Kim Huat shares his love for life-saving.
(Subtitles available, turn on Captions if needed.)
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/ZFMwRGzF7KA
Me, trying to pull out the key Faith broke inside my bedroom door handle: "Darn it, my tools can't get it out."
Wife: "Here, try this pair of pliers!"
Me: "Ah good! Thanks. You know, I used to have needle-nose pliers just like these in my toolbox but I can't seem to find them."
Wife: "Oh, these are yours, from your toolbox. I er, borrowed them some time ago."
Me: ( ..•˘___˘• .. )
At one point, I even called the locksmith. Bear in mind, my iPhone was inside the locked master bedroom. So I came up with the idea of using my Apple Watch to call him.
"Siri, call Locksmith."
It worked! The Apple Watch connected to the iPhone inside the room via Bluetooth and dialed.
"Hello?" said the Locksmith, somewhat loudly.
"Is this Ah Boy? My key is broken inside the lock of my master bedroom!" I said, into the Watch.
"What kind of lock is it?" he said, impatiently, sounding like he was preoccupied with another job.
"It is the handle type of lock, you installed it for me the last time another key broke inside my old lock," I replied.
"I can't tell like that, you take a photo and send to me."
"But my phone is in the locked room, and I…" I tried to explain, but he hung up.
Magnet didn't work. Because the key wasn't made of magnetic metal. In the end, I managed to tease the broken half of the key out with surgical precision, after trying for half an hour with different tools and pliers. In the end, I teased the broken key out with two nail files.
I held the broken key in my hand and raised it high. like I just pulled out King Arthur's Excalibur from the Stone.
Small victories like this make a simple man happy. And also saving the ninety bucks that it would have cost me to get Ah Boy to come down and drill out the old lock, and replace it with a new one.
Here's a first look inside the new Singapore Apple Orchard Store. It's gorgeous. I already see stuff I wanna buy. Siao liao.
The boardroom you see in the photos is used for meetings and it's not open to the public. There are copies of the Apple book and paintings of the new Apple Park. I hope to see Apple Park some day.
The Forum space on the second floor is for Today at Apple educational sessions and experiences where you can learn stuff like photography from creators like Chia Aik Beng.
I am typing this while sitting under a tree at the Genius Grove inside the Store. Yes. Sitting under indoor ficus trees. The Genius Grove on the second floor is where you get help with your Apple products.
I brought my bigger camera, but in the end, I just shot all of these photos with my iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED.
Interestingly, the wifi in the Apple Orchard Store recognized my previous login from the Apple Union Square Store in SF and I joined the network automatically.
I like the Forum space. I think it will be a great space for local creative people to share their work and experiences with people. Aik Beng's session was fully subscribed within ten minutes of the session booking going live online. Here is an arty-farty black and white photo of my friend Aik Beng:
The other thing I like is the abundance of space. You rarely have retail space that isn't cramped with aisles and aisles of product.
I think Orchard Road suddenly became a little more interesting.
Old Days Situation:
1. Someone cuts your lane or
2. Never gives up bus/MRT seat or
3. Behaves in a generally lao lan way.
Old Days Response:
1. Exchange some angry words or ignore it.
2. Forget about it the next minute.
3. Carry on with life.
1. Someone cuts your lane or
2. Never gives up bus/MRT seat or
3. Behaves in a generally lao lan way.
1. Exchange some angry words.
2. Get into fisticuffs.
2, Take each other’s photo with smartphone.
3. Take each other’s video with smartphone.
4. Deploy in-car cam/GoPro video footage.
5. Go home and edit all collected media into an epic 3-hour-long Steven Spielberg movie.
6. Upload the entire video with annotations to Facebook and/or YouTube.
7. Write accompanying long essay about the incident.
8. Ask for CSI.
9. CSI the wrong people.
10. Publish information of wrongly-CSI-ed people on Facebook and clickbait websites of questionable journalistic repute.
11. CSI again for the real culprit because the first CSI was wrong.
12. Make police report.
13. Invite commenters who say these people must be foreigners and that Ah Tiong/FT Indian/Chow Ang Moh are all like this and should lose job/lose business/lose employment pass/be deported.
14. Blame Gahmen for letting FT trash like these Ah Tiong/FT Indian/Chow Ang Moh in.
15. New public dispute arises, old one is forgotten.
16. Rinse and repeat.
I am home again, after a few months of continuous travel. The wife immediately deployed me to manage Faith on Sunday as she sat down with the two younger ones for exam revision.
My job was to keep Faith from getting bored, and really, there is only so much an iPod playing her favorite YouTube videos can do. You eventually need to give her a car ride and some outside air.
So I took her for her car ride, and then for a walk at nex mall. My jet-lagged mind decided that was a good idea.
On. A. Sunday. Afternoon.
Yeah, I know right?
She was fine, at first. She dragged me around to see stuff. Then at a particular corner of the mall, I think her autistic senses got overwhelmed and she decided to run into the massage chair shop and sit at the cashier counter.
"So sorry!" I said apologetically to the staff there, rushing to get her out of there.
"不用紧，慢慢来！" (Don't worry about it, take your time!) one kind lady staff said, smiling, as I tried to get Faith out of the chair and out the shop. Pulling her off the chair only made things worse, and Faith lay down on the floor, refusing to budge.
"Come, Faith, stand up. We go home, ok?" I said, trying to coax her off the floor. Then after a few tries, she listened, and got up. She took my hand, and we walked/ran to the entrance. But when she reached the line separating the shop and the common corridor, it was like she hit an invisible wall and she u-turned, making her way back to the cashier's counter.
More coaxing from me, and she finally made it past the force field, dashing away from the shop before I could say thank you to the patient and understanding ladies at the shop. Down the broken escalator we went (nex, when are you going to fix that stupid escalator that is causing a bottleneck every time???), and then out the building to the open space.
I thought we could make it all the way to the open-air car park where the car was parked, but she decided to detour to the playground. And then she sat down at the benches, as if to say, "I am so done with the sensory overload and I am going to sit here and rest."
She shook off her shoes and made herself at home.
Once more, I gave her my inspirational speech that would have moved men to tears and the downtrodden to fight for their freedom. In my most William Wallace voice, I said, "Come Faith, wear your shoes. Let's go home. The car is just around the corner."
She frowned at me, her shoes still off.
"Come Faith, wear your shoes. Let's go. The car is so near and Mommy and your siblings are waiting to go to Popo house. You like Popo's house, right?"
It took a few tries but she finally put her shoes back on, and followed me back to the car.
My friend Robert, whose son is also autistic, commented that his son teaches him every day he is not in control.
I agree with Robert. It is a profound lesson for a control freak like me. Robert went on to say of his son, "If he wants to stay put I sit next to him and stay until he decides it is OK to go."
Like Robert with his son, I have found that getting physical with Faith only makes things worse. It gets harder too, as she is now bigger and stronger.
You also learn to develop a very thick skin, because these sensory meltdown episodes happen in full view of the public very often, so you appreciate it tremendously when people show understanding and acceptance.
We are mindful of Faith's condition when we go out, but at the same time, we do not want to completely shut her away, out of this world. So we try, a little at the time, to expose her to places where there are new people, new noises, and different stimuli, in the hope that her autistic senses learn to cope and adapt.
In the process, we, her family, also learn a little more about ourselves. We learn to let go. We learn there is a new normal. We learn to cope and adapt, to change the things we can change, and to accept the things we cannot.
This has been my home for the last few days in Porto. Yes, I chose to stay in a hostel. I think I'm the oldest fella in this hostel. I came by train from Lisbon, where I attended the IFA Global Press Conference. Check out my review of the Sennheiser AMBEO Smart Headset that can record 360° sound, on YouTube.
I've got two power sockets to charge my myriad of tech gear, a small light and two small shelves for my knickknacks. And a big drawer below to hold my Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30 carry-on and Synapse 19 daypack. I'm a happy camper.
When I find the time between walking tours and hanging out at the laundromat waiting for my clothes to be washed and dried, I'll share more stories about sleeping in a bunk bed with other folks in the same room, at my non-millennial age.
Now I'm busy sitting in the public lounge area watching Season 2 of The Expanse, one of the best science-fiction tv shoes in a while.
Kim Huat watches the episode of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders where Singapore is featured and gets triggered.
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/MScSovg_6I0
Update: The Facebook version of this video reached 1.2 million views. I am humbled and a little scared by the overwhelming support from you guys.
Geek Culture:: http://mrbrwn.co/2oIkAqA
Once again, we return to the Fast and Furious saga, with Fast 8, or Fate of the Furious, or The Fast and Furious 8, or #F8. Whichever title rocks your boat.
The Taiwanese soap opera of Action Movies is back with number 8, and just like you forgot the plots of the previous seven installments, you will forget this one too. Personally, I think you should try to remember at least the last three movies, because got some link one.
But no fear! Nobody watches a Fast and Furious movie for the story! We just want to know, "Was the action good?", "Did they outdo themselves in the 夸张 Department?" and "How many cars did they destroy this time?"
The answer to that is Yes, Very Much Yes, and Way Too Many to Count.
You watch Fast and Furious movies because you know they will beat the bad guys. Like a Ip Man movie. But you still watch because you want to see HOW they beat the bad guys.
The big bad person this time is Charlize Theron, whom I love but she didn't get to be as evil as I wanted her to be. Still, she makes for a great villain, as the hacker Cipher. Kinda like Anonymous but with better looks. I just wish she got out more, instead of doing her hacking in her secret lair.
Every member of the cast is fun to watch. They know their parts already (like the banter and chemistry of Tyrese and Ludacris) but the new power couples like Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson were also enjoyable to watch. Yes, Deckard Shaw joins the good guys this time.
F8 was not as good as the previous 5, 6 and 7, I felt, but still a serviceable addition to the series. I had a good time watching driverless cars vs Russian motorcade, sports cars vs submarine, and The Rock vs a concrete bench. All of which I could suspend disbelief for.
But one thing bothered me throughout the entire movie (besides the floating captions whenever they changed locales). And there is a minor spoiler here so stop if you are sensitive.
Most of you may know that Jason Statham, Deckard Shaw in the movie, was the enemy of Vin Diesel's family in Furious 7, right? And you know that he killed Han in Fast and Furious 6, right?
SO HOW COME HE CAN BE FRIEND-FRIEND WITH THE TEAM IN FURIOUS 8???
You can say Theo and I go way back. I taught Theo in my Sunday School class when he was 5 or 6 years old. And his father was the pastor who married my wife and me.
And now he is all grown up and has his own eatery called 吃Western at Blk 206 Toa Payoh North, Singapore 310206.
Go check it out. My family and I enjoyed his western food at reasonable coffee shop prices.
Ghost in the Shell (Ang Moh Edition) was a visually stunning movie with an average story. If you haven't seen the original anime version before, you will think this is an above average action movie.
If you have seen the original before and loved it, you will be somewhat annoyed that the Hollywood one has the body of the original but not the brains and the soul of it.
Even so, the fanboy in me got very excited at some scenes. Like the Spider Tank scene. Or the iconic Water Fight scene. Manly tears were shed.
How about the whitewashing part, you ask? Please. Of course it is. But you know, Scarjo held the weak plot together and made it watchable.
Now to rewatch the original anime movie. And I also bought Season 1 and 2 of the Stand Alone Complex series.
At least the flawed Hollywood movie made me seek to recapture the Ghost in the Shells of my youth.
I'm on a road trip with mom through South Island, New Zealand.
It's not our first trip together. Among other trips, Mom and I have done Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen in Surabaya, trained our way from Tokyo to Hokkaido and trudged through lovely Japanese snow (including our favorite town of Higashikawa) and now we driving though the south of New Zealand.
From a very young age, my two younger brothers and I have been travelling with my parents and we learned to do it without joining a tour. Pa was airline staff and we got free tickets yearly but hotels and the rest were not free. So the only way to do it affordably was to rent a car and drive the brood through places like the islands of Hawaii (we covered pretty much all the islands) and the Grand Canyon.
And to save more money, we stayed in dodgy motels, or apartments with kitchenettes so that mom could cook, instead of us eating expensive overseas food (the US dollar was three Singapore dollars in the old days, and one Euro was more than SGD2).
There was a no-popcorn rule when we went to Disneyland as kids. We didn't understand why back then but look, a tub of that stuff was USD10. Which was SGD30. Which was a small fortune in the 1970s and 1980s. So, no popcorn. And meals were Mom's fried rice in a Tupperware, freshly cooked that morning in the hotel room with a Sanyo electric hotplate cooker.
This was the time before GPS and the Internet, mind you. So my old man drove, and my mom navigated the American continent or the Australian Outback with paper maps, and a lot of arguing. The entire family all developed the ability to adapt. After all, you can't google your way through your travel problems, or book a flight or a hotel room with your phone in those days.
Travelling solo with my mother in the recent years is still as fun as travelling with my parents and brothers back then. She is 75 years old now, and here are some random things I learned travelling with her.
1. Always be prepared for sudden toilet breaks. Old people need frequent toilet breaks. Myself included.
2. Always pack random food items. I'm an ultralight traveller and refuse to overpack. But I have to say, my mother's stash of 2-in-1 coffee and cup noodles were lifesavers when we were too tired to go out and eat.
3. You are never too old to play with ducks.
4. Destinations are just points between which you stop for New Zealand flat whites.
5. It's not where you go, it's who you go with. I am blessed to have a mother who is an awesome traveller. Traveller, not tourist.
6. Hotels or motels must have a television. No TV? Minus four stars. TVs provide ambient sound as you go about your business. And also become a source of shared entertainment as you both try to answer the questions on quiz shows together. Or laugh at local cop shows showing the mild crimes that highway cops deal with.
7. You can talk to any stranger. Mother has the amazing ability to befriend anyone on the street. Be it singers at the Oamaru Sunday Farmers' Market, baristas in a coffee shop, or an elderly German couple who are on a seven-week camper van road trip through New Zealand. Or birds. I suspect that is where I get it from, because I talk to strangers on Twitter and my Facebook all the time.
8. Always ensure you've downloaded your Oldies Spotify playlist before embarking on your next long road journey, so you can both sing along to Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams. And reminisce about the singers and songs my late father loved.
9. Don't let Mom enter a supermarket. She will buy enough to last you two zombie apocalypses.
10. Do let Mom enter a supermarket. And let her buy what she wants. Because she know how to buy the best fruits, and snacks, and breakfast items at the best price. And you'll be thanking her when you tuck into the ham and cheese sandwich in the morning.
11. Your iPhone 7 Plus may be able to pull down travel and map info on the fly, but Mom's National-Library-borrowed Lonely Planet dead tree edition works without batteries or the internet. And works even when you're out at Milford Sound with no mobile coverage (shame on you, Vodafone).
12. Don’t ask your mother where small jars of jam, small cakes of butter, and the random banana come from. Just eat.
13. You never know when you might need these bottles of branded hotel-sized shampoo, conditioner, body gel and body lotion. Good for the kids when they go swimming back home. Good for the crappy hotels you may stay in, down the road, that may provide lousy unbranded toiletries. You might even want to start a shop with the collection one day.
14. She makes jokes about your snoring drowning out the TV she is watching at night. You make jokes about her morning farts.
15. “This looks like a nice little town on the map.” usually results in a drive through some off-road countryside, across several rivers, that leads to a town with just one building. Or the edge of Paradise.
16. You learn where you picked up the travel habit of washing your underwear and hanging them wherever there is a place to hang something.
17. Just when you think she has filled her one luggage, she whips out a folding bag made of the indestructible China/Thai plastic/cardboard that can take about 45 litres of shopping.
18. Travel with your parents while they are still mobile. They won’t be able to travel forever. Age, and two fractures in the ankle and knee from hiking in Vietnam a few years ago, can slow a mother down. Even the strongest trees grow old.
19. When she decides she really wants to have Indian food in the middle of nowhere in South Island, she will find it. And it will be worth the search somehow. That was some yummy Chicken Madras and Chicken Tikka Masala, man.
20. You can take the Geography and Art teacher out of the school but you can’t take the Geography and Art teacher out of your mother. And you appreciate the geography and beauty of New Zealand even more in her company.
21. It is ok to drive up the steepest road in the world, and acknowledge that your old knees aren't going to take you up Baldwin Street.
22. And above all, stay curious, open and always willing to see and learn new things.
[All images made by me, mostly with a Panasonic Lumix GH5 and Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 lens, a Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 II lens, and an iPhone 7 Plus sometimes.]
I was tagged by Mr Miyagi to do the #DaretoCare Challenge recently. Now, I don’t usually do these tagging things but Miyagi explained that #DaretoCare is about getting people to perform random acts of kindness, or simple acts of care, or spearheading ground-up movements for volunteering.
Essentially, the movement seeks to get us all to pay attention to the needs of those around us.
It does not have to be big and grand gestures (though those are good too). Just asking if someone is ok, or finding out what they need, and acting on it if possible, is a good start.
This reminds me of my mom. My mother has a habit of giving useful things like clothes to foreign workers near our home and to the poor, when we travel (she carries a huge suitcase of stuff to give away very often). She is a big old softie at heart, even though she can be very fierce to us.
So, inspired by my mother and the message, I did the #DaretoCare Challenge too, and this is my video.
You can do the same. Just create a post on your social media platforms, it can be a text post, image post, or a video post, on how you showed kindness or care, or spotted someone who did it, and tag three friends to do the same thing. Use the hashtags #DaretoCare and #SGcares in your posts.
I hereby challenge and tag Leslie Tay of ieatishootipost, Nadia a.k.a. @nadnut, and Dennis of Superadrianme, to #DaretoCare! And let’s see this movement snowball!
Some of you asked for a translation of the words I used in my convo with my kids in the last post. I thought I'd provide a dictionary of sorts.
j/k: Just Kidding or Joking.
IKR: I Know Right?
Sensi: Sensitive. (Shoutout to Carissa for teaching me this one.)
Lit: Excellent (sometimes used with AF, as in Lit AF. AF doesn't mean Auto-Focus.). Nothing to do with the Literature subject, which was what I first thought it meant.
Totes: Totally. The few seconds you save from not saying the last two syllables will help you be more efficient. Somewhat confusing when used to describe an actual tote bag, as in "I totes need a new totes."
Throw Shade: Criticize or condemn. In Singapore, where it is hot, sheltered walkways also throw shade, but it doesn't mean the same thing.
IDK: I don't know.
On Fleek: On point, perfect. Started out describing eyebrows. Don't ask me why.
Triggered: Filled with hate or activated by something that sets you off. Like The Winter Soldier after you read a list of secret words.
I can't even: So overwhelming/funny/frustrating that you can't even finish your sentence. Sometimes without even a full stop. Frequently used with the word "literally", as in "I literally can't even". The use of "literally" triggers me though.
POMO: Post-modern, self-consciously so.
Sorry not sorry: Not really sorry. Like when the gahmen apologizes.
It's the March school holidays and the kids have a week to be at home to bug me. Isaac and Joy have their friend, Matt, over for a sleepover. Yes, I have an extra tween in my household but he's a good boy and it's fun to have him over.
As we walked back from Lickers, my fave waffle and ice-cream haunt, after some post-dinner waffle and ice-cream, Joy told me about their day of play.
"Matt trolled me today."
"Ya, I said I wasn't gonna come over but actually I was. j/k lah," Matt said.
"So he was j/k ah?" I asked.
"Eh Pa, you're not a Millennial," Joy replied, with mock horror on her face.
"IKR?" I continued.
"Paaaa…" said my youngest daughter.
"Don't be so sensi can or not?" I said with hurt in my eyes.
"Noooo…" Joy pleaded.
"But I thought my slang is so lit right now. Totes," I said, on a roll now.
"Stahp!" said my hapless daughter, beginning to laugh.
"j/k only, j/k only. Don't need to throw shade at me," I said to her.
"Ugh," Joy said, giggling.
"Actually Papa needs to cut his hair again," I declared, in a moment of digression.
"Ooh! Dye it another color!" Joy suggested.
"IDK, I thought I'd stay with blue. My blue hair is on fleek," I didn't even know what I saying by now. What's a "fleek"?
"Kill me now," said Joy.
"You're so triggered, I can't even-"
By that time, all she could do was chase me at the void deck and to tickle me in retaliation for my slang fest.
Parents, embarrassing our kids with our hipness since forever. Hey, what can I say, I'm POMO. Sorry not sorry.
The wife and I just came back from a trip to Japan. I can hear you all saying, “AGAIN?”
I don’t blame you. Last year alone, I think I was there almost every other month. I enjoy visiting Japan too much and never tire of returning.
This time, it was a special trip because we have not traveled together since 2012. And the wife has not been to Japan since 2010. Most of our trips together have been with the family and I thought it was time for some We Time. Also, it is to celebrate twenty years of marriage.
There is a contest at the end of this post where you can win a free trip to Japan! Link: Japan Dreaming Contest
I took charge of the trip and planned it all myself. I normally travel solo, but including the wife this time was not very different. I just had to make sure the itinerary did not include too long a train journey. When I travel solo, I tend to take these long and ridiculous train and ship journeys which I enjoy. But for the wife, I thought I would slow the pace down a little. But my itineary applies to solo travelers too. In fact, if I did the journey myself, this would probably be my path.
I bought us a JR East Tohoku Area Pass, which only costs ¥19,000 (about SGD240) if you buy it in Singapore or ¥20,000 if you buy it in Japan itself. The pass allows you to have unlimited travel on JR Shinkansen and limited express trains, within the Kanto and Tohoku regions, for any five days of your choice within a 14-day period.
Here is what that means. You can use the JR East Tohoku Area Pass for unlimited JR train travel within the region specified for five full days, but the days don’t have to be consecutive. This is unlike a 7-Day JR Pass, where you have seven consecutive days of unlimited travel but throughout Japan.
This means we could use one day to travel long distances, then stay in one city or town for two to three days, then use it again to travel to the next place, up to five times in total within the 14-day period.
It is very good for solo travel or couple travel, especially if you plan your destinations in advance.
Where did we go in our 9 days there? We started by heading straight to Karuizawa when we landed in Tokyo. That is one day of the JR East Tohoku Area Pass used. We spent two nights in Karuizawa, skiing and shopping at the outlet mall, and visiting the sights like Kumoba-ike or Swan Lake Pond.
Then we departed Karuizawa and headed for Nikko. The second day of five-day pass used. We stayed two nights in Nikko too, choosing to visit Chuzenji Lake and Kegon Falls by bus, and then the UNESCO shrines and temples. We tried to go to the Akechidaira Ropeway too, but it was closed due to high winds. Ah well, it was still a nice little visit there and the view from the ropeway station was also lovely.
People tend to make Nikko a day trip from Tokyo but I find it a bit rushed. Spending two to three days just exploring the area is way more pleasant.
Nikko, we used Day 3 of our five-day pass to head to Yamagata Station. Instead of checking into our hotel near Yamagata Station, we went all the way to Oishida Station. It is about four stops from Yamagata Station. Since this is part of our day of unlimited travel, we wanted to maximise our passes. We went to Oishida Station because I wanted to show the wife Ginzan Onsen. It is a lovely little onsen town where the tv drama Oshin was shot. The town used to be a silver mine area, but it is now a very pretty hot spring town in the mountains of Yamagata. In winter, the snow-covered old buildings make you feel like you have gone back in time.
We caught the bus from Ginzan Onsen back to Oishida Station and then back to Yamagata Station by evening. This was one of the longest journeys of our trip: Nikko to Oishida, then Ginzan Onsen by bus, then back from Ginzan Onsen by bus, then Oishida to Yamagata. All in one day. We really made the pass worthwhile.
While in Yamagata, we also spent a full day in Mount Zao, the famous ski and onsen mountain resort. We bought a special pass that covered the bus ride to Mount Zao from Yamagata Station, and the return journey on the ropeway. If the weather is not too snowy, you can see the famous “Snow Monsters” on the slopes. And if you like, you can also ski there. We just enjoyed the scenery this time, since we already skied in Karuizawa.
We did not use the JR East Tohoku Area Pass for our day at Mount Zao. There was no need to.
We departed Yamagata for Sendai with the fourth day of our five-day pass. Again, we did not check into our Sendai hotel first but used our pass to head for Geibikei in Iwate. About a kilometre from Geibikei Station is Geibi Gorge, where you can take a 90-minute boat ride on the waters. The boatman (or boat-woman) even sings folk songs, and you can order a meal to dine onboard during certain seasons.
The Gorge is beautiful in autumn, with the red and orange foliage. But I am also very partial to the winter season, when the trees and ground are covered in snow.
After Geibikei, we only had two days left of our trip. I was saving the last day of our five-day pass to return to Tokyo on the last day from Sendai. So we spend the second-last day of our trip visiting Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market. We just took a short train ride (using the SUICA, their stored-value card like our ez-link or FlashPay card) to Higashi Shiogama Station from Sendai, and walked about 15 minutes. In the winter, there are way less people visiting, so we thought the market was closed. But it was humming with customers.
You can shop for fresh fish and seafood to cook back home or, in our case, just buy all the sashimi we like from the fishmongers, then go to the dining corner to order a ¥300 set of rice and miso soup. DIY Sashimi Donburi! A meal like that would cost you way more in Tokyo, so I think it is totally worth visiting port where they have one of the largest fresh tuna catches in Japan.
After a hearty meal at Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market, we took another short train ride to spend the rest of our day at Matsushima Bay. We took a cruise around the bay and also walked to Fukuura Island, which is connected to the mainland by a 252-metre-long bridge.
Our last day in Japan came too soon. We set off from Sendai early so that we could do some shopping in Akihabara, mostly for our kids. And my wife got addicted to gachapon, the machines where you put coins into, and turn the knob for some cute little collectible. The wife wanted to collect the cup-clinging office lady figurine called Koppu no Fuchiko. I ended up changing my notes for many many ¥100 coins to fuel the wife’s gachapon needs.
Our JR East Tohoku Area Pass covered our final day journey from Sendai to Tokyo, and also from Tokyo to Narita airport. So you see, with a little planning, you can really see Japan for quite a reasonable sum of money. And enjoy seeing the views from the Shinkansen and regular trains as they travel through the snow-covered countryside.
Whether you try my itinerary as a solo traveler or as a couple, I think you will enjoy it as much as we did. If you are interested, I have created a simple itinerary at the JAPAN by Japan site.
There is a Japan Dreaming contest going on at JAPAN by Japan, a site where Japanese locals share their favourite attractions. To win a pair of return tickets and three Canon cameras. Simply sign up and create a travel wish list, also known as a Wanderlist, Add five attractions to your Wanderlist and share it on your Facebook for a chance to win.
Quickly go and submit your entries to win! Gambatte!
Contest details are here: https://japanbyjapan.com/contest?cid=soc_blog_japan-dreaming_14022017_mr-brown
It is very simple:
1, Go to contest page and click on 'Create button'
2. Sign up as a member (free) if not already one.
3. Create wanderlist by clicking on 'Create' button on contest page.
4. Add 5 attractions to Wanderlist.
5. Submit and share.
May you win the contest and visit one of my favorite countries in the world!