go to feed other hungry people.

The last time I went (which was a few months ago) the dishes were around 180thb each and very reasonable.  With all this inflation, prices may have gone up a bit, but I suspect it will still be value for money.    Itadakimasu!

A Gift for Birthdays

Every year just before my birthday, I get into a frenzy and decide I have to make a resolution.  It’s a relatively new phenomenon for me thats been happening ever since I hit my thirties. I suppose it’s the sudden realization that I am no longer young.  Each passing year, means another year of my life has passed and there are fewer to look forward to.

We grow up hearing abuout New Year Resolutions, but I wonder why can’t we have Birthday Resolutions? It sounds so much more fun.   Each year just before our birthdays, we can all make resolutions.  Resolutions for ourselves. Resolutions that we want, whether it be taking better care of our health, or finishing that project we’ve been planning for years.

You start off these resolutions at your own pace, your own time.  The focus is on you. Afterall, it’s your birthday.   It’s “Me” Time resolutions to remind us that these are goals we set for ourselves and sincerely want to get done.  Remember though that “wanting” is not sufficient.  We have to also “JUST DO IT”!  Get it done and off your “To Do List” before there’s no time.

Make a Birthday Resolution. It’s the best gift you can give yourself.  Happy Birthday!

A Bad Hair Day

Have you ever woken up and had a “bad” hair day?  I think every girl must have experienced this one time or another in their life.  Sometimes you wake up and don’t know what happened overnight while you were dreaming to cause your hair to just become a nest like mass that seems to have a life of its own.  As it happens (like it always knows when), it happens on the day your alarm clock seemed to have turned itself off and you have to rush off for a morning meeting.

You feel like you are having a “bad” hair day.  It just doesn’t feel good and it nags you the rest of the day.  If you were like me, sometimes I’d go around saying I have a “bad” hair day, complaining about it and telling others about it…It turns out to be a miserable day where everything goes wrong.

Then one day I realized, it was better to keep quiet.

If you are having a “bad” hair day, have one privately. By telling people about and announcing your  “bad” hair day to the world you are actually focusing their attention on something they might otherwise not have noticed.   When you point it out, people will notice.  It’d make you feel like you are indeed having a “bad” hair day.  If you don’t talk about it, they might not and you can go around having a “good” hair day instead.

It actually feels better to not have to focus on things that didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to be.  Have a “good” hair day and toss out the “bad” hair days 🙂

 

Bangkok Night Out: Jazz @ Saxophone Pub

The weather is kinda blue, the sky is cloudy, the rain drizzles.  It sounds like a perfect evening for a night out listening to Jazz/Blues.  I’ve been in Bangkok for years and heard about this “Saxophone Pub” as the place to go listen to jazz/blues, but never had the chance.  Finally, one drizzling evening, I had the opportunity and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed sitting and listening to live bands playing the Blues.

It’s located right by the Victory Monument and withing walking distance from the BTS station.  If you drive they also have limited parking, but its by the roadside so you take your own risk.  At first glance, I thought I was somewhere else other than Bangkok.  It reminds me of Philly.  The outside has orange lighting and a small door leads you inside to a dimly lit room.  It’s more spacious than it looks outside and the high ceiling upon entering makes it feel comfortable.  The live band plays in the middle of the room and a counter surrounds it, allowing one to grab a seat and fully enjoy the music.  They also have a second floor and seats line the balcony allowing those upstairs to also peer down and watch the action.

A painting of Jimi Hendrix hangs on a back wall and the beer dispenser is shaped in the form of a Saxophone.  I love it.   The lights that hang above the tables upstairs are the old trumpet shaped sound projector part of antique music boxes.  (Forgive me, I cannot remember what you call it!)  The wooden walls and the somewhat rustic decoration makes you feel at ease.  It’s relaxing in here.  No ties nor suits.  It’s jeans and t-shirt.

The crowd is mainly those who love jazz and blues.  From my guess it’s mostly upwards from mid thirties.  Wonderful.  The no-smoking regulation makes it heavenly.  You can sit there listening to the live band playing without having to worry about getting smoke in your eyes.  Whenever I’m near a smoker, I tear and tear .  I tear so much people always stop to ask me if everything is “okay.”  With tears in my eyes, I reply “yes..thank you, it’s just the smoke.”  Now, I no longer have that problem. Yipee!

Apparently they have different bands playing on different nights.  The night I went there was  a man playing on a harmonica with the rest of the band.  It was awesome.  I loved it, if only the electricity didn’t suddenly die out on us.  Fear not, they had back up so there was no panic.

My only comment is that the decibel level was too high for me.  It averaged around 90-100 decibels and it made my ears ring.  I’m not used to loud noises, but if you are they it should be fine for you.  I wished I had ear plugs, but I did not.  I look around me but everyone seemed happy.  I guess it was just me.

Anyways, they have a website (being in modern day age)…here goes: http://saxophonepub.com/2010/

Oban Yaki: Japanese Style Pancake @ Isetan CTW

I love Japanese food. I can eat it everyday and still not get bored with it.  Tonight I feel like having some Japanese Oban Yaki (which are Japanese pancakes with some fillings) so to curve my craving,  I will tell you instead about it.  It’s incredibly delicious and satisfying.  It’s comfort food that beats all the other comfort foods. (For me anyways)

I’ve never had this pancake anywhere else other than at the Isetan Store at Central World in Bangkok so I cannot tell you if it’s the best one, but even then I find it scrumptious.  I can feel my eyes sparkle and already my mouth curving into a grin just thinking about this pancake hot off the stove with gooey fillings.  I like the one with the hot chocolate filling, but the creamy custard or the red bean are also just as good.   The chocolate is hot and gooey to the right consistency, not too sweet nor too bitter.  I can imagine myself biting into the warm hot chocolate, whose taste is just perfectly offset by the pancake.  It also doesn’t run down your hands so it’s perfect.  The cream is just lovely and not too sweet.  A great cream pancake if you love cream buns.  The red bean is a thicker consistency and full of nutrients.  (I’m not a very keen red bean person)

The counter is just outside the Isetan supermarket on the fifth floor and behind a glass wall you can observe the pancakes being made.  A special stove with large indentations form the shape of the pancake.  The batter is first put in, rotated and the filling finally dropped in just as the pancake is partially cook.  Towards the end, the second half is placed on top and a few minutes later you have the Oban Yaki.

I love watching it being made.  Almost every time I go there, I find a little crowd of people watching as they wait for the Oban Yakis to be ready.  It’s that popular, on weekends they aren’t made fast enough for the hungry consumer.  I always buy at least three and for a mere 30thb each, they aren’t a bad deal…

They are so good that when I went to Japan last year, I actually went around looking for the “original” from Japan, made in Japan Oban Yaki, but helas I could not find it.  Perhaps its only found in certain cities.  I suppose this gives me an excuse to go back to Japan and look for it some day.  I still love the country.