l'isle joyeuse

Archive for the ‘happenings’ Category

the word ふるさと furusato literally means “hometown,” but it can also mean home, or where one belongs.

being a person who calls japan a second home – my REAL home, where i am happiest and at my most natural, it is heartbreaking to see the damage caused by the great tohoku earthquake last friday. it is not something that could have been prevented, but i am glad that japan is such an efficient country, and i am touched time and time again by the warmth, kindness and honesty of the japanese people in difficult times like these. being far away from japan right now, there is nothing much i can do but keep a close watch on them, and pray for the best.

right now, the only thing i can do, is share the following song :

“ふるさと furusato.”

this song was performed by arashi and many other young japanese singers during the annual kohaku utagassen program this year, and it is perhaps the most suitable song for this particular moment in time. the lyrics really warm one’s heart, and i believe every single word in it, is true.

[click here to listen to the song]

[the peaceful greenery that calms and soothes the soul]
夕暮れせまる空に 雲の汽車見つけた
なつかしい匂いの町に 帰りたくなる
as dusk approaches, i come across a train of clouds
i feel like returning to the town with the nostalgic scents

[strangers always ready to share a smile and a victory sign]
ひたむきに時をかさね 想いをつむぐ人たち
ひとりひとりの笑顔が いま
僕の そばに
earnestly piling up the times
of the people who made my memories
each and everyone’s smiles are now
by my side

[my beloved host family in osaka, who loves me unconditionally at all times]
めぐりあいたい人がそこにいる やさしさ広げて待っている
山も風も海の色も いちばん素直になれる場所 
there are people there who I want to meet again
who are waiting for me with kindness      
the mountains, the winds and the color of the seas
it is the one place that i can be myself

[kind people who i met by chance in the arashi concert, are now my friends]
忘れられない物語がそこにある 手と手をつないで口ずさむ
my unforgettable stories are there, and we hum as we hold hands
the mountains, the winds and the color of the seas,
this is my hometown

[my kids in saitama, who clung to me and cried when i left, telling me to never forget them]
めぐりあいたい人がそこにいる やさしさ広げて待っている
there are people there who I want to meet again
who are waiting for me with kindness
the mountains, the winds and the color of the seas,
(this is my hometown)

[strangers who were more than glad to help, when i was lost and alone in the mountains of kyoto]
your hometown

[the place where i am the happiest]
my hometown

ganbare nippon!!!

the sun will rise again tomorrow.


i haven’t been updating my blog in a very long time due to a lot of reasons. one of it being university, with all the end-of-semester reports and assignments to be finished. another reason would be captain who is an awesome travel buddy >w< too many things to do, so little time!

i'll update my blog properly on each and every place i've went in the past few weeks when all this madness is over, but for now, here is a short update on what i've been up to, hiro-style.









almost two more weeks before i leave the wonderful land of the rising sun and return to my tropical island! i shall miss this place dearly 😦 *starts planning future trips back here to japan*

backlog : 2010.05.03

i went out on an adventure! 🙂 after finding out that the mansion used as masamune-kun‘s apartment in the my girl drama was in a small town called 田園調布 denenchofu, i decided to set out to look for it!

the houses in my neighbourhood had their carp streamers out :3

a sign at the local shrine : may they grow up healthily!

takadanobaba –> [yamanote line] –> meguro –> [tokyu meguro line] –> denenchofu

🙂 i arrived at a surprisingly quiet and pretty town!

i have no idea why but it reminds me of a western country…

foreigners often complain about how hard it is to find places in japan due to the messy layout of the address system, but i find it quite helpful! i find places quite easily with these little blue signs and the signs painted on lamp poles along the street

🙂 the apartment where masamune-kun lived at! it’s actually an unused western building that belongs to the house next to it

wisteria in the gardens

take a peek through the fence 🙂

i found an opening, so i went in!

the main entrance

the decorative birdhouse hung on a tree branch. this birdhouse was photographed in the my girl fanbook as well!

really pretty flowers that look like cherry blossoms, but i don’t think they are…

this sort of looks like a scene out of an english book!

hiro lazing in one of the birdcages >w<


even the flowers by the roadside are dancing in the spring breeze!

so happy!

this looks like a very expensive neighbourhood to live in

not many people walking around too…

tea time at lepi dor 🙂

i found out about it online and even though it looks intimidating on the outside, it’s actually a pretty affordable place!

i ordered the millefeulle and the gateau fraise

a close up of the gateau fraise. they used real whole strawberries in between the layers!!! *o*

the best millefeulle in the world

i love my rabbit brooch

the main sales counter downstairs at the patisserie 🙂

the other side of town

is it just me, or does it look like an old cowboy movie setting?

in front of a (closed) cafe. i understand the sign about no smoking, but the one about drugs…

the cutest sign ever

多摩川 tama river

a nice building at 狛江 komae!

i love the colour gradiations!

carp streamers are everywhere :O they love their boys huh?

this house is really awesome, they have wisteria hanging over their front gates *O*

a traditional good old barber

okay, so it’s not exactly a party but i met up with azu, deru and iluna to celebrate deru‘s arrival in japan! it was raining (and has been, for the past few days… poor cherry blossoms!) so hachiko square was swarmed with people trying to walk around each other with umbrellas held high over their heads.

we had sushi since it’s a celebration 😀 thank you azu for the treat (and for the soy latte as well… i’m hooked on to soy latte now ♥)!!!

i ♥ this photo!!! don’t we look cuddly?! hahah deru was all bundled up, so cute >w< and may i declare my love for my wooden apple necklace ♥

malaysians >w<

it seems like it will finally be sunny tomorrow so i'm thinking of going to tbs to check out the boo-boo adventureland event 😀 it’s actually just an excuse to wear my new kimono

a happy new year to everyone!
may the year 2010 be a fulfilling, prosperous new year for you ♥

this year, my new year was spent in japan, with my host family :3 after eating soba, we sat around the dining hall watching kouhaku, eating rice crackers and drinking hot tea. arashi was awesome as usual ♥ ^^ i’m so proud of them!!! that must have been the fastest costume change i’ve ever seen >w<

i went to the shrine just now with okaasan and haru (her daughter), to pray and receive the new year sake from otousan, who’s helping out at the shrine. it was freezing outside!!! and tomorrow, we’ll eat osechi ryouri (japanese new year food) together ♥ after that, change into kimono and visit a bigger shrine >w< i can’t wait!!!

please take care of me this year too!

[insanely long post, read at your own risk]

ARASHI Anniversary Tour 5×10
2009.12.5 – 2009.12.6

i can finally say i have no regrets now… i can’t believe i was lucky enough to attend an arashi concert for TWO days. granted, it was insanely expensive (and i can’t believe i actually bought them) and probably the most expensive thing i’ll EVER buy in my entire life, but NO REGRETS. AT. ALL. it was SO worth it ;w; ♥

on saturday morning, i went to tokyu hands with bec to get another uchiwa plus some glow-in-the-dark stuff to use on our uchiwas

then we went up to bec‘s hotel room to complete our uchiwas… these are mine on one side. the one on the left says “i came from malaysia” and the other one is “please teach me magic!” 🙂 i’m so proud of the poker card i made

the other side!!!

i ♥ NINO

the view from bec‘s room – awesome! you can see kokuritsu really clearly and a bit of tokyo dome as well

and we’re off for the best night of our lives!!

when we reached, i felt so HAPPY that we decided to get the concert goods on friday night because the line was INSANE. there were two booth areas and the main one was looking really scary O_O it stretched out all over the place and it’s all looped up! i tried taking a photo of how awesome it was but photos can NOT do it justice. but i’ll try :

from waaaaaaaay up back…

go on…

and on… that little loop on top shows that there was a pedestrian bridge like thing there O_O WHUT?!

and it doubles up like a really, REALLY long snake

and yes, according to the man with the megaphone, minimum waiting time in line was 3 hours

it was raining while we were waiting for them to open the gates and practically freezing our butts off so i was really glad when they let us in early by half an hour =w= i was so nervous and paranoid that they were gonna tell me my ticket was cancelled but thankfully it all went smoothly~

we weren’t allowed to take photos but… XD our view on saturday. ARENA. YES. it was block e (the last block) BUT we were right next to the hanamichi railings where they come past on their carts. i couldn’t believe how lucky we were!!! on the other side of us was the back stage and the moving stage zooms right past ♥

hiro accompanying mummy to the concert

it was so awesome ;w; my first ever arashi concert!!! it started a bit after 6pm, and when all the lights went down suddenly, the whole dome went crazy waving their penlights, it was so beautiful! ;w; they started with kansha kangeki ame arashi but instead of riidaa saying his lines, they started with the chorus, a capella style! i got goosebumps all over! they came out on a huge balloon up the top of the dome and came down at the back stage! they were above us, nino being the closest >w<

set list

kansha kangeki ame arashi
lucky man
kaze no mukou e
we can make it!
crazy moon ~kimi wa muteki~
pika☆nchi (aiba solo)
kokoro chirari
carnival night part 2
kotoba yori taisetsu na mono (nino solo)
hitomi no naka no galaxy
aozora pedal
typhoon generation
kumori nochi kaisei (ohno solo)
a day in our life
hadashi no mirai
oh yeah!
step and go!
beautiful days
tomadoinagara (sho solo)
wish (jun solo)
boku ga boku no subete
attack it
ashita no kioku
sunrise nippon
kimi no tame ni boku ga iru
nice na kokoro iki
kotoba yori taisetsu na mono
sakura sake
kitto daijoubu

encore 1 :
pika☆nchi double
ashita ni mukatte
dekiru dake

encore 2 :
fight song
gori muchuu

encore 3 :
my girl

encore 4 : (last day only)

the whole set was really well planned and there were no weird waiting or intervals in between at all!!! i’m really impressed with the whole performance. fireworks, explosions, fire balls, water fountains, lasers, you name it.i love the screens as well! they were so beautiful i was torn between looking at the screen and at them. i love their costumes, especially the red one and the colourful one they wore after a.ra.shi (raincoats!!!). i love how they all match, but they are not all dressed in the same thing. for the pink costume, i loved how they were so distinctively personal – jun had a scarf stuffed into the front of his jacket, riidaa had an untied tie hung around his dress shirt (so sexy *O*), sho-chan and aiba-chan had ties and nino had a thin black RIBBON ♥ the small, subtle things that proves how their personalities show up through their costumes!!!

crazy moon was really good. the dancing was PERFECT ☆ and on the second day nino attacked riidaa‘s butt when he walks past behind him XD after that it was aiba-chan‘s solo, and i have to say this is probably one of the best solos in the concert. i was really sceptical about it since i heard people saying it doesn’t work on him, but it DOES. i like how they changed it from a really noisy song into a sort of military-sounding one, with all the juniors on military drums. the choreography was very sexy and i love how he sang it in a low, gruff way, close to a growl ♥

nino‘s solo ♥♥♥ he was sexy~ hahah! what else can i say?! no mistakes, and on the saturday when he was singing the first verse he winked while he was singing. i love his outfit! red looks really good on him, and i love how he always wears those skinny ties and pants with buttons down the side… very uniform-like ♥

everything was really good as well! i’m really glad they decided to sing the full version so i could hear nino‘s solo part ♥ it was an orchestral version, with strings and everything. the screens were sort of telling a story, with random images of tokyo during sunset and shadows, and at the second verse, during each member’s solo, they had them projected over the image of a sunset, and it ended with a shot of tokyo dome during sunset.

ohmiya fanservice during hitomi no naka no galaxy! on saturday nino let his hand creep up over riidaa‘s shoulder and then by the end of his line, he grabs him 😀 on sunday he just… molested riidaa‘s butt all the while when riidaa was singing his part XD

riidaa was really cute during his solo in his uta no oniisan costume. they brought out big floating balloons and a cute sun and moved it along with the moving stage >w< on sunday he messed up on the lyrics and said, "ah, i messed up!" while laughing and continued singing. i love the little skip he does whenever he goes off backstage, regardless if it was a mistake or not XD

this is probably the first time i ever liked sho-kun‘s solo. he sang a light hip hop version of tomadoinagara in a green hoodie. i thought it was very like him 🙂 i didn’t like jun‘s solo that much though 😦 it seemed a bit over the top but oh well it IS marvelous matsumoto we’re talking about here…

ATTACK IT! was too awesome for words. we were all shouting along and jumping along, you could feel the whole dome practically SHAKE O_O i love this song to pieces, it’s one of the best songs to perform in a concert (next to oh yeah! that song made my arm felt as though it’s falling off). truth was perfect, with fireballs, lasers and red lights. plus our penlights were all red, so it had a really strong maou-like atmosphere ♥ i wish they’d sing the full version though!

i must admit i cried during ashita no kioku ;_; the photo montage was so beautiful. their baby pictures came on one by one, after a huge recent photo of each member while the spotlight shines on them. it was really touching, at the end they put a photo of them on their debut, on the cruiser in hawaii during sunset.

for their singles’ medley they had the title of the song and the year it was released when each song was playing on top of the huge screen in the middle, and they had the original pv for the song played on separate screens, so you can basically watch the pv and them singing live at the same time! it ended with believe with all the special effects! the laser effects were really beautiful, together with the water fountains! *O*

i cried during 5×10 (sunday) as well ;o; the tears were just welling up in my eyes but once they reached the climax, all the music went off, they held the note for a really long time, the lights all went off save for the spotlight shining on them, and when they continued, all the shining, sparkly stars came out from the center stage surrounding them, and i couldn’t help it. i just couldn’t. the two women next to me were crying as well! (we talked quite a bit before the concert and then we exchanged contacts ^o^ they were so awesome, i was fangirling, screaming, singing and jumping with the woman next to me the whole time) bec was strong enough not to cry but i could see that her eyes were really watery.

the encores were really fun, but i loved how they played around with their lines instead of singing them XD especially nino‘s first line, and riidaa‘s off-key wailing ♥ (they make him do it again at the end, which made all of us really happy!) jun was really cute and hyper the two days that i went – on saturday he threw himself at the net in front of the backstage and high-fived the people in the special seats, stole someone’s ohno uchiwa and waved it at riidaa, on sunday, he tied some of the streamers he got off the floor around his head XD on saturday, aiba-chan gave the audience a flying kiss before he went backstage and on sunday riidaa said, “be careful on the way back home!” ♥♥♥

i loved the way they came back for the encore on sunday! they are too good at teasing the audience with the video of them backstage! i love how it started with just their voices, with most of them saying stuff like “what now?” “what?” or “what do you want?” but i really laughed out loud when i heard nino‘s relaxed voice saying, “calm down, people. what are you still doing here?” ♥ it was SO him, full of sarcasm and hidden love ^^

on saturday, we were in the arena, and something unbelievable happened… riidaa came past on the smaller cart and when he came to our side, we all waved like crazy, but then he looked at me in the eye and made a peace sign at me after reading my uchiwa!!! i was stunned and thought, maybe he was doing it to someone else instead. but the next time he came around, i turned my uchiwa around to the “i came from malaysia!” side and HE DID IT AGAIN O_O wanting to make sure, i pointed at myself, and he NODDED and continued showing me the peace sign!!! after that, every time he came around, he would look for me and bec and showed us his peace sign, for about 8 times or so. WE LOST COUNT. he was giving me the cutest smile ever and pointing at me everytime he does the peace sign ♥ he gave bec a thumbs-up after reading her uchiwa and throw his head back while laughing, because hers say, “i work in a fish shop!”


lots of people came with uta no oniisan costumes!!! they were so cute! i want a cap like that too now! i saw some kids dressed up in uta no oniisan costumes and yatterman costumes too!

hiro enjoyed it too!!!

we ♥ wind tunnels!

the most amazing night EVER in my life so far

the massive swarm of arashi fans at the metro station O_O it looked like the apocalypse had arrived and everyone was escaping lol

being in the arena is so awesome. we caught a whole BUNCH of streamers… about 17 of them or so

harajuku is full of arashi love as well!!!

🙂 another nice sight that made me smile

we went to the kddi design studio for more arashi love on sunday

you can take a photo of yourself with the bathtub used in the commercials, print it (for free!) and write random stuff on it. look at all the amount of arashi love! i kept mine as a souvenir… i’ll go again another day with alicia perhaps and stick one there :3

with bec. i’m really glad i met you, and that we experienced this together… lifelong friends!!! thank you so much for all the amazing treats and presents ;w; ♥ we HAVE to pray for a spring tour!!!

one of the many uta no oniisan cosplayers

the anniversary bus!

our seats on sunday. while the arena seat is really good for fanservice and streamers, i couldn’t see much because i’m so short, but from the stands, i could see the whole dome ♥

excuse my round face… bad angle because we were trying to hide while taking photos. the two awesome japanese women who were sitting next to me… they live in saitama and even offered, “next time if you wanna come to japan for an arashi concert, you guys can stay over at our place!”

ohmiya anyone? 🙂

i love their outfits ♥ i want a jumper as well now!

box of love from the nehs in malaysia >w< THANK YOUUUUUUUUU I MISS YOU TOO ;o;

happy stuff!

i’ve switched the other poster now that i’ve had my tour poster up! i bought one of each, but i only put up the group one beside my bed, the nino one above me…

and the ohchan one at the other end!

nino love. bec, thank you SO MUCH! *hugs*

our photo from the au center

purikura time!!!

posing with all our arashi stuff while listening to arashi songs blasting in the background, feels pretty awesome, even if i do say so myself!

aaaaaaaaand i’m done. whew.

i lost count how many times i’ve used the word “awesome.”

but there is no other word to describe the happiness that i feel right now.

on the 7th and 8th of november, i went to 神川、埼玉 kamikawa, saitama to participate in a cultural exchange program with a small countryside junior high school. there were 8 of us from different countries – malaysia, singapore, estonia, lithuania, hungary, thailand, canada, china.

nishiwaseda –> [fukutoshin line] –> ikebukuro –> [saikyo line] –> ohmiya –> [rapid urban line] –> honjo

arrival at honjo station

with gea from estonia. she lives in my dorm 🙂

with pipe from thailand.

my nametag given by the school

on the way to the school in the bus

arrival at the school! a warm welcome from the children >w<

reception in the sewing room

we all had our own tables with little flags hahah

the sparkling clean hallways

shoe boxes 🙂 so nostalgic!

walking towards the gym

after the opening ceremony, we had lunch back at the sewing room with the kids, who brought their bento boxes from home

apparently most japanese elementary and junior high schools have orange trees in their backyard…

art room

a typical japanese classroom… how cute!!!

traditional japanese games

the kids and teachers who were in charge of the traditional games

the cutest first year student ❤ she had a lot of power though, her drumming was the best!!!

handmade udon noodles!!! i’m so proud of mine ;w; they’re just the right thickness!!!

yummy!!! we got some yuzu skin flakes in our soup too~

the girl with the yellow kerchief, nao-chan, is a fellow arashi fan… we both love nino!!! the one on my left, kahori-chan, likes sho-chan ^^ they were both really cute!!!

the children are growing up in a really healthy environment 🙂

self-shots!!! kim‘s long hands come in handy

a nicer one!

pipe-chan laughing at our own stupidity

kim acting all shy haha

hahah with kim!

i love love love this shot!!! self-timer for the win ❤

i love this school! so beautiful! i want to study here too~

hahah united nations!

we drew our own faces beside our flags at the end

group photo session with everyone at the end of day 1

dinner at genki plaza with the children and teachers… the wakame rice was so good!!!

our room for the night. i shared with en-chan and gea

no doraemon in the cupboards lol

our futons

the beautiful sunrise at kamikawa 🙂

autumn creeping in on us

awesome autumn colours!

hiro‘s first trip outside tokyo

hiro enjoying the sunrise with his scarf blowing in the cold wind

we climbed up this mountain last night lol

more group shots! this is a no-go because pipe-chan didn’t manage to get in the photo

okay this is slightly better

autumn colours

a colourful breakfast

kao-chan and yousuke-kun ^_^

welcome to malaysia!

a simple lunch

my group during mealtimes

kahori-chan and kao-chan… i love them so much!

farewell ;_;

dinner at saizeriya with angel and kim back at takadanobaba

it was a really eye-opening experience for me, and i really loved my time there. i wish it was longer though… the kids were all really well-mannered and sweet, although some of them were really really shy. i got quite close to a few of them and when i left i hugged them, and they started to cry, saying, “it’s lonely! please don’t forget us!”

i want to go back to kamiizumi junior high school and see them once more 😦


slice-of-life entries of my life in japan as an exchange student :) feel free to comment... they're my daily pieces of happiness!

to read my travel posts, please click on "voyages"

thank you for dropping by, and have a nice day ♥

i ♥ nino

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i ♥ ohchan

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