Tuesday, August 30, 2005

30th -31st August

Back at home and extremely exhausted. Still have to prepare for a class later today...shucks.

29th August- Head to Kyoto

If there is a city to check out in Japan, it has to be Kyoto. Kyoto evokes a different feeling as compared to the other populated cities like Tokyo or Nagoya. It's quieter here and there are much more traditional japanese (ryokans) houses around. Shrines and temples are in abundance....Pretty interesting day visting all the temples and shrines. Even took pictures with Geishas look-alikes. Anyway, I shan't go too much in detail about the names of the temples or shrines. Too much hassle. The photos spell it all out.

28th August at the World Expo (Nagoya)!

This event spells CROWDS! There were massive groups of people everywhere. Despite all the long queues and the scorching heat from the sun, I enjoyed myself tremendously with my two travelling companions, Jeff and Chang. This year, Singapore did an excellent job trying to promote itself to be a place where work, play and culture all integrate as one. We shared common area with other southeast asian countries which include indonesia, thailand, malaysia...but we clocked the highest queuing time, a total of 40 mins of waiting time in order to see Singapore's exhibits. Oh yeah, we offered our local delicacies in our exhibit too. One can sample foods like hokkien mee, curry puff, chicken rice....pretty well done!

Other exhibits were interesting too. For instance, robot exhibits, the NGO exhibits where people lay down on tatami mats and faced a hypnotizing screen of colours. Jeff laid there for an hour zzzz....while Chang and myself continued our little journey in the NGO area.

27th August

Early morning at 5am, I met up with the gals at the ANA hotel and we made our way to the tsukiji market. God, was I amazed with the sheer size of this place and the variety of fishes this market had to offer. "Auctioneers" were chanting prices while eager fish buyers were signalling with their hands, a language only both parties know. Onlookers like myself was mystified at how such a supposed chaotic place was managed by professional fishmongers and all transactions were carried out in very orderly fashion. Quite unlike the wet makets in singapore. After spending 1-2 hours gawking at wet market, we treated ourselves to some sashimi don. RAW FISH for breakfast in the morning. Well, my stomach took it quite well surprisingly.

I got back to my hotel, packed up and met up with Christoph. We went to the Tokyo Bay (the one with the rainbow bridge) and had a good time with the nice scenery backdrop and good lunch. =)

A pretty sad day as I baded goodbye to all my friends today....sighs

Met up with my two travelling companions in the evening and we made our way to NAGOYA! the land of the Expo!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Entries will be back on wednesday

I`m currently in Kyoto and will be back home on wednesday. Things have been good and had tons of fun at the world exposition at Nagoya. Will update the entries when I get back home. So much photos and work to sort out.

so stay tuned...

Friday, August 26, 2005

26th August

In the morning, we headed to the Akusaka Temple (Senjoji Temple). Authentic japanese bazaars were sprouted everywhere. At the temple, I drew a "lot" and it was the best lot. It stated that "bad old things will turn into happiness. New hope appearing, you will get treaures. You can find hope on the cloud in the sky. Just like dead trees bloom flowers when spring comes, everything will be prosperous. " Very cool.....

In the evening, I passed by a flower shop and decided to get flowers for the gals that I knew well from my workshop. Bought them orangey pink flowers. We went to Shibuya for dinner. Tasted Nato (some rotten bean thingie...totally stunk!). Took some neo prints pics and played Pachinko. Of course, I lost. I did not know how to control the handle....lost 1000 won just like that....shucks. Miwa gave us gifts before we left....I'll miss them. AWWWwwww....

25th August!

25th August:
The day began with much drizzle as we made our way to University of Tokyo. As usual, our day was packed with seminars, an exciting one being in the Toyko University Auditorium. My group gave our presentation today, most of which was pretty last minute. But I would say, it was good as it was structured and comprehensive. Haha...OUt of 12 teams, we shared the top spots with another team. But after voting, we fell to second place.

My evening ended off with the gala dinner. I said my goodbyes and took much photos with the many friends I made. Some photos are attached above!

After gala dinner, I went to this club called Vanilla opposite my hotel. It was crazy and quite good seeing so many HPAIR people gathered at one place. Went back at 4 am.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Happiness in HPAIR Presentation!

My topic for my presentation today was Happiness in University Education. Surprisingly, I was not nervous. Probably it was due to my fatigue (had only 3 hours of sleep in preparation for it) and some encouraging words from friends and close ones. Anyway, I did well (From the picture on the left, Jeff was helping me set up!) Although I had a barrage of questions after that, I could answer them relatively well. Phew! I even had one person commenting that I was excellent in my statistics skills Heh.=p Thumbs up! I am just gonna rest well tonight. Wahaha...going to University of Tokyo (No. 1 University in Asia) tomorrow.

Oh yeah...had a group discussion tonight as well. My stomach was growling but fortunately, we managed to come up with a plan. Another presentation tomorrow...this one will not be that stressful.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Eve of my presentation day

I went for the morning and mid afternoon seminars and that was about it. Nothing much to rant about, but thought that the ex taiwanese education minister was fervent in revamping the higher education in Taiwan, which is good. But it will be a difficult task to attract foreign students unless Taiwan universities become top notch to be comparable to the US elites and English must be the main language used in all courses. Pardon me for saying this, but it's gonna be hard. If foreign students dig into the chinese culture and want to learn mandarin, they would have chosen to study in China instead. And if universities are top notch and want to remain somewhere in Asia, I think Singapore would be a better choice as at least our main language is English.

Anyway, I finally went for the International Night and it was a drag walking from my hotel to the venue in the kerbaya. The presence of the rain made it all worse. International night this year was worse than last year, mainly because the venue was too small and there were too many people squeezing in that tight constrained space. Some random photos are shown above.

Better get prepared for my presentation tomorrow. Hope it will all be fine .

Some more snippets of Japan

Monday, August 22, 2005

My paper is published today!!!!

Waking up this morning was difficult. I skipped the opening ceremony knowing that it may be a waste of time. I went for the 1st seminar session and placed on each chair were the different groups with facilitator names on them. So, in my group, Graham (guy with white shirt) and myself were responsible to be the facilitators and basically ensure that group cohesiveness was enhanced and that presentations on the last day were done.

After the 1st session, we were divided into groups and again, introductions were made. We had bento set lunches and during our munching time, we started discussing what we could present on Thursday. Everybody was quite cordial and shy. But well, after the discussion, I left. Too tired. Hah....I returned to my hotel to take a short nap.

After the third session, I sauntered into the room.Everyone again was divided into groups. Luckily I went back as it would be so irresponsible and embarassing as a facilitator not to be present. And there I saw Graham alone with the group. Hehe..Our group discussed dinner and karaoke plans.

Dinner was fantastic. Typical Japanese meal with a dosage of sake. Actually, I am craving a bit of burgers and singaporean food. But well, I can still live without them. Ermm...Karaoke was all right! Miwa ( a japanese gal in my group, gal in white shirt) sang local songs and the rest of us crooned our favourite english songs! It's all good!

By the way, it's a good day today. MY PAPER that I awaited for ONE YEAR has been published today!!! Wahah...It's actually nothing but it feels like I have won a mini nobel prize. Makes me more motivated to do well in my presentation as well as my research career.
Website to see: http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/iree/i4/chan.htm

It will be a more interesting day tomorrow as there will be international night. Everyone will be dressed in their national costumes and some of them will actually perform. Not me of course. But I borrowed a kerbaya from Cheryl. Hopefully I know how to wear it properly tomorrow night. It would so weird walking from my hotel to the venue of international night in my kerbaya. But nobody in Japan gives a damn. So, looking forward to it.

The Night part of 21st Aug

Met up with some group members in the conference, introduced ourselves and we went for a dinner after that. We were lost in the maze of tokyo streets and spent one hour walking before reaching back to my hotel.....exhausted...

One thing to add, everyone is multilingual nowadays.....

Boutiques and Architecture in Ebisu and Harajuku