December 28, 2017

2017 roll up

2017 saw our traveling fetish switched into overdrive and went right ahead as planned. There’s never one day I do not think about traveling and where to go next. I know of a few travel heads who provided sound advice and I am thankful for that. This year, we conservatively traveled to 4 places and they were: Bali, Hainan, Bangkok and southern Japan (which we just came back from last week).

There was another place that was supposed to be in the pipeline – a road trip to Samui island – but that had to be canceled due to an important development in our lives – my daughter Regine has hit puberty and now she’s contending with her menstruation for the first time in her life. It first happened in November, but that was just some light rain. When we were in Japan in December, it suddenly became a category 10 typhoon. It wretched my heart to see her struggled with her cramps, and it was a really scary episode for both Emily and I – even more so that it happened when we were traveling. Reminded me back during the time when we had to take care of her when she was still a toddler when she got afflicted with virus infection and a raging fever.

Anyway, now that the storm is gone for the month, we decided to give her some time to get her shit together and learn how to deal with this ‘taiyeema’ thing in the coming months. It’s going to be important for everyone of us. We’ll resume traveling the world once she has that under her control.

2018 will be an important year for all of us. Big change is coming, and we’re hoping that we can cope it well. Not about to share what’s what in the blog here but, this will serve as a memory point for me to remember what I’ve anticipated at this point of time in 2017.

Bring it on motherfuckers!

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December 25, 2017

Tokyo, Japan – Itinerary and planning (3+2 days) – part 3 of 3

This is part 3 of my Japan trip (which I am breaking up into 3 parts, like below)
– 3 days itinerary for Kyoto (link)
– 2 days (0.5 + 1 + 0.5) itinerary for Kawaguchiko (one of the Fuji Five lakes, for Mt. Fuji appreciation) (link)
– 3.5 days itinerary for Tokyo (sans Disney Resort), 2 days itinerary for Disney Resort (Disneyland and DisneySea)

In the actual itinerary, I took most of the 2nd half of Day 6 to travel to Tokyo by bus, and when I’ve reached Tokyo, the first thing I did was to get the IC card for each of us. If you have a kid in the group, your kid is entitled to a half-priced IC card for junior, just like my daughter – which you’d need to purchase at the JR ticketing office (can’t do that from the machine). And then, I made a beeline to the hotel to reunite with my bags (they were sent from Kyoto via TA-Q-BIN, remember?), get my shit together again and set out to Odaiba. However, in the 5 days itinerary, that Odaiba visit can be parked anywhere in the evening, so I’m going to do just that for the sake of convenience…
Now, the disclaimer:

– Since I’d traveled all the locations above in the same trip, my actual itinerary took longer than just 10 days. It was close to like, 13 days (1 day for Bangkok, 1 day for traveling between areas in Japan, 1 day for inbound/outbound flight and misc time loss). If you’d like to follow the exact itinerary listed above for all the areas, you might want to account an extra 2 – 3 days to the 10 days.
– In December, Japan has a relatively short daylight (like Taiwan). It starts to get dark at about 4pm, so naturally, I shifted the daylight loss by starting earlier in the morning.
– It’s also getting very cold in December (although not the coldest yet). If you have a fear of cold, you might want to just go to somewhere hotter instead.
– This is an itinerary post, I’ll do a separate post for what I think about the places I’ve visited.
– This was planned based on 3 pax – my wife, my 11-yo daughter, and myself. I managed to hit > 95% of what I’ve planned, with almost perfect timing accuracy. If you’re planning for a group of more than 4, this probably won’t work as well for you.
– The main objective is sightseeing and to experience Japan (with the final 2 days in Disney Resort). The itineraries involve a lot of walking, averaging about 20,000 steps each day. That’s roughly about 16km of walking per day. If you’re not into walking or has a fat ass, this is probably not your kind of shit. (Go find one of those gay tours)
– The itinerary hinges on the assumption that you’d do your own planning/research on the public transportation. You can choose to splurge on taxi or go smart by subway/bus. Doesn’t matter. Just Google around for info.
– If your religion prohibits you from visiting buildings or monuments of other religious faith, this won’t work for you too. (Japan has a lot of temples, shrines and pig related obsession from its culture to food).
– The day to day planning can be shuffled around, depending on your dates of travel, as some of the places might be closed on certain day of the week. So, check your schedule vs the places of interests during your planning.
– This is just my own planning. It may not be as good as others’. If you think there are flaws with my planning, that’s probably because I’m an amateur.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kawaguchiko, Japan – Itinerary and planning (2 days) – part 2 of 3

This is part 2 of my Japan trip (which I am breaking up into 3 parts, like below)
– 3 days itinerary for Kyoto (link)
– 2 days (0.5 + 1 + 0.5) itinerary for Kawaguchiko (one of the Fuji Five lakes, for Mt. Fuji appreciation)
– 3.5 days itinerary for Tokyo (sans Disney Resort), 2 days itinerary for Disney Resort (Disneyland and DisneySea) (link)

Initially, I wanted to do a longer Kawaguchiko excursion – like maybe, a 4-day visit instead of just 2. I felt that there’s so much to explore in the area (and also to partly increase the odds of seeing Mt Fuji. The elusive view of Mt Fuji is infamous for getting obscured by clouds/fogs or inclement weather). But because my daughter and wife wanted to do Disney at Tokyo, I had to plan for a 2-day excursion instead. The actual plan was a bit different for us, instead of a clean 2 days, it’s more like 0.5 day, followed by a full day, and then the final day another 0.5. That’s because on Day 4, I had to take the bullet train (Tokaido Shinkansen) from Kyoto to Mishima, and then a bus to Kawaguchiko area. That takes up the whole morning and left me the 0.5 day. The final 0.5 day was for the afternoon travel to Tokyo by bus. So, you see, that made it hard for me to use the 2 day unlimited bus pass for Kawaguchiko lake area. That was why I planned for a location that’s out of the unlimited pass coverage area to make myself feel better about not losing out too much (psychological).

To make things easier, I’m going to simplify the itinerary into flat 2 days instead.

Anyway, here’s a disclaimer (copy/pasted from the Part 1):

– Since I’d traveled all the locations above in the same trip, my actual itinerary took longer than just 10 days. It was close to like, 13 days (1 day for Bangkok, 1 day for traveling between areas in Japan, 1 day for inbound/outbound flight and misc time loss). If you’d like to follow the exact itinerary listed above for all the areas, you might want to account an extra 2 – 3 days to the 10 days.
– In December, Japan has a relatively short daylight (like Taiwan). It starts to get dark at about 4pm, so naturally, I shifted the daylight loss by starting earlier in the morning.
– It’s also getting very cold in December (although not the coldest yet). If you have a fear of cold, you might want to just go to somewhere hotter instead.
– This is an itinerary post, I’ll do a separate post for what I think about the places I’ve visited.
– This was planned based on 3 pax – my wife, my 11-yo daughter, and myself. I managed to hit > 95% of what I’ve planned, with almost perfect timing accuracy. If you’re planning for a group of more than 4, this probably won’t work as well for you.
– The main objective is sightseeing and to experience Japan (with the final 2 days in Disney Resort). The itineraries involve a lot of walking, averaging about 20,000 steps each day. That’s roughly about 16km of walking per day. If you’re not into walking or has a fat ass, this is probably not your kind of shit. (Go find one of those gay tours)
– The itinerary hinges on the assumption that you’d do your own planning/research on the public transportation. You can choose to splurge on taxi or go smart by subway/bus. Doesn’t matter. Just Google around for info.
– If your religion prohibits you from visiting buildings or monuments of other religious faith, this won’t work for you too. (Japan has a lot of temples, shrines and pig related obsession from its culture to food).
– The day to day planning can be shuffled around, depending on your dates of travel, as some of the places might be closed on certain day of the week. So, check your schedule vs the places of interests during your planning.
– This is just my own planning. It may not be as good as others’. If you think there are flaws with my planning, that’s probably because I’m an amateur.

Read the rest of this entry »

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December 24, 2017

Kyoto, Japan – Itinerary and planning (3 days) – part 1 of 3

Just came back from a ~2 weeks Japan travel covering Kyoto, Kawaguchiko and Tokyo, thought of sharing my super awesome itinerary in this blog. The actual plan was an elaborate one, including an arrangement for a 24 hour stopover at Bangkok prior flying into Japan via KIX (and exit via NRT) and up to which day to do laundry. But for the sake of convenience, I’m going to write this in simplified form, and span it with days instead of the actual one whole itinerary. So, shit is going to get break up into the following:
– 3 days itinerary for Kyoto
– 2 days (0.5 + 1 + 0.5) itinerary for Kawaguchiko (one of the Fuji Five lakes, for Mt. Fuji appreciation) (link)
– 3.5 days itinerary for Tokyo (sans Disney Resort), 2 days itinerary for Disney Resort (Disneyland and DisneySea) (link)

That way, you can just use whatever that suits your travel needs, like, you can do Tokyo first, then the lake or even, use one of the itineraries as an excursion for your existing boring itinerary. You get the idea. This post features the itinerary for Kyoto. I’ll do separate posts for Kawaguchiko and Tokyo as part 2 and 3 respectively. But before I begin the Kyoto itinerary, please read through the disclaimer:

– Since I’d traveled all the locations above in the same trip, my actual itinerary took longer than just 10 days. It was close to like, 13 days (1 day for Bangkok, 1 day for traveling between areas in Japan, 1 day for inbound/outbound flight and misc time loss). If you’d like to follow the exact itinerary listed above for all the areas, you might want to account an extra 2 – 3 days to the 10 days.
– In December, Japan has a relatively short daylight (like Taiwan). It starts to get dark at about 4pm, so naturally, I shifted the daylight loss by starting earlier in the morning.
– It’s also getting very cold in December (although not the coldest yet). If you have a fear of cold, you might want to just go to somewhere hotter instead.
– This is an itinerary post, I’ll do a separate post for what I think about the places I’ve visited.
– This was planned based on 3 pax – my wife, my 11-yo daughter, and myself. I managed to hit > 95% of what I’ve planned, with almost perfect timing accuracy. If you’re planning for a group of more than 4, this probably won’t work as well for you.
– The main objective is sightseeing and to experience Japan (with the final 2 days in Disney Resort). The itineraries involve a lot of walking, averaging about 20,000 steps each day. That’s roughly about 16km of walking per day. If you’re not into walking or has a fat ass, this is probably not your kind of shit. (Go find one of those gay tours)
– The itinerary hinges on the assumption that you’d do your own planning/research on the public transportation. You can choose to splurge on taxi or go smart by subway/bus. Doesn’t matter. Just Google around for info.
– If your religion prohibits you from visiting buildings or monuments of other religious faith, this won’t work for you too. (Japan has a lot of temples, shrines and pig related obsession from its culture to food).
– The day to day planning can be shuffled around, depending on your dates of travel, as some of the places might be closed on certain day of the week. So, check your schedule vs the places of interests during your planning.
– This is just my own planning. It may not be as good as others’. If you think there are flaws with my planning, that’s probably because I’m an amateur.

Read the rest of this entry »

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December 6, 2017

BackAlley ChickenShack restaurant

So, Bill the restaurant owner of BackAlley ChickenShack hired someone from the corporate – a middle aged lady named CrookedNippleRing – to take over managing the day to day activities of his busy restaurant. One of the very first change that CrookedNippleRing introduced, was the kitchen helper’s duties.

You see, the job of a kitchen helper in BackAlley ChickenShack is not an easy one, being understaffed and all that. He had to support the chef and prepare the ingredients, procure the raw materials for planned menus and even to take out the trash (now that Arun the janitor had been fired). So CrookedNippleRing went to the chef, and the following ‘discussion’ took place:

CrookedNippleRing: “Chef, from now on, all assignments that you have for your kitchen helper, is going through me. If you need assign some chores for your helper, you’ve got to fill up this form and drop it into that box right there.”

Chef: “So what do I do with my helper then??”

CrookedNippleRing: “You no longer need the service of a helper. I’ve got a big team of people handling all your stuff from now on. *smiles* Bill will give those helpers a handsome severance package”

Chef: “WHat the fuck!? So if I want a chicken de-boned and have some carrots julienned, I gotta submit a fucking form to you now?? How’s this going to work out well for all of us??”

CrookedNippleRing: “My team will go full time processing job requests from that box. It will be a first in first out basis. The key idea is ‘streamlining’, chef. When things get streamlined, we’ll be able to quantify how much job are we wasting our resources on, and identify the critical path of the process. From there, we can drive for process improvements to increase our workplace efficiency and reduce idling.”

Chef: “Answer me bitch, if I need someone to take out the goddamn trash, I gotta fill in a form and drop it into the fucking box as well??”

CrookedNippleRing: “Yes you fill it up and drop into the box. My guys will take care of it.”

Chef: “So, how long do you reckon any shit’s going to get done around here??”

CrookedNippleRing: “Like I said, it’ll be first in first out basis. There’ll be a queue and data entry involved, but the guarantee is, every job request is going to get done within 2 days”

Chef: “2 days!! The trash is going to stink up the whole kitchen!”

CrookedNippleRing: “Well, get busy filling forms then, my dear friend.”

As a result of the ‘efficiency drive’ initiative, BackAlley ChickenShack’s staff then swelled up to 3 times the size (none of them consist of a kitchen helper), and also registered a sharp increase in office supplies expenditure. The kitchen became a big mess and there were even injuries recorded due to unregulated foot traffic around the kitchen area (revolving the form box). Frustrated with their work, all the chefs then conspired to rage-quit the restaurant, and until now, CrookedNippleRing is still setting up a task force to look into what went wrong, while the restaurant takes an indefinite hiatus from operation.

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