Monday, April 30, 2007


We are planning a trip to Japan.

I thought I will blog as I plan and update with photos once the trip is completed..

So keep Checking...

As of now this is the itinery.

Day 1

Edo Tokyo Museum
Sensoji Temple
Imperial Palace

Day 2
Kabukiza theatre
Ikebukora Ueno

Day 3 Hakone

Day 4 Odaiba.

Wonder how much we will be able to cover!

Most of the information is obtained from Japan Website

which I will edit as and when I have visited the places


4th Day

Tokyo Station. Then take JR Yamanote Line for 4 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shimbashi Station. At Shimbashi Station, take Yurikamome Line to Daiba Station for 14 minutes.

A new amusement hotspot. A futuristic, unmanned traffic system smartly connects it to the rest of Tokyo.
Odaiba was born on the reclaimed land in the Tokyo Bay in the southeast of Tokyo. It is attracting mostly young people as the newest amusement spot in Tokyo. The name Odaiba means a platform site. It derives from the installation of a platform for a marine cannon battery that was constructed in haste to meet the emergent need for defense of Tokyo (called Edo at that time) against the sudden appearance of black steel ships commanded by Commodore Perry from the United States in 1853.

The center of Odaiba is "Aquacity Odaiba". There is a shopping mall with a 300-meter long boutique street, a multi-flex cinema that employs the latest acoustic and screen technologies, a gourmet zone that stretches over 15,000 m2 which is obviously the largest in Japan, and Fuji TV studio where visitors can see the settings of popular TV programs.

Major attractions of Odaiba are dotted along Yurikamome Line, a new unmanned traffic system that connects Shimbashi Station through the Rainbow Bridge with Odaiba. There is the Odaiba Seaside Park that overlooks the Rainbow Bridge as well as the Venus Fort, a "theme park for ladies" located in the area of the Palette Town, which accommodates over 140 shops with the interior that takes after an European city in the 18th century, and many other new facilities are jostling.


3rd Day

DirectionsAbout 40 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station. About 15 minutes by Hakone Tozan Tetsudo Line from Odawara Station to Hakone Yumoto Station.

One of the best international holiday resorts. Home of renowned spas and a large historical zone.
Hakone is the name that refers to the whole area, surrounding Mt. Hakone-yama that is situated in the southwestern part of Kanagawa, and is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Hakone is an internationally well-known holiday resort that includes many renowned spas and Lake Ashino-ko, which was created by Mt. Fuji's repetitive volcanic activity. In Hakone, there are said to be "Hakone Thirteen Spas", or some even say "Hakone Seventeen Spas" altogether distinguished from each other by their distinctive ingredients and different healing effects.

The Hakone Barrier was built on the Tokaido Highway(The road from Edo to Kyoto) in 1619 in order to fortify the capital Edo (former name of Tokyo) against various foreign clans from the west and to maintain public peace. The Hakone Barrier used to terrify travelers as they were thoroughly inspected before they were allowed to continue traveling along the Tokaido, the main transport artery of those days. For this reason, Hakone used to be called "the border between the east and the west". The original barrier which has been restored with related information, including armor and weapons, is open to the public nowadays.

There are many other interesting sites in the surrounding area of Hakone. Visit Onshi Hakone Park, for instance, to see the up-side-down Mt. Fuji reflected in the surface of Lake Ashino-ko nearby. Hakone Museum proudly presents its collection of approximately 50 pieces of pottery. Enjoy a pleasant walk through Hakone Sengokubara Shissei Kaen where a beautiful garden of hydrophytes welcomes you. The conservation and protection of nature and the historical sites are well maintained in Hakone. The wetland plant colony is listed as a natural monument. Rows of cedar trees stretch for 2 km along the old Tokaido and the group of stone statues of Buddha is enshrined in Hakone.


Known as the Gateway to the North, Ueno has many cultural establishments nesting within a vast park.
Ueno Station in Taito-ku is called a gateway to the north because it is the starting station for the railways bound for the Tohoku region(the northeast region) from Tokyo. The terminal accommodates 6 railways including JR Shinkansen Lines. It is a prominent downtown rivaling with the Ginza, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Shibuya.

In the Tokyo Ueno-onshi-koen Park, the Tokyo Metropolitan Imperial Gift Park that boasts a vast area in the west of Ueno Station, there is a concentration of cultural institutions such as the first zoo in Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Imperial Gift Ueno Zoo, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Cultural Hall, National Western Art Museum, National Science Museum and Tokyo National Museum, all offering recreation and relaxation for the citizens.

There is Ameya-yokocho Market called Ameyoko for short in the area under the elevated railway from Ueno Station to Okachimachi Station. This area used to be a thriving flea market immediately after the end of the WWII. There are over 500 shops that sell everything from basic foods to high-class imported goods at reasonable prices, and thus it is always crowded with shoppers. The year-end special bargain sales, in particular, have become one of the scenes that add poetic charm to the season that reflect the lives of the common people of Tokyo.



Tokyo Station. Then, take JR Yamanote Line for 25 minutes from Tokyo Station to Ikebukuro Station.

Ikebukuro in Toshima-ku has the terminal for JR Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line and Takasaki Line, subways Marunouchi Line and Yurakucho Line, Seibu Ikebukuro Line and Tobu Tojo Line. It is a prominent downtown rivaling with the Ginza, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Asakusa. As it has often been selected as the scene for TV dramas and novels in recent years, the young people who are keen on the trend cast eager eyes on Ikebukuro. It is divided into the west side and east side areas by JR Ikebukuro Station.

In the eastern side, department stores and large size fashion industry buildings stand side by side. There is the Sunshine City around a super-high-rise building "Sunshine 60" to the east of the shopping street that leads to the station. Also, in the area of the Sunshine City, there are an aquarium, planetarium, hotel, shopping mall and convention center with display facilities.

In the west side, there is the Tokyo Art Theater and some universities among department stores and shopping streets. Many university students walk around the town, and it gives off literary flavor that sets up a clear distinction from the hustle and bustle on the eastern side.


One of the more fashionable and upbeat parts of Tokyo, famous for being the trend-setting center of Japan.

Located in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Shibuya has the terminal for the JR Yamanote Line, Saikyo Line, Tokyu Toyoko Line and Den'entoshi Line, Keio Inokashira Line, Subways Ginza Line and Hanzomon Line. It is a prominent downtown of Tokyo rivaling with the Ginza, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Asakusa.

In Shibuya, there are not only the numberless movie theaters with up-to-date facilities, but also the facilities to offer high-level culture, such as Shibuya-kokaido Hall frequented by people coming for concerts, Orchard Hall specializing in concerts, operas, and ballet performances, and Bunkamura consists of a theater, an art museum and movie theaters and Denryoku-kan(museum of electricity) where people can learn about electricity with enjoyments. This is one of the features of Shibuya as a lively downtown district with full of amusements and entertainments.

Shibuya is unique that every street and area has a different atmosphere. The Center Street is swarmed with youth fashion shops, fast food shops, game centers, etc., and it is famous as the place where a new trend for the youths are born and spread nationwide. It is always crowded with mostly teenagers day and night, and you can directly feel the today's fashion trend of the Japanese. The Koen-dori Street that extends to the Yoyogi Park is a shopping street with a row of department stores and fashionable buildings attracting families in particular. Recently, Shibuya Mark City, the biggest shopping complex in Shibuya that comprises a large-scale hotel, business floors, and fifty-five shops, and other high-rise building construction rush have started. It is now known as "Bit Valley" (named after Shibuya which literary means "Bitter valley" and the computer lingo "bit") where venture enterprises that support the IT industry are concentrated. Thus Shibuya is attracting eager eyes from all over the world not only for fashions and shopping but in the sector of the state-of-the-art industry as well.


Nihonbashi is a bridge over the Nihonbashi-gawa River at the north of Chuo-ku. This bridge was the origin point of the five major streets built and prospered in the Edo Period in the 17th century. It still bears the bronze signpost that bears the words "Origin of Roads in Japan", and it is the reference point for all roads in Japan. For that reason, Nihonbashi prospered as the town of merchants where kimono cloth mercers purveyer to Edo Castle and many merchant families were gathered. Even today, the Nihonbashi area which is adjacent to Ginza, and it is dotted with major department stores and stores with long standing whose history goes well back into the Edo Period.

Kabuki-za Theater

The Kabuki-za Theater where the Japanese traditional theatrical art kabuki is played is located to the west of the intersection at 4-chome toward Tsukiji. Recently, many of world famous brand boutiques have opened in Ginza which cast the town as an internationally noted area of top-fashion trend.


2nd Day

It is 2 minutes from Tokyo Station to Yurakucho Station by JR Yamanote Line, and 10 minutes walk from Tokyo Station to Nihonbashi.

Ginza is the downtown area most people associate with Japan. Nihonbashi streets have been lined with stores for generations.

The Ginza is one of the most famous downtowns of Japan located in Chuo-ku. Ginza means a silver mint, and its name derives from establishment of the silver coin mint in the 1600s. On the main street Chuo-dori Avenue that extend southwest from 1-chome(a block) to 8-chome, also known as Ginza-dori Avenue, there are large department stores such as Mitsukoshi, Matsuzakaya and Matsuya and many large-size store buildings dotted around 4-chome in particular, where the street meets the intersection of Harumi-dori Avenue. There is a clock tower cherished by people as the symbol of Ginza placed on the Wako Building built of stone. In the whole area of Ginza, there are more than 400 art galleries, innumberable restaurants and boutiques all competing each other of their styles, and every store boasts the tradition and the its culture unique to Ginza.


Night in Roppongi
Tokyo is known as a city that never sleeps, and there are many discos and bars for foreign visitors, particularly in Roppongi. On the 53rd floor of the huge "Roppongi Hills Mori Tower" is the Mori Art Museum, open till 10:00 p.m. except for Tuesday and on the 52nd floor is the observation deck, Tokyo City View open till 1:00 a.m. There is also a movie theater that stays open till late at night on weekends in Roppongi Hills, so you can relax and enjoy a movie after dinner.

Imperial Palace

Round-trip tour of the Imperial Palace by double-decker bus

Palace by double-decker bus
Enjoy a round-trip tour of the Imperial Palace, Ginza and Marunouchi on the double-decker open-top bus "Sky Bus Tokyo", which departs at 18:00 (45-minute trip). If you have extra time, why not enjoy the night view on the "Rainbow Bridge/Odaiba Trip" (2-hour round trip).

Akihabara electronics quarter


Go to Akihabara Station from the Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station (5 minutes).

Shopping for electrical products or animation goods in the Akihabara electronics quarter
Go to JR Tokyo Station, Marunouchi exit from JR Akihabara Station (3 minutes).

This town began specializing in electrical equipment in the latter half of the 1940s, when people's primary source of information was radio. In the beginning, many shops dealing in radio parts gathered under the elevated railroad of JR. Later, these shops began dealing with home electrical appliances, thus developing into the world's biggest electrical equipment town.

With many service centers and the showrooms of major manufacturers, as well as duty-free shops and various events, the town is attractive in the eyes of visitors. Among these events, the Denki-matsuri Festival, held in summer and winter, is the biggest, a great chance for good shopping that you should never miss. Take the time to fully explore the wonderland.

Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple


Go to JR Asakusabashi Station from JR Ryogoku Station, and change to the Toei Asakusa Line for Asakusa (10 minutes).

Walking tour of Sensoji Temple
It is believed that the Sensoji Temple was built in 628, making it the oldest temple in Tokyo. After passing through the Kaminarimon Gate, you will see many shops selling souvenirs. One can trying tempura or sukiyaki at one of the long-established restaurants nearby.

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Go to Ryogoku Station from Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Toei Oedo Line (12 minutes).

Tour of "Edo-Tokyo Museum" in Ryogoku
In this very spacious museum, you can explore the history and folklore of Tokyo from the Edo period till the present day.

Ryogoku Kokugikan, the venue for the famous Grand Sumo Tournament, is located here.

Of the 6 tournaments held each year, the January, May and September tournaments take place at the Kokugikan venue. A visit to the "Sumo Museum" on the 1st floor is highly recommended.

There are many sumo practice stables around Kokugikan, so there is a chance that you might see sumo wrestlers out and about. There are also many restaurants where you can try the sumo wrestler's staple meal called "chanko", which is a one-pot stew made with broth, meat, fish and vegetables. Sumo wrestlers consume many helpings of chanko in order to put on weight and build up strength.

Tsukiji Market


5-minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line or from Tsukiji Shijou Station on the Toei Oedo Line.

Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market represents the typical wholesale market of Japan, running 24 hours a day. The general consumer is not allowed to shop there, but you are welcome to visit. On the other hand, there are 300 shops in the Jou-gai, or Off-market, where anyone can not only buy but also dine on sashimi, sushi or tempura made with fresh ingredients on the spot. Most of the shops are open from early morning till around noon. Note that shops are closed on Sundays and national holidays.



A high-rise shopping and entertainment hub, with well over 500,000 travelers passing through it each day,according to JNTO.

Shinjuku Station at the Shinjuku renewal project area in Shinjuku-ku is a great terminal where JR Chuo Line, Yamanote Line, Sobu Line, Saikyo Line, Metropolitan subways Shinjuku Line and Oedo Line, private railways Odakyu Line, Keio Line and Seibu-Shinjuku Line concentrate, and over 500,000 people use this station everyday.

From Tokyo Station. Transfer to JR Chuo Line for 14 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku
Shinjuku is roughly divided into the West Exit area which is an office town with a row of high-rise building around the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building, the South Exit area which is a new comer to Shinjuku with complex establishments for shopping and amusement, and the prominent entertainment district around Kabuki-cho, a town that never sleeps. In the East Exit area, there is a row of department stores and other large size stores. All of these are integrated and linked together.
There is Shinjuku-gyoen Park, a nationally noted landscape style garden park created with the instructions by a French engineer in 1906, a ten-minute walk to the south from the East Exit. The European gardens consist of the French formal garden with rows of beautiful sycamore trees, rising trees, and English landscape garden with vast extending lawn, and Japanese traditional garden which iris pond and teahouse are placed, harmonize perfectly with each other. This garden park with the large area of 58.7 is embraced with greenery and serenity, completely secluded from the hustle and bustle of the Metropolitan Tokyo. It is renowned as the best sight for flowers and wild birds.

Friday, April 27, 2007


This piece of poem I discovered in my post box one morning used by some local real estate agent.

Not sure who is the author but I thought it aptly describes my feelings on making investments!


I hesitate to make a LIST
Of all the countless opportunities I've MISSED
Bonanzas that were in my GRIP
I watched them through my fingers SLIP

The windfalls that I should have BOUGHT
We lost because I OVERTHOUGHT
I thought of this, I thought of THAT
I could have swore I smelled a RAT
And while I thought things over TWICE
Another grabbed them at the PRICE

It seems I always HESITATE
And make my mind up much too LATE
A very cautious human am I
And that is why I never BUY

When others culled those sprawling FARMS
And welcomed contracts with open ARMS
I chose to think and while I THOUGHT
They bought the deals I could have BOUGHT

The golden chances I had THEN
Today I cannot be ENTICED
For everything's so OVERPRICED

At times a teardrop drowns my EYES
For opportunities I had but did not BUY
And now life's saddest words I PEN
"if only I'd invested THEN"

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Insurance is one thing my husband and I can argue for hours and never conclude who was right.

I liked some quotations I have read on are a few for you to enjoy!

"Insurance is like marriage. You pay, pay, pay, and you never get anything back."
Al Bundy American TV Character

"The chief beneficiary of life insurance policies for young, single people is the life insurance agent."
Wes Smith

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Magazine Editor

One of my friends passed this to me if any of you are interested, here are the details!

Company: The Asian Banker
Job Title: Editor / Senior Writer
Description: The Asian Banker is an established brand name in the financial services
industry in the Asia Pacific region. We are a Singapore-based organisation and cover the "business of banking" from Japan to Australia and are now pushing westward into Central Asia and the Middle East.

Although we cover the entire region, we are a lean organisation of about
40pp. All you need to know is on our website

We are looking for someone fairly senior who could grow into the role of
Editor of the magazine and its online edition and who would be at the pointn in their careers that they would be interested in the challenge and the opportunity of creating a reputation for themselves in this exciting

The person we are looking for is someone who:
- is in his or her early 30s, who would like to build a career and reputation in the financial services industry across an entire region over the next 10 years or so.
- is someone who would like the idea of growing within a dynamic organisation and is quietly ambitious.
- has a personality that others would find easy to relate to.
- has strong team building skills and can manage a team in a magazine
journalism setting.
- would have no problems being based in Singapore (and travel a lot -
sometimes work out of our offices in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing).
- comes with a strong related journalism (magazine or news is fine),
consulting, research or related background.
- likes to write about strategy, trends and people in business and can apply these themes to the business of banking.
- has the presence of trusted personality that can be turned into goodwill
for the business.
- loves traveling the region.

The person we are looking for does not need to come from banking (it is not at all as tough as it may sound), and the person can be from outside Asia but who wants to give this a go. Journalists or senior writers from countries like the US and Australia who want to build an Asian experience are strongly invited to apply.

If you might be interested or know someone who would be interested, do drop me a line with a detailed CV at and you could also drop a line to our Human Resource Manager, Ms Cecilia Chan at

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Cruise photos we took as a family!

Friday, April 20, 2007


I found this 7 minute clipping hilarious...

Please do leave a comment if you liked it....
I had a good laugh!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Art -Water Color Painting

Tanya's attempt at water colors without any guidance!

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Whole New World


We completed 6 months in Taipei....

My feelings can be best expressed in the lyrics of the song "A Whole New World"

And for those of you who still wonder what is there in Taiwan, watch the the post below!

I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I'm way up here
It's crystal clear
That now I'm in a whole new world with you
Now I'm in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don't you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath - it gets better
I'm like a shooting star
I've come so far
I can't go back to where I used to be

A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I'll chase them anywhere
There's time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world
That's where we'll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me

In her first appearance on a school musical Tanya has been chosen to sing " A Whole new World".... What a coincidence...

A Whole New World


Its indeed one of the most progressive cities of Asia.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


A day in Taroko Gorge!

Taroko Gorge

If you cannot make it watch this video to get an insight of the Taroko Gorge journey!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Canyon or Gorge-Taroko in Taiwan

The name Taroko means the "magnificent and splendid". Thats precisely what you feel when you are at Taroko.The naming has a story behind which says that a Truku aboriginal trible saw the beauty and cried "Taroko",astonished by the elegance of the scene.

Taroko Gorge and its surrounding are are well known for their abundant supply of marble leading to it nickname, "The marble Gorge"

The rocks seen began sedimenting years ago...The gorge itself was carved into the marble by the erosive power of River Liwu.

Thats for research and information....We drove around and stopped walked trails and spent the whole day admiring the marvels of nature finally to head home by 8...

It was a great trip...check out the photos above....the place is well worth a visit...if you are in Asia..

Canyon or Gorge

What is Canyon or Gorge...that was on my mind....are they different or same...?

ok well I checked that out before this post so that its clear to all..

A canyon or gorge is a deep valley often carved from the Earth by a river.

The word canyon is Spanish in origin and is generally used in Americas while Gorge is more common in Europe and Oceania.

The famous example of a Canyon is Grand Canyon in Arizona...

There are about 20 Canyons or Gorges around the world.
Taroko Gorge is one of them in Taiwan...

Canyon or Gorge

So we finally reached our hotel around 7 PM.

It was a warm hotel and the scenic beauty around will engulf you even if you are not nature lover....

We saw an Aboriginal Dance Show in the evening before dinner ....

So the next day after a sumptuous brekfast we headed to drive stopping every 5 minutes at scenic spots to capture the great marvels of nature!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ocean Park

Hualien Thats our destination for the day!

Hualien City is about 175 kms from Taipei! We left Taipei at 7:15 AM all excited as we head to the ocean park....

The drive was awesome with spectacular ocean views. We arrived at our destination Ocean Park by 11:30 AM....

Being a week day the crowds were very thin and we could even ride the cable car over 5 times with no queues at all...

The entire park gives an ocean view.

The dolphin show was noteworthy...The dolphins even played soccer with the audience...

Another of the highlights was some of the sign boards which left us laughing in splits...Check out one of them given above.

We took all the rides available we like to go on and some of them had only us riding on them so the feeling was quite exclusive...By 5:00 P.M we decided to head to the Taroko.....The drive to Taroko was an experience in itself...Amazing road built through caves mountains through and the the side of a beautful Gorge...