Friday, 13 February 2015

Living in Niseko during January

Can I just exclaim how amazing January was for me!!

I've put a hold on my part time dish washing job to focus more on my day job, and I felt less tired and best part is I have more time to hang out with friends after work! Since I eat out more often now, my expenses shot up to 60,000yen for January. But I kept consoling myself that since it's my final season, it's okay to go all out and enjoy myself to the maximum. And I am doing just that =)

January was also the month where new staffs are more comfortable with the job and knows what to do now without asking for much help. It makes me happy that new staffs are more comfortable with the job now. As for myself, I have to start thinking of how to pass over my duties to the next person in charge. I actually feel quite sad to part ways with what I've worked on since the beginning. There's so many minor details that I need to pinpoint so hopefully I can organize everything and make everything smooth for the next person in charge.

I've also realized that one of my weakness is, it's hard for me to delegate jobs to other people. Firstly, I feel bad to ask someone to do something. Secondly, I will worry more if I were to delegate jobs to others, I will keep thinking how did it turn out. Thirdly, I feel that it takes more time for me to explain what to do and how to do, might as well do it myself. This kinda concludes that, either I won't be a good boss to others or it's better for me to be my own boss.

Now I actually feel quite sad to be leaving this job. I really like this job but I need to go somewhere new. Also kinda feel like I can't fully enjoy my last season because I need to search for new job after this...

Moving on to a topic that will never wipe the smile off my face - FOOD.

Free authentic nasi lemak!

I was really really torn between giving some nasi lemak to my colleague who has never tried them and to spread the amazingness of Malaysian food OR to be selfish and devour it all by myself as I am Malaysian and I already know how to appreciate it!!!

Well, in the end I gave half to colleagues and half to share with my Indonesian friend.. I was given 5 packets and I ate probably just half of a packet... It's fine.... I can eat all I want when I'm back to Malaysia....

Cooked up a storm to complement the nasi lemak which was the star of the dinner. 

Deep fried chicken skin

Chicken wings


Stir fried chicken

Spicy potatoes


I had a few in-dorm cooking session with my roommates as well. 
And some were on a totally random time like 7am or so, because all of us have different shifts, and the only time to cook was 7am.

Oden with udon at 7am. So so good though, warm tummy in the morning.

Cheese fondue dinner with pizza!

Smoked duck and stir fried pork! SO GOOD.

Surprise teatime snack during work, how awesome can this be?

Gyoza soup

Soup curry with ramen
(And odd looking failed egg)

Before (Potatoes with chicken skin)

After (So so good)

Cooked Bak Kut Teh for my roommates and colleague as well!
Wide grin for positive feedbacks!

Solo attempt in baking potatoes. Not too bad but needed more oil to crisp up.

Attempted baked lotus roots, success!

Moving on to outside food!

All time fav, Korean barbeque!

Japanese barbeque!
Awesome part was this is an all you can eat buffet for 60 minutes.

Malaysian fried rice with steamed chicken. 
So delicious though it's so expensive...

Shabu-shabu for lunch!

The famous must order seafood salad in Hanayoshi.
Crispy part at the top are deep fried potatoes. I like how what Kutchan is famous for apart from the snow, which is potatoes, are incorporated into this dish.

Sashimi time!

Sushi time! 
It was not an easy task sharing this among 3 of us... 

To finish off our meal (I was still not full actually)

Yes I ate 2 plates at once. (Though I took away half of the rice)

Interesting cheese I had! Chocolate cheese which was surprisingly really delicious.

Can't believe this karaoke place is so well decorated and designed!!

And I went SNOWMOBILING with my colleagues!!

So much fun, the thrill of speeding through the snow was just amazing.

Epic ice bar have this half egg shell thing where you can pose inside!

While waiting for the bus, I felt so nostalgic and I can't believe I'll be leaving this place for good soon. Niseko really is very special to me, I had many first times while I'm here. But I believe it's time for me to try something new.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Part time Dishwasher / Kitchen Hand

There's actually a huge part in me that wishes to work in the kitchen, I love food so much and I think having to do with anything relating to food makes me very very happy!

So I took up a part time job as a dishwasher. Personally I know that I won't be a good waitress so the only other job available was dish washing. 

For my day job, I'm already so tired mentally so I'm not looking for another job that involves me to think too much as especially being a waitress, you'll need to learn about the menu, learn about types of wine, learn about service sequence and etc. I just don't have the strength to learn that all especially when I'm already so tired mentally. 

Dish washing is so physically exhausting though and my whole body aches so much especially my shoulders. I totally underestimated the job scope as besides washing the dishes, it involves time management such as when will the next big load of dishes coming and then when should I focus on washing, drying and putting back the dishes.

Sneaked a shot of my work area

The usual drill is, rinse away any leftover food on the dirty dishes, placed rinsed dishes onto a tray and into the dishwasher. While it's washing (less than a minute), get another tray ready with the rinsed dishes, once the first batch of dishes are cleaned, take it out and put the second batch in and then dry the wet dishes from the first batch and place it aside. 

On the first day of my job, I was briefed by my colleague on what to do and where will the clean dishes be placed and the whole briefing lasted for just about 5 minutes and then I was left in charged of the dish washing by my own for the next 7 hours. It was surprisingly not too bad as no one was there to instruct me, and I just went about washing the dishes on my own. And it was really a good first day for me! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the time, I washed dishes for 7 hours straight with no break at all. 

But couldn't say so for the 2nd day as that's when the actual long term dishwasher came to work and we have such different working style that we sometimes clashed. There's no right or wrong but more of which style is more efficient in our opinion. 

And the best part of this job is, sometimes we have to help the chefs like chopping the vegetables, plating up, or cook. The restaurant owner once asked me which section I'm most interested in and immediately I answered dessert!

Then one day I came to work all ready to do dish washing but he told me today I'll be in dessert and I was overjoyed! And it was so so fun where I learnt about prepping and plating up. Head chef will yell the orders and we have to answer 'hai!' (Yes in Japanese) 

I helped out until the last order of desserts were called and I had to do dish washing after that. Still I was so happy and when my senior asked me how's everything, I said that day was the happiest I've been.

The second time I managed to helped out at dessert section, the pastry chef taught me how to do chocolate writing. Any special order like birthday, anniversary etc, we'll prepare a special plate with handwritten chocolate wishes. 

I didn't get to write on the actual dish that will be sent out to the customer but I get to use up all the leftover chocolate to practice on my writing, it was so fun!! I was also taught on how to prepare a piping bag for the chocolate using a baking sheet. 

All in all, I'll get to help the chef 2 times of out 10 times only, so going to work was unpredictable for me. But my main priority was still to take care of the dish washing. The part I dread the most is closing time and we have to wash all the big pots and pans and all the other heavy items. If the male dishwasher is there, he will usually take over this part, but there was once when I was alone (again), it was really really tough.

I don't wanna be seen as weak but yet I was really really tired and really could use a helping hand. But I didn't want to ask for help as others are not in charge of dish washing and it seems inconsiderate of me to ask someone to do my job for me. So I sucked it up and just went all out.

But overall, I'm really glad I managed to experience working in a kitchen. Though I don't see myself working full time in such a hectic environment, well, we'll see how it goes. Preferably in the desserts section anyway.

One habit I've picked up is to say 'Coming In!' whenever I turn a corner, or about to enter through the curtains. And if someone is in front and I'm about to walk past them, I always have to say 'Behind You!' Once I was at my day job and while I was entering an empty guest room, I said 'Coming In!'
Gosh.... Glad I've dropped that habit now.