Saturday, August 09, 2014

Shinjuku Tokyo [03/08 - 09/08]

20th July 2014 (Sunday)
I departed from Singapore in the morning of 20th July. It will be a long journey for me with 2 transits, one in Tokyo and another in Chicago. I used to spend my time at the KrisFlyer Gold Class lounge. But on this day, I have the opportunity to use the Business and First Class lounge. This is how it looks like below.

I am taking ANA business class flight out of Singapore towards Tokyo. The meals they serve are also quite exquisite. Here are the different dishes. First are the appetizer.

Next are the starters.

Here are the main course.

And finally the dessert.

3rd August (Sunday)
I arrived in Tokyo Narita Airport at  2pm. From there, I purchase the Airport Limousine bus to Hilton Tokyo hotel. Each time the buses arrive, the baggage assistants will bow towards it. (as seen below)

I arrived at Hilton Tokyo hotel. It has a good mix of Western and Japanese elements in the design of the hotel room.

4th - 8th August 2014

Every morning, I will go to this 24-hour dining place at Shinjuku East.

The meal serving style is similar to what you will find in company canteens. The typical breakfast size is seen below.

In Japan, sushi is a must try. So one of the evening, I went for conveyor belt sushi. 

It has quite a very good selection of sushi choices from the menu. Not all can be found on the conveyor belt, we will have to lift the menu and shout the dish we want to the chef.

My workplace is close to Square Enix office. There is a Final Fantasy cafe theme place just next to the building. I visited it one afternoon to take a look. Below is the crystal room.

5th August 2014 (Tuesday)
I did a search through the Japanese websites and found there is a fireworks festival at Arakawasunamachi on Tuesday. It is the only fireworks festival in Tokyo during my stay here. So I decided to go for it.

There is an estimated 300,000 people attending this festival.

The fireworks were amazing!

Below is a short 2-mins clip of the fireworks.

I left the venue 10mins before the end of the festival. I have a teleconference at night, so I better get going soon.

There are lots of people along the 15mins pathway from Minamisunamachi station to Arakawasunmachi.

6th August 2014 (Wednesday)
On this day, I decided to visit a very local yakitori restaurant where the entire menu is in Japanese.

 I ordered many dishes and really enjoy it. Coming up to 2,800 JPY in all.

7th August 2014 (Thursday)
I had late lunch due to meeting. Just beneath my office is a high-tech sushi place. We will place our order via tablet and the sushi will come to us via shinkansen.

In the evening, we head down to a small and cosy family restaurant for dinner.

8th August 2014 (Friday)
On Friday morning, I decided to have a change on breakfast style from Japanese to western style. There is this coffee chain that is very popular in Japan - Tully's coffee. It feels like Starbucks, except it's a local Japanese brand.

In the evening, I need to get some gifts for my friends and colleagues. So I drop by Ueno park for shopping. There is a shop there that sells lots of snacks.

And a shopping street.

My final destination for this trip is the Tokyo National Museum (seen below). The museum opens late on Friday evenings when there is special exhibitions. I check online and it seems to be open 70% of the time in the year.

It has a vast collections of Buddhist artifacts.

This is scene depicting Manjushri Bodhisattva crossing the sea from China towards Japan. It symbolizes the arrival of Buddhism from mainland Asia towards Japan.

There are also plenty of Japanese paintings.

Another building house the Asia collections.

The building seems to be much newer.

There is a temple museum in the compound too.

I left the museum and proceed for dinner. As it is my final night here in Tokyo, I decided to go for something good - Watami at Shinjuku.

9th August 2014 (Saturday)
There are 2 important food that can be widely found in Japanese convenience stores. They are onigiri (rice balls) - see below. 

And also Japanese green tea (seen below)

I call these 2 to be something of a staple diet. Your day will never be complete without a cup or bottle of green tea in Japan. And when you are on the move travelling from one place to another, the onigiri will be your best friend. It comes in so many different choices now that it is as good as having a full 'don' meal.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Milwaukee [27/07 - 02/08]

27th July (Sunday)

I arrived to Milwaukee Amtrak station after a 1hr 45mins ride from Chicago. It actually arrived ahead of schedule by 5mins. From the train station, it is a 5mins walk to Doubletree hotel where I will be staying for the next one week.

Milwaukee downtown is actually quite a hilly place. But the streets are wide and is great for walking. Below is the view of the Doubletree hotel after a 5mins walk.

I check in to my room and here is how it looks like below. They actually gave me a great cookie on arrival.

After putting my things down, I'm out of the hotel in 5mins. In one of my MBA class, we did a case study on Benihana. Since there, I have quite a bit of fascination with Benihana. I read that there is a Benihana restaurant just a 10mins walk from Doubletree. So I walked there just in time to join in a table for dinner.

We have the chef below performing to the guests.

28th July (Monday)
Milwaukee is home to the international headquarters of several fortune 500 companies, they are Johnson Controls, Rockwell Automation, Harley-Davidson and so on. Today I had the opportunity to visit Harley-Davidson. It looks very impressive with the gigantic American flag.

There is a wide range of Harley motorcycles park in front of the buildings.

31st July (Thursday)
There is the Bike Night event at the Harley-Davidson museum every Thursday these few month. At the same time, the museum is also opened till late evening thanks to the Bike Night. I have the opportunity to visit the museum and understanding on the history of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

They have a vast collection of motorcycles with many kept in storage.

This is one of the newest release. It is called Live Wire - Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle.

There are several bikes where visitors can have a feel on how sitting on a Harley feels like. Below is me and a Harley.

It is 6.30pm and the Bike Night has started in full swing.

There are possibly more than 400 motorcycles in the whole event.

I also managed to hop on a live Harley and hear the engine roar!! (thanks to much guidance)

1st August (Friday)
Coincidentally during my stay in Milwaukee, there is a one week annual Wisconsin state fair going on. I decided to visit it. The entrance ticket cost US$10. There are lots of animals around and there is a milking demonstration and explanation when I arrived. I decided to join in and observe.

In this fair, there are also many competitions going on.

And not forgetting the shops, beer and food.

Wisconsin is famous for cheese. So I grabbed 2 sets of bread (US$5) from this stall.