Category Archives: Updates

Day 1 Living in NYC

Everything went well today on my first day living in NYC.  I had to get up really early to catch a 7 AM flight but all my flights were on time.  I got upgrade to first class on my first leg from San Jose to Houston.

Here is a picture of somewhere in the west on the way from San Jose to Houston.

photo 1
























The apartment is very nice and clean.  The building is called Beaux Arts and it is only a block from the UN on 44th Street between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue.  I am on the 12th floor with a view of some office.  It is going to be my home for the next two months.  There is a Duane Reade a block away and there are a few restaurants on 2nd Avenue.  Tonight I stopped by Duane Reade to get milk and a Brita pitcher.  I had a Chinese take out from Shih Lee on 45th Street.  I tried their Kung Pao chicken and it was pretty good.

My Apartment in NYC

My Quick Trip to Japan

I had a quick trip (2 nights) to Osaka, Japan in early September.  It was a business trip on short notice.  Luckily, I upgraded myself to business class with Japanese meals.  In case you don’t know, you can request a Japanese meal if you are flying business to and from Japan on United.  It is a standard option for everyone in business class but it often runs out quickly.  However, you can call United to request one before your flight.

Japanese meal on United business class (first course)



















Japanese meal on United business class (second course)



















This is my second time in Osaka but I don’t remember much about it from my first trip about 15 years ago.  This time, I flew in to Kansai International Airport which is a landfill in the middle of the bay.  It is about an hour by train from the city center.  I took an express Nankai train to the city center.  I had a reserved seat and there were only a few stops at main stations along the way.

Nankai Express train
























The train and subway system in Japan is somewhat easy to use and there are English signs in most places.  I was able to navigate myself most of the time.  I really enjoyed exploring Shinsaibashi district and Dotonbori district where there are many shops and restaurants.  If you go, don’t miss the neon signs along Dotonbori canal.  The most famous sign there is the Glico sign.

Glico sign in Dotonbori district
























Shinsaibashi district
























On my first night, I was craving tonkatsu and I found this local restaurant near Dotonbori district.  This is a place where you order your food on a machine outside the restaurant first.  This kind of restaurant doesn’t offer table service.  It only has a counter around the kitchen.  You go to the machine, insert money, pick what you want to eat, take the ticket(s) inside and put them on the counter where you sit, the chef will take your ticket and get you food.  Most dishes come with noodles.  The food was great and it only cost me 480 yen.  For water, you can help yourself from cups and water pitchers available on the counter.  After you are done eating, make sure to use the available cloth to wipe down your area.  No need to tip in Japan.

A machine to order food
























Inside the restaurant
























My food (tonkatsu with noodle soup)
























On my second night, I got to try Torikara stick (fried chicken meat stick).  It was pretty good.  They offer many sauce options but I didn’t try any since I couldn’t understand what they were.

Torikara stick
























One of the most famous tourist places in Osaka is Osaka Castle.  It is an easy walk from Tenmabashi station.  The castle area is pretty big and the castle itself is beautiful.  You can go inside the castle which is now a museum.  You have a nice view of the city from the 7th floor of the castle.  The elevator will take you up to the 5th floor and you can walk up to the 7th floor.

Osaka Castle
























A few random things I learned from this trip about Japan.

– The close and open buttons in elevators really work in Japan

– It is hard to find free WIFI in Osaka.  The only place I found was at Apple store.

– It was hot and humid in September.


A Family Vacation in New Orleans

My family went to New Orleans to celebrate my dad’s birthday.  We got lucky with the weather as we didn’t get any rain during our visit.  However, it was hot and humid.

Family photo in French Quarter



















Celebrating my dad’s birthday with beignet



















Swamp tour

















Dinner and jazz at Three Muses



















At Oak Alley Plantation


















3 Weeks in Japan

I just got back from working for 3 weeks in Japan.  I spent most of my time in Osaka and got to travel to places like Kyoto, Tokyo, Itami, Yokohama, Kobe, and Yokkaichi.  I had a wonderful time there.