Adventures, Travels

Work Trip to Tokyo, Japan and Auckland, New Zealand

Jet setting off to four cities/countries within three weeks in May 2017: Melbourne > Singapore> Jakarta > Tokyo > Auckland. Crazy busy work schedule!

As my trip to Jakarta, Indonesia, has been covered in one of my previous posts, this post will solely focus on Tokyo and Auckland (more so on Tokyo, as I have much more photos taken there!).

The flight was not too bad, I managed to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji on the plane. We arrived in Tokyo, Japan in the second week of May and the weather was rather pleasant – not too cold and not too hot, a thick cardigan would suffice.

Our hotel was located conveniently at Shinagawa station, which I believe is the heart of the CBD district in Tokyo. My manager and I had to lug our luggage from the airport train station and change somewhere along the line to get to our stop. It did not take us long, but the whole journey from the airport back to our hotel might have taken 45 minutes, including time spent dragging our luggage, walking, finding and waiting.

Had to prepare for work the next day, so I did not have a chance to tour around the area where I stayed. Instead, I met up with HZ, who was also in Tokyo for an internship! We had Ichiran at Roppongi – it was a tough challenge for me to get there. Touched down a few hours ago, equipped with limited data and I am off to figure out the complex train station map of Tokyo. Fortunately, I made my way to the right venue and found HZ 🙂  It was my first time having Ichiran and it was quite an experience! We are supposed to pay at the vending machine outside the shop and head in to pick an empty seat according to their electronic seat map. You are then cornered alone in your own booth and there is literally zero human interaction. Once you have filled out your ramen preferences, just slide the order slip under the blinds and someone will take it away from you. If you would like your dessert to be served, just place your dessert bowl/plate/saucer above a button and it will be delivered soon.

The ramen itself was rich and delicious – way better than anything that I have tried here in Melbourne. I would guess the closest to what you can get here would be Hakata Gensuke on Russell Street. But still – top notch quality ramen in Japan cannot be compared to what we get here.

After dinner, we decided to explore Roppongi, where there are many eateries around the area. We ventured into a Takoyaki shop and ordered 6 takoyaki balls. By then, I was stuffed to my brim and any additional food that went in my body had zero satisfaction and I just could not appreciate food anymore at that point in time. I have to say though, it was still delicious! Before we parted ways, we walked around the area and found a very cute pet shop that sells tiny puppies and kittens. I figured out later that these pet stores are all over the city. It made me miss my dog even more.

I had a chance to travel around Harajuku and Shibuya during one of my lunch breaks. It was a great experience, seeing different culture in these two ‘happening’ areas. I’ll let the photos do the talking 🙂

Dinner with my colleagues happened for the remaining days that I was in Tokyo. We had brilliant wagyu yakiniku somewhere near our hotel on our first dinner night. The food there was so delicious, I had a serious food coma that night. The final dinner night, we had Izakaya with our key business partners, and needless to say, it was a great experience. Being the youngest out of all the C-level executives shows that I have so much more to learn from all these business trips.

I had packed up and left the hotel early in the morning to get to the airport. There was still plenty of time and I had decided to order Japanese spaghetti and an iced latte. I figured out that there was a sushi place down the road – a note to point out that I have not had any sushi since I arrived in Tokyo. What a shame! Of course, I had to stop and buy some snacks and wagyu beef for my dad and bring it back to Singapore. The highlight of my trip was rushing from the counter to the gate at the airport. Having four staff with the sign boards, grabbing your bags and running with you on the travelator shows how late I was. Thank god I made it onto the plane as the last passenger, and there begins my six-hour flight back to Singapore for a layover.

I had a quick meet up with Sabrina and Michelle at Angelina cafe, which the drinks and food were not on-par with what we had in Paris a couple of years back. My uber from my place to the cafe took more than 60 minutes, which is crazy, considering that Singapore is a tiny tiny place. I could have driven up to Yarra Ranges from Carlton in 60 minutes – think about that.

Moving on to Auckland, New Zealand (hope you are still with me after this lengthy post) – it was my first time in New Zealand and the place is extremely cold yet peaceful. We stayed at The Langham, which is probably a five-minute drive into the city but the traffic is horrible during peak hour! Made my way up to Sky City, which gives you a 360-degree view on the 60th floor. Did touristy things, took some pictures and walked around the city before heading back. Nothing interesting as I could not travel out to see the beautiful nature that NZ has to offer.