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Ueno: Exploring in the Rain. Mostly.

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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. While 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.

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RE: Jubilee Baby Gift Comments

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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.

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Bandung: Day 5/15

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A market in Ciumbuleuit.

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.

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Asakusa: Maybe Next Time

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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.

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Shinjuku Gyoen: The Tale of Two Seasons

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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.

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Shinjuku: My Home in Tokyo Part 2

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My theory about food in Tokyo is that you won’t get it wrong. At least, that was my experience. When I was hungry, all I have to do was figure out which type of cuisine I craved for, and pick a restaurant of cuisine around my location based on just pure gut, and – boom! – satisfied belly. The best thing about Shinjuku is that it has plenty of delicious and, most importantly, affordable meals. When I looked back, I wished I took more photos of my food. I mean, I am an Asian, for goodness sake! Anyhoo, here are some foodie highlights from Shinjuku.

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Shinjuku: My Home in Tokyo Part 1

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Shinjuku 新宿区 was my base camp for all three of my Tokyo expeditions. The reason is the absolute convenience and, probably with the exception of arts and cultural stuff, you adequately can do everything in Shinjuku. I have indeed grown to love this part of Tokyo from spending a lot time there. Here is what I saw in Spring 2012, and Spring and Autumn 2013.

Wheeler's Yard
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Wheeler’s Yard

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Wheeler’s Yard must have, or soon to have, one of the most photographed facades of a cafe ever. It also must be one of the most spacious cafe in Singapore. Even the al fresco area, and the atas bike shop (or the bike atelier as it is called atas-ly), is sheltered by the hanger-like warehouse. It is really kid-friendly as well with all that space to run around. The overall experience with the space is very nice. And, that is the key about this cafe that will make me go back again.