Monday, 30 December 2013

Holiday of Meh

So here we are, closer to the end of the year, much to be happy about all that has happened.

Planned to take a bit of leave for some personal holidaying but the wish got hijacked by a greater want. So drove home, and just killed time doing things i didnt really feel like doing.

A whole week passed me by filled with errands and driving from one destination to the next. Strangely like every other day for the past year.


I need a holiday from my holiday really. Oh well.
Syukur anyways.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, 23 December 2013

Random Things About Tokyo

Here are a few of the stuff I noticed while I was in Tokyo.

  • Japanese experience Earthquakes/Tremors so much they have learned to apply a 'Meh' filter to it. Many dont even break a stride when a shock hits.
  • Tokyo is clean! Like really clean.
  • Many of them cycle everywhere either on full bikes or battery assisted ones.
  • They love convenience type foods. Ready to eat is the name of the game here. Even slow food is fast!
  • The locals are not as short as you think they might be.
  • EVERYONE bows, even tourists. And it comes very naturally even to foreigners after a few moments interacting with Japanese.
  • The elderly are very independent. They do everything themselves and are quite able to manoeuvre obstacles and hindrances like a Boss!
  • Food is expensive when converted back to Ringgit. My full convenience lunch was a tidy 4500 Yen. (Roughly calculated to about RM140). 
  • Japanese love pets. Especially dogs. Toy dogs, regular dogs, and even big-ass dogs.
Pony sized fluffy doggy!
  • Only about 5% of the population of Japan is under the poverty line. A staggering 80% are middle class citizens. Huge buying power there.
  • They also love Coffee. They have coffee shops at every turn!
  • Vending machines galore! Cold drinks come out cold. The coffees and teas come out deliciously piping hot!
As a rule, teas and coffees will turn out hot
unless specified otherwise!
  • A restaurant that seats only 8 persons is NOT unusual.
  • No one jaywalks, spits, or intentionally litter. Much to learn here.

Out & About in Japan!

Last month, I was invited to join our company’s 10th Annual Hotel Managers Conference to be held in Sheraton Miyako Hotel, Tokyo. Initial trepidation of having to meet up with the top bosses and board members quickly evolved into excitement as it was to be my first time travelling to Japan.

In my previous capacity with MH, I never actually got the opportunity to do work in Japan as MH was not managing its own premium lounge. My colleague/counterpart (I did the food, she did the ground handling & management) did fly there repeatedly though, much to my envy.
Sure, there was the fact that I was to present the 2013 operations and management report of my resort, which scared me shitless (but I was confident I could do a good job at it), but the prospect of going to Japan trumped everything else.

The day came and we flew out to Japan on a late evening flight as a group. That was a fun 6 plus hours, with my In-flight Entertainment System(IFE) not working the whole bloody way. Luckily I came prepared by loading up my Fonepad with movies. We landed fairly early on Saturday to nice and cool 7 degree Celsius Tokyo weather.
To my surprise, the Saturday and Sunday were essentially fun-filled tourist days!

My First Japanese lunch was some store bought sushi/sashimi and salad meal. This was really good, leaps beyond the usual sushi offerings at the supermarkets. I dare say it certainly trumped even most Sushi restaurants back in KL.

I took Tuna Sashimi and a box of chopped Negitoro Maki rolls. What a delight they were!
Maguro Sashimi! The best i've had so far!
Ohhhh, I am in heaven.
Negitoro Sushi! Plump perfectly cooked rice with
sweet and slightly oily flavour of minced tuna belly!
Such reverence and care for the quality of ingredients was paid in making each morsel. The slices of raw seafood perfectly plump and succulent, completely devoid of any off odours, and accompanied with real Shiso and Bamboo leaves (these 2 leaves has antibacterial qualities that help manage the quality of the raw seafood. None of those plastic atrocities masquerading as leaf!

Dinner was a Chinese Private Dinner. It was fairly a formal event, so I opted to not snap pictures our of respect to the evening’s proceedings. It was however a wonderful event despite the so-so food, because I was seated next to wonderful conversationalists.

The next day, we were brought for shopping and a jaunt to Mount Fuji. Shopping at Gotenba was a blast despite the fact that I did not really exercise my shopping muscles. I came away with a pair of Mesh Nike tennis shoes that I will use as walking shoes.

I did manage to offer my help and opinion to 2 gentlemen in my group who were interested in buying a DSLR each. A quick price consultation from Photog buddies back in KL later (Thanks Yan & DiT!), the 2 guys walked away with a Nikon D5100 (with lens and 8gb SD card) costing ony RM 1260 each, which a huge discount from the retail price of RM 1800 back home! Even I was excited for them. Hahaha!
Mr. P & Mr. M with their new cameras!
After that we went for a Japanese Bento Lunch at Gotenba Kameya located along the way to Fujiyama’s foot. Lunch was fun too. I so loved the combination of stewed and fresh accompaniments, the steaming bowl of Udon and the lovely, lovely Roasted Rice & Green Tea as hot beverage.
Clockwise L to R: Stewed Vegs and Mushroom, Daikon Relish with Marinated Eringgi Shroom strips, Sweet Bean, Omelette & Salt Grilled Salmon and Tempura Shrimp with French bean and Pumpkin. 
Exceptional Udon! So plain, so honest, so SEDAP!
Small bowl of japanese rice (grown along the foothills
of Fuji herself, thank you very much!)
and twin breaded Shrimps.
Gotenba Kameya Obento!
Green tea with roasted rice! It imparted such a depth
of smoky flavour to the tea it was unbelievable!
Much happy! :)
And a tiny swirl of Honeydew ice-cream. Yeah! 
After Lunch came the slow drive to a local spring water village to take a visual bite out of olde worlde Japan.  Our Malaysian guide suggested trying out the spring water and it was strangely sweet. Like as if it was lightly fragranced with sugarcanes! Very Nice!

This village was just chock full of tourist, and mainly Japanese tourists at that, which to me illustrates the spending power and love they have for their own culture.

Then it was a quick frolic at station 4 on Mount Fuji herself. Snow! We played with snow!