New York trip, 2018 summer

Posted by – October 13, 2018

Disembarked at LaGuardia Airport, I was still digesting a self-perceived racism experience from the steward in Delta airline. During the flight, an old Japanese old lady sat on my right and a white man on my left. When it comes to tea time, a steward came and asked the Japanese old lady whether she wants tea or coffee without addressing her, but with his arm crossed, insinuating his impatience and carelessness. I was treated better maybe only a little better, as I was, at least, addressed as “the middle, tea or coffee?” There is no question that this simple English would be helpful for non-native English speakers to understand. When it comes to the turn for the white man on my right, he was greeted with “Sir, would you like a tea or coffee?” The steward might have been tired of lots of Asian faces who have limited command of English languages on the plane, thus, did not care much about how to address them properly. But his attitude for sure did not satisfy me who had been accustomed to the superior services from these Japanese airlines.

This was my second journey to New York, which could mean it would be not as exciting as the first trip two years ago, and this was not a good start to the vacation. However, this time the fact that my best friend Anthony is in New York and I would be his guest could be the most promise of the happiness of this trip.

As Confucius said, “有朋自遠方来 不亦楽乎” – To have friends coming in from afar, how delightful! It’s been a while since we last met in Tokyo and in Singapore, but it felt like it was just yesterday. I clearly remember he visited me in Singapore while I was there by myself and struggled with the relationship with my wife. It was indeed a delightful feeling and now it is my turn!

In New York, Anthony took me to a cafe that serves proper omelettes, the quality of which Anthony grew up with. Unlike him, who has a penchant for eggs, I did find it quite tasty compared to the ones in Japan. I enjoyed a show called “the Book of Mormon”, in the theatre for the first time in my life. While I watched the American people mocking one of their own religions at Broadway, I was switching between the thoughts of the universe and trying to catch up the fast-paced speaking English.

Another highlight of the trip was the visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the third most visited museum in the world. Coincidently, Anthony and I visited the Louvre back in 2009 together in Paris, the most visited museum in the world. I learnt a lot about the Byzantine empire and medieval history in Europe. Although most of the art was centred around Christianity, it is a wonder to behold these masterpieces while imagining what kind of life people were living back then.

A catch-up with ex-Morgan Stanley colleague Susumu got me to the Internet Googling what kind of jobs in New York that I could find and they pay. The result of almost-three-times high compensation as Tokyo is like an invitation to deepen my attraction to work in the low latency trading firm here. New York might not be my favourite place to live, but it definitely is a place that I can spend for a few years to gain some serious professional development. We went to a rooftop bar near Chinatown. The bar experiences were not particularly interesting except that Anthony was asked about the details of a drink by a girl but he could not articulate and pick her up. However, on the way back, we got a chance to pool a taxi ride with a Jewish lady. I started the conversation and got to know she was a relationship consultant. As soon as I insinuate that Anthony was single, she immediately spotted my tempt as a wingman. I guess I need to step up my game next time. She was tall and thin and beautiful by Anthony’s word. He seemed also like her beauty as well as her intelligence.

The grand and magnificent new york public library made me want to come to New York to study here every day until I saw the tranquil Harvard Business School campus with a lavish green lawn in an idyllic setting, a place where I could temporarily forget all the troubles and annoyances back home and stay calm. Walking in the neighbourhood near Harvard University where all the brick sidewalks, made me time slip back to the colonial era in America. Boston is better than New York in the sense that it has the balance between over-crowded and bustling streets and totally rural village.

In Boston, Anthony and I visited Harvard campus and tried various cuisines from high-end Italian food in these tourist areas to the “American house favourite” potato fries near Boston’s rail station. The adorable squirrels in the Boston Common park were almost like domestic pets. We pretended to have some food in our hands and they would just come after us. Just by looking at them, made me happy.

A week was too short to experience the New York life. With the imagination of how would my life would be if I move to New York and reminisce of the old good times in Tokyo, I am already on my plane back to Tokyo, which awaits me to embrace the reality and challenges of the life there.

安静 – 周杰伦

Posted by – June 1, 2017

My cover for one of my favourite songs during my high school time.

Japanese green tea in Singapore 

Posted by – April 17, 2017

This shop in Somerset allows you to make 抹茶 (Japanese green tea ) by yourself, which is rarely seen in Japan. It was quite a good deal as well (4 SGD) for a sweet and tea set.

People here in Singapore love self-service including making your own tea. Except that I am not quite sure whether people here know how to make the proper maccha. Well, don’t forget to pay the 17% tax and service charge as well as making yourself a couple of tea:-)

And this is the tea I made.

Compared with the real one that I tried in Kyoto.

Pizza in Singapore is sh*t 

Posted by – March 12, 2017

I spent 26 dollars for a margarita pizza here in Singapore . What I got was a piece of biscuit with some thin slice of cheap cheese and some catch-up on top? 

Where is the chewy dough and mozzarella cheese and basil leaves, which are the essential ingrediants for a pizza to be claimed as a margarita pizza? 

Who can tell me where I can get real pizza in Singapore ?

I miss the Itlalian restaurant in Tokyo .

Life can be difficult

Posted by – February 20, 2017

She was by herself in the rain.

She didn’t know where to go to find her mother and a shelter.

She thought she would die in this cold rain without any food.

Life was difficult for her. However, she finds a shelter and a warm shoulder to sleep.

Our life can be as difficult as hers, but if we are lucky enough to find a warm shoulder to lean on one day, please don’t take that for granted.

It was an also good feeling to have someone who loves and show fondness to you, even she was just a cat.

打包还是带走

Posted by – January 1, 2017

新加坡的英语有很多特别的说法。这里我们来看看在咖啡馆里常用的对话。

“having here or take away?”

或者直接说“打包La”, most non-Chinese speakers in Singapore can understand “Da Pao”, which means take away.

那我们再看看其他国家的不同说法

“For here, or to go?” – 美国

“Have here, or take away?” – 澳大利亚

“Is that to eat in or take away?”, “Eat in or take away?” – 英国

 

My first teak writing desk

Posted by – December 11, 2016

I came across a furniture shop at Buona Vista and loved some of the craftsman furniture there. A further research on the Internet led me to order a desk with the solid teak wood. It is a very durable wood type that is native to South East Asia and is beloved by many early European colonist.

This is my first big investment in furniture, as I have been moving to different countries for the last a few years and always hesitated to buy cheap ones and sell them when I leave the country. I have been always hesitated to buy a serious furniture that probably can last a lifetime. However, as I grow older, I felt it is time to make some of my belongs permanent.

The furniture shop showed me a few samples from his brochures, but I didn’t like any of them. So with some of the inspiration from the Internet, I started to design this piece. After a few email and prototype exchange of the desk with the furniture shop owner, we finally agreed upon a design that I like. It was a long wait, more than three months until I received the final work. I am quite happy with the final product except for some minor issues near the handler inside the drawer. But I am not living in Japan anymore. So I understand I should not expect a perfect product. It was a long wait, more than three months until I received the final work. He didn’t disappoint me. I am quite happy with the final product except for some minor issues near the handler inside the drawer. But I am not living in Japan anymore. So I should not be fussy and picky like the Japanese customers and not expect a perfect product.

Here it is, a solid teak writing desk made in Singapore.

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A hornbill came to my flat in Singapore 

Posted by – November 28, 2016

Occasionally, she came to the tree in front of my window. This is my first time to see a hornbill in real life. Maybe my flat is close to the Bukit Timah natural reserve.

Hot chick pizza in Singapore

Posted by – November 23, 2016

I am a vegetarian, but I still feel like some “hot chick” pizza like every young man does.

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Celery tofu soup in Chinese style 

Posted by – November 22, 2016

西芹番茄豆腐汤

 

English errors from ESL students – Verse 1

Posted by – November 12, 2016

Can you spot any errors in the below sentences? Please leave a comment below.

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  1. Please excuse me. I have to leave now to put my children to sleep.
  2. I am really busy right now. Can we discuss tomorrow?
  3. Only a few of us would get to make interesting things. This is sad. Would you prefer stacking shelves in a supermarket than making scientific instruments?
  4. We just met. Please don’t hold my hand. After people will gossip.
  5. I have a cocktail this Friday at the office. Would you like to join me?
  6. For a typical Singaporean breakfast, it doesn’t get better than a cup of Kopi with Kaya Toast and two half boiled eggs drizzled with dark soy sauce!
  7. I am 6 weeks pregnant. Is it recommended to drink snakehead fish soup (sang yu soup) during this time?
  8. Tickets will go on sale at 9AM BST on Tuesday 9th October and will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  9. Sorry. I left only one Japanese crab. Can take local crabs instead?
  10. The CEO informed that he will increase everyone’s salary by 10 percent.
  11. Today’s census is expected to confirm that a greater proportion of the UK’s households now comprise of single parents, adult children living with their parents, or pensioners than 10 years ago when the last census was conducted.
  12. When we discuss about giving maids one day off Singaporeans worry about what the maids will do during their day off, yet they trust the maid to look after their expensive homes and their children.
  13. She said, ‘you can send me home but can not have supper with me because I am meeting my friends for supper.’  I took the opportunity first and locked her in by agreeing at 10pm, she finished work and hop into my car parked.
  14. I heard that you moved to Singapore permanently, where do you stay in Singapore?
  15. My dad doesn’t like that actress who tries to copycat the Americans.
  16. I didn’t want to choose a gift that can be found a duplication somewhere.
  17. I designed this album as a gift for my girlfriend with a photo-editing software. I wrote some sweet messages expressing my feelings of each photo.
  18. ST understands one new criteria could be for the presidential candidate to have experience working in an international sports federation.
  19. After 43 years of independence, Singapore comes a long way in terms of development, from a once fishing village to today’s bustling urban city.
  20. Persuading Japanese companies to do business with us is very challenging. During the meeting with one of business partners, Kodansha, the biggest publisher in Japan, I was bombarded with difficult questions.

Swift 3 – upgrade nightmare

Posted by – November 5, 2016

One of the things I don’t like about develop on Mac / iOS, is that you have to spend tremendous amount of time to maintain your project to deal with Apple’s fast yet messy language and library update.

It is so exciting that Swift 3 has released! But hold on. Here is the screenshot of my prject after pressing this magic and powerful “Convert to Swift3 syntax” button! What a nonsense, it is just a nightmare!

 

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