Tag Archives: japan

Tokyo–Singapore: out the window – curious aerial views galore.

Today, aviation theme…

Window-seat air travel can be strange. There you are, ensconced, with plenty of thoughts whirling around in your head, but your brain doesn’t pay any attention to them – it just keeps looking out the window. Then, something aerial-awesome comes into view. Thoughts? What thoughts?! And then the hands reach for the camera almost automatically, and it’s “here we go again!” At least, that’s how things played out recently when flying on the short flight from Tokyo to Singapore, in this here mid-size airliner:

Right from the get-go after take-off the views out the window were fantastic. First up – the Japanese strong work-ethic, preciseness, and space-economy were in full view as far as the eye could see ->

Read on…

A rare post about food – because it’s Japanese food!

Food is seldom a guest on these here blog pages of mine, but when it is – it’s something really special. Like when it’s Japanese food that I’ve been eating – in Japan itself. Oh my gorgeous-gourmet-grub!…

I’m normally partial to Japanese food no matter how far away I am from the country itself, but that’s often merely sushi – which the Japanese themselves scoff it. But in the good country itself, in a good restaurant (in good company:), it’s oh-so not-just-sushi: it’s OMG-varied and interesting and simply wonderful!…

We were real lucky this time: we dined at the famous – at least among the gourmet-dining set and restaurant critics – Kamakurayama (which means Kamakura mountain). Ok, enough text; time for pics of the dishes we were served. Just a shame you can’t taste them )…

First up, of course – my starter:

Read on…

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Kamakura – temples, bamboo forests, and the world’s neatest gardens.

Hi folks!

I’d been meaning to put fingers to keyboard for a few days, but I’d been just too busy of late, as I’ve mentioned in my previous three posts. Finally, the much-anticipated downtime at the end of our stay in Japan had arrived, which saw most of the day dedicated to steady-tempo tourism and some free time in the evening to write this here post…

As mentioned, we were headed to Kamakura, just south of Tokyo. First up, we needed to drop by the hotel where we were to have dinner that evening (oh-my-gourmet that was too; more in that in a bit…). Alas, the hotel wasn’t a traditional Ryokan, but it was just as charming – and our on-foot tourism began right from its front door…

First up, the Buddhist Hōkoku-ji temple:

Read on…

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Japan three-dayer: Tokyo – lots of work, then Kamakura.

The flight from Seoul to Tokyo takes just two hours. Above Korea it was cloudy, so there wasn’t much worth looking at – or taking photos of – out the windows. Just as well really, since it meant I could concentrate on some admin catch-up (mostly checking emails) – the kind of thing that always gets neglected on a business trip with a busy schedule. On the plane I was undisturbed for most of the way (save for the flight attendant, who kept asking if I’d like another drink:). Nearing the end of the flight, I took my first look out the window to find that the cloud had cleared and Japan was clearly in view down below ->

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Please move forward – by one year!

Konichiwa folks!

October 4 has caught up with me again – suddenly, I’m 54 years old! Goodness!

It was as if leading Russian business daily Kommersant knew my b-day was coming up – including me in their 1000 Best Russian Managers – 2019 listing [Russian language]. Nice! Thank you: that was my first birthday present! Am much obliged.

Even nicer was seeing a full four K-bosses in the Top-100/Top-50 rankings in the same newspaper in their respective lines of work:

Hurray! Well done all of you! This just shows: we’re moving in the right direction.

// And I’ve been shown the financial results of our Japanese office for the first three quarters of the year. Very pleasing they are too. Hurray again! That’s another perfect present for me. Thank you! Kanpai!

The former city of the future.

Tokyo. The extraordinary capital of an extraordinary country. The Imperial Palace against a backdrop of skyscrapers in the commercial district…what’s it called? Marunouchi? I always hear it as ‘Marunouti’. It’s not that important – just those Japanese “middle sounds” again. It would probably be more accurate to write ‘Marunoutchi’. But again, it’s not important. The main thing is that they’re both here. The emperor’s palace and gray office blocks against an overcast December sky – gray on gray.

Read on…

A melancholic December in Tokyo.

Early December in Tokyo, Japan. Autumn’s stark colors are all but gone now, while cherry blossom season still a long way off. So, there won’t be any need for an easel or paints – I don’t have them with me in any case :) In fact, I’ve never had an easel and paints. Nature goes to sleep; tourists become cold and sad, longing for a cup of hot sake. On this Sunday before a working Monday we are also sad while we go out for a short walk. This is the sort of melancholic December we’re having here.

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Japan quakes. Japan shrugs.

Not long after leaving Japan, I read in the Russian press that there’d just been an earthquake there causing several deaths and a ‘transportation collapse’! Oh my Geiger, I thought, and quickly looked for more details on other sites on the web. Well, sadly they were right about the deaths – a few dozen, but ‘transportation collapse’? The earthquake was registered as a 6 on the moment magnitude scale. Sure, it gives everything a real good shake – but it doesn’t knock you, the dog, or the furniture over.

And ‘trains grinding to a halt’ (the article went on)? Of course they did; they’re meant to: special systems are installed on all the railroads to make the trains do just that! And besides, in Japan, there’s a magical 15-20-second warning sent out to all cellphones before an earthquake hits! How on earth that is possible I have no idea, but it sure is massively helpful. I’ve seen it for myself (back in 2011): we were in a car and a local’s mobile emitted a warning signal (so we quickly pulled up), and 15 seconds later the lampposts and traffic-lights started shaking along the road (it turned out it was aftershocks of the (9-magnitude) 2011 earthquake).

In Japan, all buildings, all roads, all bridges, all towers, all infrastructure – it’s all designed and built specially so as to withstand strong earthquakes. Even a 9-magnitude quake damages very little at all! So magnitude-6? You can work that one out yourselves ).

Sure, there’s rail disruption. Sure, the airports aren’t firing on all cylinders. But that’s it. And after a while – everything automatically starts to move and fly again. Japan is quite ready for earthquakes; it has to be.

Ok. That’s enough about earthquakes…

So, anyway… What were we doing in Japan in the first place? A few things; one of them – attending Interop in Chiba (near Tokyo):

Read on: all here!…

Hakon ryokan: fairly rocking.

Konichiwa folks!

Here I am, back in one of my fave countries – Japan. The work ethic here is really quite extraordinary: they work a lot, then some more, then more, and then even more. Thankfully, they also know how to unwind of a weekend, which is what we needed to do after our long trip getting here. So off we popped – out of the big city and up into the mountains – to a ryokan with an onsen in the village of Hakon.

Never been to Japan? You really must one day.

Read on…

Tokyo rain season, a tectonic query, Russian vastness, and a non-stop sunset!

June in Tokyo is rain season.

We’d been warned, and figured we’d pack a brolly in our suitcases and would be sorted, but… oh my gush! I was not expecting it to be raining cats and dogs non-stop all day and night without letting up for a minute.

As ever, we were here on business, and, as ever, I needed my mandatory portion of tourism. But there was no chance of that with all the incessant torrential rain. Oh my grrrr.

Thankfully, we did get some Japanese rest and relaxation in before the rain began. We drove somewhere in the direction of Hakone, holed ourselves up in a ryokan, and immersed our travel-weary bodies in the onsen waters. Add to that a steady flow of Kirin and Sapporo, and later into the evening a few drams of both hot and cold sake (and Hibiki too) with a delightful nectarine chaser, and it all added up to wonderful way to wind down. But I’ll tell you more about that in another post.

Back to today (a few days ago). Mercifully it was weekday, so we didn’t really mind the rain.

Read on: about Hawaii …