Friday, January 29, 2016

Best Hotels In The World 2016

I know I am like a Google Queen as I surf the internet almost every week.
My hands are very itchy to seek all the cheapest flights on budget airlines
besides all the lowest hotel prices. Today I had lunch with my Japanese
clients who treated me to dine at Isetan's Menya Musashi. They were
shocked to hear that I just returned from Tokyo a month ago and would 
head to Osaka next month. They were speechless to hear how cheap
I could get for the flights and good hotels.

We have to be smart sometimes to read the minds of Tony Fernandes
and hoteliers who have to throw prices randomly to prevent loses.
Anyways, I received email from TripAdvisor today about their announcements
on the WORLD's BEST HOTELS 2016 rankings. I thought that I should share
them here just for knowledge even though I would never stay at these swanky
hotels. The only 2 countries that would always offer cheap 5 Star hotels are
China and Indonesia. I have done that many times and fully convinced.

The photos below and rankings were contributed by seasoned
travelers and holiday makers who know what to expect.
I am still learning from them all.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Birthday 2016 - A Quiet Affair

Every year, all my life, I have been blessed with birthday gatherings with family and friends that could last 3 nights and 2 weekends. It is not that I am so popular or famous but just that I have been doing that as an excuse to catch up with close buddies. We all needs friends to be happy and supportive with each other through thick and thin, till our old age (If I do reach that age)

This year was the first time, I had no celebrations actually as the mourning period of my late mum has not reached one year. I strictly observe the importance of mourning our parents. That would be that for whole year, one should never attend big auspicious gatherings like weddings, birthdays, house warmings and even baby's full moon parties. This is in adhere with the known facts of the Law of Universe and not mere taoism beliefs. Many folks misunderstood this matter.

I have personally witnessed a closed relative whose family are staunch Christians. They do not have beliefs in choosing dates and my cousin married just on a random date to suit their convenience. It was held in a Grand Ballroom of a 5 Star hotel in Kuala Lumpur. So many VVIPs attended as my uncle was a well connected man. Right after the wedding dinner, he was taken ill and was rushed to the hospital where he died soon after. The whole family was in a grief, shock and disbelief to come to terms with the sudden loss after the happy occasion. Instead of accepting the fate that my late uncle was already nearing 80s and probably time to leave the earth. The other members of the family chose to point fingers at the bride for bringing bad luck and disaster to family by marrying my cousin. The poor bride has lived with this nonsense accusations for so many years.

VERDICT: I checked the Chinese calendar after the uncle's funeral. The wedding date chosen was the worst day in the whole calendar and would bring death or disaster to the married couple. So it did happen. Period.


So I requested for no birthday celebrations this year but my family insisted just to eat a cake during our usual family dinner with our old man at home. That was fine. Just eat the Pavlova Cake baked by my sister and no candles.

There was a pavlova cake by my sister and a cheese cake by her well known chef friend FATBOY's in Damansara Heights. Insert is a small photo of my family at her condo atop Mont Kiara. My sister would kill me if I posted her photo. She was that who & who's ex wife. The kids were missing in the photo as they are all studying in the universities of York, Reading and Surrey. The mood was solemn too as my mum was watching us from above.

My wife and I ate a simple Yee Sang for dinner at the vegetarian restaurant. It was delicious!
This cute photo was taken by her.

I won't be celebrating CNY this year and didn't send any CNY cards to anyone. Thank you for all the cards from bloggers and silent readers. BTW I have moved house and only 2 Taiping bloggers knew that old address. (I hope they didn;t send any cards!)

We will be away to Borobudur and Japan during the Chinese New Year holidays instead.

Have fun guys!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Beautiful Fridge Magnets

This morning I opened the 2 refrigerators and took a good look on its upper doors.
At one glance, I could quickly recall the happiest days in Shanghai and Japan.
I seldom shop much in overseas so I would buy souvenirs like cute fridge magnets
for myself. They are cheap and light to carry besides giving them to friends who
would love to collect them without even visiting the place.

 I rearranged the fridge magnets' positions and my door look
vibrant again. I love the Chinese Opera's Magnet the most
as it is unusual and cost me a bomb. It is made of soft rubber with
movable parts to remind me of the happy Winter days strolling in Shanghai.
We walked along the Bunds every night, enjoying the scenic
view of Pudong and cruising boats along Huangpu River.

The 2nd fridge's door contains assorted magnets given by
my friends. I have not visited Boracay, Rome, Paris and others.
I even kept the piece given by the famous Sibu blogger.
I wonder how many readers collect the magnets and decorate their
fridge as well. Between key chains and magnets, I would prefer
fridge magnets as I found many souvenir key chains to be too flimsy
and would break & gets spoilt too easily. Tell me what do you
like to receive from traveling bloggers?
Postcards, Fridge Magnets, Key Chains, Tidbits or Nothing.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Latest TOYOTA City Showcase @ Tokyo

We finished our visit to Tokyo Disney Sea and headed to Odaiba for
an emergency purchase of my new pair of shoes. Earlier on, I jumped too much
and my soles tore apart at Disney Sea. Oh wait, I have not posted
the photos of my Disney Sea trip yet. Let me share my craze for the
TOYOTA cars which I have highest regards for its long lasting
engines and power. I never owned a Toyota but would love to have
one someday.

This is not a paid post & all opinions are solely mine. 

 01. This is the entrance to the Toyota City Showcase which is very 
huge and impressive! I spent a long time inside and forgot about dinner.
It has been my lifetime dream to visit any Japanese car's mega cities
ever since my brother had a stint at the Suzuka Circuit when he was the
right hand man to the deceased son of Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew.
The older generation might remember Loh Kah Kheng who
committed suicide and that was my brother's boss!
His Honda days inspired me a lot and I had the chance to drive
all the different Honda cars which he drove home from office.
I was like a gila Mat Rempit and often borrowed his Honda & 
went racing around Penang Island after midnight. 
Once upon a time, Anay was really a dare devil.

02. This is such a sophisticated storage rack that could double
as a cars display shelves and elevator. They are so innovative and wastes
no space as land is extremely expensive in Tokyo.

 03. Their way of displaying the latest Toyota models in a relaxed
manner, enables anyone to slowly browse without any persistent
sales persons tailing or haggling with you. Thumbs up!

 04. Remember this cute TRON car which I have posted earlier.
This funny car is called "Toyota i-Road" which got its idea of
combining the compact size of a motorcycle with the safety of a car.

 05. This is their latest Toyota IQ.
It must be a smart & compact vehicle.

06. Their latest Toyota PRIUS is an improved hybrid with extra
features. My Japanese friend who drives a new compact Volvo
is eyeing it for his wife.

  07. I was very surprised that they still roll out the popular
Toyota ESTIMA in Japan.

 08. Their latest ESTIMA models look more stylish with
aerodynamic features from the front to rear of its body.

 09. This was another surprise to see the latest Toyota HARRIER
which has been running on the Malaysian roads since
thousands of moons ago. This certifies the global popularity,
durability and great demands for their HARRIER models.

 10. My brother has changed his Toyota HARRIER 3 times!
Now he drives this latest LEXUS model as his spare. 
The timeless beauty looks big outside but not inside, to me.

11. The Toyota ALPHARD is very nice and costs around RM300K
in Japan which is quite cheap.

12. The latest prominent front looks like a huge teeth! I didn't see many
such Alphards running in Japan compared to Malaysia and Thailand
where you can see them every 2 minutes on the roads anywhere.

 13. This looks like the FAST & FURIOUS dream car in the movies.
There was no name sign, so I could safely guess it is Toyota SUPRA!

 14. This is a new breed of cars that are powered by Hydrogen
and not gasoline. It is Toyota MIRAI.
I want this!

 15. Their luxury lines of Toyota CROWN models are still popular in
Japan. Here our taxes are exorbitant, so we have limited ones making debut.

 16. This was the only random car which caught my interest to open
its doors to sit inside. When I got home to KL, I had a big SHOCK
to see its model's name. No-No!

17. After a whole day at the Disney Sea and Toyota City,
my former US housemate Keitaro Kobayashi treated me
and wife to a nice Japanese dinner. His pretty daughter and
Korean wife sat beside him.

Happy Weekend!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Visit To The Great Buddha Of Kamakura

It was drizzling all day in Tokyo and we made a
day trip to visit this quaint & lovely Kamakura city.
It is located 50 kilometers south of Tokyo, by the
famous Sagami Bay amongst several green mountains.
Kamakura was an ancient capital with a very rich
Shogunate history and a very popular resort today
for all Japanese folks & tourists, who also visit the
many Zen Buddhist & Shinto Shrines,
little & neat traditional shops and the beach resort.
It's like a perfect quick getaway for the
stressed & hardworking people living in Tokyo.

 01. My best tour guide, CFO and COO planned the itineray
that we should take this cute choo-choo Electric Train to Kamakura.

 02. She got the "Visit Chops" on paper as a good remembrance.

 03. The most famous Buddhist shrine is the Amitabha Buddha's
Bronze statue at the temple grounds of Kotoku-in.
This is the entrance to the 14th century historical site
of The Great Buddha Of Kamakura.

 04. All the temples in Japan has this Zen looking water pools.
It is most polite to cleanse our face and hands briskly
before we enter the holy sites.
I had to conduct multiple washes for my
sinful & filthy CB mouth!!

 05. This Bronze Buddha's statue was once housed inside a huge temple.
It was damaged several times in fiery typhoons and eventually swept
away by the tsunami.

06. Only the statue has survived in the outdoors until today.
My wife was so sad, cried buckets and walked away!

 07. I took all the photos alone including the back of the statue.
I was surprised to see opened windows behind!

 08. We proceeded to another Buddhist temple on the hills.
This is the Kannon of Hasadera Temple 
(Goddess of Mercy - Guan Yin Pusa's Temple)

 09. At the foot of the hill, there is a shrine of the Jizo Bodhisattva
who is famous for caring all the departed souls with his great vows.
In Chinese, he is better known as Di Zang Wang Pusa.

 10. The golden statue of the Jizo Bodhisattva.

 11. This is the beautiful Hasadera Temple where the Kannon Statue
is inside. Almost all temples in Japan do not encourage
photography inside their temples. In China, everyone is
allowed to take photographs inside the temples and even the
Emperor's tombs. They fully encourage to share.

12. This is the short frontage of the hill top temple.

 13. You are seeing the pretty blooms of flowers again.
I was amazed to see their single pots of flower sprays like
that red and purple ones. It is from the same stalk!

 14. My Princess by the panoramic ocean view of the Sagami Bay.

 15. The other side end of the Hasadera Temple.

 16. On the way down the hills, there is a cave with shrines inside.

  17. We had to bow our heads really low and crawl our way
inside to see the historical walls and statues.

18. I am too big sized and had much difficulties to navigate
inside the narrow cave.

19. Yummy! Just ENJOY, EAT & GET FAT lah!..
I had to try the famous bone broths of the Kamakura Ramen
before we boarded the choo-choo train back to Tokyo.


The Day My World Ended

At sunrise of 3rd August, my wife came to fetch me in her brand new car. She sped all the way through the morning traffic to Shah Alam. It w...