Kobe Days

34.6911° N, 135.1973° E


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マーライオン aka Singa-Laut

That lion who thought,”Hmm, that fish over there is damn sexy, siah.”
– Decisions that have Altered the Course of Singapore History, 8 Days

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When I saw in the papers that our iconic symbol has been closed for restoration, I felt a pang in my heart for missing the chance to take a picture with it to bring with me to Japan.

Why? For the simple reason that it is easily the most recognisable symbol of our island country in Japan. Don’t believe me? Watch this.

Of course, we now also have the new Marina Bay Sands hotel with its boat-like rooftop which SMAP had graced, but watch the CM to the end.

One more here.

Believe me now?

A quick check on Wikipedia shows that our beloved icon has also appeared in many animes.

With all the publicity that it has received in Japan, it’s not surprising that every Japanese you meet will, almost without exception, respond to your proclamation that you’re from Singapore with “Ah! Mar-lion!”

I don’t know about you, but it brings a warm and fuzzy feeling to my heart. Don’t forget to bring a couple of souvenirs with you to spread the love. 😉


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Do the hula~ ♪

Hula’s not a popular dance in Singapore. Trying to find a hula class here for a reasonable price is nigh impossible simply because there are hardly any teachers here. (Belly dancing, now that’s a different story.)

Hula is, however, strangely popular in Japan, maybe because Hawaii is so popular as a holiday destination for the Japanese. Classes could be found almost everywhere, and being a dancer through-and-through, I started it a year ago with the hula dance circle at my university. After all, it cost only¥1,000 per semester and the price of a pa’u skirt.

Skipping forward to a year later, I’ve fallen in love with the dance. I loved learning from my ‘seniors’ and performing all over Kansai with the other ‘first-years’. When I came back, I started looking for a class to continue dancing.

It took a while, but I managed to find a ‘studio’ that held ‘classes’ for $5 per lesson. (I say that because classes are held at a function room of a condominium, and it’s more like a circle than a class.) Another perk? The class is taught entirely in Japanese, and everyone (with the exception of 1) is Japanese. Japanese practice score!

I’ve attended 4 lessons so far, and today, I made a breakthrough when I went for lunch with some of the ladies. (We went to Subway. I taught them how to say ‘cold cut trio’ and learnt that ‘turkey’ in Japanese is 七面鳥 or しちめんちょう。)

Their chattering often went at a speed too fast for me to participate in, but we managed a few interesting discussions. There was one moment when one of them asked me “Japanese men or Singaporean men?” and all 6 of them looked at me expectantly for an answer. (I also received advice to go on gokons and date a younger man.)

I’m sad that I can only be with the group till August, now that I’ve finally started to make friends, but I know I’ll continue to dance when I get to Kobe, with the perk of being able to make new (関西おばちゃん?) friends.

The ladies made an awesome video dancing the hula all around Singapore. Check it out!