At the end of the day, I simply could not imagine the effort Willing Hearts and their daily pool of volunteers have to put in on a day to day basis without “tourists” like us. Kudos to those amazing unsung heroes at Willing Hearts!
Roppongi, 六本木, is an upper class district in Tokyo which is, also, home to numerous embassies. The reputation as a high class area preceded itself even before I had done any research, as all I heard about were all the LVs, the Pradas, the Ritz, the Clubs.
Even though, this trip was for work, coming to Bandung fulfilled a small part of a promise I made to myself; Visit more cities around my region (South East Asia). I was there for 3 weeks with a exception of a weekend back in Singapore for a wedding. Apart from the client’s office and the cafe around the hotel, I didn’t managed to see much, having only one weekend to do some sightseeing. I did ate a lot though.
Bandung, Jakarta, Mumbai, Osaka, Kyoto, Okayama, work and more work. These were the things that happened. Most of which I cannot wait to write about them here. All except work, obviously.
There are a coupled of planned breaks coming up for me. One in September, for I will consider it as a one week home sabbatical. Another one in December, I will returned to Tokyo once again for a year end family vacation. Fun timez again.
Meanwhile, please enjoy the beautiful scenery above from the beautiful inland island of Naoshima.
Ueno is one of my favourite area of Tokyo. When you walk around Ueno, you could see, and feel, the layers of time gone by in Tokyo. In Ameyoko, where you can find a market of fresh food and world-class denims and workwears, it felt like time was frozen in the 80s. At the same time, the train station’s exterior remains relatively unchanged since 1932. And, on the main road, parallel the raise railway tracks, you can find your modern architectures so ubiquitous in urban Tokyo.
Reading all these comments about the Singapore jubilee baby gift thingee got me thinking; Maybe all we need is to find a way to connect these yr2015 babies to every Singaporeans. Maybe give a gift from the human perspective instead of things material.
Play along with me here. Imagine an ideal world; We can haz a website with photos of all the yr2015 babies’ little pink (some yellow, jaundice of course) hand, extending their 5 tiny fingers (geddit? SG50?). No publicity, no big deal. Simple camera, a simple white background and a tiny pudgy hand for each shot. Anyone can do this. But, collectively, only the government can execute the whole project.
And, behind the photos are their names. Perhaps, allow the parents to update their status for a short period of time. I could imagine that some of these babies doing well, and some might leave us too early one way or another. But, thats the human connection, the human story that may binds us as a community.
I wonder how did NPTD did their user research? Perhaps, they were asking the wrong questions, or maybe the wrong people. Ultimately, I do believe the people at NPTD meant well, and the commentors just wanted to be heard. Remember, we are all humans and we crave to connect.
It has been a busy week since I arrived in Bandung, for work, on Sunday. Despite that, I managed to get, literally, a flavour of Bandung. As I write this, my stomach is still burning from the chips, made locally with tons of spices, that I bought earlier. I am going to be here for another 2 weeks with a break in between when I go back to Singapore for a friend’s wedding. Meanwhile, can’t wait to try more Bandung food.
Before I arrive in Tokyo for the first time, I had already planned to go to Sensoji in Asakusa as simply a check box that I had to tick. The visit was made worse by the rain as a lot of the street vendors were closed. However, the cold gloomy weather made the freshly baked Ningyo-yaki (molded cake with red bean paste) and the piping hot minchi katsu (fried minced pork thing) I ate, along (both) Nakamise Street, extra palatable. I really want to like Asakusa, but it is what it is for now; Just a tick on my touristy check box.
Staying in Shinjuku for all of my three trips to Tokyo gave me the opportunity to return to the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen as many times as I want, and I made sure I went there once during my first spring visit, in 2012, and back there when I return in Autumn 2013. Although I never get to witness the garden in its full cherry blossom or its autumn colours glory, it was still amazing… for 200 yen. I really recommend to whoever is going the visit the garden to just buy a bento set from the nearby Takashimaya food market, or a few onigiris from a convenient store, find a bench, and eat a slow lunch while watching people enjoying themselves in the garden.