Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Is in the Air!

It's a busy time as year-end approaches. And X'mas and my hubby's birthday  makes it extra special.

Our Filipino friend wanted us to have a taste of concert with  Filipino flavour. Glad we accepted the invitation to Christmas In Our Hearts,  as the music was special, delivered by Filipinos who are known for their musicality. His Excellency, J. Eduardo Malaya  thrilled the audience on the piano. Popular singer-songwriter, Jose Mari Chan had us glued to his voice and jokes as he sprinkled them throughout the concert. Roars of laughter greeted his jokes and stories.

Having been to the Canctus Musicus' yearly concert on a regular basis, this 10th Annual concert had the church packed to capacity  and more despite the rain . Word got round that the singers would be costumed. So, there they were an assorted group of Medieval folks presenting  A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

My friend, Chan Nyim  sang with the AYYC Choir. I wish I could sing like them! The youths of the Pastorale String Ensemble mad a special appearance to add variety .

It is always an early Christmas celebration at Selangor Cheshire Home. We had 2 choirs to usher in the festive mood - The Klang Valley Harmony  and  Kim Aw's friends. The residents of the Home also contributed items - Yoek Choy rendering songs as their singing ambassador and  a fan dance by them in their wheelchairs.

Here's wishing all my Christian friends, A Blessed Christmas . Hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.

PHL Embassy Chorale at 'Christmas In Our Hearts' concert

Jose Mari Chan - sang, told stories and joked - the audience loved him.  40+ years in a singing career

Well-robed and thematic for 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. The crowd overfilled the church on this 10th Anniversary of Canctus Musicus' annual Xmas event. We tucked in mince pies, cookies and  warm glasses of mulled wine to end a glorious evening.

My friend, Janneke- she dueted with founder of Canctus Musicus, Lisa Ho.
My friend, Chan Nyim  and her singing pals of AYYC in  Golden Christmas Gala 2012 at the Chinese Assembly Hall

The Pastorale String Ensemble  played some delightful tunes 

Doris, resident of Selangor Cheshire Home  ready to enjoy The Sunshine Group 19th Xmas party

Our supporters, The Klang Valley Harmony singers among the residents

Kim Aw and her friends gave a varied repertoire  and brought much cheer, not only in their voices but in donations for the Home.
Christmas tree is up - all glowing red in our patio

Carols ready to be  sung at a small family get-together in Australia. I hope my sis-in-law likes them.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Matcha ceremony /Hosting of GSE visitors from Kobe

 Recently, my husband and I hosted 2 guests from Kobe, Japan. There were 5 in the  GSE (Group Study Exchange )  through the Rotary International  programme.

AKO Satoshi , the team leader  and his team member, MATSUKOE Koji were our guests whilst the other 3 were hosted  by 3 other fellow Rotarians of our club.

On the 4th and last day before they were handed over to another  host in the Klang Valley, Satoshi kindly held a matcha tea demo ceremony in our dining area. Normally he conducts the ceremony  a few times a year and he wears a kimono doing it.

We were curious as he went through the steps of preparation, serving and drinking  matcha, a fine powder green tea.

Here are a few photos of our induction into the method. Also, he brought me a 3 piece gift  set - whisk(chasen), bowl (chawan), and spoon (chashaku) and  a tea cloth to wipe the bowl and a tea caddy (natsume) which I shall use and go through the steps again. There's always my hubby to fill in the details should I forget , as he did it before the master!

Getting ready

Whisk, spoon  and a piece of cloth which was used to clean the bowl.

Matcha  being scooped from the container.  3 scoops per person

Pouring  hot water from the scoop into the bowl of tea powder

Brisk whisking of the tea powder in the hot water to mix it evenly.

Easy does it! Hubby positioning the bamboo scoop .

Methinks the smile is an approval  on hearing the audible slurp at the 3rd and last sip of the tea:)

Fellow GSE member, Koji, taking his turn to enjoy a helping of matcha

My maid was also asked to join in this introduction to Japanese culture.

I was busy with the guests for their 4 day stay. Our homes were the first to kick start their 6 week stay in Malaysia. A couple of mornings  they were up at 6  to fill in a full day's programme. Gamely they enjoyed our local cuisine. Before  we said goodbye to them,  I booked a Indian vegetarian meal at Annalakshmi  and then we proceeded to watch  a children's musical , BitesOfDelights in the Temple of Fine Arts auditorium.They soaked it all in, food and performance.

We made new friends and hope they enjoyed their stay. Sayonara, to our Kobe guests.  

The Kobe team  were introduced to the club members  It coincided with the DG's visit, induction of Mexes as a new member and the Installation of Rotactors from Taylor's Uni. They entertained us and Koji sang the Negara Ku beautifully:)
Koji and Satoshi at Kraftangan, Jalan Conlay

At En Lazim's batek colony

One of the shops at our  Orchid Garden
With Tan Sri Aziz,  a special visit was arranged by hubby to learn more about our legal systems. Satoshi is a judicial scrivener. Koji is an architect and involved in urban town planning approvals.

Wowed by the iconic Twin Towers, at night
The team  visited DBKL HQ to learn more about DBKL's structural plan  etc. Among the GSE  members are  a fireman and public officials.

Viewing the monitors, looking and listening to staff  on how traffic is monitored in the city

A sampling of Malaysian dishes after  the DBKL visit.
Yellow rambutans from our tree  in the garden. Taste- yummy!

Thoroughly enjoyed the musical  which brought to an end an enjoyable hosting of our guests from Kobe. Perhaps we'll meet again one day...