Jul 6, 2006

Where in Japan

Just thought to add some important links for all the terrified, petrified souls traveling to or are in Japan!

About Japan:

Train route search, fare, travel time:

Phone Cards:

Japanese Language online basic course:


Indian Restaurants:

Tourist Organization:

For Parents:




Crystal Village
1-2-10 Arai, Nakano-ku (3388 7625/fax 3388 7627/crystal.iijima@nifty.ne.jp). Nakano station. Credit AmEx, MC, V.

3-31-5 Chuo, Nakano-ku (3382 0151/fax 3382 0018/fontana@gol.com). Shin-Nakano station. No credit cards.

Tokyo Hoyo Daini Bldg, 4-19-7 Kita-Shinjuku, Shinjuku (3362 0658/fax 3362 9438/hoyo-tokyo@md.neweb. ne.jp). Higashi-Nakano station. No credit cards.

Sakura House K-1 Bldg 8F, 7-2-6 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (5330 5250/fax 5330 5251/info@sakura-house.com/ www.sakura-house.com). Shinjuku station. No credit cards.

Tokyu Stay 8-14, Shinsen-cho, Shibuya-ku (3477 1091/fax 3477 1092/www.tokyustay.co.jp/english/shibuya/). Shibuya station. Credit AmEx, JCB, MC, V.

J & F (Japanese & Foreigner) Apartments http://jafnet.co.jp/plaza/monthly/monthly/monthlye.html

U & I House http://home.att.ne.jp/sun/U-I_house/

LeoPalace21 http://www.leopalace21.com/asia/english/index.html

Morris International? http://www.cdnetguide.ca/international/Japan.htm

For everything else, there is google!

Jun 27, 2006

Software to Rags to Riches

Am in Aquarian & Piscean cusp and a dreamer! (Nice statement to start with)
Am not sure but as per Linda Goodman, Pisceans like to dream - from 'heading the nations' to 'roaming in Beemers' to 'Saving chics (read abala naris) from villans' - they really like to dream. Though I don't dream to that extent but at least Linda put it that way - Pisces are dreamers and have a lovely [:-)] imagination!

Piscean (P): Bass! Project is NOT possible in 6 person-months.
Boss (B): I know P, you can do it. I'll help you but we've to complete this in 6 months. I'm with you.
Boss to Unit Head: Bass! P thinks project is doable within 6 months and is an exciting opportunity for him and his team.
UH: Good... Good...

6 months later...Project need another 4 person-months
P: Bass! I told you it's not possible.
B to UH: Bass! P was not able to keep the deadlines. He should be fired.
UH: Good... Good...

P is fired. He's not able to find any job (no demand for Project Leaders) and is forced to take on to cab-driving. One day, after the gruelling night shift, P sees a Merc alongside the road with driver busy replacing a flat tire.

P: Need help?
Driver (D): Memsaab ko office ke liye late ho raha hai.
P: Ma'am! Want me to take you to the office?
Ma'am (M): Thinks (P angrezi bol raha hai). OK
As it turns out, M is a CxO in a self startup
P: Ma'am! What are you reading?
M: Not able to solve this piece of code.
P: Ma'am! Can I've a look?
M: Thinks (Cabbie kya dekhega? Anyways de deti hoon)
P handsover 5 pages of code...
P: Ma'am! Is this a Web Service in a Service Oriented Architecture interface? Line # 45 has bug - Ismein to inner for loop break nahin kiya?

Ma'am checks out, impressed...
M: Would you like to work for me?
P: I would love to. Partners?
M: Done. Join from tomorrow.
P: am grateful Ma'am.

After 6 months...
M: P! You'll look after these 3 verticals - Retail, Aeronautics, Automobile!
P: Gladly... Thank you ma'am... You recognized my potential.
M: Don't call me Ma'am, call me Sheila!

Roomie(R): Abey uth ja!
P: Was I dreaming?
R: Did you manage to estimate the effort for the portal for auctioning refurbished hankies and socks?
P: Oh S***... Bass is going to fire me today!


PS: I do realize that my thoughts are not making heads and tails! But that's what Pisceans do at 3'o clock in the morning!

Jun 26, 2006

Cherry Blossoms

Ney has always been a bundle of energy, and today it radiated on his face. It was a beautiful Saturday morning in April, the best possible time of the year in Tokyo. The day in the calendar read 'Meet Kito' and was marked in pink.

If one likes flowers and dreams, he's to be in Japan in April. The month marks cherry blooms across the country providing an eyefull of sight. The white, the pink, the not-so-pink; in the parks, adjoining railway tracks, along with canals, on the mountains - every kind of cherry flowers and everyplace.

Ney looked at the watch which was sheepishly striking five past 9 in the morning. He still has 2 hours for the moment he's been waiting for a fortnight. He picked up his crutches and started a long walk towards the train station. There was somekind of pattern in his walk - his steps wobbled as if he was trying to balance something heavy - a mark on deformity. Life has been challenging ever since he left the playground in his nursery class - left for being ridiculed and physically handicapped. Ney catpulted this setback to success and was about receive his Doctorate in Algorithms and Design.

Kito was a cheerful and smiling face, that was not so easy to forget in the theatre. To add the charms of the mole, she was known in the university for her Financial Mathematics' genius. She'd this uncanny ability to solve mathematical problems which left everyone with a gasp - Students and professors alike.
Though Ney and Kito both were famous in the university and the city, they never got a chance to meet each other. Except for the degrees they held, neither of them knew anything about the other.

Ney boarded the train which will take him to the destination, another 1 hour away and he let his thoughts wander. With a clean Sudoku puzzle in hand, he was trying to find trying to device an algorithm to solve the Sudoku in least number of passes. Something struck him when he looked at the lady in the adjoining seat.
She'd some aura of logic and intelligence. He held his sight, which was now directly colliding with hers. Attracted by his presence, she came to the seat besides him and asked "Can I've a look at the sheet?" He handed over the sheet to her and mentioned "OlogN passes but I'm confused about the constant". In no time both were busy with algorithm and Sudoku as if they're working on it for quite some time.

The journey came to end. It was time to go. Both disembarked off the train - He holding her hand and she held on to the puzzle - her hair shining bright in the April sun. Her mole increasing her beauty manifolds.

Jun 23, 2006

Pricey Possessions

Japan has a nice chunk of population using cycles for daily activities. Infact, near every train station, there are large bicycle stands, capable enough of stocking 3000-5000 bicycles. There are daily, weekly and monthly passes available for these stands. This infrastructure allows more and more people to use public transport. It has the second largest number of Passenger Km/year - 391billion (first is India - 404 Billion). fyi area of Japan, including nearly 3000 islands, is one-ninth that of India.

Talking of bicycle reminds me of our pricey possession. We'd a bicycle - Avon 22" Black color - which was a marvel at it's time. It was the part of our family and tradition. When in Chandigarh, it used to rest under the guava tree. It was taken to everyplace - from canteens to markets to schools to playgrounds! It was also the mode of journey to office for my dad. The Saturday evenings were meant for scheduled cleaning and oiling. On Sunday mornings, it was taken to the grounds to watch us play cricket (Sector 19 vs Sector 20), though all the players were from the family - young, not-so-old, thin, fat, males, females. After match it used to be time for lunch. Evenings were meant for temples or gurudwara or market. Those were fun filled days.

Then dad was transferred to Delhi and as with us, our 'Avon' got a room for it's own. But as it happens with everyone in such a big city - Avon has grown lonely and time took its toll! Life was moving too fast for her and we're not able to do the justice with Avon. Then came the 'ankhon ka tara' Santro (Flora). Ever since Flora took the place - part of the family - the Avon was completely neglected. Then came a time when Avon refused to move, forget about running. And came the tearless end to Avon - it was given off to someone - Someone whose eyes shone as he watched at it gleefully. Who rode it as if Avon is the most precious belonging he has. And now Avon is the part of his family!
Am glad for her!

PS: btw Australia reached last 16. Can we hire Guss Hiddink for our cricket team?

Jun 14, 2006

Samurani Blue - Japan at Worldcup

As am in Tokyo these days and actively glued to TV set watching a sphere being kicked here and there in beautiful lush green striped marvels of german engineering. Yes the 18th edition of FIFA world cup has started. Brazil won the record 8th game in the world cup. Japan and Korea, being the hosts of 2002 FIFA world cup, automatically qualified for the finals. Game between Australia and Japan was on the watch list for two reasons:

1. Can Guss Hiddink do to Australia what he did to Korea

2. How the Japanese can beat Australian defenders

By the end of game, both the questions were answered.

btw here are some interesting facts:

a. India though never qualified for the world cup, was asked to join the 1950 world cup. But Indians couldn't attend it coz the rule was to play with shoes on while Indians were used to barefoot play.

b. The Berlin stadium (where the Brazil played their first game this time) is the one where 1936 Olympics took place (Hitler was the one to flag off those games).

c. The world cup balls are Made in Pakistan.

d. The winner will pocket the cool $21.5 million.

Yosoko Japan

Japan - The Land of Rising Sun!

Sitting besides the window in The Maharaja, I was thinking of encounters I'm going to make for the next 6 weeks, which ultimately were extended to 8 months (more on that later). Though I've been to Osaka during transit, but the the real world is beyond the airport walls (or glass for Osaka). So there I was going to Tokyo and was excited to be in the land of Samurai and Gizmos. I was about to be in the place where everything will be miracle and sci-fi. After all who won't be awed by the the Tokyo footages shown on the TV (which always is one of the three locations in Tokyo - Shibuya or Shinjuku or Ginza).

But the Dreams were shattered immediately after keeping the foot on NARITA INTERNATIONAL. Though everywhere there are signboards in English, but I bet you'll agree with me that whichever be the place, you need to ask the people for directions if you're visiting it for the first time. And this is a place where still most of the educated people don't know the Royal language. But in the begining itself I would like to give more than full marks to the Japanese society - These guys try to help you out - genuine help. At the Airport Limo counter, all you've to do is present the address and they'll let you know the nearest hotel where the Limo will drop you off! I took a cab from the hotel to my apartment where the next shock was awaiting me.

As I entered the apartment, I remembered Arshad Warsi from Munnabhai MBBS - "Bhai yeh room to shuru hote hi khatam ho gaya'. Due to space crunch, the mansions and apartments in Tokyo are very very small (I could touch the opposite walls of a room while straightening up). So my dear friend, if you've been to USA's of the world, do curb your expectations.
If you're not blessed enough and are going without any known soul in that place, you can rely on McD, Pizza Hut, 7-11, Laswson for food till you start hating every item on the menu starting with P and B.

Slowly and steadily you start to appreciate the amount of thinking gone behind any task. Traveling in Tokyo is not a thing to crib! Beautiful mesh of trains cover the entire city with a station within 1km or radius at any point. You can top up your mobile and use it at any station and some of the vending machines. Inside the train, a screen above every door shows the next station, the connecting trains and the door which will open - mihi (right) or hidari (left). One will also notice the escalators and width of stairs is dependent on the number of people passing through it! Another observation was that the airconditioners are nearby gates because that is the place where most of the people stand. For each platform, a different sound is used to notify the arrival and closure of gates of the train.

Tokyo has various options for food-lovers (if you are OK with non-veg). Ranging from Sushi and Soba to Italian and Indian - everything is available. Though you gotta try Japanese Pizza(Okonomiyaki) and should go for Yakitori. There are various places around Shibuya and Shinjuku. If tired or sad, you can dish out your frustrations at Roppongi. The area is frequented by foreigners (everyone speaks english here) and houses various clubs and bars.

April is the month of Cherry blossoms and Sumos. Japanese enjoy the cherry blooms and organize drinking parties under the cherry trees. Again due to the space issues, it might be the case that you're having a can of beer, under the cherry tree, in a large cemetry! But in and all a pleasant experience. Sumo is the Japanese form of wrestling. Sumo has its roots in the shinto religion. The matches were dedicated to the gods in prayers for a good harvest. The wrestling match is all about pushing or throwing the opponent out of the doyo - the ring - or to bring the other guy down on the floor. There are 6 grand Sumo tournaments each year. The highest ranking is 'Yokozuna'.


Am I lucky?

Was asked to NEVER EVER GIVE UP!

Jun 13, 2006