Last Day in Singapore

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Travel Blog, Work Related

This is my last day day in Singapore.  Sadly, it’s a work day, but I will probably be able sneak out a bit early to see the city one last time before I leave tomorrow on the morning flight back to Tokyo.

I usually don’t like hot, humid, wet, topical, summer-all-year climates, but Singapore more than makes up for in so many different ways that it could easily become one of my favorite places to visit.  I especially liked the Clarke Quay and Boat Quay areas; there seems to be a healthy amount of action going on there.  And although I didn’t have the opportunity to really go clubbing (not that I am really interested in clubbing anymore), just seeing the people there was entertaining enough.  And anywhere where I can get root beer for a reasonable amount of pocket change is instantly tops in my book, especially when there is a variety of brands to choose from.


In addition to the Quay’s,  I had the opportunity to go into the city over the weekend. One of my co-workers suggested that I check out the Ion Orchard Mall.  It really turned out to be just a cluster of really upscale department stores selling pricey fashion merchandise like Louis Vuitton and Chanel, so I wasn’t too particularly interested in those places.  However, right across the street from the Ion Orchard was another mall that had a more localistic atmosphere to it.  The ground floor had the more conventional shops and restaurants like Subway and Pizza Hut.  But the higher you go up in floors, the more you tend to believe that you’re in Manila instead of Singapore.  There were more shops and restaurants catering to the local Filipino population there.  The food looked a bit too, let’s say “authentic” for me to muster up the courage to try it, so I passed on all of it.

The one thing I didn’t quite get at first was the sheer numbers of Filipino women conjugating in such a small area.  But then I realized two things: 1.  It was Sunday, and so it was a day off for most of the resident Filipino maid community, and 2.  There must have no less that 20 foreign currency exchange kiosks and banks in that one particular building.  Usually the Filipino maids would take their earnings and convert them into Filipino pesos before sending them to relatives in their home country.  Therefore, the lines in front of these banks and kiosk were mostly Filipino maids and other labor workers.  I must have stuck out like a swore  thumb, because it seemed that I was the only guy in the whole place.  But oddly enough I blended right in because apparently I look like a local.

This brings me to another topic.  As I mentioned earlier, I get stop frequently and asked for directions because apparently I look like one of the natives here, despite the suits I wear (apparently no one wears suits in Singapore -thanks for telling me).  In a way, this makes me feel very comfortable, especially coming from a place where people rarely even look at me let alone talk to me, because they assume I don’t speak the language.  In Singapore, people (mostly tourists and some locals) approach me and ask me for directions or what my opinion is on a particular restaurant or shop.  Of course, I have no opinions because I’ve never visited let alone heard of those places.  On one occasion, when I was looking at a menu in front of a restaurant, I was asked if there were any seats available (apparently mistaking me for a host or a waiter no doubt because of the suit of course)  But the one thing that blows people away the most is my accent.  You never really think of yourself as having a foreign accent, but in Singapore, I am the one with the strange and exotic accent, so people (mostly cab drivers) ask me where I am from.  I instinctively answer Yokohama, Japan rather than the States nowadays, because that is where my permanent place of residence now, and naturally people are very surprised by this.  I had a taxi driver who nearly got into an accident because he kept looking at me in his rear view mirror rather than keeping his eyes on the road.  I eventually had to explain my whole life story to him in the interest of my own personal safety.

If it weren’t for the fact that an average compact car costs in upwards on S$150,000 (that’s about USD$90,000 for something like a base model Honda Civic), I would probably wouldn’t mind living here.  Of course there are no race courses other than the converted street course for the Singapore GP that they hold once a year, so I guess that is  another reason why I would not be able stay in Singapore for a long period of time.

Singapore

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Life in general, Rants and Raves, Travel Blog, Work Related

I have been in Singapore for the last 3 days now on business, and so far it’s been a blast.  The only thing that could be better is the weather, which is very similar to the weather on Guam.  It’d be sunny most of the day, then all of a sudden rain.  And like Guam it seems to rain everyday.  Other than that I really like it here.  The food is good, the people are friendly, and  of course the entire city is immaculately clean.


I am staying a small hotel near the touristy part of the city near the Singapore river.  There are lot of restaurants and bars around here, too bad most of the restaurants are Japanese though.  My hotel is…well,  bit strange.  There is no way to really describe it accurately, but I’ll try.


The room itself is pretty spacious, but vertically spacious.  You see it’s a two story room and the bedroom is on the second floor, or to be more accurately a  loft.  Sounds cool right?  That’s what I thought before I arrived but in reality, it the worst use of space ever designed.  I mean who ever design this room should really take lessons from the way the Japanese people fully utilize small spaces effectively.  It seems that this room has a whole heaps load of space in terms of square or more like cubic footage, but the space usage was not planned out too well.   For example, (and I will post pictures later so that you’ll understand what going on about here),the bottom has a pretty sizable living quarters, at least by Asian standards (by American standards, this place would be a walk-in closet), but it has this very wide writing desk thingy that takes up about 20 sq. feet of space.   But to make things a bit strange, there are steps that lead up to the top of the desk, and connects to another flight of steps that connects to the loft.  So in other words, to get to the top of the loft you have stand on top of the desk.


As for the loft itself, it barely is big enough to do anything but sleep.  The width of the loft is about 1/3 the width of the bottom level, which in my opinion kind of dumb.  Why waste space by making this a loft in the first place?  I think they should have made this a full sized floor to take full advantage of the  available space.  But I guess that would have been less cool looking.


Finally, the REALLY strange part of this hotel is  that the whole hotel complex is shaped like the letter H, and my room is on the inside portion of the top of the H.  That means that I am directly adjacent to a bunch of rooms on the other side.  This would not really be a big deal except for the fact that the side room facing  inside of the H is one huge two story glass window.  Now, here is the interesting thing, either the people of Singapore have absolutely no shame, or there’s some kind of voyeurism thing going on here among the guests in the hotel, because people (both men and women) would shamelessly prance around in their rooms either partially or completely nude with their curtains wide open for the world to see (not that I am watching of course….not intentionally at least…except for maybe the blonde girl on the ninth floor) Quite a strange phenomenon, and takes a quit a bit of getting use to.  As for me, I immediately close my curtains when I get back from the office.  No one is going to be peeping in on me.



December Again

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Cars and Racing, Life in general, Work Related

Yup it’s December again, and I am starting off this blog like I do every December.  You’re probably wondering where I got the phrase “December Again”.  Well its kind of a play on a title of a song called Winter Again by a Japanese alternative rock band called Glay (no I didn’t misspell it), not that I am too crazy over  Glay or the song for that matter.  However, people who know me know that December is my favorite month.  So many good things happen in December, that it just makes me happy every time it rolls around.  It’s only been one day, but already a lot of good things have happen this month.

We’ve finally sold our Mini Cooper race car, and are about to put in a bid for a more competitive race car for next season.  I am about to rebuild my race car.  I’ve joined an awesome new company as the Head of IT, and I am going to Singapore (first time ever) on business in couple of weeks to meet with my staff members.  Nothing but goodness, and about to get better.  Yup!  December ALWAYS rocks!   Gotta love it!