Surviving the fugu-fish delicacy – no poison, and very oiy-shee!

My recent trip to Japan wasn’t a very long one, but you’ve already had five posts about it (on transportation, a safari park, Disneyland, TeamLab and work)! And guess what? There are quite a few more still to come! But of course there are. For this is Japan – always different, always curiously fascinating!

Coming up – the following themes: food, city, and… hotel-room views. So where shall I begin? Always begin with a full belly – so here we go with Japanese dining!…

Japanese cuisine is fantastically beautiful – besides being fantastically delicious. Oiy-shee means “tasty” in Japanese, and I found myself repeating the word every single day while in the country…

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Beijing
  • Beijing
  • Beijing
  • Beijing

Instagram photostream

Mind blown – at TeamLab Planets in Tokyo.

My next tale from the Japanese side is one of astonishment.

It’s not too often you see me astonished. But it does happen occasionally. It happened on the Kolyma Highway in Siberia – and not due to the extreme cold itself but its extraordinary bleaching effect on the surrounding landscapes. There was astonishment at the beauty to behold on the roads of Namibia. There was the way the company pulled through the covid pandemic. There was our vacation to the Galapagos Islands (pdf – 25MB). All these and more…

My latest astonishment came while visiting Tokyo’s TeamLab art-collective’s light-and-sound installations, which this post is all about.

Basically, it’s unbelievably cool. It all lasts just an hour-and-a-half, but the journey you take there through different halls digitally painted in the most insanely grandiose way – it’s, well… astonishing…

There are hanging strings of light that change color constantly ->

Read on…

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Japanese Disneyland.

My recent business trip to Japan came with plenty of tourism that took place before I got down to work. But of course it did, for I was showing the country to the younger generation for the first time. Now, the best kind of tourism for me personally is the high-octane adventurous kind (like in Kamchatka, Altai, or even more extreme places) and mostly involving lots of trekking – sometimes up volcanoes. But that’s hardly suitable for kids now is it? So what was I going to do with them in Japan (after our warm-up at Fuji Safari Park)? So I turned to the internet for advice, and a quick search gave me the answer quicker than you could say Mickey Mouse: take them to Tokyo Disneyland!…

It sure isn’t the biggest, most attraction-packed of the six Disney theme parks in the world, but for a one-day visit – there’s more than enough fun to be had…

Read on…

African and other wildlife in the Japanese provinces.

It’s already the school holidays in Russia, which means my kids were kicking about the apartment and starting to get a little bored already. So when I saw that Japan was on my business-trip schedule for June, I figured I could take them with me for some pre-business tourism – taking in both Tokyo and Mount Fuji. When I suggested this they jumped at the chance; but of course they did, for look what awaited them:

However, when planning the trip, I forgot to consider the seasonal climatic conditions for June in Japan. And it wasn’t as if it was the first time I was heading to the land of the rising sun in June either – and those times were always murky and damp. Btw – the first pic above was taken in November (of 2013) – one of the best times of the year to see Mount Fuji; unlike June, grrr ->

Still, the kids didn’t seem to mind; and I’d seen Fuji quite a few times already – including from up above it ->

Read on…

The Shuto Expressway – a pioneering road project from back in the day.

Hi everyone, from… ->

Having delved into my archives, I discovered that this trip to Japan is my 31st! Yes, I love Japan – with all its… uniqueness, about which I’ve written plenty. But it was only on this visit that I realized I haven’t touched upon Tokyo’s road transportation system – particularly its special highway network. And it really does deserve touching upon since it’s one of the most striking features of the Japanese capital…

Read on…

Tiksi expedition 2024 – Kolyma Highway, then the “Arctic” winter road to Sasyr.

All these business trips of mine and the corresponding blogposts of late have kept me from continuing my tales from the ultra-frozen side – from our Yakutsk-Tiksi-Yakutsk winter/ice-road expedition. That all stops here!…

So, where was I?…

Ah yes. Our original plan of heading north along the frozen Indigirka river had been scuppered since the Indigirka Tube had flooded. It was therefore decided by the more experienced among us to take the Arctica winter road instead. So, leaving the village of Ust-Nera, we did just that. Straight away – wonderfully wintery Siberian scenes ->

Our expedition leader – former long-distance trucker Alexander Elikov – had done the full length of this winter road plenty of times in both a trucks and Toyotas. His comments to us about it both soothed and instilled some worry at the same time: “It’s a fairly straightforward winter road; the only issue is that it’s so long and monotonous that by the end of it you’re bored silly”. Oof.

Early on, however, we were anything but bored – so enthralled were we by the passing scenery ->

Read on…

The cherry on the icing on the cake: ballet. (A fine finish to a mad May!)

Looking back over my travels during the month of May, I’m rather pleased: not bad at all for one calendar month. I visited three countries visited – Thailand, the Philippines (for the first time – country No. 105), and the Dominican Republic, and several cities therein-among: here’s my route in full:

Moscow > Thailand (Phuket) > the Philippines (El Nido, Mayon, Manila) > Moscow > Nizhny Novgorod > Moscow > the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) > Moscow.

Fourteen flights, and 67 hours up in the air in planes and seven in a helicopter.

Along the way – four conferences/exhibitions of varying scale; talks at universities; interviews; and assorted other business. But the cherry on the cake for this super-busy May came on its last day back in Moscow – to see a ballet at the Bolshoi Theater…

Once a year, we get to bring together a small group of representatives of our dearest clients for a backstage buffet reception, followed by seeing a performance. And the seats we get come in different places – including in the Central Box! These photos were taken from there:

The ballet was La Bayadère:

Read on…

Beach-walking – Dominican style.

I’ve a great many different hobbies and favorite activities – just like anyone. But one of the more unorthodox is long-distance beach-walking. What that?! Easy: Take any sandy beach – and stomp along it barefoot for as long as possible…

Does that include walking back all the way barefoot too? It does indeed. And I’ve never needed alternative options, which are, btw: (i) take a cab; (ii) take a taxi-boat by sea; and 3) be carried in/on some kinda carriage by porters (no WAY!)!

As regards some of the folks who may want to join me on such a barefoot beach-hike, I often have to feel sorry for them! Like I did recently in the Dominican Republic where we had our regional (North, Central and South America) partner conference: in-between work some colleagues joined me…

So we headed on down to the beach, looked left – not much happening down there, and then right – and decided that was the better option. The main reason: there was a tangible destination > that far end of the beach (with the trees behind it) where it seems to just end. Endpoint decided, off we popped…

Read on…

Jeepneys, red-hot-chili ice cream, and Philippine roadside scenes.

In the last few posts we’ve seen plenty of Philippine natural beauty. Now we turn our attention to the anthropology of the country: time to walk take a ride around the streets of the small city of Legazpi, which sits at the foot of Mayon volcano…

The first thing that really grabs the attention is the jeepney – the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines and the calling card for Philippine culture and art (they’re often gaudily painted/decorated) ->

Read on…