Otaku Corner: New Years At Japan by Chloe

Konnichiwa, minna! Welcome back to another corner of Otaku Corner! 2015 has came and went so let us welcome the year 2016 with a bang. Before we carry on, akemashite omedetou to all the fellow readers and yoikotoshi wo! Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu *bows*.

Yes, for this corner, I will be taking you through some of the celebrations held in Japan during the new years. The Japanese New Year Celebration is called shogatsu. Are you ready? Let’s go!

The Greetings

Like other countries, people greet each other during the new year and it is the same here in Japan. In Japan, there are usually three wishes that you will hear during the new year.

  1. Akemashite omedetou 明けまして おめでとう!(or akeome for short) = Happy New Year
  2. Yoi kotoshi wo 良い今年を= Have a good year ahead.
  3. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegashimasu 今年もよろしくお願いします= Please take care of me this year.

Popular Traditions  and Customs In Japan

There are several traditions in Japan which have been shown or mentioned in many series. These traditions are actual traditions and rituals that are practiced in Japan. Among the popular traditions are:

  1. Otoshidama (Kanji: お年玉)

Similar to the New Year’s celebrated in Malaysia, the Japanese also has a custom of    giving money to children during the new years. The amount varies from the people giving the money and the receiver.

2. Mochi (Kanji: 餅、もち)

A traditional Japanese decorative sweet, it is a rice cake that is made prior to the New Year celebration and eaten when the celebration starts. The charm point of the rice cakes are the decorations as the decoration is the main purpose as well as the highlight of making them.

3. Shrine Visits

Visiting shrines to make prayers is a traditional custom in Japan for good luck, health and for blessings. First visits of the year is called hatsumoede (Kanji: 初詣) and it is a norm for   female attendees to be dressed in full kimono during the visit. One of the customs during hatsumode would be to ring the temple bell as well to make wishes and prayers.

At shrines, there are several items being sold. Among the items include: omamori (Kanji: 守 or お守り); omikuji (Kanji: おみくじ) as well as a beverage called amezake (Kanji: 甘酒).

a.Omamori (Kanji: 守 or お守り)

 Omamori or Japanese amulets are bought for good luck or protection and it is commonly sold in shrines. Old amulets are returned to the shrine to be burned.

b. Omikuji (Kanji: おみくじ)

 Omikuji or fortune slips are also common in Japan. After paying, there will be a container  for you to ‘draw’ a numbered stick by shaking the container for a bit. After a numbered stick was drawn, the individual would get his or her omikuji slip according to the number on the stick. There are several degree of luck that can be drawn.         

 

Kanji Romanji English Translation
大吉 Daikiji Great Blessing
中吉 Chukiji Middle Blessing
小吉 Shokiji Small Blessing
Kiji Blessing
半吉 Hankiji Half Blessing
末吉 Suekichi Small Blessing
末小吉 Suesokichi Future Small Blessing
Kyo Curse
小凶 Ko Kyo Small Curse
半凶 Han Kyo Half Curse
末凶 Sue Kyo Future Curse
大凶 Daikyo Great Curse

 

In some shrines, there are English translations on the same slip.

c. Amezake (Kanji: 甘酒)

           Amezake or fermented rice wine is sweet and low or non-alcoholic drinks. During new  years, it can be found in many shrines. Due to its low alcoholic content, minors can also  drink this during the new year.

the-new-years-prayer

Source: tumblr_m9mfy5f9EQ1r2ibs2o1_1280

          Source: Screenshot from K-On

  That is all for now, ja ne minna! Have a good year ahead!            

 

Happy New Year from USA! by June Ong

 3…2…1… Happy New Year! With 12 chimes of the bell, we have officially ushered in the New Year. Leaving behind our dusty footprints on the pages of 31st of December and embracing the New Year with a great heap of enthusiasm and an equally great heap of New Year resolutions. We are used to witnessing New Year celebrations in Malaysia, but are you aware of New Year celebrations in other countries? Well what better way to start of the New Year with an extra bit of global knowledge? Popcorns ready, let’s go.

 Costa Rica, where all trails seem to lead to waterfalls, misty crater lakes or jungle-fringed, deserted beaches. What makes New Year Eve celebrations different in Costa Rica than any other countries is how the natives make the celebrations feel like a close intimate affair. Unlike their counterparts in North America where a new year eve celebrations equal to socializing on street parties or at bars, spending the last few moments of the old year with a room full of loud partying strangers, natives in Costa Rica spend the night with their family and close friends only. Most of the party places around the country, such as clubs, discotheques and pubs shut off an hour before the stroke of midnight. However, whatever amount they amount to celebrate is still intensely gala, with lots of drinking, eating, cheering and genuinely having a good time with their friends.

 If you decide to spend the New Year’s at Costa Rica, the Costa Ricans or the Ticos as they prefer to call themselves, have a few traditions they like to follow and you might want to take a note of that if your new year brings you to the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica. Firstly, wearing yellow confers one with good luck in the coming year while wearing red underwear confers one with a love partner in the coming year. Furthermore, if one wishes to travel in the coming year, then there is a tradition of walking two times around one’s house or walk down the neighborhood street with a luggage in hand. In addition, there is the widely observed tradition of eating twelve grapes on the midnight of New Year’s Eve as each grape is considered to represent each month of the coming year.

 Moving on to New York:  Every year as the clock nears midnight on December 31, the eyes of the world would turn once more to the dazzling lights and bustling energy of Times Square. Anticipation runs high. New Year’s Eve at the symbolic center of New York City has become more than just a celebration – it’s a global tradition. There is the famous Times Square Ball, watching the ball drop as the clock approaches midnight but what if you decide to do something more different? You can take part in the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, a 4 miles Central Park Race held annually by the New York Road Runners, promising a fun and healthy way to get your New Year started.

 Either way you spend your New Year, be it in a room of partying and enthusiastic strangers or having a nice sit-down dinner with your family, do embrace the New Year with a warm heart and an open mind. Life is full of obstacles but remember that there is always the silver lining. Do not be afraid of change, of problems and generally, of life. The New Year breathes in life and we should not run away from it. Stick to your resolutions and do not give up on your dreams. Do not reject and throw away your New Year resolutions when time starts to toughen up and soon you’ll find your greatest reward. Happy New Year.

 

Celebrating the New Years at DRPK by Clinton Wee

       Being one of the only atheist countries in the world, North Koreans miss out on all the Christmas joy every year. Their most popular leaders’ birthdays are on the other hand one of the grandest holidays of the year. All this is not surprising given North Korea’s reputation. There is a fact that may be more of an eyebrow raiser.

 

      New Years is widely accepted and celebrated over in the Hermit Kingdom. “North Koreans are not allowed to celebrate any holiday in the Gregorian calendar but the New Year,” Aliou Niane, a Guinean who studied in Wonsan, North Korea from 1982-1987, told NK News. However, there may be a slight but obvious distinction between New Years in North Korea and with the rest of the world. For starters, in North Korea, New Years was reserved for honouring the country’s leaders. At many universities, North Korean students would wake their foreign classmates up and make them bring flowers to the bronze statue of Kim Il Sung in Wonsan to praise him. The foreign students were asked to give thanks to the benefactor of their past achievements and to pray for guidance throughout the New Years. The foreign students were appalled, but did what they were told.

 

    Some other New Year traditions are however quite similar.  Spending time with families and friends during this holiday has become a norm even in the communist regime. On New Year’s Eve, restaurants would be filled with cheery North Koreans drowning themselves with beer and soju (rice liquor). North Koreans, living in the capital city, would also watch live performance shows at Mansudae Art Theater and Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.

     A dazzling show of fireworks light up the night sky as thousands of people gather nearby the Juche tower  and the Taedong river in Pyongyang. Friends, families and couples stand in awe, their mouths closed but hearts opened. The sky represents their lives, pitch black throughout the year. But on this very special day, they are given a chance to live almost like every other human being on Earth, to celebrate the holiday all of mankind has in common.

Celebrating The New Year – German style

New Year for the Germans

by Elycia Lee

 

In Germany, New Year is called as Neujahr and it’s celebrated on the 1st of January, the first day of the first month of the Georgian calendar. People in Germany hold a lot of fervor and zeal for the New Year celebrations.

 

Germans are well known for being party people. Majestic parties are thrown all over Germany in pubs, clubs, restaurants as well as discotheques, initiated on New Year’s Eve and it goes on the entire night to end on the next morning. The grandest and the most famous parties occur at Brandenburg Tor in Berlin. Throngs of people come in these parties to eat, drink, sing, dance, and celebrate the New Year.

 

As soon the as the clock strikes twelve at midnight, people exchange wishes, hugs and kisses, opening up champagne bottles to illustrate their pleasure for the moment as they welcome the New Year. Firecracker displays are crafted in beautiful sequences and it has been a major part of New Year celebrations in Germany.

 

One of the very interesting traditions of New Year that the Germans intently abide to is the tradition of foretelling the future of the coming year, which is called the ‘Bleigiessen’. It is done by falling molten lead in cold water. The shape formed in the water is considered as the basis of predictions made for the future of a person. For instance, a ship shaped formation suggests travelling or journey, a pig shaped formation suggests abundance of food, and a heart or ring shaped formation suggests a wedding in the coming year.
There is also a major tradition of leaving a bit of the New Year’s Eve food till midnight when New Year arrives. They believe that doing so confers plenty of food for the entire coming year. Besides that, a dish of carp of herring, carrots and cabbage on the platter, along with champagne raised for a toast on New Year’s Eve is said to bring financial stability for the New Year. Also, people share meat and cheese with close friends and family members over the feast.

Feliz Ano Novo! from Brazil! By : Tan Li Ying (Merissa)

If you have picked up the language before, you would have noticed that the title to this article is in Portuguese; if you haven’t, can you guess what it says? Well, Feliz Ano Novo, is in fact Happy New Year in Brazilian Portuguese!

With the first month of 2016 drawing to a close, I shall bring you on an exciting journey to discover what it’s like celebrating New Year’s Day in Brazil, the home of the world’s biggest and most celebrated carnivals! We’ll explore the most common (and probably weirdest) traditions that they have, and hopefully by the end of this article, you will know everything you need to have the time of your life on New Year’s Eve at Rio de Janeiro!

  1. A very spiritual thing based on the past, a major part of New Year’s Eve traditions in Brazil is to appease the Goddess of Seas, Yemanjá. On this night, you will see thousands of Brazilians by the beach, lighting candles and throwing white flowers into the sea, in the hope that she will grant them their requests for the coming year. There are some that make small wooden boats to put in bouquets of flowers as well as female vanity goods such as perfume and makeup. They say if the offerings were sent back, they were not accepted; but do not despair, you can always try again next year!

 

  1. Next on the list – your outfit! The tradition on clothes for anyone coming in for New Year’s Eve in Rio is to wear white colour garments, which symbolize good luck for the next year. Although not a mandatory dress code, it’s still best to embrace this tradition if you want to experience the New Year’s the Brazilian way! Besides that, absolutely DO NOT wear black, or you will be doomed throughout the upcoming year!

 

  1. Food is everything in New Year’s Eve in Rio, the Brazilians are very particular about what they eat on this night to ensure a prosperous year ahead! Dinner after fireworks displays will serve Brazilian cultural dishes such as lentils and rice which are believed to bring good luck. Little tip if you want to be well-off in the year ahead – Eat 7 pieces of raisins before midnight and keep the seeds in your wallet, apparently that makes sure you have money in your wallet all the time! 😉

 

  1. While making your New Year’s wishes, a way to increase your chances of making these wishes possible is to jump over 7 different waves while making them, one for each wave. If you want to increase your luck in romantic affairs, make sure the first person that you greet when New Year comes is someone of the opposite sex! 😛

After all these tips on what to do, you might be wondering, where can you go for the best New Year’s celebration in Brazil? In Rio, the biggest celebration is on Copacabana beach, where there will be massive fireworks displays at midnight that lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. With these traditions in mind and a bottle of champagne in hand, you will definitely have the most exciting and exhilarating New Year’s celebration along with thousands of people on the beautiful beaches of Brazil! In true Brazilian spirit, Revellion!

Celebrating the New Year – Italian Style

New Year’s Day marks the start of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar. It is a relatively modern practice. Although Romans began marking the start of their civil year on January 1 in their calendar (prior to the Gregorian calendar), the traditional springtime opening of the growing season and time for major military campaigns still held on as the popular New Year celebration.

The Romans, and simply Italians in general, prepare for the New Year celebrations with great excitement and joy. Italians call the New Year’s Day “capodanno” which translates as “head of the year, while New Year’s Eve is called ‘notte di capodanno,’ or ‘sera di capodanno,’ for night or evening of capodanno, despite New Year’s Eve having its own distinctive name. The preparations start with decoration of houses and work-places. Lights are adorned and greenery is given much preference for the Italians in terms of decorations.

The Italian people wear new clothes and exchange gifts on these days. The gifts play a vital role in bringing fortune to homes. People are extra careful in choosing the right presents for their loved ones. The Italian New Year gift items that are considered extremely lucky consist of sweets, honey jars, gold, silver, money, coins and lamps. Every gift denotes special features which is why Italian people love spreading their happiness by sharing gifts – honey signifies sweetness and peace; gold and other precious metals are to bring prosperity and lamps are to illuminate the year with light.

As with most Italian festivals, food plays a major role. Families and friends get together for a huge feast.  In Italy, food is given the upper hand while observing the Italian New Year customs. The customs vary from region to places but, some of the major items never change. Sweet bread or cake is  served in most of the parts of Italy. This food item symbolizes prosperity and hope for New Year. Lentils and raisins are considered very lucky in Italy and these are consumed with the New Year traditional meals. Black eyed peas are considered fortune bringing food item. It symbolizes money and since they are green, it is really auspicious.

Traditionally, the dinner in many parts of Italy also includes a cotechino which is a large spiced sausage, or a zampone, stuffed pig’s trotter. The pork symbolizes the richness of life in the coming year. The New Year is also celebrated with spumante or prosecco, Italian sparkling wine. New Year’s parties, whether public or private, will often last until sunrise in order to watch the first sunrise of the new-born year.

At midnight, fireworks are displayed all across the country. Most towns have public displays in a central square but private parties will also include firecrackers or sparklers and continue for a long time. Naples is known for having one of the best and biggest New Year’s fireworks displays in Italy. Some smaller towns build a bonfire in the central square where villagers will congregate into the early morning. If you’re near the coast, lake or river you will hear boats and ships blowing their horns. Dancing is also popular and many towns have music and dancing before the fireworks. Rome, Milan, Bologna, Palermo and Naples put on huge popular outdoor shows with pop and rock bands.

Just like every other culture, Italy has a set of eccentric yet symbolic traditions in its history which include throwing pots, pans, and clothes out of the window to let go of the past and move toward the future, firing a Christmas log before New Year’s Day to turn away evil spirits (who don’t like fire) and invite the Virgin Mary to warm the newborn Jesus and wearing red underwear for good luck. An old custom that is still followed in some places, especially in the south, is throwing your old things out the window to symbolize your readiness to accept the New Year. So, keep an eye out for falling objects if you’re walking around near midnight!

So, if you’re planning on ushering the New Year in Italy, why not do as the Italians do?

Celebrating the New Year- Spanish Style by Tiffany Hoo

Fireworks shoot across the dark, night sky. The loud noise of them breathe life into what would usually be a quiet night and the accompanying sound of the bursting crackers chase away the evil spirits and leave space for holiness and prosperity to come in. The Spanish community, gathered in the town square, are seen decked out in bright clothing, singing to their hearts’ content, wide smiles spread across their faces. This is a common sight that can be seen during the New Year’s Eve in Spain, but there is more to New Year than just these typical scenes.

“Nochevieja”, which directly translated means “old night”, refers to New Year’s Eve. As with most people across the world, majority of the Spanish enjoy spending the day with their beloved family members and close friends.

A particularly interesting tradition observed religiously by the Spanish is “The 12 Grapes” tradition. This tradition dates back long ago in the country’s rich history, namely since the year 1909. The tradition had initially been an attempt by vine growers from the Alicante area to sell large quantities of grapes which had been produced during an excellent harvest in the said year. However, once the King of Spain joined in the fun and his subjects soon followed suit. What started out as a clever marketing strategy soon turned into a long-preserved tradition which has lasted over a century, till this very day!

On the final day of the year, namely the 31st of December, the Spanish community would wait until 12am, with twelve grapes ready to eat. It is also a sacred tradition to listen to the clock from Puerta del Sol in Madrid and in other town squares around the country for “The 12 Grapes” ritual.

When it is midnight in Spain on New Year’s Eve, each time the clock chimes, all the people put a grape in their mouth. By the time the clock has finished chiming for the twelfth time, everybody has to have finished their grapes and the New Year starts. Hence, the Spanish kick start their year with a mouthful of grapes! A rather particularly funny scene, as most would be unable to finish eating the grapes before the final chime and they’ll start laughing at the sight of one another with cheeks filled with unswallowed grapes.

If you manage to eat the 12 grapes then you will have 12 months good luck. Each grape is meant for each of the 12 months and traditionally it is believed that eating grapes at the beginning of the year brings good luck and prosperity for all 12 months.

Although a rather peculiar tradition, there is no doubt that it does bring family and friends closer to one another and enhances the camaraderie between them. And isn’t that what the new years are all about?

 

A Look Back at Violence

2015 was also a year in which we repeatedly heard of attacks on various cities and countries; Paris, Palestine and not to mention the ongoing crisis of Syrian refugees. With the arrival of 2016, we can only hope that this year will bring about more of what we could only wish for – world peace.

Once again, we had our writers give their thoughts on this issue, be it what they hope for or what they have to say to the victims, et cetera.


 

When we talk about the recent horrifying attacks in Paris, the word “Muslim” somehow always pops out. When some people see a Muslim, they will automatically have a certain mindset about this person that they don’t know, and even go to the extent of not-so-subtly steering away from them or worse still, harassing the person. This is a sad and appalling truth about our society right now. This is most probably due to the terrorist movement ISIS who misuse the name of Allah in their outrageous attacks on the innocent. In my humble opinion, terrorism has no religion. It is extremely untrue and unfair to label someone’s religion just because someone else has misused the name of it. If you absolutely have to, you should judge people for no reason but their deeds, regardless of their creed and colour. So when you see a Muslim friend out there, please be nice and don’t be judgmental! 🙂

By: Merissa Tan Li Ying


 

“War, war has never changed”-Fallout 4.

War brings hatred and sadness, and vengeful intentions follow, whereby more wars would then happen. Wars bring nothing but death and hatred to everyone and more importantly, it solves nothing. Can you imagine how much better the world would be without wars? Perhaps wars could be replaced with boundaries and some form of restraints. Countries with better war capabilities might have to constantly look out for resources to sustain the country, but what if the world unites as one, without any religions to set us apart from each other and instead only one doctrine in which everyone on earth can follow? Could we evade the unnecessary warfare and deaths? It is truly saddening to watch how countries like France can fall as victims under Islamic States Militants (ISIS)’s attacks. After all, it is due to the attacks that more refugees are brought about and muslims and Islams are getting more and more generalized as the ones that bring chaos and warfare to the world. Is this sort of generalization necessary or in any ways beneficial to the world? No, I don’t think so.

By: Christopher Liew


 

It’s sad, and terrifying to see how the world has become over the years. Wars and attacks have always been happening for different reasons – but they always say it’s for the sake of peace. Has all these things truly brought us peace? I say it brings out the opposite. Every day these people wake up in fear of what will happen tomorrow. Lives of both wrong and innocent are taken away, for whose sake? Has any of this brought betterment for the world, or for anyone at all? Does war bring peace, or is it the reason to no peace?

By: Elycia Lee


 

The recent attacks have shed light on one important issue that has plagued the human race since the dawn of time. It was the cause of the World Wars, it was written all over our textbooks and moral studies telling us exactly what not to do, it is preached in religion. One word: Miscommunication. We are too caught up being “morally right” or “doing it in the name of religion” but sometimes, we have to push all these thoughts aside and just use our most basic common sense to solve the problem. Does killing thousands of innocent people help solve any problems? Doing so in the name of religion, does it make a wrong thing right? Some might argue that humans’ “common sense” is the fatal cause of all these tragedies. This might be true but what about the other millions of people out there? This is evident when world leaders, global activists or even Facebook users condemn and criticise the unruly actions of other “leaders”. Common sense is not dead nor misplaced. The one effective way of solving these problems is to use common sense and work in tandem together, communicating effectively and peacefully to come to an agreement and not just costing millions of innocent lives.

By: June Ong


 

When I see attacks, it does not only relate to terrorist attacks, it also means that another nation is stepping onto foreign soil to attack as well. Be it right or wrong, attacking someone or another party never brings anything good. Nobody would just sit back and take it just like that. A retaliation will sure to be invoked when one is pushed too far with something offensive. Unfortunately, the attacks on Paris going from suicide bombers to heavily armed gunmen were too inhumane to even call attacks at this stage. It is no doubt a devastating loss to a country when the lives of about 120 civilians were loss just like that but the retaliation to that attack was also not rational. Just like the saying “you must fight fire with fire” goes, it is also not right to rain down bombs on a civilian populated town as a retaliation just because there are terrorist militants residing within the area. At the end of the day, only pain, loss and agony will be felt on both sides. That is what war brings.

By: Shern


 

The atrocities that are happening throughout the world today are nowhere nearly as grave as the ones that happened just a few decades ago. Despite this fact, our world seems to be on a higher alert than it ever was. We watch the Paris attacks, the Beirut bombings and the Israel Palestinian war on the news, and somehow our brains get rewired into thinking, “that could have been me!” This is can all be attributed to the fact that the world is more interconnected than ever before. Twitter and facebook allow victims to share their horific stories with the world. This news is propagated like wildfire throughout the digital world which connects 80% of all humans on this planet. All of a sudden, we are being bombared with images and texts about something that society pressures us into knowing about. I am not suggesting you should turn a blind eye to our fellow human beings who are suffering but I would like to acknowledge the fact that you are safe, no matter who you are and no matter where you are.

By: Clinton Wee Yuan


 

Much has happened in the year 2015, hasn’t it? Unfortunately, many of the incidents were far from positive. The attacks which occurred in various parts of the world, such as in Paris and Palestine have cast a dark blight over the world. However, instead of coming together to solve this ‘epidemic’, we find ourselves pointing finger to one another and blaming each other for the tragedy that has befallen the world. In light of these, I often find myself thinking ‘why?’. We’re all children of Mother Earth, yet, why are we letting such pretences of religion and nationality divide us? If only we allowed our eyes to see beyond these ‘barriers’, we would see for ourselves that we are not as different from one another as we had initially thought. Ultimately, it is only by casting aside these inhibitions and working hand in hand to resolve the matters at hand, that we will be able to fix the global problems which threaten the peace of the world and humanity itself.

By: Tiffany Hoo


 

Let me tell you the way some people on the internet blame government, muslim communities and terrorists organisations about bomb explosions make you think they’re potential candidates for a presidential election. But how many of us really feel for the people in these attacks? most of us are just looking for a good argument or to join the’fun’ and hype that everybody is talking about. The thing is people get carried away and ITS NOT OKAY to blame people when you have no substantial proof. It’s not okay to discriminate the Muslims and branding everyone in their community a terrorists. It’s wrong, unethical and plain inconsiderate. Just because a small number of Muslims are terrorists, it does not mean that most of them are. Statistically speaking, there are more than 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and if they are mostly terrorists, what would that make us? Dead. So stop accusing an innocent community for all the terrible things that happen to us because just like the rest of us they endure the consequences of an attack. People are already struggling to get back on their feet without discrimination. How do you think millions of Muslim people are going to get back on their feet with half the world trying to shun them?

By: Haritha

Coffee & Waffles

Reviewed by: Christopher Liew

Instead of reviewing Malaysian cafes, this time we are reviewing a cafe all the way in Taiwan’s Tamsui. The unique thing about this cafe is its location in the heart of the Old Street of Tamsui. They have only a small space available, but the utilized it the best they can by maximizing the usage of the area. The top floor was used as the dining area while the bottom floor was used to prepare meals and brew drinks.

0001

Interior View of Coffee and Waffles

 

0002

Exterior Design of Coffee and Waffles

Overall, the design of the dining area was rather cozy. It had a nice ambience to it and it provides a really calm feeling for any customers there, with just the perfect choice of playlist. The design was themed around wood-ish items, as can be seen by their furniture. Books were also provided for customers who would prefer to read and relax. It needs to be emphasized that while the small space was completely utilized, the element of comfort was not forgotten and a relaxing indoor dining experience was provided.

0003

Interior Design of the Dining Area of the Cafe

0004

Interior Design of the Lower Floor of the Cafe

Like most other cafes, this cafe also provides specialty brew coffee. They have two bean varieties – Yirgacheffe as well as Antigua Flora, which costs about 100NTD (Approximately RM11). Their coffee has a bold aroma with just a hint of a flowery scent, with a slight citrusy sourness along with a trace of burnt nutty flavour. It’s a very good deal for such a skillful brewing at the price given as the Specialty Brew is not as easily prepared as espresso brewing.

0005

Interior View of Coffee and Waffles

While I was there, I got myself a latte with brown sugar mochi waffles. Their latte gave off a strong flavour as how coffee would normally do with smooth steamed milk, and the mixture of the latte’s slight bitter flavour with the smoothness of milk gave the perfect balance of both flavours in that one cup. Despite the foam layer being a little rough after polishing, the coffee itself is surely able to provide a good drinking experience to any coffee lovers. As for the brown sugar mochi waffles, the waffle is not only crispy but it also has the extreme sweetness of mochi in it, its sweetness and warmth seeping into you as you dig into them.

0006

Ice-cream Waffles at RM11

Warmth of the waffles mixed with the chilling sensation of the ice cream, in such a way that the flavour of the butter from the waffles mixes with creaminess and sweetness of the cream.

 

Location and contact details:

Coffee & Waffles

Location: 1F. , No.19, Zhongsan Rd., Tamsui Dist., New Taipei City 251, Taiwan(R.O.C)

Contact:

(02)2621-8161

(09)7592-6927

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coffeeNwaffle/?fref=ts

Date reviewed: 2nd January 2016

Of Stress and Suicides – What You Have to Say

semicolonThe ‘Suicide’ issue should never be taken lightly. One should be attentive to someone else’s signs of distress, and warning signs of being suicidal as quoted from Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) are such as:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Last year, we have heard news about several suicide cases among students be it in universities, colleges or even high schoolers. In this article, we have connected suicide with campus life and its related issues such as stress, depression among others. Below are the compiled responses of what our writers have to say about this issue.


 

JS68675080It’s an undisputed fact that all humans have the right to live. A grayer area however exists within the question of our right to die. Some people argue that we definitely have the right to die as it lies under the simple rule of bodily autonomy. I can slap myself even though it causes me pain. Therefore, I can kill myself even though I will obviously die. It’s basic logical deduction!

Or is it?

No, it’s never that simple when life is of concern. Hardcore supporters of suicide argue that nobody has the right to take a life, even if it’s your own. Every citizen has signed a social contract between the state and the individual. Through this social contract, the individual gives up some of his autonomy to the state in exchange for guarantees of protection and security. Taking your own life is seen as a breach in this contract and is therefore “against the law”. Despite this, its been proven to be quite difficult in prosecuting a dead person for a crime.

By: Clinton Wee Yuan


 

2ikn2-semi-colon-tattoo-6Going into college and university is definitely a huge step in our lives. Nobody said it was easy, but no one ever said it would be so hard as well. The stress of transitioning into a new environment where you feel like a fish out of water, the stress from your studies and the rapid pile up of assignments, the stress of having to be independent; all these may prove to be too much to handle.

However, always remember that as cliche as it sounds, it is true that things always get better.

It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever. Reach out for someone if you’re feeling depressed, be it a family member, a close friend or someone from the counselling unit. There’s no shame in showing your weakness, because it certainly takes a huge deal of courage to show it. So don’t be afraid to open up to someone about how you feel, and I assure you, you’ll look back one day, and be proud of yourself that you have chosen a different path. 🙂

By: Merissa Tan Li Ying


 

semicolon (1)It’s scary and even painful to be all alone and sad inside with thoughts of having no one what can ever understand how you really feel. Even worse is the realization that you understand and you empathize with how the suicide victims felt as they decided to commit suicide; the pain, the agony along with all the emotional breakdowns that drove them to the edge of suicide as they see death as their only solution.

There’s always a second chance, an alternative option for every situation so long as you look at your problem from another point of view.

Death isn’t a solution. There’s always people out there who cares for you.

By: Christopher Liew


 

semi-colon-img-fetDepression is something not to be taken lightly of. Sometimes – actually most of the time –  when we confess our feelings of loneliness and isolation to our peers, they regard it as us being attention-seeking or have nothing to do in our own spare time. The truth is: we are not demanding attention but we need your support and love to encourage us to go down this journey call life. A while ago, I guessed I had minor depression.

It seemed rather bizarre to me at first because I was known to my friends as an independent, strong-willed iron fist girl who would not let anything knock her down but this is because this was how I wanted to portray myself. I displayed all these traits because I did not want to seem vulnerable or needy.

I wanted to be someone that everyone can depend on, someone that everyone can run to when they encounter problems and provide them a crying shoulder when they need it. However deep down, I wished that role was reversed. I wanted to talk to someone, to let my feelings out but I was too proud, too egoistic, too caught up in maintaining my “strong-woman” character. Then I broke down completely. I cried myself to sleep, I cried in the middle of the night, suffocating, barely gasping for air, I cried in the shower, I cried at the backseat of the car when no one was looking. Everywhere, I cried, alone, and not a single soul knew about it. Until one day my best friend found out and she was completely shocked but nevertheless, she counselled me until I got better. Besides her, no one else ever knew about my depression phase. Until this day, this “plague” still haunts me in my nightmare, in the mirror when I look at myself or in my grades. I chose not to tell anyone because I still wanted to perceive myself as being strong, upholding the spirit of female empowerment. I feared that if I shared my story, people’s perspective of me would change and I would no longer be deemed as “independent”. Normally, this kind of stories would end with the author saying that we should talk and confess our dark feelings, that we should not keep it all bottled inside of us; but I can’t, because the truth is, I still don’t know what to do.

By: June Ong


 

tumblr_nqz1q7bMCz1uzbjepo1_500 Suicide is so common these days it’s terrifying.

It’s sad, because when one thinks of ending their life, it’s usually because they’ve found no reason to live anymore, or they think ending their lives will solve everything.

It may seem that death will cease the pain – physically maybe, but I believe that what follows death is worse. Though we make our own decisions, ultimately life is given to us by God, and only God can take it away. To anyone who has thoughts of suicide, please think again. Approach people you can trust and tell them how you feel. Someone still cares.

By: Elycia Lee


 

131a9b2e95925d35d3150fda44d62636_3Life is never easy, is it? For each and every breath you take, a new challenge awaits you, most of which will come at the most unexpected times. Each struggle will undoubtedly tear you apart deep inside and work it’s way to make you succumb to it. However, is life really that bad? Would death make the pain ease away? Is suicide the solution? The answer, is a big NO!

I’ve had my fair share of struggles in life, but then again, everyone is struggling, aren’t they? Each struggle will try to break you apart, but that is the most important fact to consider, they only ‘TRY’ to.

Ultimately, it is your choice to make, and no one else’s. Give in to the struggle, or emerge a victor in life by fighting the challenges head on and showing your mettle by not giving up!:)

By: Tiffany Hoo


 

55964f77dd138Life is like a roller coaster ride. There will always be ups and downs in this journey. Many crumbled and many fell and an individual’s life is so fickle and precious. But how many have actually sit back and see how important our lives are?

‘You only live once’, is a statement that many would be familiar with. But how many has actually taken the time to savor its true meaning? How many has actually cherished each morning that he/ she waken up to?

Life is like an adventure. There are many things left unexplored and untouched. It will be up to us to find it and learn about it. Life is short. So, make every moment count, see every moment like it is the last and treasure them. Get up from a fall. Easier said than done, perhaps, but I believe that everyone has the ability to do so and to look forward to another chapter in life and live it to the fullest.

By: Chloe Kong


 

13-creative-semicolon-tattoos-that-prove-punctuation-can-be-beautiful-continuePeople usually fret over the person who has committed suicide or their family members, but how many people actually thought of the impact that it had on the person’s friends? Best friend,as an example. I don’t personally know anyone who has committed suicide but I know it can’t be easy losing a dear friend. If when our best friend goes on a really long holiday we already feel this sadness welling up, what if they’re gone forever? The rest of us can only imagine what that feels like.

Here’s to all the living victims (friends) of suicide cases, god bless you guys and I sincerely hope that you get through this difficult time in your life with much courage.

By: Haritha