Doraemons 40th Anniversary Celebration

This last weekend was Doraemons 40th Anniversary celebration. I'm not gonna lie, it was a pretty big deal in Singapore...and to me! My brothers and I grew up watching Doraemon in Japan so there was no way I was going to miss the celebration.

In case you are not familiar with the magic of Doraemon here is a little plot summary:

Doraemon is a blue robotic cat from the 22nd century who gets sent back in time by the clumsy and very unlucky forth-grader Nobita Nobi's great-great-grandson Sewashi to help improve Nobita's circumstances so that his descendants, including Sewashi, may enjoy a better future. In the original timeline, Nobita's failures in school and subsequently, his career, have left his family line with endless financial problems.

Doraemon has a pocket from which he produces many gadgets, medicines, and tools from the future. The pocket is called yojigen-pocket, or fourth-dimensional pocket. In a typical chapter, Nobita comes home crying about a problem he faces in school and/or the local neighborhood. After hearing him out, Doraemon always offers helpful advice to his problem(s), but that's never enough for Nobita, who is consistently looking for the "quick, easy" way out (which offers insight to the viewers as to why Nobita's life turned out the way it did). Finally, after Nobita's pleading and/or goading, Doraemon produces a futuristic gadget out of his aforementioned pouch to help Nobita fix his problem, enact revenge, or flaunt to his friends.

Nobita usually goes too far, despite Doraemon's best intentions, and gets into deeper trouble than before. Sometimes, Nobita's friends (usually Suneo or Gian) even steal the gadgets and end up misusing them. However, by the end of the story, there is usually retribution to the characters who end up misusing the gadgets and a moral, sometimes cautionary lesson is taught.

Podge, Sandy and Fraggle Play time

These kittens are growing like weeds! This week they learned how to stalk and pounce on each other, it's just too cute not to capture on video!

A little bit of history on naming the kittens. In the first few hours they are with us they are traditionally given "Kingsley names" which are typically somewhat strange. Names like: poofy, numb numb, titch, pirate, goatee to share a few from the past. Once they are given their "Kingsley name" I spend the next few days frantically trying to find some kind of similar sounding but alternate name to give them that isnt so crazy. If I cant find a new name within a few days, generally the "Kingsley name" sticks.

When we brought these guys home Kingsley immediately gave them the names: Sand Wedge (solid orange striped male), Freckles (orange and white male) and Hodge Podge (white calico female). It wasn't easy but I was able to modify Freckles to Fraggle (Fraggle Rock is the full legal name). Sand Wedge has been shortened to Sandy as I didn't think Wedgie would be appropriate. Can you imagine the teasing he would endure! Hodge Podge has been a bit difficult. I considered HP as an option but that sounded very technical. So I am calling her Podge at the moment as she is chubbiest of the three and during feeding time she is the one who climbs into the food bowl for better access to the food and to block her brothers!

City Lights

Went for an walk this evening after a great game of tennis. Kingsley took me to this bridge just down the road from our place with a cool view of the city. Being the photo novice that I am, I took my pics without a tripod and most of my shots turned out blurry but also kind of artsy in a way. Kingsley was much more professional with his tripod and time delayed shots.

Lynn's photos

Kingsley's photos

such a better picture when you take the time to do it right!

Indoor stadium at night- our place is just to the right of this picture

First flight

Been thinking a lot about Seattle this last week, I've been a little homesick since my parents left. Spent some time looking through my photos of Seattle which I'm not sure helped my missing of home but it did bring back lots of great memories.

This was a very special spring day in 2008. Kingsley had just passed his final exams and officially had his fixed wing pilots license. I was his (very nervous) first passenger. Thankfully we had a incident free flight!

The best part of the flight was the beautiful views of the greater Seattle area. The worst part of the flight was the landing...which I did not actually see because I was in the "brace position" and hyperventilating as we came in to land. Not my finest moment!

Snoqualmie falls - where John proposed to Amy

When we flew over lake Sammamish I was able to spot our house. I'll be back there one of these days!

East Plays West Concert

Tonight we were invited to attend the East Plays West concert at Fort Canning Park. Basically it was the Chinese orchestra playing Western songs on Chinese instruments.

It was such a fantastic performance. They played Strike Up the Band, Horse and Buggy, and West Side Story to name a few but my favorite was Schindler's List which included a solo by Li Bao Shun who played the Erhu which is similar to a violin but only has 2 strings.

This meant that to perform the solo he needed to use 3 different Erhu's (high, middle and low range notes). He managed to switch between these three instruments seamlessly while keeping us all entranced with the music. I hope this video can capture a small part of the magic.

3 year wedding anniversary

Last week Kingsley and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. It was also the last night my parents were in town so we went "out on the town" to probably one of the best Japanese restaurants in Singapore with my parents. It was a bittersweet night, I was sad my parents were leaving but also loved the fact that Kingsley and I were celebrating 3 years of marraige! This last week I was looking through our wedding photos again and couldnt resist posting a few pictures. Such a great day...

Link to our full wedding album which won "Best Wedding Albumn in Seattle" for 2008.

Foster kittens

After 3 months in Singapore I finally convinced Kingsley that we needed another batch of foster kittens. I had already secretly sent in the application to the SPCA and been approved so yesterday we went to pick up 3 fluffy little 4 week old kittens. These are the smallest kittens we have ever fostered without a mom around and when they are this young they are a lot of work! All three of them have imprinted Kingsley as their mother and now follow him around meowing pittifully whenever he is not holding them. They also are incredibly messy eaters diving face first into the food bowl and at times actually climbing into the food dish.

Kittens! from Lynn Wood on Vimeo.

Last day of exploring with my parents

I have to give my parents a lot of credit, in two weeks we have gone all over Singapore as well as Indonesia and Malaysia. It has been so much fun showing them around and to their credit I dont seem to be able to tire them out.

Today we had lunch at an casual dining Japanese restaurant which my Dad rated as perfect 10 out of 10!

Tako yaki and zaru soba! Yum!

For dessert I bought a little Durian for them to try. My mom had a glass of fruit juice ready incase the taste was as bad as the smell. This sequence of photos should say it all...

My Dad ate the entire thing and said "it tastes like chicken!"

Fish spa and handshaven noodles

Before leaving Singapore I thought it was important that my parents experienced the fish spa. My Dad tried to back out at the last minute but I did not allow it.

It was so funny watching their reactions, I am very glad I was able to capture it all on video.

I have never heard such high pitch sounds come out of my mother.

so brave!

After the slightly traumatic fish spa event I took my parents for hand shaven noodles at the food court. Nothing like a great lunch to get your mother to speak to you again.

Great video of our lunch being made

We even saw our favorite segway drink delivery girl!

Tioman - Malaysia Snorkel Adventure

The second day in Tioman we went on a snorkeling day trip.

A small boat took us to Coral island about 20 minutes from the resort.

My parents, the very experienced snorkelers, gave Kingsley and I some tips on how wear the gear.
I know my mom is going to kill me when she see's this!!

Saw some of the most unique and beautiful coral I have ever seen as well as tons of colorful fish.

This coral was the most vibrant lime green color.

We ended up going to 4 different snorkel locations that day and probably spent 4 plus hours in the water. My parents were the last ones to get back in the boat when it came time to leave.

Lunch- butter and cheese sandwiches on wonder bread - was on a beach where we saw quite a few very large monitor lizards.
These guys can move FAST when they want to.

Spent the rest of the time reading, talking and relaxing on the deck at Juara beach.

On Sunday Kingsley and I flew home, my parents were having such a great time they opted to stay an additional day.

Tioman snorkel adventure video

Astoundingly beautiful coral reefs and thousands of tropical fish in every color. Listen for Lynn yelping when the fish start nibbling at her. The monitor lizards on the beach were enormous and pretty bold...

Tioman Island - Malaysia

I planned a weekend adventure trip with my parents to Tioman island which is a small island off the east coast of Malaysia. It's the island where they filmed the movie South Pacific. It was also named by TIME magazine as one of the top ten worlds most beautiful islands.

In preperation for our trip my mom insisted I take out her stitches (several days early).

She survived the experience (only just)

Part of the adventure of our trip to Tioman island was... just getting there. We took a charter bus from Singapore to Mersing, Malaysia which is on the east coast right on the water (3 hr trip) and then a ferry from Mersing to Tioman which is (2+hrs) and then a (25min) drive through the jungle to Juara beach resort on Tioman island.

We left Singpaore at 6am and had a chance to watch the sunrise on the bridge from Singapore to Malaysia. Since it was a Friday morning we got a glimpse of the Malaysian workforce heading into Singapore for the day. Lots of big trucks bringing the daily supply of fruits and veggies into Singapore as well as hundreds of cars and motorcycles.

About 20,000 motorcycles cross from Malaysia to Singapore everyday.

Part of the bus ride into Malaysia included driving through miles upon miles of Palm tree farms for palm oil.
After a highly adventorus but slightly longer than expected journey we arrived at Juara Beach Resort. A small spot on a beautiful white sandy beach, it is one of the only resorts on the east coast of Tioman island. The west side of the island is much more developed but I wanted to find a quiet spot so I chose the east side. Juara means champion or winner in Malay, it is the oldest village in Tioman and known by the locals as the most beautiful place in all of Tioman.

Birthday Boy and Batam island

Last night was my Dad's birthday so we took him out for a very special Jumbo Seafood birthday dinner where he tried chili crab for the first time.

They were even given matching Jumbo bibs

Today my parents and I took a day trip to Batam island Indonesia. Sadly Kingsley had work meetings so could not explore with us. We took a 40 minute ferry ride from Harborfront marina in Singapore.
Singapore skyline taken from the top deck of the ferry, our place is located just beyond the photo to the right of the wheel.

Batam island skyline with their version of the wheel (a carnival ride)

First stop in Indonesia was the smiling Buddha temple.

I would be smiling too if I had 3 sets of snacks sitting out for me all the time.

It was amazing to see the difference between Singapore and Indonesia. Although only a short 40 minute ferry ride away, it feels as if you have stepped back in time 50 years.
A typical house in Batam

There are lots of road side vendors selling ice cream, sodas and rujak which is an assortment of sliced fruits blended with a very spicy chili paste. None of us were brave enough to give it a try, except perhaps my mom but she is on "adventure probation" after the finger incident.

Went for a drive across the island and saw lots of small fishing villages

For lunch we went to a great seafood restaurant and were served snails, pepper crab, cuttle fish and a whole assortment of other things. Best thing about the lunch is that it was amateur hour on the karaoke stage so we were serenaded with a mutilated version of Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way" among other songs.

We had a great day but were happy to return to the organization and cleanliness of Singapore. I have to say, it has been so much fun exploring with my parents. I know very few people who are up for as much adventure as they are. I can hardly keep up!

Here my Dad is learning to extract the snails from the shell via toothpick

Family Visiting

My parents arrived safely in Singapore at 1:00am on Saturday morning. They brought 2 huge duffel bags of goodies from the States so it felt a little bit like Christmas! We stayed up till about 3:30am talking and catching up and then Kingsley and I went to bed. At this point my mom was still wide awake so decided to make a snack. She pulled out a knife and began pealing a pear and somehow managed to slice open her left index finger. Not wanting to wake us she made a makeshift pressure bandage using toilet paper and scotch tape and proceeded to go to bed. Early the next morning I noticed the bandage and insisted on looking at it which she fought, she kept saying "oh its really nothing Lynn, just a little paper cut" She had a major laceration that ran the length of her finger which I could plainly see was going to need sutures. So within the first few hours of being in Singapore I had to drag my mom (kicking and screaming...almost) to an ER to have 5 stitches put in her finger. The doctor kept saying "this is very deep, this is quite a deep wound".
Despite that early incident everything else has been great. They have both adjusted to the time change flawlessly and are laying by the pool reading as I type this.

First day we took them to Lau Pasat, one of our favorite hawker centers where they bravely tried BBQ stingray, hongkong noodles and fried kway teow. Note the white bandage on my moms finger!

Went on a river boat tour of Singapore. This is the Merlion- half mermaid/half lion a symbol of Singapore. The business district is behind it which is where Kingsley works.

Having fun in Singapore

Marina Bay Sands Casino which opened one week ago

Boat Quay is a great place to go for good restaurants and it is close to the business district. We were on a boat just like the one in the photos. The "eye" at the front of the boat is suppose to watch for bad luck.

Explored the Japanese gardens in Singapore which was beautiful but much too hot outside to walk around in the middle of the day. So we found a great Chinese Seafood place for lunch that was air-conditioned and relaxed.

China town- Buddhist temple

Large gold buddha

Any idea what this means?

Mama Goetsch serving up handmade noodles in Chinatown. The doctor told her to leave the original bandage on for 4 days. By day 2 she had already taken off the bandage and "downsized" to a large band aid. We also tried the homemade plum juice at the restaurant which was fantastic. Between my mom and myself we drank about 1L at lunch and bought an additional liter for the road.
Hindu Temple in Chinatown