I just got back from a vacation in Tokyo, Japan, late last week. I haven’t visited Tokyo since I was 12, so obviously my view and impression of it has changed, quite a bit! There are so many wonderful, interesting, and unique memories. Let’s start from the beginning.
I arrived right before midnight at Haneda International, an airport closer to downtown Tokyo, on the west side of the city. It’s a small and non-sophisticated airport1 that I was frankly unimpressed with. Since we arrived in the middle of the night, immigration officers were scarce, so the lines were long. Not a good start. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. However, it was a good thing my airport pick-up service was there to drive me to the hotel. The driver spoke excellent English2. He was very courteous, and informative! Great service, as I came to expect from Japan.
My family and I stayed in the 2nd busiest part of the city called Shinjuku. The hotel was minutes away from the Shinjuku Train/Subway Station, so it visit it almost every day. When we walked in, we were overwhelmed with the complexity of it! There were multiple lines of trains, hundreds of destinations, and thousands of people! It was mind boggling. It took a while for me to get my bearings. I came to realize I needed to start asking for directions. Thankfully, there were station personnel could speak a little English and was very helpful. They pointed me to the how, where, and how much. So, on with the adventure!
Our first visit was Tokyo Disneyland. We had to see first-hand, what’s different about this place.3 Everything looked familiar: Disney Store, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney Hotel & Resort, and the Monorail. There are subtle differences, like toys that looked anime-ish. Some of the people who visit, mostly girls, wore costumes and heavy make-up. They were dolled up. Oh speaking of dolls, the popular new attraction is Disney Sea, which is pretty much like Disney California Adventures, but much smaller. The main attraction there is Duffy Bear. Incidently, Duffy the stuffed animal, can only be purchased inside the park. Great marketing stunt, Disney! I could see the girls carry Duffy Bears on their knapsack and purses, proudly. A badge of honor, paying at least US$60 for one – plus accessories, you can customize the bear!
Then, we were off to Ginza, the most expensive district of Tokyo, where condos can be bought for US$17,000 per square meter! No wonder coffee costs $15 in this part of town. Since we were there to enjoy the scenery, we hung around mainly along the Harumi-Dori4 and Chuo-Dori. Plenty to see. Walked into a few luxury department stores, like Mitsukoshi. Of course, I also found the Apple Store!
Next post, we’re off to see Mt. Fuji…
- I base the “International standard” as Changi Airport in Singapore, the defacto big and fancy airport. [↩]
- Driver went to school in Los Angeles area for 4 years. [↩]
- I live in Anaheim, California, where the original Disneyland is! [↩]
- Dori means street. [↩]
Every 6 months, or so, I take out my desktop machines and give them a through cleaning. Not just the outside, but the insides, where it matters. I hate to have the fans clogs up with dust and makes so much noise. Those dusts also get blown back to the room, making my allergies act up.
I take the computer to my driveway, set it on the ground, and open it up. I use a full can of compressed air to blow out the dust from every nook and corner. There are more build up on the fans and power supply areas. Every 6 months, I usually get a pretty good amount of dust to clean.
To get a good idea how much dust can accumulate inside a desktop case, this video is an extreme example of it. Phew, I can imagine myself sneezing my eyeballs out!
We went to Chick-Fil-A. It was a warm cloudy day when we talked about:
- Receipt day. This is one of the main attraction of Chick-Fil-A Restaurant in Irvine. The lines went out of the door during lunch.
- Solar panels. Not worth the cost, since it takes 20-30 years to start breaking even. The technology will be obsolete by then. It’s only worth it if my energy use is more than average.
- Take the train to work. Make sense for one of us, who lives next to the station and have flexible schedule. For the rest of us with demanding hours, it just doesn’t make any sense. But then again, Amtrak and Metrolink really do need to provide a more flexible schedule and cheaper cost for monthly pass.
- Living in Inland Empire. It’s redneck area! (Just kidding
- Visit the Nixon Library. I live near Yorba Linda, but never been there. Suppose to be a great place to visit. Nixon’s house was moved there. Alas, can’t see Nixon himself in a glass case. He was buried there, though.
I’ve written about being curious before. I described how I like to analyze things – how they interact, and how things become what they’ve become. Through the years, I found out that being curious turns out helping me avoid being an angry and resentful person. Getting angry is natural instinct for me, but it always lead me in the wrong direction. It will always drive people away. It ruins relationships. It damages self-esteem1. It’s just counter-productive.
I read a blog post, written by Peter Kim, suggesting that perhaps it’s better to be curious, not furious. I don’t have to be angry when someone makes derogatory or hurtful comments. I don’t have to be mad when someone tries to me look bad. Instead, I just need to ask the question “Why are they behaving like this?” My pastor once said, “Hurt people hurt people.“ That seems to be applicable in almost every situation. If I’m content and happy, I will naturally project that happiness to everything I do. People will notice that. Personally, I’ve seen it happen: people want to be closer when I’m smiling, jovial, and in a good mood.
Of course, keeping myself calm in a heated situation is quite difficult. My tendency is to lash out, but my experience tells me I must not. So from now on, I will let my curiosity brings out the good in me.
On a lighter note, this animation illustrates how rage can get out of control.
- Either to myself or others [↩]
Today we went to PF Chang’s Bistro. It was a warm sunny day when we talked about:
- The $600 Million lottery. We didn’t get a fortune cookie with numbers on them. I think we’ll need the random number generator.
- Excitement of first time home ownership. Won’t be too excited after doing the first major repair.
- Private schools vs public schools. People still prefer private, although it depends on the district.
- How often should we do car maintenance. People tend to do just one major maintenance in a year, and several regular oil changes, maybe every 10,000 miles.
- Motorcycles. It’s economical, but is it safe?
- Working as a waiter. If you’re a geek, there’s no way they’ll hire you as a waiter. Waiters must look good – and smooth talker, too.