being confident with who you are just the way you are

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Let me ask you a question: if I were to get you to take a picture of yourself right now without makeup – yes you heard me right, no makeup no eyeliner no mascara no foundation no bronzer no nothing – would you find it attractive enough to post it on social media?

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     Have you only felt beautiful when dressed in certain clothes or when only when you’re with makeup?  Have you ever looked at yourself bare-faced or dressed down  and felt that you needed to wear full eye makeup before you can step out the house because you anticipate the day being filled with pictures being taken and you might end up looking drabby on Facebook, Instagram or someone’s blog? Have you ever looked at yourself all made up in pictures and in some weird way, recognize but don’t recognize yourself at the same time & think “I look drab without makeup”

A days ago I was looking back the pictures I’ve taken for my blog posts and I’ve noticed that in most of them, I’m more or less dressed more fancy that average. I’m taking fancier clothes, makeup and heels with contacts. When I dress up and get dolled up for special occasions for a fancy night out, my make-up routine consists of: sunblock, BB cream, eyeliner/eyeshadow, bronzer if I’m in the mood for it though I usually skip it because I feel like its too much, along with oil-absorbing powder for touchups because I’ve combination skin. I don’t put on full makeup because (1) there are too much things to buy like where am I going to get the money for all that, (2) I need a lot more time to put my face on and therefore, more makeup to remove at the end of the day, and (3) I don’t want to get used to wearing too much makeup such that I feel only comfortable when my face is fully made is up.

  Don’t get me wrong I’m the same person but I suppose for the lack of better words, I’m physically enhanced with the help of my heels and my trusted Bobbi Brown eyeliner. With my physical insecurities about my arms and legs,  I sometimes prefer only be photographed when I’m wearing jeans, long skirts or long sleeved tops instead of shorts because sometimes I end up wondering how fat my arms and legs would be and start worrying about baring them in public & feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes when there are phases during which I wear eyeliner everyday and take my eyeliner off in the shower when I get home, I suddenly notice how my bare eyes and think “God I hate my eyes they’re so small”. It was then that I realized: I’m addicted to my eyeliner. I feel ugly without my eyeliner, or even when I’m not dressed up. I try to preach the importance of loving your body for its current physical appearance, but here I am, moaning about how ugly I look without eyeliner.

That’s when I decided to do a post on just that. Sometimes when I go out to town I make extra efforts to look better “just in case” I end up taking pictures so I don’t go home at the end of the day looking back at the photos and cringing at myself because I’m not used to see myself dressed down with my face au natural. To celebrate the end of our part time working stint as facilitators for a school program, my bestie and I hit the town to go shopping for work-essential clothes. I knew I had wated to do a “photoshoot” for my post, so I started mentally preparing my outfits and getting ready to get my contacts out, but yesterday I decided, “darn this”. I don’t want to constantly hide myself under a layer of makeup and fancy clothing. Who says I can’t feel beautiful in just a plain top and shorts with my glasses? That’s who I really am. Sure I wore a bit of eyeliner and my sunblock just so I don’t look washed out in pictures and also because I ned my protection from the blasted sun but hey I wasn’t decked out in 10 layers of foundation and mascara and eyeliner and blush til I’m unrecognizable. I was showing me. The bare me. The real me. Not the me in contacts with lined eyes and fancier clothes that you usually see on my blog or on IG because I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I think I look better  when I’m dressed up in nicer clothes, and because I look nerdy with my glasses or washed out if I don’t wear full eye makeup. I’m not perfect. I’m human and sure I do want someone to look at me and say “wow you’re really beautiful!”.

Nope. Today. I’m showing the real me now here because that’s who I am. The person who I want to be comfortable with. I want to learn to start feeling more confident with how I look and the current size and shape I am now instead of constantly thinking I need to disguise it, because when I do I’m not really accepting myself for who I am. And I want to.

If you only feel good when dressed in a certain way or only when fully made up, then you haven’t truly accepted yourself. To accept that you look a certain way is to feel comfortable with the physical features that you were born with. Au natural. You shouldn’t have the live a life where you’re under the shadows of a certain style or with full makeup or not. There’s a difference between using makeup to enhance your features and using makeup because you need it to feel good about yourself. If you fall in the latter category, its probably time to do a make-up fast. If you shy away from camera because you happen to be dressed down on a particular day, then you probably need to start questioning yourself: why are you only comfortable when photographed wearing heels or dresses when you’re out but not when you’re in flats and jeans or when with your glasses? Is it because you feel you look better and prettier when dressed smarter? Because you anticipate posting your picture on social media and not getting enough likes on it? If taking pictures, even if its just with close friends, makes you uncomfortable because “I’m not wearing my contacts” or “I’m not wearing makeup my eyes look small” or “I’m wearing shorts everyone can see my legs”, then the question you need to ask is “who exactly are you dressing for?”

Just because you receive compliments from others when you wear makeup or fancy clothes doesn’t mean that you don’t look pretty when you’re dressed down. If you’re constantly covering up your legs and/or arms because you’re not confident of them and are afraid of showing them to other people in public, here’s something I tell myself when I start thinking that: (1) fake it til you make it, & (2) you’re never going to see those people again. Life is too short to be worrying about what other people think of you. Plus, chances are, they’re not even going to be zooming their attention on your arms and start talking smack about it. You’re a busy girl you got other important shit to do.

Beauty is skin deep and beauty isn’t fully defined by physical appearances. Don’t base your confidence on how you look on the outside, but rather, your inner qualities. You are not defined by what others think of you. Instead, you are defined by what you think of yourself. If you think you’re ugly without makeup and can’t leave the house without a fully made up face or without your heels, you are going to start to rely on others to receive affirmation of your beauty in the long run. You shouldn’t. Empowered and strong women don’t give a hoot what other people think of them. Empowered women think “I don’t care of they think I look this way”. They don’t need affirmation from others. They ain’t got no time for that shit. Their confidence comes from within.

I’m not saying you should now start looking the house with your drabby shorts and shirts with holes and slippers now. I’m not stopping you from dressing up if you want to and putting on makeup if you want to. That’s a girl’s right and privilege. Heck its fun to wear great clothes and apply makeup because seriously, the right clothes plus red lipstick can make you feel like a bad-ass bitch. Personally when I want to make an entrance and channel some Rhianna vibes, I wear my heels. You can’t feel and be a bad-ass bitch and shorts and slippers. Besides, we do need to dress a certain way and wear some makeup to look presentable in various situations. Like when we’re at work or at a social event. You can’t show up at work with a sallow complexion you got from staying up late last night binge-watching Sex and the City. What I’m saying is, if you are dressing up and wearing makeup everyday because you feel ugly and insecure with your looks its probably time to start thinking about who you’re dressing up for and why.

If you can’t accept yourself for the way you look au natural, how can you expect others to accept you? Don’t lose yourself until you become somebody that you no longer recognize; don’t love that person and lose the love for yourself because at the end of the day, the most important relationship you have in your life, is the relationship with yourself. And I mean your natural, sassy, fabulous and confident self.

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And this is my #nomakeup selfie. Check out the fab Marilyn Monroe fabric/curtain/thing to block the sun. My bestie gave it to me as a 24th birthday gift and I am completely in love with it

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on turning 24: reflections & life lessons

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Yes people, I am officially 24 years old! I can’t believe how fast time has gone by. I can’t believe where I am in my life right now. I can’t believe I’ve graduated. I can’t believe how much things have changed and will actually continue to change in the future. Young adulthood is just so exciting yet scary at the same time.

As I sit at my desk writing out this post, I can’t help but beam at how wonderful my 24th birthday has been. On Wednesday I went out and bought myself a bag bags a a personal birthday treat, before spending a fabulous time dancing salsa at a weekly dance social at one of the dance schools I go to for salsa lessons. On Thursday, I was bombarded with lots of texts, messages and well wishes from lovely friends and family. I was surprised to see that both my dad and sister had sent me really touching birthday texts, considering that I don’t actually recall them doing so last year. Also, since my sister was at work and my dad’s in Japan now, my mum bought a chocolate hazelnut cake and sang me a birthday song after breakfast. In the afternoon, my two best friends Shu & Zee surprised me by unexpectedly turning up at my home while I was napping with a bunch of beautiful orange roses and a bag of chocolatey goodies along with lots of love (OH MY GOD GUYS I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED). I was so touched because aside from the wonderful gesture and extravagant gifts, Zee put her fear of dogs on hold to come all the way from her home to send me love! (SOB). And then finally after dinner my best friend & I caught Tomorrowland at the cinema.

Friday was also an ex-colleague/ex-teacher’s birthday so Shu and I went back to our old school where we used to work and got together with our colleagues for WP’s “surprise” birthday dinner at a casual restaurant next to the overlooking the reservoir. I thought it was going to a day focused on WP but it turns out the team had also decided to do a mini-belated birthday celebration for me and I ended up celebrating my birthday a second time with WP! Seriously what?! There was fantastic chocolate cake (oh my god so good seriously what kind of cake have I been eating before this one?! Thank you Gaby for introducing Chocolate Origin to me.), mini burgers, fries, mocktails, cute balloons, dogs, a gorgeous sunset, fantastic company and lots of love, light & laughter.

It was just magnificent. I was, and am still so overwhelmed at how different my birthday was as compared to last year’s. When I turned 23 I was at a very low point in my life. I was still raw from heartbreak, filled with intense regret, worthlessness, pity and experiencing a loss of shame and dignity. I had a birthday treat from Shu and Zee, and had a low-key birthday celebration at home with the family, but it certainly wasn’t filled with the same amount of love as this year.

Sometimes the realization that I’m now 24, graduated and poised to enter the workforce has tends to make me briefly reflect on all the events and challenges in my life that have shaped me to become who I am right now. The year I turned 23 was a challenging time for me. I’ve lost a lot, cried a lot, gained a lot, & learned a lot. I look back and cringe at all the mistakes I made that make, laugh at all the blunders that now seem so hilarious (wow I was so back then) & smile at old memories.

I’ve learned to appreciate all the smaller things in life now. I can stop in the middle of the street and stare up at the dazzling clouds in the skies streaked with the colors of sunset for 15 minutes, just wondering in amazement at how beautiful it is. Now I try to find the smallest of blessings & joy in situations to gain appreciation & grow in happiness.

Here some things that I really got to truly understand better that helped me gain maturity & wisdom & grow as a person & understand life a little better:

You can keep going long after you think you can’t. 

I’ve had an eating disorder since I was 17. These past 7 years not only have I been coping with an eating disorder, I went through depression, self-harm, severe body image issues, suicidal tendencies & low self-esteem. For 7 years I can’t count the number of times I’ve promised myself and I’ll stop dieting the next day and eat better, only to end up crying into my eyes because I binged again. I can’t count the number of times I looked in the mirror & end up crying & cutting myself because I didn’t see someone naturally pretty, naturally tall & naturally skinny. I’ve cut myself because I hate my rolls and my flabs, because I felt overwhelmed by the amount of pressure in school driven by my then incredibly high level of perfectionism & need for control. I went through a phase where I felt stripped of my pride, my shame & my dignity. I felt devalued like second hand goods and suffered intense regret, heartache, sadness, anger & betrayal. When I lost my heart, I lost my identity. I fell, got back up, but then fell again with each new blow I received & struggled so much to stay strong and get back up. Throghout these 7 years in very single slip, every single fall and every single struggle I asked myself “I can’t get through this. Its not possible. I’m going to die. This thing is going to kill me. I can’t do this anymore. Why must I suffer like this? Does God even exist?” But with each unexpected obstacle that threw me to the ground, be it via triggers, flashbacks or actual events that took place, after each binge and slip, somehow life moved on. I found myself just fighting for my sanity everyday and lying in bed at the end of day thankful that I got through the last 24 hours. Its when I realized: it really is mind over matter. You will gain nothing but unhappiness & pure distress about agaozning about the future; about whether you will make it the next 6 months, next month, next week or even the next day. Focus on the 24 hours that you are given, and that’s where change will begin to occur.

Music cue: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.

Not everyone you lose is a lose. 

I was 23 years old was when I started to understand what it means to let go of people. I’ve learned that the ones who never drop by to ask how you are despite you asking them for years are ones that will eventually make you question: why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep asking about them when they don’t even make the same effort as me. If they wanted to be in your lives, they’ll ask. The ones that don’t make the same amount of effort as you to keep in touch with most likely won’t ever want to do so. I’ve also learned that burning bridges helps you move on to become a better & stronger person. It will hurt, but if that person at the other end of the bridge isn’t appreciating you, not giving you what you deserve, giving you pain &/or reminding you of unhappiness, then a goodbye is worth it because you will no longer be held back.

Closure doesn’t exist. You will simply move on. 

Psychology has taught me that humans have a need for closure, to seek answers to ambiguous situations & questions in their lives that makes them feel empty and anxious on the inside because without it, they feel a loss of control. Shit happens many times and as much as we’re driven to get answers to figure out why it happened, the answer will never be enough. You become overwhelmed by the emotions of it, but slowly we come to let it pass.

Friends who have seen you fall & stayed to help you get back on your feet are friends you should keep and appreciate.

These are people who are rare and are people whom you need. They’ve seen you at your best and your best. They’ve watched you fall down and become a mess and they help you get back on your feet without want of a reward. Not just once. But all throughout the years. They entertain your rants & put up with your bullshit, but they still gave you the unconditional love and support you needed. There are only a few people in life who truly know our past and how it has shaped us and who have continued to be in our lives despite whatever obstacles there are; people who make the effort to stay next to you & support you. You’re an idiot if you don’t appreciate them.

You are how you choose to define yourself. 

You are either a victim of your circumstances or a survivor of your struggles. Change how you define yourself, and your attitude towards yourself will change.

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Now as I enter a new phase of adulthood, I’m struck by how much more I still have to learn about life. The challenges of adulthood make some of the problems & worries I experienced in the past few to be laughable now. In all honesty, I do have some anxiety about the working world. I still have yet to fully recovery from my eating disorder. I know little about life savings or financial stability or the complexities of marriage, but I will take those one day at a time as I go on with life. Graduating from college is the easiest part of life. Now I’ve to make my mark in the world and make a living. Make a living. Wow. No more skipping school when I have a “feel-fat” day or because the lecture is a boring one. This is the real deal. I pray that I have the knowledge & courage to be able to take risks and go through life, learn from my mistakes & gain wisdom and experience to help my journey as an adult. I also pray that I can continue showing strength & resilience in fighting my eating disorder and body image issues, avoid as many slips as I can & prevent a full relapse in the future.

I’m both anxious yet excited to see what else I can accomplish, what awaits me in the future & how much more in strength & wisdom I can grow as and in a person because when you’re not growing, you’re not living.

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Some of the birthday messages that began coming in…

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My aunt sent this to me. I was so touched by her message <3

My aunt sent this to me. I was so touched by her message that I teared up ❤

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My very conservative Chinese dad who doesn’t hug people nor express affection much must have been cringing when he read my reply.

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Chocolate cake with hazelnut cream filling!

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True friendship = when your best friend calls you to wish you a happy birthday then casually asks where you are, then appearing at your door 5 minutes later with your other best friend holding flowers and a bag of goodies while you were taking a nap

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The second birthday cake was a scrumptious smooth chocolate cake oozing with the best chocolate filling ever. LOOK AT THAT PERFECT CHOCOLATE SURFACE?!

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I was presented with my very own life-sized surprise Bambi birthday balloon! Okay fine it really wasn’t that big its just an optical illusion but its still so cute! It even comes with its own legs!

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Birthday boy WP got a penguin!

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The 2 ladies (along with Art who left early) who went all out to get this balloon! THANK YOU ❤

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Some of my favorite people

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Just taking a deer & a penguin for a walk 😀

My photographer deserves the highest honorable mention <3

My photographer deserves the highest honorable mention ❤

for those in recovery…

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After last night’s journey to understand how to reach someone in the throes of anorexia, and how to answer the “Million Dollar Question” of how to help, I’d like to now address those of you in “recovery,” as well as the loved ones of those in “recovery.”

First, for those who have been though this battle, I commend you for fighting and winning. I hate to use the word, “winning” because with it comes so much baggage that harbors a lot of weight, yes, pun intended. Winning communicates that a) it’s a game, b) it’s something that is trivial, and that c) that if you’re in your eating disorder or have relapsed, you’re losing, or even worse – failing. Because the truth is, there will be days where, even though you’re in recovery, you can still slip. You can have a day where you let the mirror get the best…

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anxieties about eating when traveling abroad

Wow so its been a while since I last did a proper blog post. In between job-hunting & experiencing a quarter-life crisis trying to figure my life out, I’ve been feeling pretty zoned out and just felt a need to take a break from what I do on social media with regards to body image and EDs.

A few days ago I was just looking through the photos I took during my solo trip to Japan (Kyoto, Osaka & Nara) and found some pictures of food that I took. I’m by no means those people on Instagram with the compulsive urge to take pictures of their food before eating it. I’m more of the “can we just eat already?” kind of person. Anyway, I had taken the photos because I knew that when I got back, I wanted to do a blog post about the anxieties I always experience whenever I travel abroad and eateng.

Every time before I travel I’m always plagued by these questions

  • What if I can’t find food that’s suitable for me?
  • What kind of food can I eat?
  • Will the food I’ve been eating be available there?
  • What if I get fat?

In ED recovery, there is a “routine” of sorts that you become familiar with that is really important in  recovery, especially in the early phases. After spending so long eating haphazardly and bouncing from not eating to full blown bingeing, its important to establish a proper eating routine to help your body get its natural appetite and rhythm back and help you learn how and when to eat. At home (Singapore), I’m familiar with what types of food I can get, and where I can get them. I’d stick to certain types of food and avoid foods that I know will trigger unhealthy thoughts. I make sure that I eat something balanced at every meal (proteins/carbs/veggies) instead of just proteins orchards because I know I will start panicking if I eat only from one food group. Routine helps ease my anxiety because the predictability of knowing and being able to plan what food I will eat helped ease my transition into longer-lasting recovery. Routine also gives me something to rely on. Whenever I have a slip and mess up my eating, be in through overeating or bingeing from, negative thoughts, stress or boredom, I tell myself to just calm down and make a mental note to go back to my “routine” of my regular eating patterns that I’ve been adhering to (e.g. balanced meals, drinking lots of water etc). Routine also means that sometimes when I just don’t feel comfortable with eating a certain food, especially when I eat out, I’ll fall back on something that I know is “safe” for me.

While routine has its benefits, it also has its consequences in the long run. In the long run, routine means that we don’t learn to break out of our comfort zone. We end up eating the same type of food from the same places at every meal and may actively reject food that doesn’t adhere to our routine. We can’t possibly do that the rest of our lives? Are we going to reject cake at a best friend’s party because its not part of our routine, even if its just for one day? Are we going to refuse to enter a cafe or restaurant because it doesn’t serve the exact type of food you want? One can become bored with routine after a while. We need to practice flexibility and be willing to explore different types of food once in a while

The first few months of my recovery I spent a long time creating my own routine. I made sure to drink water before and after each meal because I know that when I don’t feel full, I may end up bingeing like I would in the past. I try my best to make sure I eat a balanced meal each time I eat and at the same time so that I wouldn’t panic at eating only carbs or only protein.

Before going to Japan (and also before my three trips to the USA) however, I spent about a week worrying about food. I’d be facing a totally new environment. I wouldn’t be able to go to a coffeeshop and order from a menu that I know. I don’t know what kind of food there will be. What kind of food am I going to be able to get? What happens if I have a slip? What if the food makes me fat?

After days of frantic anxiety and introspection, I came to the simple conclusion: I am going on vacation people. The point of a vacation is to see & experience new things. I’m not going to bring my alter-ego Snix along for the ride. I want to breathe in fresh hair, struggle to communicate with the locals, get lost in alleyways, watch the sunsets & walk all over the city. I don’t want to spent hours on end agonizing over food. I don’t want to go to a new country and eat food that I can eat back home. Heck I want to be able to try the local food while I’m there. That’s what traveling is about. Agonizng about food just robs you of the amount of joy & enthusiasm you will experience while on vacation.

Of course being on vacation doesn’t mean you should put your recovery on hold and take this as an opportunity to overeat every day. Yes, I was still worried & I wanted to enjoy myself without so I made sure to apply my own principles that I learned while I was abroad that: (1) eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full, (2) whenever possible try to eat balanced meals & (3) know your trigger foods but be willing to try something new. 

For instance, I typically have toast for breakfast in the morning, but I didn’t want to have plain ol’ toast while in Japan. In Japan, green tea and red bean go together like peanut butter and jelly. So every morning for breakfast I’d eat a different type matcha green tea pastry filled with azuki beans, topped with eggs…well, because I like eggs. One day it’d be a green tea danish pastry with red bean paste, the next I’d have a green tea choux puff with azuki beans and the next I’d have a green tea croissant topped with almonds and azuki beans. Its still bread, but just a different type of bread I always eat. When I ordered soba noodles from a noodle stand on the streets after visiting the Bamboo Grove Forest, I ordered extra sides as I didn’t want to eat only the noodles & wanted something with protein to satisfy my appetite.

What also helped keep me distracted from my worries about eating was that I was kept really busy with sightseeing. I was always seeing new things and taking in new sights and just the awe & excitement at being able to see beautiful world heritage sights was enough to take my mind off from food. Why worry about something like food when you can have a visual feast on breathtaking gardens, historic temples & magnificent mountains and lakes? When you’re treated to magnificent views, food becomes irrelevant.

To those of you with fears about how to continue your recovery journey while on vacation, give yourself a break and allow yourself in try some of the local cuisine there because you can’t do that often when you’re back home! Not only will trying the local food give you bragging rights (you guys had borsch soup? Sweet, did I tell you I had authentic borsch soup while I was in Russia), it helps you break away from your comfort zone and learn how to be more flexible with your eating and add more variety and fun to your meals. You don’t have to try something new for every meal time if it will make you panic, but do make the effort to try something new for at least one of your meals.

It can be daunting and scary, but the key here is to not think about dieting. Think about how you started your recovery and what steps you did to get your eating back on track? Continue to apply those when you are choosing the foods you eat and when eating them. For me, it was to have a balanced meal (I need to have a good mix of both carbs and proteins in every meal now and will feel weird if I don’t), eat til I’m full and drink water.

Now now to address the elephant in the room: as for your fear of getting fat, unless you’re in a tour group where’ll you’ll be sitting in a tour bus, think of all the walking and running around you’ll be doing. Some of the best sights in a new town are only discovered by walking so put on your walking shoes and go walk around! You’ll be getting in tons of cardio by all that hours of walking. I admit I too was afraid about gaining weight when abroad because I most certainly am not going to go to the gym when in Japan. But I was walking just about everywhere I went. I mean literally almost everywhere I went –  except of course when I needed to take the trains to other parts of the city – as it was just too far. I was walking along busy streets, “accidentally” walking into back alleys, strolling long pathways next to lakes and flowers & climbing up hills and endless stairs. Moreover, buses don’t really run in temples, shrines and gardens so there was a lot of distance that I covered on foot and I got to see lots of amazing sights that I wouldn’t have been able to see if I took the bus.

Finally, please remember this crucial thing: you are abroad. It can be for leisure or business, but the fact is: you’re going to a different country! That’s an exciting thing for anybody and you shouldn’t let your fear of food get in the way of discovering new and exotic places! Sure it might take some planning and some effort, but you’ll definitely enjoy your experience more so go ahead, bring out that wanderlust and treat yourself ❤

And now…PICTURES

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This is a traditional Japanese food called Okonomiyaki. It was 8pm by the time I got back to the Kyoto Station area where my guesthouse was and I was starving and simply decided to just go to whatever happened to be open at the time. It was my first day then and hadn’t really the chance to look around at the food places. I came across this in the menu and was about to pass it up, but decided that since I was in Japan, it’d be silly to not try a traditional Japanese food. It came with a choice of fillings so I had this with pork though I didn’t particularly fancy it as it was more wheat than anything else. I ended up dipping it in mayonnaise for added oomph.

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THIS IS SOYA DONUTS AND I HAD THE CHOCOLATE ONE AND IT WAS SO GOOD I WISH THERE WERE SOYA DONUTS IN SINGAPORE. Its more chewy and more doughy than regular donuts & oh my Lord I love soya donuts & I actually smuggled one home in my lunchbox & now I wish I had bought more.

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Some places do have English menus, but in other places, they don’t.. My friend, Mika read the menu for me but in the end I told her to order whatever she thought we should have.

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So Mika brought me to a place that serves kushiage – fried food skewered onto a stick! We ordered the set meal & we had fried chicken, fried salmon, fried sweet potato, friend green beans & fried cheese. YES. Fried cheese. I’m not one for fried food, and knowing that we’d be having a lot of fried food for dinner freaked me out. I ended up removing about 70% of the batter and eating what was underneath!

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This is the fried cheese! I was expecting something else to be honest, but it turned out to be a slab of regular cheese coated in batter. But still so cool!

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According to Mika, this delightful thing is called “monaka” which is actually azuki bean filling sandwiched between wafer slices, but the kushiage bar that we went to served ice cream instead of azuki bean filling. I initially didn’t want it as I don’t usually have a full desert after dinner but I’m so glad I ate it in the end because it was so nice to be able to eat ice cream after not eating it in months. AND it was so good.

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I decided to go and have McDonald’s on my last night because I really wanted to see how different it is in Japan. If memory serves me right, the menu for the outlet I went to in Gion only displayed, 5 types of burgers. No fancy Big Macs or special kinds of burgers whatsoever. No double chickens or fishes whatsoever. It’d either be simple chicken, fish or beef with their own Japanese dressing. Plus, fries, corn and some dessert or another. I decided to have the chicken filet burger because Singapore’s McDonald’s don’t serve chicken burgers.

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THIS WAS MAGNIFICENT I’M SO GLAD I BOUGHT THIS EVEN THOUGH IT WAS 2 BUCKS. It a matcha danish pastry with azuki beans I bought from the food department in Isetan (favorite department ever). You know how some bakeries rip you off by putting only a little bit of filling inside and selling it to you? This was different. This was filled with azuki bean paste in in layered swirls and topped with matcha green tea powder and it was just beautiful.

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I WENT TO HOGWARTS (okay Universal Studios) AND HAD ME A CUPPA BUTTERBEER. It was perfect to counter the sun beating down on your back!

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This matcha green tea macaron i picked up in Nara was amazeballs.

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Matcha green tea ice cream. Oh god. I couldn’t stop. Again, I didn’t want to get ice cream but I decided to just sod it because I wanted to have matcha ice cream in Japan. The matcha flavor was fabulously intense.

Now feast your eyes on a vast array of other types of food I saw whilst trawling through the streets of Japan.

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Convenience stores do sell ready-made bubble tea for you! Now that I think about it, I’m not sure how long they’re kept in the fridges and how fresh it’ll be. I’m thinking they bring in new ones every day and toss out unsold ones but when I first saw them I thought it was such a neat concept!

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Every time I enter a convenience store I’d always end up spending 5-10 minutes just looking at their drinks.

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You will see ice cream stands like this all over Kyoto.

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Some stalls along the street served free tea! It was cold, wet and raining and I decided to abuse that privilege for 10 minutes to warm myself up. Oops.

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I wish I had bought one back home 😦 I’m not a fan of cake but I can be partial to cream & the cream filling inside is just tempting me, even right now.

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Bento boxes!

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I came across this stall selling these spiral fries! I didn’t buy them though because I didn’t want to ruin my appetite for a proper meal later as it was already lunchtime then but it looked really interesting!

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Japanese curry is my absolute favorite Japanese food. I’m just sad that I only saw this restaurant on my last night AFTER dinner and on the way home and I couldn’t get to eat try it. I did have Japanese curry at another place, and also again in Osaka with Mika BUT STILL.

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I came across this sight while in Osaka and was curious to find out what it was. When I edged closer, it turned out to be a line of  business workers eating soba while standing up. Yep. In Japan, there is “fast food” places called Tachigui Soba – in which you literally stand up and eat soba when you’re hungry and in a rush and have time for a quick meal. They are mostly in train stations that serve commuters. Its fast food, not because its fried food, or burgers or anything. Its because…standing up and eating the soba like that without the need to sit down and wait is quick and efficient.

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Green tea popcorn! I contemplated buying one carton but it was so expensive! It was $7 so I just stood around staring at it for like 5 minutes before walking away and commiserating with that green tea ice cream.

The subsequent pictures below are food items from Nishiki Food Market – a market place that’s famous in Kyoto for selling traditional Japanese food at cheaper prices. Fish, meat, octopus, Japanese sake, wine, plum juice, traditional crackers, squid, clogs. You name it. Some say you might even spot whale meat but I didn’t. I thought I saw the Kanji character for “whale” but it turned out to be eel instead.

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Quail egg stuffed in the head of an octopus. Yeah I’m not sure I feel about this.

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Dried food

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That’s all folks! Shall post more pictures from my Japan trip in the next blog post!