Discovering Kyoto

FINDING HATCHOBORI

Day 5: April 2, 2012 Monday

The next morning, after breakfast, we leisurely packed up (after the clueless hotel clerk told us getting to Tokyo Station on the Keiyo Line takes less than 10 minutes) and strolled to the train station. We barely made the bullet train, Shinkansen Hikari 新幹線 ひかり (ran by the JR Rail), and didn’t find our seats (13 cars later) until 15 minutes after the train left the station. The trip was purchased through Japanican.

Shinkansen

Shinkansen Bullet Train

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Finding Hatchobori

Day 1: March 29, 2012 Thursday

Our journey began from JFK and took us into the Land of the Rising Sun some 13-back-breaking-hours later.

At the airport, I could have sworn I saw Ninomiya-kun of Japanese boy band Arashi, and is known (to American audiences) for his portrayal as Private Saigo in the 2006 Letters from Iwo Jima and most recently Gantz.

Day 2: March 30, 2012 Friday

Maneuvering from Narita Airport to the heart of Tokyo was pretty simple and came with English instructions/speakers to aid. We took the Keisei Skyliner from Terminal 2 right into Ueno (40 minutes) without too much of a hiccup. However, once in the city, we were overwhelmed with signs, information in Japanese and the general bustle of the city. However, the people were helpful and understanding – even though it came down to signing.

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Gone with the Wind: Living & Surviving

Was it just another hurricane? Or a wake up call?

Irene, unlike the hurricanes of yesteryear’s, brought much fury up the eastern coastline of US. Move west and it causes massive destruction and life lost. Shift to the right, and people and property are saved.  Or is this a leveling or some kind?

It mimics the current economic and political turmoil of this country, and the world. Everyone is in an economic downturn, a recession. If that is so, we are all equal then, aren’t we? Or is someone gaining?

The politicians of the world are stirring the pot. Japan changes PMs faster than a person changes clothes. US has a four-year-termed President, but even then, by the second-and-a-half -year, the foundation is shaken. And then you have Malaysia. The king is a puppet, ran by people who are not voted in by the majority, but profess to run on democracy. Their “ruling” runs for eternity. Is anyone or anywhere safe(r)?

A few days before Irene, we were busy hoarding water into tumblers, containers and pails. Lucky for us, we Chinese tend to have a stockpile of these vessels lying around. At times of emergencies like these, water becomes our greatest asset. What’s the world’s greatest asset?  Gold. Gold is the world’s trading commodity.

Just like that, we hoard and stockpile these items, which is turn causes the “unnatural” increase of value to them.

Of course, we then squirrel away as much food as possible. Who knows how long we will be imprisoned in our own homes. Our home is always filled to the brim with food. I have a pantry of canned foods, biscuits, pasta and junk food, two freezers filled with vegetables, fruits, dumplings, fish and chicken, and a pull-out pantry packed with instant noodles, rice, flour. Those who go hungry in my home is a lazy bum.

In the economic world, silver and platinum is their food of choice.

The next thing on the emergency list is light: matches, candles, torch-lights and batteries to power it. The world’s emergency cling-on is steel.

In times of destruction, we find friends, family and turn to God. On the other hand, the world clutches on to barrels of oil and bags of coffee. We pay for the latter, but not for the earlier.

Water, food and loved ones keeps us going and warms us to the core. Try sleeping with gold, silver, platinum, steel, oil and coffee.

I’m not trying to be a hypocrite. I know I need some sort of commodity in exchange for some nourishment and protection. But let’s not clamor for metals. Let’s find our warmth in each other. Let’s go back to the basics and be thankful for what we have.