All posts tagged travel

A few weeks ago I visited Hong Kong to deposit part of my fixed amount savings, deposited in Japan’s post office and matured last month, in HSBC Hong Kong where I’ve had my bank account for 13 years, and to buy some gold which was a bit inexpensive than what you buy in Japan. Since nobody can predict what will happen to Japan and its economy in the future, I think it is reasonable to diversify assets both nationally and internationally to reduce risks of the loss due to possible economic confusion.

I found out two notable things through this trip. One is that Kagoshima is in fact one of the important gateways of Japan for some foreign travelers. From a Tokyoite’s point of view, Kagoshima looks like the southernmost far end of Japan, but for some people, it is not. I heard that a sales clerk of Chow Sang Sang’s Central store selling a gold necklace to me saying that she had ever been to Japan for leisure, entering Japan at Kagoshima Airport, and then moved east to Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo, where she departed. She also said that it was a golden route for travelers from China and Hong Kong. Those facts suggest that cities like Kagoshima, Nagasaki, and Fukuoka should look at Asian countries rather than Tokyo to survive in the future.

The other thing is my lacking ability of English conversation. When I talked to the sales clerk or any other people in Hong Kong, all I could say to those people were one-to-two-word sentences like “Yeah,” “No,” “Thank you,” “Oh really?” or something like that. Response speed to English was apparently slower than that of a few years ago. Clearly, it was because I hadn’t used English so much for years as it is now irrelevant to me in the workplace. All I can do (and need to do) would be to have at least my home Englishized to get accustomed to the English environment and help live in an English way.

Wakkanai dome

Though it was almost half a year ago, I visited Wakkanai, the northernmost end of Hokkaido. Since it was the beginning of January this year, it was extremely cold outside with plenty of snow and the streets were very slippery.

Field of Hokkaido
Field of Hokkaido
Wakkanai Station
Wakkanai Station
The northern end of Japan's railway

Wakkanai is deeply related to Russia, since this city is just 40 kilometers away from the southern end of Sakhalin. When Sakhalin was part of Japan in the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Wakkanai played an important role in connecting to ports of Sakhalin by ferry.

Wakkanai Station
Wakkanai Station
Street of Wakkanai
Sign at Wakkanai
Russian food at Wakkanai
Russian grocery store at Wakkanai

Defense is also important since it is very close to the border and there is such a risk to let illegal immigrants in and to let foreign ships invade this town.

Coast Guard ship

Wakkanai is one of Japan’s cities symbolizing tragedy of the WWII. When the USSR began invasion to the southern half of the Sakhalin Island after Japan’s surrender in August 1945, nine young women were working at a telephone exchange in the island. They were encouraged to escape from the island to flee to Hokkaido as it was going to be a dangerous place very soon. They refused to do it and chose to stay there because they wanted to do their job until the last time. At the time when Soviet Union’s soldiers came to where they worked, they took their lives as they didn’t want to be captured and molested by the soldiers. The memorial monument for them is build on the hill of Wakkanai city. I was eager to see this monument, but I couldn’t do it since the hill was closed due to the heavy winter snow.

Wakkanai Park

With one more day I could’ve visited the Cape Soya and see the Sakhalin Island over the Soya Channel. This would be a good reason for me to visit Wakkanai again this summer.

Crab meal
Cape Noshappu
Wakkanai ramen
Wakkanai Airport

I forgot to say that I had a trip to Hong Kong this year as well. I departed Japan on 23 November and returned on 26. What I did there is:

  • I had an investment account opened at HSBC to buy a unit trust.
  • I extended my journey as far as Macau, where I couldn’t do so many things, though.
  • I wanted to get iPhone5 if I had much money, but I didn’t.

I uploaded a set of photos on Flickr.

I’m going on a trip to Singapore and Malaysia until next Thursday because we have the “Silver Week” in Japan, with two national holidays (next Monday and Thursday) and three days of leave. For me, this is this year’s second trip to foreign countries. As I have 20,000 miles of United Airlines’ frequent flyer program, I can get a round-trip ticket from Japan to South Asia. I chose Singapore because Singapore is the country where I enjoyed six years ago, and I have looked forward to visiting again. This time, I’m going to visit Johor Bahru and another city in Malaysia because they are close to Singapore and maybe I can have easy access to those cities.

I’ll bring unlocked iPhone bought from Hong Kong other than regular cell phones I use daily, to use it at cheaper costs by replacing Softbank’s SIM card I always use in Japan with prepaid SIM cards I’ll get at destination countries. Skype is installed on the iPhone so that I can receive calls at any time regardless of countries I’ll be in, even if a phone number will be frequently changed.

UA803 to Singapore
United 803 to Singapore

The plane departed Narita at 1735 and arrived at SIN at 2330. It was earlier than scheduled. Seven hours’ flight in the economy seat of United Airlines was kind of tough, and I had severe back pain when I got off 🙁

Arrival gate
Arrival Gate

Changi Airport immigration

Arrival level
Arrival Level