Japan: The Home Stretch

Things often don’t turn out as planned, and this includes our stay in Japan. At the end of April we’ll be moving back to Singapore.

The month of April will be a busy one filled with traveling and being a tourist. This weekend my parents and sister are coming to Tokyo for a visit. We’ll be exploring all of Tokyo and also heading to Kyoto for a couple nights. It looks like they’ll arrive just as the cherries are blossoming in Tokyo. Here’s a couple pictures taken yesterday:

Sakura in Ichigaya

Sakura in Ichigaya

The last weekend in March was also quite busy. On Saturday we checked out the 36th annual Tokyo Motorcycle Show, and happened to visit Roppongi at night where Roppongi Art Night was happening. It was a busy day. On Sunday we joined some friends from my office and their friends for hanami at a park in Asagaya. It was our first hanami, a very pleasant afternoon. Pictures are here, here, and here.

Heading Home for a Visit

Looking forward to a week in Singapore.

My home-in-law, that is. We’ll be arriving in Singapore a few minutes before midnight tonight.

Tomorrow is a friend’s wedding and we’ll be staying the rest of the week. I’m particularly looking forward to all the food that will get eaten! Often we reminisce about those delicious dishes we left behind.

I’ll also have a good opportunity to catch up with my fellow Kusu developers. Hopefully I’ll be able to wrap up some unfinished work while there.

I was looking forward to skipping a week of Tokyo’s rainy season, but the gorgeous 27 degree sunshine today and the rainy week forecast for Singapore indicates the exact opposite of that. Rats.

Bye Singapura

Some thoughts with hours remaining before leaving Singapore for the next chapter.

My time living in Singapore has come to an end. I am flying off to Tokyo in less than six hours.

There are a few blog posts I started but never finished about my time in Singapore. I thought I’d throw them up here.

Censorship in Singapore

When I first moved here I tried to keep up on Canadian news by reading canoe.ca. From here the site loaded pretty slow each time, and sometimes wouldn’t come up at all. I did some research into censorship and discovered somewhere that Singapore ranks second behind China in internet censorship.

This is also evident in the movies shown on TV. Harold & Kumar was about 30 minutes long on HBO! OK, I exaggerate a little… but all the good parts were definitely cut out. Watching a few minutes of some Jaws clone, I managed to not see people getting eaten. Only swimming in the water one second, then blood floating around the next.

A Singaporean film maker Royston Tan expresses this very well in his short film “Cut”:

The Right Side

Since Singapore is a ex-British colony, cars travel on the left side of the road. I have reason to believe that the citizens here don’t like that too much.

When I walk around the city I try to stick to that rule, but people insist on passing me on their right side. It’s pretty strange.

An Incomplete List

A collection of random tidbits I hoped to compile over a long time… but I only managed to collect a few:

  • for reasons unknown to me, everyone always parks their vehicle by backing into stalls
  • the white lines dividing lanes on the road mean nothing; drivers veer left and right all the time
  • people always use their full name as it appears in their passport: Leonard, not Len or Lenny; Vincent, not Vince or Vinnie; Benjamin instead of Ben
  • there are TLAs for everything and everyone knows them: ICA, CTE, MOE, PAP, etc, etc…
  • everyone sits in the aisle seat on the bus or in the cafeteria, but why?
  • much English is a direct translation from Chinese; British English origins add to the confusion:
    • keep: put away “Can you keep your toys before you go to bed?”
    • just now: anytime (two minutes ago, last month, the 90s) “Holy shit, did you see that? That motorcyclist almost got creamed by that cab driver just now!”; “I went to the Maldives just now… I think it was for Christmas three years ago.”
    • there are many more…

Good Times

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about Singapore. These are merely things I noticed as a foreigner living here.

It’s been a great experience! I’ve met great people, learned lots about myself and the industry I want to work in. I’ll miss the food, the year-round-summer, and the conveniences of not having to own a vehicle 🙂 But it’s the people that make one’s stay in a place memorable, and I’ll definitely look back on my time here with a smile.

It’ll be fun to visit here again 🙂 Bye, Singapura!


I Be from Jamaica, Mon… Right Near da Beach

Thurgood Jenkins: I be from Jamaica, mon. Lord have mercy.
Samson Simpson: What part of Jamaica?
Thurgood Jenkins: Right near da beach. Boy-eeee!

But my post has nothing to do with Half-Baked.

Took a while to post… my excuse? I upgraded the blog software and didn’t get things fully working… yeah, that’s it 😉

The programming contest went well. We didn’t win. We didn’t even get close, really. It won’t be totally wrong to compare us to the Jamaican bobsled team; we came to give it a shot.

Still, it was pretty fun. If another contest comes up with more familiar technologies, I’d be keen to have another go.

On another note, in January I wrote about a guy who killed his wife and unborn baby and got a 3 year sentence. Today I learned his sentence has been extended to 5 years. No, I’m not fascinated with that case or anything, just came across the headline and remembered writing about it in the past 😉