Sandwich, Bagel, and American Freedom Fighter

When I first came to the US, I hated Subway restaurant. Not because of their food or service (I loved them) but because of the number of the choices that I have to make at the counter.

What kind of bread do you want? Which cheese do you like? Vegetables? Pickles? Dressing? With chips? Soda? – I just want the same Subway Club on the menu board!

The Subway in Tokyo is not like that. What sandwich would you like? Subway Club, please. Sure, here you go. You’ll make only one choice – all the other choices are already made for you.

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Bridging The Past – 50 Years Old Legacy

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an entry ‘Bridging The Future – Chennai Metro Rail Project,’ trying to illustrate how large-scale construction projects build the foundation of the countries on the growth stage. Isn’t it great to have modern infrastructure made of steel and concrete, which also provides more work to the local economy?

Then, a few days ago, I found an article on the Japanese news site saying that Tokyo Metro Expressway needs $12B to repair its old bridges. Oops.

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Creative Authenticity – Japanese-ish Cuisine and Ninja Conspiracy

There are a couple of good Japanese restaurants in Chennai. My favorite is Momoyama, which serves great food at a reasonable price. One of their signature dish is called ‘Tori no Subuta’ translating to ‘sweet and sour pork of chicken.’ Yes, sweet and sour pork made with chicken. The intended meaning is ‘sweet and sour chicken’ or ‘sweet-and-sour-pork styled chicken.’ I guess, since sweet and sour pork is a quite popular dish in Japan, they translated it in this way. The translation sounds funny for the natives. So what? It tasted fantastic and I would order it again next time.

When I’m outside Japan, I always was asked which Japanese restaurant is a ‘true’ Japanese one. Some self-claimed ‘authentic’ Japanese restaurants serve food which is too creative for the Japanese. I enjoy and appreciate the creativity of these Japanese-ish restaurants.

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Chennai Oil Shock

Tuesday morning at 7am in Chennai, there was a long queue of cars, tracks, auto rickshaws, and motorcycles at a gas station along the highway. Almost one hundred vehicles were forming the long line, causing a traffic jam on the highway’s main lanes. Considering the slow pace of refueling at the pump, it could take a couple of hours to get the tank filled, if the fuel supply miraculously lasts until our turn. Aware that our car would also run out of gas on our return from the office, we hopelessly passed this station and went to the next. But next five stations were temporary closed with a make-shift signboard saying ‘sorry no petrol.’ I started to think that I may need to take a train and a bus to go back home.

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Bridging The Future – Chennai Metro Rail Project

I have a relatively long commute – 1.5 hours one-way – from home to the office everyday. One of the small things I enjoy in the car is to see the progress of the construction sites along the way.

An array of massive concrete columns is being stood up on the median of the road. Blocks of gigantic concrete plate are lifted and placed on top of the columns, making a long rail bed connecting the Chennai International Airport to the center of the city. I like to see its advancement bridging one column to another. City’s transportation system will drastically improve once completed by 2013 – if I believe the current project plan.

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Solar Eclipse Time Travel

The past Monday was a big day in Japan. Sunglasses were sold out everywhere and people on the street were nervously looking up the cloudy morning sky. It was great news that the cloud didn’t ruin this once-in-the-lifetime astronomical show – the annular solar eclipse. When I woke up here in Chennai, where the eclipse ended before the sun rise, my Facebook was filled with many beautiful pictures from Japan.

This ‘annular solar eclipse of 2012’ had a special meaning for the Japanese at their 30’s and 40’s. There was a popular song in 1990 by a Japanese-pops group ‘Dreams Come True,’ titled ‘Time Travel.’

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One Year Anniversary in India

Today is my one year anniversary in India. It was almost at midnight of today one year ago when I got to Chennai airport. The passage from the terminal exit was packed with the drivers with a white uniform holding a board with their passenger’s name on. The air was filled with heat and moisture. The noise of honking and beeping was almost deafening.

Since then, I have experienced so many exciting things in this incredible country. To summarize my first year, I collected some numbers – 234 meals, 5 jackpots, and 702 hours. Here we go:

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Japan Spring 2012

I just came back from a two-week trip to Japan. It has been one year since my last trip back to my hometown Tokyo. Although I missed the fun of Hanami, or cherry blossom, the spring weather was so nice and I enjoyed great food and drinks with my family and old friends.

There were many things unchanged, yet there were some things changing. Probably because I come back only once in a while, I clearly see changes in the society. During this trip, I felt one change stronger than ever. That was nothing tangible, but something in the air. It was like a change of tide, or sentiment of people. I felt Japan being reborn.

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‘Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term World Travel’ by Rolf Potts

Some say life is travel – a long journey for life. In this book, ‘Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term World Travel,’ the author Rolf Pott shows us how truly you can turn your life into a journey. ‘Vagabonding’ is the name of this life style, which today is also called ‘Nomad.’

As the title says, this is a guidebook of travel as an art. Let’s turn the page and see what the world offers to the fellow travelers.

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Japan 2050 Prophecy – As The Prophet Says…

In the previous post ‘The Falling Sun – Japan to Fade Out by 2050,’ I introduced the Japan 2050 Prophecy, or a report called ‘Global Japan – Year 2050 Simulation and Strategy,’ published by a Japanese think tank, 21st Century Public Policy Institute.

Although seemingly shocking, the Japanese people do not have to panic as if 2050 is the end of the world. This think tank, backed up by the big names of Corporate Japan, is merely advocating their interests as a form of the ‘research.’ This is a strong (and almost threatening) message from the Japanese establishment to the novice DJP government.

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