Summertime in Tokyo

This is almost an annual thing.

Suan tags along with Mel on one of his journeys to Japan for business. Now accruing the airmiles to do this is not an easy task. Besides concentrating our spending onto one credit card, Mel also have to be conscientious to save the miles for each flight so that Suan may tag along should her miles be not enough… and you might have read our previous rants about it here and here.

And this time we did not sojourn outside of Tokyo for there was no time.

So what’s a girl to do when she had all the time in the world during an entire week? No prizes for guessing… but yes the shops were all fair game. Fortunately there were two weekends, so poor Mel was roped in to ‘help’. There was a lot of holding the shopping bags and swiping the card (till it was red hot), but interspersed within are hours of culinary pleasure too… remember we said eating is an integral part of our every journey?

In our previous sharing of time spent in Tokyo (here, here and here), you might recall all the pictures of food, shops, stuff…. how will it be different this time? We’ve prepared a slide show for you. Enjoy!

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We know quite some readers love to travel to Japan. Would you prefer Tokyo over other cities?

Orchard Road, Asia’s premiere shopping

Heheh…really? Some of you dear readers might ask.

No. This is not a post of our Singapore series. Rather, it is a deeper dive into an interesting discussion about this so-called iconic shopping belt in the little red dot. Now we know that you dear readers, assuming you came to our sunny island before, would have had Orchard road on the itinerary?

What do you find exciting about this stretch of road?

In the last year, we’ve read and heard about a flurry of reports about how the road can be revitalized. This all suggests that there is something amiss. Perhaps it has lost its allure? Yep. And you also have articles such as this and that postulating the reasons for the decline. Things appear to be getting a little hazy for the strip, like the featured image of this post.

We’ll be honest. That it was actually hard to do a write up about this supposedly famous shopping street. That’s why we were sceptical enough to start this post with a rhetorical question. The ‘fact’ from our view : is that the street has lost its place. In the sense that to us whether this street is iconic, vibrant or not has become irrelevant. Like cities around the world swimming with strip malls even in suburbia, our little red dot has so much of the same in every shopping center.

Even if one is to do some ‘window shopping’, there is probably one just around the corner of an MRT station. And of course we are speaking from the perspective of high dense city living. For those who have visited Singapore, do you think there is anything special about Orchard Road?

How important is shopping to you when you travel?

Journalogs for 2015 are up!

One of the annoying things about wordpress is that they claim that their servers are normally not the issue. And that outages from their end are rare. Well, I have been working not just on my home laptop but also from the office laptop. And in both instances found the connections to be patchy, slow and not responsive.

The draft of this post was actually completed 2 days ago. But it became blank! And so I now am much more appreciative of the efforts bloggers go through to publish their work.

Well, finally the 2015 journalogs are completely translated and published.

We had started 2015 with the usual journey to Tokyo for shopping (read it here), albeit it was just a short one of 4 days. Should have stayed longer but that previous job role did not fulfil the work life balance required to support that.

Thinking of going to Russia was already in our minds last year. However groups did not form up and we had little time to replan, hence turning to the UNESCO site at Zhang Jia Jie (张家界) instead for our mid year getaway. Did not regret that. Now we know why the folks were inspired to take after the landscape for their Avatar movies.

It was also a year in which we tried as much as possible to use up the timeshare points we have. And tried we did, first with Angsana Bintan (continue reading here) and then back to our now favourite Chiang Mai. In Chiang Mai we spent most of our time looking for culinary delights and were duly rewarded for it. There is more than long neck tribes to look at there. In between we slipped in a trip to Kuala Lumpur when Melvin was on business and had great food in Chinatown (read here).

So there you have it. All these pages are now live and ready for your reading pleasure. Let us have you comments!

Japan journalogs complete!

Translating our private travelogs from our current published format into a web form is really hard work. It wasn’t the content, that’s all ready and available (as it has been for a while!). It was simply trying to pick up HTML all over again. The last I did this was 20+ years ago when this markup language for web pages was in its formative years. How ‘dinosaurus’ I feel. How I appreciate the efforts of the bloggers out there!

With job constraint on time, it was a huge amount of sacrifice and effort that finally brought some form of decency to this blog post. We’ll keep improving over time.

Finally, have completed the transfer of the shopping we did while in Japan this February. Continue reading. For this journey, we had deliberately split it into three segments, to do the journey “justice”. Our gastronomic experience (here for more) had been documented in a lot more detail on this occasion. The same will be done for the subsequent posts as we backdate to journeys made in 2015.

Look out for more soon!

The Long Journey Q2-16

It is now a couple of months into the lunar year of the monkey. So far, the playful celestial primate has wrecked some havoc to the financial markets just. I guess the message is – volatility. We really live in interesting times!

Click here to open our latest newsletter : The Long Journey Q2-2016.

The featured image of this post pretty much sums up the highlight of these first three months – the annual pilgrimage to Japan! There is just so much to say about the trip that there is not enough space in the newsletter. Our own travelogue for the trip ran into 33 pages! We are now working on truncating the original versions of our travel logs and share these journeys. Watch out for them!

From culinary delights both in Tokyo and in the rural country, to basking in beautiful weather with Mount Fuji in the backdrop, we had a wonderful journey. And Valentine’s day (called ‘red’ day in Japan) was full of surprises for us too. To top it off, we redeemed a pair of tickets to fly Suites on SQ for the return trip from Tokyo to Singapore. Melvin is now many miles ‘poorer’, but it’s a bucket list item that we also ticked plus it is as good as they say it is.

We have managed to book our Russia trip! This 9-day journey with a group of 20+ others will take place in the 3rd week of May. Finally we are placing pins on the eastern edges of the map of Europe. Exotic!

Until the next issue, safe travels and take care. Watch out for more posts here at this blog…and please give us your comments on the posts!

Go Nuts shopping!

Another (final!) installment from our Japan trip series.

It has been 2 days since we came back home. And the withdrawal symptoms are beginning to manifest itself. You know the feeling when you start comparing how the food smells less fragrant, the taste bland or the colors not as vibrant…It is too much to bear!

From outlet malls to strip malls, Tokyo has so much retail that it might just take you a life time to visit them all, but by then you’d have to start again.They seem to be building them all the time! Just google the key words “shopping, Tokyo, map” and see the thousands upon thousands of results. This must be heaven for shopaholics.

And did the missus went nuts? You bet!

There are the crowds to match. Which is probably why there is so much retail anyway, afterall supply will run up to meet with demand! I am a demand manager you’d know! So you’d need to know that aside from the many shops, there are also many people. And they come from everywhere, with probably the same goal.

And that calls for wisdom…plan how you “attack” the shops with ruthless military precision. Like the death star positioning itself for a fatal strike, timing is everything. Getting into the shops at the right time will bag you not only great bargains but also the comfort of not having to ‘sardine’ your way within the already narrow aisle.

I was really surprised that the missus could buy more than 15 pieces of clothing in a short time. Talk about speed shopping (probably more enjoyable than speed dating).

Kiddyland4

The force is strong is these ones…

And it seems whichever city one travels to, somehow you will find the allure of the force drawing you to one of them places where you can perhaps buy a light sabre? At least I got to spend some time looking at boyz stuff. Most of the other days (I’d say 90%) was spent looking at girlie stuff, holding the shopping bags, queuing to pay and finally paying the bill. The rest was spend eating quickly…though nicely.

All good it is now over!

With this post, the withdrawal symptoms have subsided, I am back to my normal self and the jedi trick the missus had pulled a fast one over me has faded. Your jedi mind tricks do not work on me anymore! No more shopping for a month!