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Life and everything

July 2017



Travel

Viking Yuen, Accounting Manager at Travelzen, on travelling to Japan to see ancient castles

I used to travel to Japan to visit the country’s castles, which is a great way to study the culture of ancient Japan.

There used to be over a hundred Japanese castles but the number declined to only 12 during the Edo period in 17th century Japan.

During that era, Japan was ruled under a shogun (generalissimo) and daimyos (local lords) and those daimyos lived near the castle. The only time they entered the castle was when they welcomed a visit by the shogun.

The designs of the castles reflected the daimyos’ artistic style, with castles being established on the coast while some were built on the hills.

Daimyos and their subordinates lived within the proximity of the castle and oversaw the administration of the region.

Nowadays, the castles are open to the public for regular exhibitions and give people the chance to learn about ancient Japanese history.



Apparel

Gary Chan, Senior Finance Director of Brooks Brothers Asia Pacific, on what to wear this summer season

Figuring out what to where during summer can be challenging. But I would say that summer time is all about light fabrics, bold patterns, and bright colours. It’s the season to embrace and celebrate those long, lazy, sun-filled days. Cotton and linen fabrics and loose-fitted clothes are good choices to keep you cool.

This summer, Brooks Brothers’ collections for men and women take inspiration from seaside resorts. With navy as the dominant colour, coupled with other bright and sharp colours in floral and palm tree prints, the collection vividly exemplifies the theme of seaside voyage which is as refreshing as a cool summer refreshment. In addition, our all-time favourite Brooks Brothers fabric, seersucker, is given a stylish touch through stripes and gingham prints. A lightweight navy windbreaker is an extra layer necessary for the occasional shower and breeze.

For men, bermuda shorts, polo shirts and loafers can complete a smart summer look.



Eat

Learn how to make a popular Shanghainese dessert with this recipe from Lenny Wong, General Manager of Corporate Governance at Li & Fung, Certified instructor in nutrition and weight management

Sweet lotus roots stuffed with sticky rice is a popular dessert offered by most Shanghainese restaurants. Fans of the dessert love the crunchiness of the lotus root, the chewiness of the sticky rice, and how that balances off with the fragrant sweetness.

Some might think that it’s complicated to make but all it requires are a few simple ingredients, patience, and dedication. Furthermore, making it is a fun activity to do with family and friends. Making this dessert requires time and a series of steps. It will be more “efficient” to make a batch and share with others. Good food brings people closer!

 

Ingredients (for 4 people or more):

Lotus roots  2-3, 1kg

Sticky rice  2 cups (soaked for 3 hours)

Yellow rock sugar (to taste)  300g

Maltose  1 cup

Osmanthus syrup*  2-3 tablespoons

*Can be found in Asian grocery stores

 

How to cook:

  • Peel the skin of the lotus roots and cut one end of each (about 1 inch from the end). Leave it for later use
  • Use a stick to stuff sticky rice into the holes of the lotus roots. Slightly beat the lotus roots to help stuff the holes properly
  • Place the ends and the lotus roots back together. Secure with toothpicks
  • Steam the lotus roots for 15 minutes to cook the sticky rice
  • Boil the lotus roots (add enough water in the pan to cover the lotus roots) and add the rock sugar. Simmer for 45 minutes and let the lotus roots boil in hot syrup for 2 hours
  • Lotus roots take time to soften. Repeat the previous process 2-3 times, while adding rock sugar each time to gradually increase the sweetness
  • Let the lotus roots sit in the syrup overnight to help the lotus roots get softer and sweeter
  • The day after, repeat the boiling and simmering step for a final time and add maltose and osmanthus syrup. Adjust sweetness to taste with rock sugar
  • Slice into thick pieces and serve

 

Remarks:

  • Unused sticky rice can be steamed, and served with the desserts
  • Unfinished desserts should be refrigerated with a lock bag, with lotus roots immersed in the syrup to avoid drying

 

Fitness

Charlie Yeung, Financial Controller at Pure Group, on tips for lunchtime workouts

Do you like to exercise during lunchtime? As part of my lunchtime workout, I run on a treadmill for 5 km within 35 minutes, which means an average of 9 to 10 km/hour. This may be tough for someone who does not engage in regular exercise. If that is the case, start with setting a target that you feel comfortable with, such as 2 to 3 km within half an hour. Start at 7 km per hour in the first minute and gradually increase to 9 to 10 km per hour within 5 to 10 minutes and then maintain that speed for the rest of the time. Make sure you cool down using the treadmill’s cool down function which helps prevent the burnout in the afternoon.

During the last quarter, I started going to yoga classes – Hatha One, a beginner’s class – during lunchtime. It is a totally different experience and I enjoy doing various stretches and yoga poses. Don’t worry if you cannot do all the poses perfectly as not everyone can.

Yoga helps improve the body’s core strength, and link the mind, body and spirit to the present moment. My body and mind feel relaxed after each class. Just make sure that you have breakfast or lunch two hours before the class.