12/12/2019
Fifteen minutes between trains

I wouldn't call myself a frequent user of public transportation - it's partly due to geography - but I certainly have expectations. You can say I was spoiled by my trips abroad, where as much as possible I make it a point to walk, take a bus, or catch a train.

Sure, it can be intimidating, especially if you're faced with a complex system of routes, modes and fares, but once you get it, you get it. I guess it also helps to have one of those contactless cards that you can use to get on a train, or a bus, or any convenience store when you suddenly find yourself hungry and not that willing to rifle through your wallet for money. A couple of years back I got myself an Octopus card, realizing that I was returning to Hong Kong frequently and that it would really come in handy. That, plus updated (and downloaded) maps on my phone, helped Shalla and I get through our vacation there last year without going through most of the usual spots, or having to worry about how to get where we wanted to go. (That said, we regret being short when we considered a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland.)

It also helped that we know - and this was before the disruption of ongoing protests there - that a ride was coming. There are signs a plenty, if you could figure out the system, at least. Also, we knew when a train would be coming. We trusted the announcements because they were right for the most pat, and when they weren't, they were just slightly off. This is the case everywhere we've been to: in Seoul, in Taipei, in Kuala Lumpur (although it feels a little more chaotic, or perhaps it's the tropical temperatures), and in Singapore (although technically we were only there together for eight hours, mostly at the airport).

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12/06/2019
For all you know

In my defense, I work from home some days. Most days.

Last night was our Christmas party, which meant me running the affair and hosting it, so not a few of our guests have spotted me looking towards nowhere, dazed, recollecting myself. But at least I get to wake up when I want to the next day and work through what else needs to be worked on, although, chances are, I'd be awake at six flat anyway because the sun won't let me sleep. Half past six at the latest. Just five and a half hours of sleep.

Still, it feels weird being the only guy in a sando, shorts and slippers in the elevator. Everybody else around you is getting ready to go to the office.

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11/27/2019
Bare minimum

It was roughly four years ago when Manila hosted the APEC Leaders' Summit.

I remember that very well, but not because I was here as it happened. I was in Hong Kong for a work trip, on the very week that the government decided to implement a convoluted series of road closures to ensure that world leaders can move from hotel to venue and back quickly, at the expense of pretty much everybody else. I remember browsing through my social media feeds and seeing nothing but people complaining about being stuck in traffic for hours, getting home at almost midnight, all for the sake of impressing, perhaps, foreign dignitaries.

Well, I was affected too. These Hong Kong trips can be repetitive, so I know too well to take the evening Cathay Pacific flight back as the second day of the conference I'm attending (well, technically covering) winds down. But the government was also closing down the airport to allow world leaders to arrive (and leave) the country in an orderly fashion, at the expense of, well, pretty much everybody else. Our flight was bumped to three in the morning the following day, which meant a rare instance of me sleeping in the airport terminal, and an ever rarer instance of me sleeping in the plane itself - but not after watching Stellar on the in-flight entertainment system. I was starting to really get into K-pop, but that's another story.

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11/26/2019
Afternoon tea

Over the weekend Shalla and I did something we haven't done in a while: have tea.

No, milk tea doesn't count. If we're being honest, it's more likely that's water with tea flavoring and loads of sugar and, maybe, some milk. And pearls. And brown sugar. And whatever else they decide is a trend these days, like cream cheese.

No, tea at home doesn't count. In the past few months Shalla's shifted from coffee to tea before going to work, which meant we've both had to stock up on the essentials. She settled on a preference early on: English breakfast tea with two teaspoons of creamer and two teaspoons of sugar. (Teaspoons!) I just went along with it, but at least we both know that, one, we prefer Twinings, and two, it's disappointing how Rustan's does not carry it, or at least the 25-bag boxes of it. Surprisingly, SM does.

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11/20/2019
Infuriating: man who says he doesn't watch a lot of anime suddenly has a lot of opinions about Kimetsu no Yaiba

First off, yes, I do watch anime.

Some, not a lot. I wasn't really raised on them. I watched some as a kid, but only whatever was on television at the time, and not always the really action-y stuff. But then again, I was a kid. Doraemon was more appealing, but I did watch Yu Yu Hakusho. I can't claim to really remember everything now, though. "Isang daang porsyento ng aking lakas" is an exception.

On the other hand, Shalla was, so she's more likely to know her way around these things. When we started dating, she started exposing - re-exposing? - me to these shows, although I didn't gobble up all of them like I did when she started easing me towards K-pop. The few shows I did watch tend to be slice-of-life series - see, I didn't even know that term until a few years ago - so I'd be a bit more looped in on Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge (and how layered its humor is) and Sakamoto desu ga (not so layered) and, inevitably, Himouto! Umaru-chan.

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