16
05
2018

Travel Tokyo with a virtual Suica

Getting an IC card (Suica/Pasmo) is a must when you’re in Tokyo. This prepaid card allows you to pay for transport, and can also be used as electronic money to general purchases at places that support its use.

Other than getting the physical card, you can also get a digital version. If you have an iPhone 8 or iPhone X, you can get yourself a virtual Suica card in iPhone’s Wallet. With Apple Pay, you can reload and use the virtual Suica even if you are a tourist.

Pros

  • Can be set up and charged before you enter Japan
  • Can be charged with your foreign credit card via Apple Pay
  • No 500 yen card deposit
  • No worries about forgetting or losing the physical card

Cons

  • App is in Japanese
  • If you want to reload with cash, it can only be done using a few machines
  • Cannot be refunded unless you have a bank account in Japan
  • No support if you lose or permanently delete the virtual card

How to set up Mobile Suica

1. Download the Suica app

Search “Suica” in the app store, and the app should appear as the top result.

2. Create a virtual Suica card

Tap the “issue Suica” option.

Scroll all the way to the right and choose the Suica (unregistered) option.

Agree to the terms.

Load an initial amount onto your new card.

You can also create a virtual registered My Suica, which has your name on it. However, this requires your personal details, and there isn’t a real need for it.

Transferring a physical Suica card

If you already have a physical Suica card, you can also transfer the card to the Suica app. This converts your card into a virtual one, and the physical Suica card will be invalidated. Your 500 yen card deposit will be credited into the virtual card. You can keep your physical Suica card as a souvenir without losing the card deposit!

Follow the instructions from Apple on how to transfer a Suica card

If you have a physical My Suica card (with your name on it), it will be transferred as a registered My Suica.

Do note that only the Suica card with the penguin can be transferred into the app (the one with the exact picture shown in the app). Monorail Suica and Suica cards with other designs cannot be transferred at the moment.

For more detailed instructions and information on how to recharge the virtual card: refer to this site

You can keep your card in Wallet for the next time you travel to Japan. Do however, consider not keeping any balance in the card, especially if you’re not travelling to Japan anytime soon, in case there are any changes to the system or if you lose the virtual card. You cannot refund the card unless you have a bank account in Japan, but what you can do is to reload just enough money to make a final payment before you leave Japan. (You don’t have to reload in 1000s after you create your card.)

 

 

28
06
2017

It’s been a crappy month

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June started out fine, but baby Ethan caught a cold a few days into the month. The thing with babies catching colds is that the illness tends to spread to the rest of the family. It can’t be helped since babies don’t know how to cover their noses and mouths when they sneeze, and they’ll just sneeze and drool over you. This makes it difficult to not to catch their cold, unless you’re wearing a mask and constantly cleaning away all the snot and drool that ends up on you. True enough, I caught his cold, followed by my mother-in-law.

Colds in adults aren’t usually a big deal. You just feel sick and crappy for a couple of days and it goes away. But having a baby around (especially one who still wakes multiple times a night) means that it’s difficult to get enough rest, and it took me a longer time to recover from the cold this time round. It’s even worse for my MIL –  she reached the point where she was close to recovering, but her cough came back again, and it seems that she’ll need more time before it goes away completely.

Anyway, Ethan and I finally recovered, but just as I was glad that he could finally return to daycare, he came down with a bout of rashes. It wasn’t anything contagious or life-threatening, but it meant that he couldn’t go to daycare unless he had a doctor’s note. However, the clinic was closed for 5 days, and we decided not to bring him to another clinic since the other ones nearby didn’t specialize in infants, and the other pediatricians were located much further away. He ended up staying home for another couple of days, and recovered by the time the clinic opened again. (At least it saved us another trip down as well as some money?)

It was the third week of June by the time all this had settled. I thought that all the negative things were finally over, and that things would start looking up again, only for something even worse to happen – our dog died. He had an autoimmune disease which caused his immune system to attack his red blood cells, causing them to break down. His only symptoms were lethargy and a lack of appetite, and it was too late to save him by the time we got him to the vet and a confirmed diagnosis was made. I honestly thought that he would have at least a few more years with us, and it’s heartbreaking that he left so suddenly. The only good thing about this is that at least he’s no longer in pain. Even if the vets had managed to save him, he would have had to take steroids for the rest of his life, and the long-term use of steroids would have resulted in other health issues. Not to mention that he already had really bad genes to start with – he had juvenile cataracts, an allergy to chicken, and other skin issues as well. I just hope he had a happy life with us.

It’s almost the end of the month now, and I’m just glad that June is coming to an end. It’s been the worst month ever, and I really hope things will start getting better for us after this.

My MIL is getting superstitious and she told me (nicely) to stop wearing black at home because she thinks that it brings bad luck. I personally don’t believe in this, but whatever makes her happy I guess. It’s not something worth arguing about. Ethan getting sick is something inevitable. All babies get sick, and babies in daycare fall ill more often that those who stay home. And when babies fall sick their family members often come down with the same illness too – it’s something that can’t be helped when you’re in close proximity most of the day. We’re just unlucky that all of us caught it this time round.

Our dog dying was something really unfortunate, but given his age and his crappy genes (that we are now aware of), perhaps, just perhaps, something like this would have eventually happened no matter what we did. It sucks that everything bad happened in the same month, without letting us catch a break in between, but I guess there are moments in life when bad things just come one after another.

All I’m hoping for now is for things to start looking up.

 

 

26
04
2017

The Heart Wants to Shout

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
…Until you actually realise how much words can actually hurt.

I’ve been wanting to watch The Anthem of the Heart (心が叫びたがってるんだ。/Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda.) after hearing that it was from the creators of Anohana. I loved Anohana, and I was hoping that I’d enjoy their new movie too. I finally had the time to watch it last night, and I must say that it didn’t disappoint.

The heroine of the story, Naruse Jun, used to be a cheerful girl who loved talking. She dreamed of attending a ball at the castle on top of the hill one day. When she saw her father driving out of the castle with another woman one day, she happily told her mother about it, not knowing that the “castle” was actually a love hotel, and that she had caught her father having an affair.Her mother repeatedly mentioned that Jun talked too much, and told her to never speak of what she had seen again. Her parents eventually divorced, and when she asked her father why he had to leave, he told her that it was “all her fault, since she’s such a chatterbox”. Thinking that it was her words that caused her family to break up, Jun decided to seal away her words to prevent further tragedy from happening. From then on, she would get a stomachache every time she tried to speak.

 

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22
04
2017

I need a vacation this year and I’m going to make it happen somehow

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I’ve been hoping to go to Japan again since our last trip there, and that trip still hasn’t happened even though more than 3 years have passed. The past few years have been tough, and it felt like different challenges kept coming one after another. I’ve been wanting to take a vacation overseas (somewhere that isn’t Bangkok), but something was always preventing it from materialising.

I want a change of scenery, even if it’s just for a few days. I want to see new things and be inspired and motivated once again. I want a proper break so that I can reset myself. I hate getting my hopes up for a vacation, and getting disappointed time and time again because those plans have to be shelved.

I’m going to make this trip happen if I get a job in the next couple of months! It has to happen ideally by December, or the first few months next year. I know that I won’t be able to travel for another few years once we have another kid, and I cannot hang on that long. I know that vacations aren’t a necessity, and many people get by without travelling overseas, but I’ve been wanting this really badly for years and I really want to do something nice for myself once I have the means to.

 

 

10
04
2017

[review] CEZANNE Skin Conditioner High Moist

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My skin was dry while I was in Bangkok, and applying makeup just made the dryness even more obvious. I chanced upon Cezanne’s Skin Conditioner High Moist at the nearby drug store, and decided to get it since I remembered hearing good things about it. I’ve been using it for close to a month now, and I love this stuff!

Cezanne Skin Conditioner High Moist is a whitish, watery toner. It is fragrance-free, colorant-free, mineral oil-free and mildly acidic. It contains:

  • Human ceramides: ceramide AP, ceramide NP, ceramide EOP
  • Plant-derived moisturizing ingredients and hyaluronan:
    sodium hyaluronate, sodium acetyl hyaluronate, hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid
  • Collagen
  • Amino acids: serine, lycine, glycine, alanine, arginine, threonine, proline

Ceramides help to protect skin from dryness, while hyaluronan and amino acids aid in protecting and hydrating the skin.

You can use this lotion by patting it in with your hand, or by pouring some onto cotton pads and applying it to your face. I personally just pat it in with my hands. It absorbs quickly, and I love how moisturized and soft my skin feels after using this. Another great thing about this lotion is how affordable is it. It retails around ¥‎700 for a 500ml bottle, and is still very affordable even if you buy it at a higher price online. You can use it for a lotion mask or even apply it to your body without feeling bad. Cezanne’s website states that a bottle can last for 4 months, but I’m sure it’ll last way longer than that for me.

 

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Coix Seed extract, Ceramide AP, Ceramide NP, Ceramide EOP, Phytosphingosine, Sodium hyaluronate, Sodium acetylated hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, Succinoyl atelocollagen, Soybean seed extract, Glutamic acid, Aloe vera juice, Lemon extract, Rosemary Leaf extract, Hops Flower extract, Pinus Sylvestris Cone extract, Equisetum Arvense extract, Sodium PCA, Serine, Lysine, Glycine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Proline, Cholesterol, Betaine, Allantoin, Sorbitol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethyl cellulose, Xanthan gum, Sodium lauroyl lactylate, Carbomer, (Styrene/VP) copolymer, Methyl paraben, Propyl paraben

(CosDNA)

 

Cezanne Skin Conditioner High Moist can be bought from Amazon, Amazon Japan and @cosme shopping.

 

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