Author Archives: Jaz の旅

[Review] Addams Family Musical in Singapore (2017)

Direct from the UK, The Addams Family have recently moved into the MES Theatre at Mediacorp and have brought along their entire clan, who are classified as being either living, dead or undecided.

For those who are still unfamiliar with this musical comedy, it is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the creators of multi award-winning Jersey Boys, with music and lyrics by Tony Award nominated Andrew Lippa.

Differing from the TV series, in this musical, Wednesday Addams is all grown up now and has a shocking secret that only her father Gomez knows – she has fallen in love with a sweet young man (Lucas Beineke) from a normal respectable family. Having been pleaded by his daughter to keep his “cara mia” Morticia in the dark, audiences will get to see whether Gomez manages to keep Wednesday’s secret until the two families meet for dinner, which turns out to be an eventful evening. Will love triumph or will there be disastrous consequences?


Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

Playing the iconic role of Gomez Addams is established actor, Cameron Blakely, who was recently seen in Singapore’s season of Les Misérables as Monsieur Thenardier and also has a string of theatrical and film credits to his name. He seemed at ease with the role and sounded very convincing with his Spanish accent.

The role of Gomez’s beloved wife, Morticia Addams, is played by Rebecca Thornhill, who joins this show direct from the West End production of Mathilda The Musical, playing Mrs Wormwood to great acclaim.

If you had watched the previous run of this musical in Singapore in 2013, which was from the USA, this current production showcases a brand new orchestration and presentation. The sets look different in this West End version and it has also scaled down on the number of props used as compared to the Broadway version. According to the producers, having fewer props makes it easier for the show to go on tour.

Opening set:

Music is played live and you can find the musicians in the orchestra pit. Now this is what the real musical theatre experience should be like!

It’s funny how my favourite scenes in the musical have changed with this UK production. My new favourites are the opening scene and “Pulled”.

Wednesday Addams is played by Carrie Hope Fletcher, who previously played Éponine in Les Misérables. Apart from having an impressive theatrical and acting credit, she also has a strong social media following.

I loved her vocals, especially in “Pulled” and found that this song seems to grow on you, as I was even singing it when I got home.

25-year-old Grant McIntyre made the role of Pugsley Addams very believable and I wouldn’t have guessed his age if I didn’t know it!

Full Disclosure – this scene is one of the highlights of the show, so do pay attention otherwise you might miss the plot!

Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

Excerpts from the musical:

There were many comedic moments in the show and I especially liked the part when Uncle Fester, played by Cory English, took a dig at the members of the audience who were seated at the cheapest seats!

During the night that I watched the show, somehow the audience didn’t get it when Lurch, played by Dickon Gough, broke out in song. I guess probably only true Addams Family fans will find it funny, as they will know that this butler usually only speaks in a series of grunts and groans.

I was somewhat horrified to find that “Thing”, whom I’ve always known to be a hand, turned out to be an arm in this show!

Despite feeling unsettled by the new interpretation of “Thing”, another one of my favourite songs is “Crazier Than You”, which features Wednesday and the Beineke family.

Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

I thought the sound system at the MES Theatre was excellent, as we could hear every single word that was being spoken and sung. However, during some of the group scenes, the lead singer sometimes gets drowned out by the other vocals and thus I felt it could have been better if the sound balancing was tweaked a little.


Photo Source: Mediacorp Vizpro

The cast members divulged that they had injected some of their own interpretations to their characters. I thought they all did a great job!

Family ties are extremely strong in the Addams Family, so do come and meet this kooky family. I’ll leave you with parting words that the entire Addams clan will articulate to you,
“It’s family first and family last
And family by and by
When you’re an Addams
You do what Addams do or die!”

Venue:
MES Theatre at Mediacorp
[Map]

Getting There by MRT:
One North Station – take exit A and walk towards the left for about 11min.

Show Dates:
15 Nov 2017 – 03 Dec 2017

Show Times:
Tues – Fri: 8pm
Sat & Sun: 2:30pm & 8pm

Ticket Prices:
$65, $95, $135, $165 (excludes booking fee)


Special thanks to Mediacorp Vizpro for the invite to The Addams Family musical!

Advertisements
Categories: Media Invite, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toripy「トリピー」: Tottori Prefecture’s mascot

Tottori Prefecture「鳥取県」 is well-known for its pears, which they name as 20th century pears「二十世紀梨」 and thus it’s not surprising that its mascot has incorporated some pear elements.

Toripy「トリピー」 first appeared in 1997, as a mascot at the Yume Minato Expo「夢みなと博覧会」 and since then he has been a tourism mascot for Tottori Prefecture (in case you’re wondering why I used “he”, that because according to his biodata, this mascot is of the masculine gender).

He is part pear and part bird, but please don’t ask me to attempt to guess what kind of creature that makes him. Regardless, I do think he is cute!


(photo of Toripy and a tourism official taken at the Japan Rail Cafe, when they visited Singapore as part of a Tottori promotional event)

Categories: Japan, Tottori Prefecture (鳥取県) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oktoberfest & Thirsty Thursdays one-for-one drinks at Siloso Beach and other Night events!

Love relaxing and unwinding by the beach? From 5th October, consider heading to Sentosa in the evenings, as the Oktoberfest celebrations will kick off about three months’ worth of Thirsty Thursday deals at beachside bars, restaurants, hotels and attractions across the resort island.

Between 5th and 8th October, F&B outlets at Siloso Beach are celebrating Oktoberfest with authentic German beer and cuisines served by staff in traditional Bavarian costumes. Watch German music performances and take part in games including Hammer a Nail, Speed Cage Soccer and Golf Bunker Challenge.

Participating F&B outlets have partnered with Singapore’s only German Microbrewery – Paulaner Bräuhaus, to provide an exclusive Oktoberfest experience.

Enjoy live music with your cold brew.

Visitors to the Sapphire Pavilion may be “persuaded” to participate in a Chicken Dance in the midst of your Oktoberfest celebrations!

I’m not a huge fan of beers, but I have to say that this beer was really smooth and was quite enjoyable!

Some of the Oktoberfest fare include dishes like Traditional Pork Knuckle, Bavarian Meat Patties, Gourmet Sausages and Roasted Capon Chicken.

Dates: 5 – 8 October 2017
Time:
Thu & Fri: 6pm – 10pm
Sat & Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Venues: Sapphire Pavilion (Siloso Beach) and Participating Partners Venues
Participating Partners: AJ Hackett, Coastes, Flame Bar, Sand Bar, Mambo Beach Club, Ola Beach Club, Wave House Sentosa and Siloso Beach Resort
Admission: Free (but Island admission and car park charges apply)


Thirsty Thursday deals

From 5th October to 28th December, one-for-one drink promotions are being offered at AJ Bar & Beach Dining, Bikini Bar, Coastes, FOC Sentosa, Hotel Michael – Michael’s Lounge, Ola Beach Club, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore – Rock Bar and Wave House Sentosa.

More details can be found here.

I have to say that some of the beach clubs look pretty cool and the setting makes you feel as if you are in another country!

Coastes

Ola Beach Club

Mambo Beach Club

Wave House


Free GrabShuttle Service on Thursdays
Every Thursday from 5th October to 28th December, starting from 6pm, those who work in the Pasir Panjang and HarbourFront areas can enjoy free entry into Sentosa and complimentary rides to the doorsteps of these F&B outlets by hopping onto the Thirsty Thursday Bus (i.e. a special GrabShuttle service). Real time bus arrival timings will be available on the GrabShuttle App.

Guests working in the Pasir Panjang area can board the GrabShuttle service at Mapletree Business City and Mapletree Business City II. Departing at about every 30 minutes, the bus will bring guests to FOC Sentosa, Coastes, Bikini Bar / Ola Beach Club, Wave House Sentosa / AJ Hackett, Hard Rock Hotel / Hotel Michael and VivoCity.
[Last boarding at 1st stop (Mapletree Business City) is at: 9.30pm]

Guests working in the HarbourFront area can board the GrabShuttle service at VivoCity, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Singapore, HarbourFront Tower One and Keppel Bay Tower. Departing at about every 45 minutes, the bus will bring guests to FOC Sentosa, Coastes, Bikini Bar / Ola Beach Club, Wave House Sentosa / AJ Hackett, and Hard Rock Hotel / Hotel Michael.
[Last boarding at 1st stop (VivoCity) is at: 9.15pm]

The GrabShuttle route can be found here.


Photo Credit: Sentosa Development Corporation


Other Night Events at Sentosa

Merlion Magic Lights!
See the majestic 37-metre Sentosa Merlion come to life with vibrant and colourful lights and projections! This light and music extravaganza features a new neon theme for the first time!

Date: From 1 September to 29 October 2017
Time:

  • Weekdays: 7.45pm to 9.15pm (30-minute show intervals)
  • Weekends: 9.45pm to 10.15pm (Additional show)

Venue: Merlion Plaza (Imbiah Station, Sentosa)


ONE°15 Christmas Boat Light Parade

Singapore’s only Boat Light Parade, this features a flotilla of power and sail boats dressed in bright Christmas lights and decorations.

On 18 November, a lighted parade of boats will be on static display at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove from 7pm – 10pm. On 19 November, boats competing for the top honor of “Best of Show” will parade from ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove, past iconic landmarks in Sentosa including Siloso Beach, Fort Siloso and Resorts World Sentosa, before arriving at the Sentosa Boardwalk, in front of VivoCity, between 8pm and 9pm.

Date: 18th to 19th November 2017
Time: 7:30pm onwards


Pop Up Night

Curated by urban artist Samantha Lo (aka Sticker Lady) and Singaporean visual artist, soph O, special neon light art installations will be put up at prominent areas along Siloso Beach, including the jetty, Ola Beachfront, Emerald Pavilion. There will also be interactive activities including UV Tattoo, Light Painting Booth and an interactive Doodle Wall.

Date: From 20 October to 12 November 2017
Time: 7pm to 11pm
Venue: Siloso Beach


Popcorn Movie Nights @ Sentosa

Singapore’s first beachfront outdoor movie screening series at Palawan Green. This weekly free outdoor cinematic experience combines awesome food, music and film for the perfect mid-week escape.
Date: 18 & 25 October 2017
Time: 6pm
Venue: Palawan Green (Beach Station), Sentosa


For more details on the night events, click here.

Categories: Singapore | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hagi no Tsuki「萩の月」- A Sendai Specialty 

If you are familiar with the Chinese tradition of eating mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Japan has a different version of mooncake called “Hagi no Tsuki”「萩の月」. This Sendai specialty was inspired by the autumnal moon (“tsuki” in Japanese) dominating the night sky, over the field of Miyagino covered with bush clover (“hagi”) blossoms.

This is packaged in boxes containing 5, 8, 12, 16, 20 and 28 cakes each.

I happened to buy a 5-piece box of these cakes during the Sendai Tanabata Festival and it came wrapped in special paper for the festival.

After unwrapping and unboxing, I found 5 smaller boxes inside!

The shape and colour of this cake looks like the full moon, but it is actually a light and fluffy sponge cake filled with a mild-flavored custard cream. Unfortunately it’s shelf life is only about 2 weeks, so if you are planning to buy this as a gift for someone, you’ll need to make a note to check on its expiry date before you purchase it!

Overall, I liked the cake as it wasn’t too sweet and was very fluffy. Definitely a must-buy if you are visiting the Sendai region!

(In case you’re wondering – I bought mine from a department store in Sendai city, but these can also be found at the shops in the JR Sendai station)

Categories: Sendai (仙台) | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Sentosa Sandsation 2017

Building sandcastles is an activity usually associated with kids, but these days it has evolved into an artform.

Sentosa Sandsation 2017“, a three-week long sand sculpture festival (from 1-17 September), is Southeast Asia’s largest sand festival and features more than 30 larger-than-life sand sculptures.

The exhibition area is spread across 2,400 square metres on Siloso Beach and visitors can walk through three zones with different themes, which include a competition zone, as well as sculptures depicting Singapore’s unique blend of culture, humour, quirks and colloquialism. Admission is free and the event is open from 10am – 9pm daily.

Leading the team of sand sculptors for Sentosa Sandsation 2017 is JOOheng Tan, an internationally-acclaimed Singapore sand artist, whose works have been showcased in over 70 cities across more than 20 countries.

An interesting fact is that the sand sculptures are made with just sand and water! 1.2 million kg of sand has been used and 300 tonnes of seawater needed to compact the sand. In case you’re wondering, the sand will be recycled after the event.

Apparently neither rain nor wind will affect the sand sculptures as the rainwater will be absorbed (and evaporate), while the compressed sand will not be affected by the wind.

Zone 1: Our Sandsational Singapore (Singapore, Ho Say!)

This features 15 three-dimensional sculptures inspired by local culture and I found that most of the sand sculptures in this zone are tongue-in-cheek representations of familiar Singlish phrases. The sand piles here are about 16ft (4.87m) high!

Download the MixGo mobile app for an enhanced experience and watch the sculptures come to life with various Augmented Reality effects (the app also includes behind-the-scenes video features, simulated photo frames and filters, as well as gamification features).

Sentosa Sandsation

So Jialat! (Using lots of strength)

Use the MixGo app to scan the picture…

A photo frame will appear and you can use it to take your pictures.

Blur like Sotong, Gabra like Zebra (to describe a person as being totally clueless, and messes things up)

Using the MixGo app, an octopus appears on the screen!

Kelong (match-fixing)

Singapore National Theatre

Lia’h Boh Kiew (to express one’s inability to understand)

Jiak Zua (to jiak zua or eat snake literally means to skive or shirk responsibilities)

So Wayang (an act of pretence)

Steady Pom Pipi (to describe one’s ability to remain cool under pressure)

Kan Cheong Spider (refers to a person with a nervous disposition, one who is easily flustered)

Cut Queue (to jump queue)

Talk cock sing song, play ping pong (to engage in nonsensical conversation or to make no sense)

Chope! (to reserve a seat)

So Kiasu (afraid to lose out)

Tok Kong (superb, top of line)

Using the MixGo app here will launch a game:

Zone 2: Sentosa International Sand Sculpting Championship

Based on the theme “Imagination”, 14 renowned sand artists from 13 nations around the globe are participating in this championship and the sculptors spent a total of 28 hours over three and a half days to create these creative works of art.

On 31 August, Portugal’s Pedro Mira was crowned the winner of the Sentosa International Sand Sculpting Championship, clinching the Golden Shovel Award and a cash prize of USD 5,000. Togo’s Bob Atisso and Poland’s Borecki Wiaczeslaw were presented with the Silver Shovel Award (and USD 2,500) and the Bronze Shovel Award (and USD 1,500) respectively.

The winning sand sculptures were judged based on various criteria including concept, design, originality, three-dimensionality of the works, as well as carving technique.

[Belgium] …if cats got bigger? by David Enguerrand

[Canada] Tropical Splendor by Michel Lepire

[Czech Republic] Lion City by Jakub Zimacek

[France] The world through children’s eyes by Benoit Dutherage

[India] Save our Oceans by Sudarsan Pattnaik

[Italy] Smog City by Leonardo Ugolini

[Mexico] Way (or Uay) by Calixto Molina

[The Netherlands] Entangled by Marielle Heessels

[Poland] Evolution by Borecki Wiaczeslaw (Bronze Shovel Award)

[Portugal] Broken Heart by Pedro Mira (Gold Shovel Award)

View from the other side of the sand sculpture:

[Russia] Dreams by Aleksei Shchitov

[Spain] Everything can be possible, so why not? by Cuesta Marin Montserrat

[Spain] Game Over by Sergio Ramirez

[Togo] The Drive of Illusion by Bob Atisso (Silver Shovel Award)

Zone 3: Shifting Sand 2

In this last zone, JOOheng commemorates his 20th year of transforming ordinary sand into incredible artworks through a series of interactive sand art pieces.

Visitors can “step into” the art pieces and become part of the artwork.

A different theme is planned for each weekend and those who visit between Mondays and Thursdays will be able to witness the artist at work.

Week 2 (work in progress):

On the final weekend (15-17 September), JOOheng will be sculpting a vision of Singapore in the year 2040, based on a winning sketch submitted by a local child aged 5-12 years old who will imagine how it will be like to live and play in future Singapore, and what makes us a happy and cohesive nation.

Sentosa Islander members will get the exclusive opportunity to snap a photo with the interactive sand artwork from Fridays to Sundays*, from 12pm to 9pm. Simply flash your Islander membership card to enter the photo area and have your photo taken with JOOheng’s interactive sand art! You will need to provide your email address or mobile phone number, so that the photograph can be sent to you.
*Only valid on the following dates: 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 September 2017, from 12pm – 9pm.

People’s Choice Awards
Visitors to this sand festival can take part in the People’s Choice Awards and pick their favourite sand sculpture by taking a photo with their favourite sand artwork, posting it on Instagram with the hash tags #SentosaSandsation and #SandsationalContest, plus stating the reason(s) for their choice. One winner will be drawn from the entries featuring the most popular sculpture, and this person will get to enjoy a 2D1N Sentosa staycation package. The results of the People’s Choice Awards will be announced after 20 September.

Event Details
Date: 1 – 17 September 2017

Time: 10am – 9pm daily

Venue: Siloso Beach, Sentosa

Admission: Free
(Note: Island admission and parking charges apply)

Getting There: Guests can enter the island for free via the Sentosa Boardwalk, or take SBS Transit’s Service 123 to get to Sentosa’s Beach Station.

As part of the resort island’s 45th anniversary celebrations, from 4-10 September 2017, Singapore residents will also enjoy free entry to Sentosa with a waiver of charges for the Sentosa Express monorail and gantry fees for cars, as well as free rides on Sentosa’s on-island cable car line which brings guests directly to the Siloso Point Station where the event is. The free cable car ride starts from the Merlion Station at Imbiah (opposite the Sentosa Express Imbiah Station).

Those who are making their way from Beach Station can hop onto the Beach Tram and get off at Mega Adventure, where you can find the entrance to the sand festival.

Categories: Singapore | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Suehiro Ramen Honpo 「末廣ラーメン本舗」

After looking for recommendations for good food in Akita city, I came across this ramen chain Suehiro Ramen Honpo「末廣ラーメン本舗」, which has several branches across Japan, but mainly in the Tohoku area. One of their branches can be found at the JR Akita station, but many Japanese reviewers said that the food quality is much better at the main branch of this ramen chain.

Thus, I decided to go look for 「末廣ラーメン本舗 秋田山王本店」 – if you don’t understand Japanese, the word 本店 means the main branch (otherwise known as the very first shop which the chain started from).

It took us 30min to walk there from JR Akita station and it was definitely worth the effort!

The shopfront looks like an old traditional Japanese building. Upon entering, we found that there were only 10 counter seats.

The recommended dish is “Chukka Soba“「中華そば」, which is basically ramen noodles with a generous serving of pork slices in a delicious dark soy sauce soup base.

Diners have to use the vending machine located at the entrance, to purchase tickets for your food and then hand the tickets over to the chef at the counter.

Chukka Soba「中華そば」

I went with the recommended dish and it was absolutely delicious! The soup broth was flavourful and wasn’t overly salty, unlike most Japanese ramen. It tasted very much like a soy sauce pork dish that my late grandmother used to cook for me and thus it really warmed my heart and stomach!

Do note that the ramen is usually topped with spring onions (i.e. scallions), but due to my allergies, I requested for them to be omitted.

中華そばがおすすめです。スープに濃い醤油味、すごく美味しい!

If you love spring onions in your bowl of noodles, you can help yourself to as much as you want from the big bowl of spring onions placed at the counter. Unfortunately, the two elderly men who run this restaurant did not allow me to take any photos of the counter and the cooking area, so I can’t show it to you. I found it amusing that this bowl of free-flow spring onions seemed to be the highlight for many Japanese foodies who visit this ramen shop.

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the food here and it’s definitely worth a try if you visit Akita!

Address:
末廣ラーメン本舗 秋田山王本店
2 Chome-2-4 Sannō, Akita-shi, Akita-ken 010-0951, Japan.
秋田県秋田市山王2-2-4 日興ビル1F (NHK横)
[Map]

Getting there:
30min walk from JR Akita station.
An 8-min ride on the Akita Chuo Bus from the West exit of JR Akita station. Alight at the “Akita Prefectural Office No. 2 Government Building”「県庁第二庁舎前」and it’s a 2-min walk from the bus stop.
秋田駅からラーメン屋まで歩いて三十分です。
秋田駅西口から秋田中央交通バスで8分「県庁第二庁舎前」下車、徒歩2分。

Opening Hours:
10am to 2am, but the shop may close anytime if the soup stock goes wrong or if the shop is in need of cleaning.
Typically closed on Mondays, but this is still subjected to changes.

Categories: Akita (秋田), Akita Prefecture (秋田県), Japan | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Babahera Ice「ババヘラアイス」- a Rose-shaped ice cream sold by Grannies in Akita!

Babahera Ice「ババヘラアイス」 is an ice cream that is well known in Akita. These are usually sold from pushcarts along the streets by old ladies dressed in bright yellow and red aprons and donning yellow headscarves.

The name “Babahera” comes from the Japanese words baba「ババ」, a nickname for old women or grandmothers and hera「ヘラ」, which is the ice cream scoop or spatula.

The uniqueness of these roadside vendors is that they scoop the ice cream into the shape of a rose! There is only one flavour available – banana, which is not in my list of favourites.

The ice cream wasn’t of the creamy kind and its texture felt more like a slushee. Tastewise, the Minions would probably enjoy the banana flavour more than I did, but it was still an icy treat to cool you down on a hot summer’s day! One serving of babahera ice costs ¥200.

I had seen many of these grannies selling babahera ice during my walk in Akita City, but only this particular lady, who had strategically parked her cart along the pedestrian arcade in front of the JR Akita station, was a spritely character and she did a little dance whilst scooping the ice cream! If you are visiting Akita, do look out for this friendly granny with a big warm smile!

Categories: Akita (秋田), Akita Prefecture (秋田県), Japan | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Highway Bus from Tokyo Shinjuku to Lake Kawaguchi and Fuji-Q Highland

Highway Buses in Japan are a cheaper alternative to taking trains and if the travelling time to get to your destination is almost similar for both rail and bus, I will choose the latter as you can save quite a fair bit of money.

In this instance, the highway bus ticket from Shinjuku to Fuji-Q Highland or Lake Kawaguchi costs ¥1750 as at the date of this post, but taking the train will cost between ¥2080 to ¥4650 depending on which trains you are taking (i.e. fast/slow, reserved/non-reserved seating) and the number of times you’ll need to change trains. Do note that the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on these highway buses and you’ll need to buy a separate ticket. If you have already purchased a Japan Rail Pass, then it’s a no-brainer to take the JR trains to maximise your pass.

Both the Fujikyu and Keio Buses operate one to two direct buses per hour from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station (Keio Highway Bus Terminal) to Kawaguchiko Station in the Fuji Five Lakes region. The one-way journey takes close to two hours and most buses will stop at Fuji-Q Highland before arriving at Kawaguchiko Station.

Reservations are required for the Highway Buses and this can be done on-site at the bus terminal, by phone or online.

Inquiry and Reservation
Fujikyu Highway Bus Reservation Center: 0555-73-8181
Keio Highway Bus Reservation Center: 03-5376-2222

For online reservations, click here (in Japanese only).

If you need help to search for the route「新宿~富士五湖線」, click here where I have already entered the search criteria to board from the bus terminal in Shinjuku.

More information:

Locating the Keio Highway Bus Terminal「新宿高速バスターミナル」- it is opposite Yodobashi Camera on this map.

This is how the street looks by day…

…and by night:

Try and collect your tickets at least one day before your date of departure, so that you don’t have to rush on the actual day (in case there is a long queue) and also to familiarise yourself with how to get there. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get lost navigating the streets to locate the bus terminal on your departure day and miss the bus!

Collection of bus tickets for departures on the next day and beyond can be done at the 2nd floor of the bus terminal building. Look for this door:

When you get to the ticket office, please take a number and wait for your turn.

On the day of your departure, look out for the correct bus bay for your destination. The bus departure times and their destinations will be displayed on the digital signboards.

Lastly, to ensure that you have boarded the correct bus, the destination will also be displayed on the TV screen located at the front of the bus.

For those planning to visit Fuji-Q Highland, you will alight at the Highland Bus Station「富士急ハイランド」. This is located on the left of the parking area at the Highland Resort Hotel & Spa, which is near one of Fuji-Q Highland’s entrances.
[Map]

Those who want to explore the Lake Kawaguchi area should alight at Kawaguchiko Station「河口湖駅」.
[Map]

If the weather is clear, you should be able to see Mount Fuji behind the train station building. Unfortunately if it is a rainy day, the mountain will be totally hidden in the clouds. The picture above was taken in the early afternoon and on a somewhat rainy day. Usually the clouds will start to descend from mid-morning onwards, so the best time to take good pictures of Mount Fuji without much cloud cover would be in the early morning.

Categories: Fujiyoshida (富士吉田), Japan, Kawaguchiko (河口湖), Tokyo (東京) | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Augmented Reality Effects Bring New Life to Exhibits at the Trick Eye Museum Singapore

Combine 3D together with Augmented Reality (AR) and you’ll get an out of this world experience!

27th May 2017 will mark the launch of Trick Eye Museum Singapore’s new AR mobile app, which you can use to take pictures at the museum and also discover the additional animations which appear with each of their art exhibits. This app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You can use the app to take both photos and videos of yourself interacting with the art installations. There are added sound effects and music if you take videos using the app and you can watch some of my clips towards the end of this post.

The AR experience starts outside the entrance to the museum, where there is a hideous sea serpent waiting to pounce on unsuspecting visitors!

Running apps on your mobile with AR features does drain your phone battery life and I forgot to bring a power bank, thus in order to conserve my phone battery, I took only AR photos and videos during this visit, but I’ve also included some pictures from my previous visits for comparison.

If you have visited this 3D art museum since the last time when they had refreshed their artworks, you would be familiar with the rest of the pictures in this post but do take a look at how the pictures have been enhanced to provide a more fun and entertaining experience to your museum visit.

Original:

With AR turned on:

It puzzles me as to why a tiger has appeared at the Island of La Grande Jatte! Really unexpected!!

If you already think that this scene from the “Ghost” zone looks impressive in 3D…

…you will be pleased to know that it looks even better with the AR features turned on! I felt as if I was part of an animated movie with the skeletons moving about!

Some of the artworks have not-so-elaborate AR features, but the effects are still good as they enhance the visuals of the 3D exhibits.

Original:

With AR turned on:

Original:

With AR turned on:

Original:

With AR turned on:

Here are some other scenes with AR effects:

The addition of the AR features are best captured on video and you can “interact” with some of the animated characters (this is a chance to show off your acting skills!).

Here’s a compilation of some of the exhibits (please excuse my poor acting skills):

Do note that unless you are taking a selfie, you won’t have any idea of what special effects or animations are taking place in the space around you. If you have a friend helping to record the video for you, that person will need to be the director, otherwise it is pretty much up to your own imagination with regards to how to react in the scene!

Don’t worry if it’s too noisy at the museum, as the app will not record the background noise but instead overlay its own music and sound effects to your video.

Overall it was good fun and the AR effects certainly provide a different kind of interactive experience with the art installations!

Things to take note of before heading to the museum:

    • Download the “Trickeye” app (Free) from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
    • Bring along a power bank in case your mobile battery runs low from using the app.
    • Try to familiarise yourself with the functions on the screen, otherwise if you are not sure, you can always refer to the tutorial page.

From 27 May to 26 June 2017, visitors to the museum will enjoy 50% off admission prices for tickets purchased from the Trick Eye Museum and Sentosa ticketing counters.

Thanks to Trick Eye Museum Singapore for the media preview of the new AR features!

Categories: Media Invite, Museums, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolicious Fun at Universal Studios Singapore!

Chocoholics are in for a treat at Universal Studios Singapore’s latest Chocolate Garden attraction! Go on a Chocolate Adventure from now until 28th May 2017 and indulge your sweet tooth in some of the available offerings.

The entrance to the Chocolate Garden can be found between the Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase ride and The Brown Derby.

This walk-in attraction contains several themed areas like Lollipop Land, the Fondue Garden and there’s also a Choco Hedge Maze!

Lollipop Land

The swirls of colours immediately catch your eye when you enter the garden.

It makes for a nice photo spot.

There is an area for kids to decorate their own lollipops and they can add them to the Lollipop Garden!

Cocoa Hedge Maze

Get lost in this maze and who knows, you may even find some chocolate treats hidden amongst the bushes! It’s a pity the hedges aren’t high enough for adults to get lost in, but kids would probably enjoy this!

Fondue Garden

For a limited time, marshmallows are given out for free near the entrance to the Chocolate Garden, but if you haven’t had enough of them, you can purchase more at $1 for a set of 2 packets, each containing 2 marshmallows. The stickers that you see on the left of the photo below are for those who have registered for the cupcakes and cookies workshops.

Now if you have your marshmallows in hand and using the sticks provided, go dip them into the various chocolate fountains for a sweet indulgence.

There are several chocolate fountains of different varieties like Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate and there are even Strawberry and Pandan flavours!!

Character Meet and Greet

There are a few characters that you can meet in this area – Candice Cupcake and Mama Cookie are two newly introduced characters at the park and then there’s everyone’s favourite Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

Candice Cupcake is such a sweetie pie!

Mama Cookie is quite a feisty character!

Then there’s Cookie Monster donning a chef’s hat and an apron. Who’s the guy next to him? Well, he’s the Chocolate Man…

Chocolate Man Hunt

The Chocolate Man wears a badge or patch with the words “Are You Looking For Me?” and he will be roaming the park. Look carefully for him as you explore the park and when you do find him, shout “Got you! You are the Choco Man!” and you can win a mystery prize, which ranges from retail and dining vouchers to Universal Studios Singapore admission tickets!

Cupcakes & Cookies Workshop

If you are feeling creative, you can sign up for one of the sessions where you can decorate delicious cookies and cupcakes. It costs $6 each for a cupcake or a cookie.

We were first given a demonstration of how to decorate a cupcake and the kids looked like they couldn’t wait for their turn to try doing it!

  

Here are some samples of cookies and cupcakes that have already been decorated – they all looked like a sugar overload to me!

  

Ok, now’s my turn to have a go at cupcake decorating and we were given some white chocolate, strawberry chocolate, four different bottles of cream and lots of candy sprinkles!!

On the left is my chocolate chip cupcake and on the right, my completed masterpiece!

  

I coated my cupcake with strawberry chocolate, but didn’t add that many candy sprinkles as I don’t like my cupcakes to be too sweet! Mama Cookie saw it and approved of it! ^_^

You can bring your cupcakes/cookies home after you have finished decorating them, i.e. if you don’t plan to eat them on the spot. A word of advice – if you’re doing cupcakes, do remove the flag before you put the cupcake into the box. I forgot to do so and mine was a little squashed after I put the lid over.

Here’s a quick recap of what you can find at the Chocolate Garden:

Schedule:

I wandered around the park to see if I could interest any of the park’s characters in some chocolate.

The Minions weren’t interested – oh yeah, I forgot that my cupcake wasn’t banana flavoured (you can see my squashed cupcake here).

The Raptor looked keen and about to escape from his enclosure! Then again, he’d probably eat anything! Oh well, I’d better run along before he really escapes!…

Do go check out the Chocolate Garden and the various characters there. It’s also a good place to hang out to get away from the scorching sun!

Other Chocolate Flavoured Dining Offerings

Chocolate-flavoured delights can be found at various dining outlets in the park and these include Cho-infused Curry with Chicken Katsu, Nutella & Cheese Fries, Crispy Chicken Strips with Chocolate Dip and Cocoa Slush. Visitors can purchase the Sweet Tooth Package and choose three selected chocolate-themed items at participating dining outlets for just $20.

A Chocolate Adventure is a new experience included with regular paid admission to Universal Studios Singapore. Now until 28th May 2017.

Categories: Theme Parks, Universal Studios | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.