Kinokuniya | The Business Journey Behind Books

Kinokuniya | The Business Journey Behind Books

The Kinokuniya flagship store is located on Orchard Road–Singapore’s iconic shopping district. I’ve always found the entrance to the bookstore rather modest and inconspicuous. The moment I walk in, however, I am always spellbound by the impressive 33,000 sq. ft. space that houses an extensive collection of more than 400,000 titles from all over the world. Continue reading Kinokuniya | The Business Journey Behind Books

12 Years an Expat: my journey through Australia, Israel, Japan and China

12 Years an Expat: my journey through Australia, Israel, Japan and China

Many people travel for personal and professional reasons. But to actually leave home, uproot yourself and plant yourself in a new country is a whole different ballgame. Over the years, I’ve met many expat kids who get hauled from country to country because of their parents’ jobs. I’ve watched many of them enter adulthood wondering where ‘home’ is. I can’t say I fully understand the sentiment. Continue reading 12 Years an Expat: my journey through Australia, Israel, Japan and China

The Two-Faced East Asian: working in Japan and China

The Two-Faced East Asian: working in Japan and China

I generally think it’s impolite to talk behind people’s backs. If you have something to say to someone, say it to their face. Be honest and upfront. If you’re the two-faced type, ultimately people won’t trust you. But in this part of the world, this is the norm. And it isn’t even personal. Too many people would rather preserve a surface harmony – and save face – than thrash out a conflict and be done with it. Continue reading The Two-Faced East Asian: working in Japan and China

Day 2 in Paris: reminiscing Japan and Jerusalem

Day 2 in Paris: reminiscing Japan and Jerusalem

The tourists are everywhere. They seem to exist in a separate space to the locals. Paris is somewhat reminiscent of Tokyo: with the too many travellers who have no idea what they’re doing or where they’re going. Like the Japanese, the Parisians are also not fond of speaking English. In Tokyo, it’s relatively easy to differentiate a local from a foreigner. In Paris, not so much. I’ve already lost track of the number of people who’ve tried to strike up a conversation with me only to receive a raised eyebrow and an awkward smile. Continue reading Day 2 in Paris: reminiscing Japan and Jerusalem

The Great Japanese Farewell

The Great Japanese Farewell

It’s official. I’m leaving Japan. The past week has been a celebration of my past 3.5 years here. Since Friday night last week, it’s been one farewell party after the next. Old friends. New friends. Colleagues. Bosses. And so on and so forth. And the party isn’t over. The celebrations are still in motion. There’s lamb slow-cooking on the stove as I write this.  Continue reading The Great Japanese Farewell

The Great Tsukishima Marvellous Monjayaki Adventure

The Great Tsukishima Marvellous Monjayaki Adventure

You take the mini spatula and slowly slide a little bit over the hot plate till it’s brown and slightly crunchy. You have to do it a little at a time and very very slowly if you want to get the desired results – slightly burnt and crunchy baby food. The whole experience is pretty damn mendoksai troublesome. When I take my first bite, I like it. The flavours are fairly mild so we douse it with chilli flakes, seaweed and fish flakes. It takes us close to an hour to get through the first one.  Continue reading The Great Tsukishima Marvellous Monjayaki Adventure

Tokyo to San Francisco: savouring suburban solitude

Tokyo to San Francisco: savouring suburban solitude

Everywhere I turn, people are speaking Spanish – America’s unofficial second language. I’m surprised that I can still understand the language fairly well – considering that I haven’t spoken it in some four years. I learnt a lot of new languages in my twenties – but Spanish is my still my favourite. I hear a whole plethora of other languages, too. Some I recognise. Others I don’t. I breathe in and out. It’s my first time in San Francisco, but I feel at home for the first time in a while.  Continue reading Tokyo to San Francisco: savouring suburban solitude