I feel the earth move

There is a first time for everything. Today at 6:15pm I experienced my first earthquake. The epicentre was in Sumatra, near city of Padang some 500km southwest from Singapore. The tremors shook Singapore too. Since I live above the 60th floor, the tremor effect was quite powerful. I felt dizzy and had hard time to stay still on my chair. The situation lasted about 2-3 minutes. Interesting experience, but I do not want to have it again!


Feeling peckish or thirsty?

No problem! There is a vending machine in every street corner of Tokyo. One of the best part of Japanese vending machines is the fact that they give back even notes, not only annoying small coins.


The best airline snack award goes to...

...ANA! On my recent trip to Tokyo I flew with All Nippon Airways, ANA. Their plane was not the most modern one, but the snacks they served with drinks were the best I have tasted in economy class - Japanese rice crackers.

I like their old-fashioned logo and style too, minimalistic and stylish.



Yachting with style

All pictures from why-yachts.com

My morning started by reading an e-mail from Hermés. They have stepped into the marine world with Wally, the famous yacht company. They have set in collaboration a new standard for luxury yachts. The yacht is called WHY-58. It's dimensions are huge: length 58m, max. beam 38m. It can take up to 12 guests and 20 crew members. The best part of it is of course the design. WHY-58 looks extremely smooth and natural, there is nothing to add and nothing to be taken away. The master and guest spaces' decoration has a traditional Japanese touch with modern simplicity. I like!

Take a look at why-yachts.com



Hello Kitty 35th anniversary

Picture from kitty35.com

Later this autumn Japanese cartoon figure Hello Kitty will have her 35th birthday. I was not a fan earlier, but now in Asia I have started to like Hello Kitty. Maybe the reason for my liking is the fact that Hello Kitty is Japanese. For me she represents all the best qualities of being Japanese: simple design, irresistible cuteness, eye for even the tiniest detail and brilliant branding.

Last weekend I was visiting Tokyo and stayed at a friend's place in Aoyama. On Sunday evening I noticed something familiar in the horizon. It was our birthday girl in huge size. Sanrio had put Hello Kitty lights on one Ferris wheel in Tokyo bay area, see below.

Happy birthday Hello Kitty!



Last week I did my usual grocery shopping at Carrefour at Suntec City shopping mall. When my eyes catched there cute Japanese erasers I could not help myself. I had to save these little fellas from some cruel school girl, who would actually use them as erasers. Now they stand on my table and bring a smile on my face every time I see them. I love Japan and their eye for even the tiniest detail!


Night lights

F1 circus comes to Singapore on the last weekend of September. Visible preparations have been going on for some time now. Because the Singapore Grand Prix will be a night race, loads of powerful lamps have been installed in the Marina Bay area. When walking in the race area after sunset one can hardly know whether it is day or night, so luminous are the lamps. Pictured here is a crossing in the corner of The Fullerton Hotel.


Destination: Langkawi

Poolside view from the Tanjung Rhu Resort

It has been a while of my previous beach holiday. I think last time was in the beginning of 1990's on the shores of Mediterranean. So it was time for a reprise, but this time by the Andaman sea.

Past weekend I spent in Langkawi, an island lying on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula north of Kuala Lumpur. It's an island of contradiction. Local people seem to live in very humble accommodation while visitors spend their time in luxurious resorts. And there are lots of resorts to choose from.
Premium chalet's on water at Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort

View from the breakfast restaurant

I chose Berjaya Langkawi Beach & Spa Resort which was recommended in TripAdvisor as a top value hotel. The Berjaya resort consist of different types of chalet's. I stayed in a spacious premium chalet with a sea view. The resort has many restaurants, a big pool area and a nice white sand beach. I think Berjaya resort is a good choice if you want to have a decent priced weekend getaway in Langkawi. It is not a 5 star resort, but it is good value for money.

The best thing Langkawi has to offer is its nature. The landscape is mountainous with rainforest covering most of the mountains. There are waterfalls and and mangrove forest and a lot of wildlife. Langkawi cable car offers a good view of the island. The cable car also offers a nice cool break from the tropical heat.

Langkawi is only 1h 15min flight away from Singapore and it is easy to reach with several airlines. I took SilkAir, but Malaysian Airlines, Tiger Airways and AirAsia operate directly to Langkawi as well.



Today is one of those rare days when the date, month and year start with same number. In this case with number 9. And these days are getting even more rare because there are only 10.10.2010, 11.11.2011 and 12.12.2012 coming.

In Finland these same numbered dates have been popular dates to get married. Or at least they were in three recent years when the dates have been in summer months. Would be interesting to know this year's statistics. How many special occasions there have been because of 09.09.2009?


Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical

When walking from SoHo to Covent Garden in London during my return journey to Singapore I saw this huge high heel shoe promoting the Priscilla Queen of the Desert musical. Even Imelda would be envious :)


Chinese breakfast

I started this Saturday with a breakfast at a traditional chinese coffee shop, Ya Kun Coffeestall, in Chinatown, Singapore. I had soft boiled eggs with soy sauce and pepper and toasted bread with coconut marmalade. The eggs were not my favorite, but the toasted bread was delicious, I recommend!

The Ya Kun Coffeestall started their business in 1944 in Chinatown. Nowadays they operate a whole chain of coffeeshops. In their original "flagship store" they have cute posters, like the one above. They claim to have had the same simple menu since 1944.


Jill Sander x Uniqlo

Picture from uniqlo.com

It is fairly old news already that the minimalist fashion legend Jill Sander has designed a collection called +J for the japanese Uniqlo. The new and good news is that the collection will be available from 1st of October in selected Uniqlo stores in the UK, US, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Korea.

The +J collection is very Jill Sander like with clean graphic cuts and down to earth colors. The collection consists of basic pieces like jackets, pullovers, jeans and accessories. There is variety for both men and women. The prices are more Uniqlo than Jill Sander standard. For example a men's cashmere knit is available for £99.

Unluckily +J is not available in Singapore.

See the whole collection and sale points:


The Monocle Singapore Survey 2009

Picture from monocle.com

As I mentioned earlier the lifestyle magazine Monocle has made a survey about Singapore. Now the survey is published in the current issue (#26). The survey is focused in different industries more than the people. The report is interesting reading, but I was missing more human approach.

Short summary can be found online at www.monocle.com/Singapore/