Hokkaido Winter Drive – Otaru City

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Otaru Music Box Museum

This is the third time we have come to Hokkaido, but in our previous trips we have never visited Otaru. Otaru is a small harbour city, easily accessible from Sapporo by a 30 minute train ride. It is famous for the freshness of its sushi, as well as its canal walks and quaint shopping streets.

Having only one afternoon and evening to explore, we decided to take a walk down the Otaru Sakaimachi Shopping Street, which is popular with tourists and locals alike. Along this street, you can find plenty of local delicacies to eat, restaurants, snacks, deserts, mementos, everything that a tourist will need!

We had lunch at a sushi restaurant, and the food was delicious indeed!

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After lunch, we topped up with desserts from the Japanese Maccha Sweets shop, where they serve all sorts of Japanese Green Tea desserts, pastries and ice-cream.

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Walking further down the street, we picked up some souvenirs and eventually ended up at the Otaru Music Box Museum. This is a very interesting place, filled with music boxes of all shapes and forms. They also sell a host of music boxes of different grades and designs, but all of them were well crafted and unique. The prices are also pretty reasonable, considering the workmanship.

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Creative Designs

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Intricate and Captivating

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Sushi Music Boxes

We happily chose a simple music box with a lovely tune to bring back as a keepsake.

After the museum visit, we headed back to the hotel to rest and recharge.


This is part 4 of my Hokkaido Winter Drive blog series, click HERE for part 5 where I share about how to navigate the Japanese petrol stations without knowing any Japanese and our trip to the highland ski resort at Niseko!

My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship over a nice home-cooked meal. If you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at lenniechua@gmail.com to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!


2017 Hungary Winter Drive Blog Series

2016 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series

2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand Blog Series

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Gangnam Style Stravinsky / A Cappella Gangnam Style

Who in his right mind would associate Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with Psy’s Gangnam Style? Well, Richard Atkinson did. Interestingly, enough… it actually seems to fit and make sense in a funny sort of way. I’m not sure if Stravinsky (or even Psy) would approve of this connection, but well, it is certainly a unique link, and music has its way of transcending genres and cultures, especially in recent times. So, lets just sit back and be amused and intrigued by this surreal marriage of two controversial sensations of their time, before we move on with our lives and watch this video fade into insignificance.

Talking about Gangnam Style, everyone who likes the song ought to check out the following amazing a cappella rendition performed by Pentatonix.  🙂 Absolutely love the kick ass beatboxing, vocal harmonics, zany antics, and beautifully energetic ensemble singing. Oh… the shades are pretty cool too!

Movie Review: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Movie Review: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

My first movie review on this blog, and I must say that I am no professional movie reviewer, neither am I a J.R.R Tolkien fan. I haven’t read any of his books. I watched all three LoTR films though an I enjoyed them all.

It was interesting to browse the various reviews for this film, and to read the mixed opinions for it. Criticisms often centred around the expansiveness of the plot, viewed as a way for the studio to make more money out of the viewers.

For me, I enjoyed the slow pace of the plot. Perhaps I already went in with the expecation of this being the first of three films, and the time spent on the introduction to the film would need to be the introduction not to the film itself, but to the entire three film trilogy, so I didn’t have a problem with its lack of pace.

I like the way the director infused moments of humour in various situations, but never in a way that was too forced. It was interesting that there was a lot more singing incorporated into the film by the various characters (even by Gollum!) which seemed like a deliberate measure. I don’t remember any singing in the LoTR (I could be wrong though…). Perhaps the singing was a deliberate effort to relate to the roots of The Hobbitt as a children’s literary book.

I have a problem with the opening line of the title song though…. POOR WORDSETTING!! The first two words are “Far Over” with the word “over” having a wrong stress on the second syllable instead of the first! This really irked me, I must say, and made it sound so Singlish (Singaporean English)! I wouldn’t have expected this from a professional songwriter / composer…. it is really unbecoming.

All in all, I enjoyed the simple tale of the courage and the coming of age of an “insignificant” soul. The scenes all looked gourgeous and lush, especially with the doubling of the frame rate per second. Everything seemed to come to life, even if you watch it in non-3D.

The acting was decent, with the best performance again coming from Gollum, who stole the show with “their” short segment. 😛

The Hobbit was a good way to spend a day out with your loved one, and it really gives me the itch to re-watch the LoTR!

My Movie Rating: 8 / 10

Song: A Child Before the Father

Here i stand, a child before the father
Placing my trust in you
Ever faithful, Lord my provider
In the darkness your love shines through

You are with me in the desert
You are with me in the storm
You will lead me I will follow you

Here I walk, through the darkest valley
No evil will I fear
Your rod and staff comforts me
I know that you are here

Here I am, humbled, broken before you
Emptied of my own desire
Fully yielded to your purpose
Say the word and I will go

Wrote this song when in Myanmar  (Dec 2012). God had allowed several setbacks to happen to me, and I had to deal with the frustration, anger, and embarrassment that was welling up within me. I knew I had to focus on Him, if not our trip would be in vain. He wanted me to set my focus on Him and His work. He taught me that my possessions were not my possessions anymore, they were His to do as He wishes. I cannot possess my possessions, but I need to empty myself of my own desire and to live 100% for Him, and to do His will. A humbling process…