Morning Fire Scare

This morning, while getting ready for work, I got a little scare from this alarm sound coming from the security intercom. It was later followed by the sound of sirens outside the building. Been living here almost ten years already, and this was the first time. Not exactly what you want to hear and see…

Is my doctor ripping me off?

Is my Japanese doctor ripping me, and my insurance off? This is a question I started asking myself after a few months with this doctor. It started when the results of my yearly medical exams arrived, and they found an excessive level of CA19-9, a tumor marker. Imagine the shock not only from myself, but maybe…

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach [Review]

On a recent trip to Hawaii, we opted for the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach Hotel, largely for its very “centric” location, and for the good price we got from Expedia. Here is the review I posted to TripAdvisor, and I’m sharing an updated copy here to help future readers make better informed travel decisions. Very…

Missing My Forehand Drive

It started in mid-November when I first noticed some pain in my right hand wrist whenever I hit a tennis forehand drive. I didn’t pay much attention to it, as I thought I just needed rest, and the pain would go away after a couple of weeks. A couple of months later, the pain is…

Search for the creamy bokeh

My wife recently got the iPhone 7 Plus and one feature it had that my non-Plus iPhone didn’t have was the portrait camera mode, made possible by those dual lens at the back. Using this, the iPhone 7 Plus could take portrait shots that digitally blur the background, i.e. bokeh, making it look like it…

Close Encounter of the C Kind

The results of my recent medical exams were out, and aside from the now usual “bad” cholesterol numbers, one particular number caught my attention, CA 19-9, an item under a section called “Tumor Markers.” Oh! The clinic marked it as “D1”, which essentially means I was in deep sh1t, and treatment was required. The doctor…

Stranded in Paradise

A couple of Mondays ago, we were stranded in Paradise. We spent the weekend over at beautiful Izu, and were on our way back to Tokyo. Our Tokyo-bound train was supposed to leave Izukyu-Shimoda at 3PM, but a typhoon had just made landfall, and the trains had been cancelled. We tried renting a car hoping…

Breath of Fresh Air

The other day, I spent a good couple of hours removing our old living room ceiling fan, and replacing it with this new one. This is the WF060 ceiling fan from a Japanese company called Odelic. After installing it and turning it on for the first time, we realized immediately it is a million times…

Sumida Fireworks 2016

You know it’s summer in Japan when there are fireworks almost every weekend. Last week it was the Adachi Fireworks, and this week, it’s the Sumida Fireworks. The good thing about Sumida is the fireworks are very close to the Tokyo Sky Tree. Here are some pics.

Tokyo’s Bicycle

I first heard about Tokyobike from a Japanese TV show where a group of British tourists were talking about Tokyobike and how popular it is in London. My first thought was how ironic that Tokyoites were buying London Brompton Bikes, while Londoners were buying Tokyobikes. I’ve been staying here in Tokyo for about ten years now,…

Birthplace of Tennis in Japan

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to play tennis at Yamate Park in Yokohama. The Meetup organizer named the event “Playing tennis at the first place of tennis in Japan,” so it was more than enough to attract my attention, and make me take that 1.5 hour train ride from where I live, just…

Earning Zero Mileage Points

Last month, my wife and I took a short trip to Europe flying Qatar Airways. Being a long flight halfway around the world, I was a little curious as to how many mileage points I would get. I later checked my JAL Mileage Bank report (JAL and Qatar Airways are both members of OneWorld), and was a bit…