Archives for posts with tag: travel

It’s the weekend! There was a public holiday, mid-week, in Singapore so this feels like déjà vu. Anyhow, here are my picks for the week.

 

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Some great reads to start your Sunday

After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors (New York Times)

I hate to say I told you so but…I told you so. (here, here and here for example. For a complete list, see here.)

It’s not surprise that some people have been burnt quite badly by the Crypto boom last year. Also not surprisingly, the ones hurt bad (i.e. relative to their income or net worth) are the ones who can least afford it. These are usually the least informed people in investing and when these people come onto the bandwagon, please get off.

That aside, I’ve noticed how many people are writing about their portfolios these days. It’s a trend that Financial Horse (whom I’ve never actually heard of until a few months ago but is pretty famous) has written this. I’ve been investing and writing about these things for almost 11 years now so I don’t think I qualify as new blood.

Of course, most of them write more about Financial Independence rather than investing per se so I don’t think that qualifies as a sign that we’re at the top. Valuation-wise, the STI is nowhere near exuberant levels.

 

A VISIT TO THE LAND OF A MILLION SHOKUNINS (The Food Canon)

While the subject of the article is about food, the idea of craftsmanship applies to all professions. I’m probably the worse person to tell you about craftsmanship because I’m impatient and lazy.

However, craftsmanship is probably going to be more and more important in the future. Why? Because machines are getting much better at doing the tasks that are routine and mundane. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Mechanization started with the industrial revolution and now, with A.I, I suspect it’s going to move into the realm of white collar jobs.

All the routine and mundane administrative jobs can (and should) go. I love the people in the admin department in my school but seriously, most of their job revolve around filing paper and “copying and pasting” stuff in emails.

The good education Minister actually has a point about emphasizing skills over paper qualifications. The problem is that most parents still have this mindset that qualifications matter. I suspect that that will change quite soon because we now have more and more people who are graduates (thanks SUTD, SIT, SUSS, and all the other private education providers!) but will not be able to find jobs that (1) pay well and/or (2) are interesting to do over a long period of time. It’s not really the fault of anyone but that’s what the world’s going to be like.

If I were a graduate today, I would make sure that I’m also a craftsperson of some sort. I might make good food, good beer, woodworking, an artist, photographer etc. Just make sure you’re really, really good at something that few people are good at. Just like this guy — The Secret Instagram Account Selling Black Metal–Inspired Biryani.

That said, damn…I need to make a trip to Hokkaido.

 

Steve Einhorn’s Bear Market Checklist (The Big Picture)

Recently, I wrote about having an investment plan. Part of the plan is having criteria to know when you should buy or sell. Howard Marks has also written about this before and I can’t wait for his new book to drop in October. Steve Einhorn, an investor and hedge fund manager, has this version which looks nice and simple to follow.

Long story short, it doesn’t look like we’re anywhere near a recession in the U.S. And I guess by now, we all know what that means for Singapore.

I love Tokyo. This is the fifth time I’ve been there but this is the first time that I’ve been there during sakura season. The best part about the trip is that the cherry blossoms were supposed to be in full bloom that very week that we’re there. Unfortunately, forecasts are typically proven wrong and it wasn’t until the last day of the trip that we got to see a line of cherry blossoms at naka-meguro. Even then, it might have been me but I expected them to be more pink than white.

 

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So beautiful. Not my picture so kudos to whoever took this. (source)

 

Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself very much despite getting a cold the day before I was set to leave for the trip. I suppose it was the thrill of the trip that cured me because, by the second day of the trip, I was feeling a lot better than when we left Singapore.

Besides the sakura, other highlights of this trip include:

1. Sakura Onsen.

Despite its name, you don’t get to see any cherry blossoms. What you do get is a lovely onsen (public bath) experience that’s conveniently located on the JR Yamanote line. It helped that we were staying in the heart of Shibuya so we had a direct line that was only a few stops to Sugamo station where the onsen is.

 

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The lovely entrance of the onsen. (source)

 

 

2. Yona Yona Beerworks

I went to this bar while the missus spent some time shopping around Shinjuku. This place is right beside Bicqlo, the collaboration between Bic Camera (an electronics store) and Uniqlo. I had their lager, which was fantastic, and an order of their stewed pork belly. The pork belly was done right- lightly seared on a grill before being dropped into stew in a bath of dark soy sauce and mirin.

 

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This was the counter I was at. Lovely view of all their taps. (source)

 

3. Hidemi Sugino

I marked Hidemi Sugino’s place on the map the last two times we visited Tokyo but never found the chance to visit. See, the place is popular that a line forms before the opening time of 11 am. It also doesn’t help that a certain cake of his (the Ambroisie) is made in limited quantities.

Anyway, we got greedy and ordered four cakes. My suggestion is to just go for the Ambroisie which is what won Hidemi Sugino the La Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie way back in 1991.

 

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I wish I took a pic of this. (source)

 

4. gram pancakes

I saw these jiggly, fluffy pancakes in a video on facebook and knew that I had to try them. They were divine. A stack of three airy, pancakes, made to perfection. Basically, it was like having a cotton candy pancake. Amazing.

 

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Tower of awesomeness (source)

 

Of course, there were old favourites such as:

-ichiran ramen (we went twice!)
– tendon at kaneko hannosuke
– tsukemen at roukurinsha
– katsu curry at hungry bear restaurant in Disneyland

We stayed in an Airbnb apartment in the heart of Shibuya. I totally got us lost looking for the place but once we found it and got our bearings, we realised how convenient the location was. Just 7 mins from the JR Shibuya station and a stone’s throw from eateries like Viron and the upper end of ‘center-gai’, we couldn’t have asked for a better location. Having a washer in the apartment also meant a lot of time saved doing the laundry and the apartment was pretty clean and surroundings were quite quiet.

The trip was wonderful but of course, it was only wonderful because of the company. However, just like the fleeting bloom of the sakura, the trip came to an end all too quick. The trick to seeing the beauty in sakura is in realising that the brief moment of full bloom is a perfect metaphor for life and that savouring each moment is key because all moments, no matter how long they may seem, are a transition to the next stop in life.