Hi, my name is Iris Woo and I’m Malaysian Chinese, born and bred in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

This is my first blog entry on my journey to chase my dream to become a singer in Japan.

Now, what do you crave most on a hot summer’s day? Something icy perhaps?

Shaved ice, Malaysian style.

In Malaysia where I come from, we eat shaved ice called “ice kacang”, also called “ABC” – maybe because it has a little bit of everything on top, from red beans to agar, palm sugar syrup, sweetcorn and coconut milk!

In Japan, the shaved ice doesn’t come with so many toppings. But while simple, I find it to be also very refreshing. I was surprised to hear that Japanese have been eating ice in the summer since the Heian Period. That’s amazing!

In tropical Malaysia, it is summer all year round. But in Japan, there are many types of festivals to celebrate summer. My first experience of summer fireworks festival in Japan was a real eye-opener!

Firstly, in Malaysia, we often have traffic jams like this:

But in Tokyo I witnessed an amazing “human jam”. That said, it was a happy and excited crowd, moving in anticipation towards the great fireworks show to come.

It was fun to walk along the streets with so many stalls selling various snacks.

Like everyone else, I bought some street food to eat while enjoying the fireworks.

It was a great experience for me to see how the Japanese enjoy summer in traditional summer yukata. And I had fun wearing one myself!