Thursday, August 28, 2008

Japanese Drama By Yutaka Takenouchi - Tomorrow

I have been watching this medical drama which has been airing in Japan since 6 July 2008 and would end on 14 September 2008 as it has another one of my favourite actors Yutaka Takenouchi who is acting as a doctor in the drama. He is so cute and i like him since secondary school when i first watched his drama "Heavens Coin". That was like so so long ago haha.... Another reason is because i always enjoys watching medical drama for its exciting and touching plots. Takenouchi's last drama, "Kazoku" was in 2006 and i have been looking forward to his new drama which was filmed in the Chiba Prefecture.

This new drama has apparently been in planning for the past four years. During that span of time, producers visited hospitals across the country gathering doctors' opinions about the problems faced by the hospital system and its patients. The issues facing local medical care form the basis of this drama. Takenouchi stars as Kohei Moriyama, who used to be a surgeon and quitted his job 8 years ago due to a mistake which caused the death of his patient.

Since becoming a municipal public official in a small town, he has become cheerful and optimistic. He is loved by local residents. However, his emotional wound from the past is not yet healed. He does not trust anyone but himself when it comes to important matters. One day, he meets a dedicated nurse, Aiko Tanaka (Miho Kanno), who has dedicated herself to saving the lives of others. What a cruel twist of fate as the patient who had died of his mistake was actually Tanaka's mother!

Tanaka inspires him to return to his medical profession in order to save a struggling community hospital who is facing bankruptcy (in the red for 30 Billion Yen) due to mismanagement and insufficient doctors. This is when he realizes... "Losing is not the end. Giving up is what ends everything."

Ogawa Tamaki stars as Endo Saya, a doctor sent by the government to revamp the hospital and to make it profitable. She appears cold-hearted in the first few episodes i have watched and wanted to privatise the hospital to make it profitable and closed down the non-profitable departments. There was one scene when an old man suffering from kidney failure needed a transplant as dialysis no longer works for him. Endo Sensei insisted that he must be transfered out of the hospital since he is no longer a profitable patient without dialysis charges. Moriyama Sensei and Tanaka are always going against her decision in the drama as they wish to fight for the benefits of the helpless patients. However Endo Sensei appears to be quite a kind-hearted person in some scenes and i'm curious to find out why she trys to appear cold-hearted in front of others.

Miho Kanno is another one of my favourite Japanese actress and it has also been awhile since i last watched her drama, "Itoshi Kimi e" starring Fujiki Naohito in 2004. That was also one of my favourite drama and it was a touching and lovely love story.


Don't Shop When You're Sad

(Source: Ladies' Home Journal, August 2008 edition)

When people are feeling self-focused and blue, they spend more and are willing to pay higher prices, according to a study led by researchers at Harvard and Carnegie Mellon Universities.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Brushing After Meals

(Source: Good Housekeeping Magazine (CAN/USA) September 2008 edition)

The acids in many foods soften tooth enamel, making it vunerable to damage from brushing. Wait at least 30-60 minutes; by then the acids will have cleared and the enamel will have re-hardened. You can't speed the process: Rinsing your mouth with water won't make a difference

Mum's Birthday

Celebrated my mum's birthday last Saturday and had yummy dim sum lunch at Fortunate Restuarant in Toa Payoh Central. We have not gone there for quite some time and the dim sum was still as nice and yummy. I also chanced upon a new shop selling Japanese snacks and tibits and bought some back to try :>

Monday, August 25, 2008

Untimely and ungracious (Furious Singaporeans react to table tennis association chief's surprise decision)

I'm also one of those Singaporeans who are upset about the decision of the Table Tennis Association since i read the news on the Straits Time ( ( yesterday. It really spoils and put a damper on all the celebrations for the Women's Table Tennis Team winning the Olympic Silver medal for Singapore.

The Association should have been more transparent in their way of handling the matter and not just give some stupid reason (new CEO, committee etc..) to explain the sacking of the team manager and the unknown fate of the head coach. IT TAKES 48 YEARS FOR SINGAPORE TO ACHIEVE ANOTHER MEDAL AND IT TAKES MP LEE BEE WAH ONLY 48 HOURS TO DESTROY IT !!! Both men have contributed alot to helping Singapore win the medal. Even if they were at fault regarding the Gao Ning matter, MP Lee Bee Wah should not have just decided so suddenly and at such an inappropriate timing. She has really stealed all the glory from the table tennis team and perhaps she might be the only one celebrating the medal success instead of the team and fellow Singaporeans!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Japanese Drama - Change (Ending) (Spoiler Alert!!)

I have just finished watching the last episode of the drama and Takuya Kimura really did a great job portraying as Asakura Keita, Prime Minister of Japan. He also shares great chemistry with actress Fukatsu Eri and i was glad that their characters ended up together. I'm very satisfied with the ending :> and how Takuya's character had stand by his beliefs and continue with the fight and proved that he is not a puppet prime minister controlled by Kanbayashi Sensei.

By calling for a snap re-election in the end, he is calling for the citizens to be the decision makers and to decide who they believe would fight for their country and welfare and not let Kanbayashi take advantage of the political turmoils to become the new prime minister. He knows that Kanbayashi is a despicable politician but he also acknowledge that he was the one who gave him a chance and indirectly helped him discover that being in politics is what he really wanted and to fulfil his late father's dream of helping the citizens.

"Change" is really a well-written, well-cast and well-executed Japanese drama with brillant actors and an intriguing storyline that has a right balance of political, romance and funny scenes to keep the viewers entertainied. "Change" also brings back memories of another Takuya's drama, "Hero". Takuya is really suitable for leadership roles and the characters he played in "Change" and "Hero" shows some similarities like they both started out as underdogs in their profession and ended up being able to win over their rivals with their strong beliefs of rights and wrongs and strong fighting spirits.

Hiroshi Abe also did a great job as the laid back political strategist and provided some comical reliefs in an otherwise serious drama which focuses on the political scenes in Japan. It was really a joy watching his acting and i almost wish that i could see more of his character in the drama. It would be quite interesting and also makes the drama more watchable if he had ended up as the "substitute prime minister" while takuya's character was sick in the drama. "Change" once again convince me that Japanese dramas are still my favourite as the stories are always short, sweet and touching.

The Herb that Protects Your Brain

(Source: Shape Magazine Singapore, July 2008 edition)

Cooking with rosemary can put you in a healthy state of mind for years to come. The fragrant herb contains carnosic acid, a compound that signals the brain to defend itself against free radicals (harmful by-products of metabolism that can cause stroke and Alzheimer's disease), finds a study in the Journal of Neurochemistry. Keep your head strong by tossing freshly chopped or dried rosemary over salads or using it in meat, fish, and veggie dishes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Key to Losing Weight: Weekends


What’s the real key to losing weight, you ask? It’s all about the weekends. Seems those Saturday afternoon naps and Sunday morning brunches throw a real wrench into weight loss efforts. In fact, weekend indulgences can add up to as much as a 9-pound gain in a year, research shows.

Read on for weekend willpower . . .

A Real Diet Killer

In a study of weekend behavior, people on diet or exercise routines consistently stopped losing weight -- or worse, gained it -- over the weekends. They showed a net weekly gain of almost 9 pounds a year! Suddenly, that Saturday afternoon double-fudge sundae doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

The Solution

Fortunately, you don’t have to lose your weekends to drop the pounds. First step: Pass on the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet. Make your own breakfast at home -- something that tastes decadent but is actually good for you. Next, mow the lawn. Wash the car. Walk the dog. Just do something that gets you moving. The study participants not only ate more on weekends but exercised less -- a double whammy for your waistline.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Japanese Drama "Galileo" Gets SP On Same Day As Film's Release

I found this great piece of news online at:, fans of the Japanese drama series "Galileo" would definitely be happy at the news!

Fans of the drama series "Galileo" have one more thing to look forward to since the series ended last year. Anticipation is already high for the "Yougisha x no Kenshin" movie (follow-up movie of drama series Galileo), opening in theaters on October 4. Now, Fuji TV is turning it into a double dose: a one-shot special titled "Galileo: Episode Zero" will be aired on the same day as the film's release.

The special is set 3 years prior to the drama series, with the story being related to a murder case that was referenced in the original show. Detective Kusanagi (Kazuki Kitamura) is looking to solve a murder mystery, and he gets back in touch with his former badminton teammate, the brilliant professor Manabu Yukawa (Masaharu Fukuyama).

The special will also portray an incident from Yukawa's college days. Popular teen actor Haruma Miura plays the young Yukawa. Other cast members include Masami Nagasawa as a student lab assistant and Karina as a mysterious woman tied to the murder case. Fuji TV will broadcast the drama at 9:00pm on 4 October 2008.

I also found the theme song "Kiss Shite" of the drama "Galileo" from Youtube. The song is a collaboration between Kou Shibasaki and Masaharu Fukuyama and it is a nice and cute song. Fukuyama wrote the song and lyrics. I have included the MV below :> The trio are also doing another song, a love ballad titled "Saiai" for the Galileo movie and i'm looking forward to hearing the song.


4 Simple Ways to Superpower Your Salad


Salad is pretty healthful to start with, to be sure. But not all salads are created equal. (Case in point: iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing. Wimpy!) So follow these five simple steps for making sure you up the antioxidant ante for all your garden greens:

1. Dress for Success

Dress your salad with an olive oil-based dressing. This good fat helps you absorb the nutrients in the salad. Mix the oil with apple or wine vinegars for extra antioxidants.

2. Herb It Up

Lemon balm and marjoram can increase a salad’s antioxidant capacity by 150–200 percent! You can sprinkle cumin, fresh ginger, and thyme on your salad, too.

3. Vary Your Veggies

Artichokes, beetroot, broccoli, garlic, leeks, radishes, spinach, and onions were the chart-topping antioxidant-rich veggies in a recent study -- though they’re not everyone’s favorites.

4. Branch Out . . ..

. . with new leaves. Some colorful red chicory or purple cabbage, for example, will add crunch to your salad -- as well as extra antioxidants.

Digging For The Truth: One Man's Epic Adventure Exploring the World's Greatest Archaeological Mysteries - Josh Bernstein

I have finally finished reading the book and this is a must read book for fans of the television series "Digging for the Truth". I have watched season 1 and 2 of the series and is eagerly waiting for the National Library to purchase season 3 so that i can borrow the DVD set. What i like about this book is that it provides me with more information on some of the topics in the series that i did not really understand after watching the episodes. In the book, the host of the series Josh Bernstein shares with readers his personal experience, behind the scenes works and also pictures taken while he was filming the series.

Readers of the book would also gain insights into the risk and dangers that went on behind the scenes in shooting the show and how much efforts the production team went into so as to show viewers precious footages of the interior of the Pyramids of Egypt and Yemen. That was definitely one of my favourite episodes! I also enjoyed watching the episode of Josh diving into the water to search for the underground palace of Cleopatra and also the story on Queen Nefertiti.

What i like particularly about the series was the chance to follow the journey of Josh to various exotic places that i might not even have the chance to go during my lifetime like Ethiopia, Yemen and Jerusalem. Another of my favourite episodes was on the Vikings. That episode gave me a chance to better appreciate the beauty of Iceland and Greenland which is much better than seeing the pictures and reading about the places on travel books. It was also interesting seeing the restored homes (Viking longhouses) of the Vikings which Erik the Red had lived in the Year 982 AD.

It also makes me better appreciate the series and i was reading the book and watching season 1 and 2 at the same time which gives me a better idea of how difficult it was to shoot some of the episodes which i would not have realised while just watching it on tv.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Into the Unknown With Josh Bernstein

I read online that Josh Bernstein is helming another new TV program "Into the Unknown With Josh Bernstein" on Discovery Channel and the World Premiere HD Original Series airs Mondays, August 18 at 10pm ET/PT. The program is the first installment of “Into the Unknown With Josh Bernstein,” a new series featuring the genial fellow who made archaeology entertaining as the original host of “Digging for the Truth” on History Channel. Too bad that it is not showing here in Singapore yet and i would definitely be on the lookout for the program when it shows here. You can get more information about the show on Discovery website: and below is the commercial for the program i found from Youtube:

Below are more information about episodes of the program:

Travel with Bernstein across oceans, continents and time zones on aquest for answers. From current headlines to ancient lore, grab your bags and set off for adventure. Topics covered include:

-- In the past, the Anga people of Papua New Guinea revered their ancestors so deeply that they mummified their dead and refused to bury them. But this ritual hasn't been performed in over a half-century and the skills of this ancient rite may soon be lost forever. In a race against time, Josh lives with one of the most primitive tribes onEarth and becomes one of the first Westerners to ever witness their secret mummification process.

-- A deadly conflict between elephants and humans is escalating across Africa. Josh goes on the trail of elephants that are attacking andkilling humans in record numbers to find out why these gentle giants have turned into killers and to investigate a compelling new theory that claims to know the answer.

-- For millennia, people have assumed that because we live on Earth, life must have started here. But scientists are now seriously considering that life may have come here from Mars, having navigated the hazards of deep space to take up residence on Earth. Josh gains access to places only NASA scientists are typically allowed on his quest through the American West for the true story.

-- The Roman Gladiator participated in history's most deadly sport,but does the Hollywood portrayal of Gladiators bear any resemblance to the truth? Were they slaves or celebrities? What was their training and everyday home life like? Josh travels the former Roman Empire from Italy to Turkey to Tunisia to find out.

-- For seven centuries the fierce Chachapoya tribe ruled the mountains of northern Peru from their hilltop fortress ... then, in the 1500s,the tribe suddenly vanished from history. Josh goes deep into the Peruvian Andes by foot and by horse to investigate how one of SouthAmerica's deadliest tribes could have disappeared in an instant.

-- In 14th century Africa, a legend that Timbuktu was a 'City of Gold' began to spread across the world - travel with Josh across West Africa, into the Sahara desert, and to the famous city itself on a quest to find the gold of legend and determine if the myth was ever really true.

-- Did the flood of Genesis really happen? Was there an actual ark ora man called Noah? Josh travels throughout Armenia, Israel, Sicily and Cyprus to investigate a compelling new theory about the truth behindthis extraordinary story.

-- How did one man almost destroy one of the greatest empires on earth? Josh is on a quest across Lower and Upper Egypt to explore how the heretical Pharaoh Akhenaten left his son, King Tut, with a country and a dynasty that was on the verge of destruction.
Do support the program for those who are lucky enough to be able to view it first in their country :>