Flying to India

February 12, 2017

It takes TEN HOURS to fly to India. TEN HOURS. It’s my longest flight to date! I’m still not sure if I hate it or if I’m excited.

Quick tips

  1. Take the bag tag and attach it to all your bags. Once you go through baggage screening, they have to stamp these bag tags.
  2. Prepare for a very personal body scan. It was very professionally done, with the girls having a covered area. But still, it was the most personal scan I ever had.
  3. Arrange for car transport if you are arriving at night. Even priced at a premium, it’s probably worth it.

So. Here’s how my flight went:

We met at around 10am (Narita Terminal 2) to board our flight.

Hello, Airplane. Please don’t crash.
Since I’m haven’t done any long haul flights, this is my first time being given so many meals. and snacks. I finally get a taste of the often joked about plane peanuts! (Yes, I’m that shallow)

It wasn’t such a long flight. Maybe because I loved watching Now You See Me and Kimi No Nawa. I took a nap in between, then proceed to randomly watch videos. Yeah, I loved all those nine-ish hours.

Hello, Delhi! Hello, India! I’m here!!!

I was so excited! Then our group had some issues with the confusion in the line for the eTV (electronic Tourist Visa). Basically we went to the wrong line. Honestly, these people weren’t so helpful. But moving on!

We finally got into Bangalore! (I think this is a Bangalore picture)

It was a really, really, long flight. We got in our hotel at around 2am! O.O



GNP: Mental Health in India

February 2017

For our Global Network Project, our team selected White Swan – a not for profit organization with a mission to be the leading knowledge provider on mental health.

Technically, they aren’t our clients. Our client is their consulting firm, Center of Gravity. So we basically had two clients – the firm Center of Gravity and White Swan.

It was an amazing experience where we were exposed to how big an issue mental health is – not just in India but across the world. I never would look at it the same, and I gained a new awareness of another aspect of humanity.

Our Visit to NIMHANS

The White Swan Office is right next to the NIMHANS Museum so we decided to walk around.

The entrance is free, so just walk in anytime during operating hours.
Inside is the history of NIMHANS and how it has grown through the decades.
They also have some tools used years and years ago related to the field.

Our Visit to Center of Gravity

Of course, we visited the office of our main client, Center of Gravity. It’s such an amazing human-centric firm, with a business style that is shaped by its head. I doubt any other firm can copy Rajesh. He’s a refreshing consultant who’s depth of thinking astounds me.

The entrance to Center of Gravity.

Global Network Project

As part of our MBA curriculum, we had the opportunity to partner with one of the GNAM member schools (GNAM is Global Network for Advanced Management) for a project, which is credited as an elective in our education. Our partner was University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder Business School. The program is for two weeks, though we also had virtual meetings starting around October.

For the Tokyo students, we had the option of going to Bangalore, India OR stay in Tokyo for the two week program. Of course, I chose India.

It starts with a lot of online meeting in anticipation for the two week immersion.

October – December.

Group assignments. We start meeting each other for the first time online. We also attend some workshops on handling virtual meetings, etc.

Projects. There are a couple of projects lined up, thanks to the amazing professors. We get to share our preference and projects will be assigned.

Client Meeting. We act as consultants and officially meet our “clients” via online conference. Since our project is in India, of course our clients are generally Indians. We had to set the scope of the project, deliverables, timeline, etc.


Last minute preparation. Continuous team meetings, client touchpoints, visa application, etc.


Fieldwork! We went to Bangalore for the project, and stayed there for two weeks. Of course, the entire thing culminated with a client presentation at the end of those two weeks.


Postmortem. Basically we shared what we learned with the rest of the class, and had reflections on what happened.



Overall it was an amazing experience, and was easily the highlight of my MBA… up to that point. Who’d have thought that the school had more in store?



Sapporo Streets at Night

February 9, 2017

Guess what this article contains? Pictures of Sapporo Streets at Night!!! :p

I just can’t help it, I have to share coz this was fairly magical. I won’t even bore you with captions, as basically I went:

“oh, that’s pretty”

“oh, that looks like whipped cream”

“oh, that looks like icing”

“oh, that’s a lot of snow”

Yeah, quite smart remarks from an intelligent lady like me. I know. You can go ahead and marvel at how my impressive mind works.

Otaru During that Night…

February 10, 2017

I found Otaru Snow Light Path Festival to be more magical than the Sapporo Snow Festival. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of snow and fire – the lights are not bulb / LED lights. They are from candles. So there’s only one color – white.

The Otaru Snow Light Festival coincides with the Sapporo Snow Festival, so do hit them both at the same time. They are pretty cold though, so that’s also something to consider. Sapporo has three spots to go to (Tsudome, Susukino and Odori) on top of the other regular Sapporo go-to tourist spots. Adding up Otaru will make the trip longer and well, colder.

I’ve got all my tips in the article “Otaru During the Day”, so the items below are merely pictures of the place when I was walking all over the place.

This is the canal at night. It is the MOST crowded place.
One of my favorites. ❤
This is the bridge over the canal. That’s how crowded it is from dusk to dark.
They basically put these candles inside the ice sculptures. They use buckets and water to shape these “ice lanterns”. Basically put snow in the bucket, add a bit of water, and voila! Ice lantern.
It spells out “omotenashi”, which is Japanese hospitality.
Pathways are basically lined up with these.
Awwwww. ❤
Now that I don’t know how they maintain.
This is the before-night btw. Not as impressive, eh?
They have these glass holders all over the place, and they sell it too.
That’s the glass holder in their hands. No, I don’t know them.
This is pure ice, if I’m not mistaken.
Him and his minions.
❤ ❤ ❤
I feel like I should be singing “under the sea”
The fun part is that the neighborhood also participates and makes their own lantern/sculptures outside their establishments/homes.

Otaru During the Day

February 10, 2017

Otaru is quite famous for being a port, and having these old warehouses.

They also hopped in the Snow Light Festival concept of Sapporo, and I’ve got to say, they’ve made the place a worthy side trip.

I came in around 3pm, where they are setting up for the day’s night show. So most of the paraphernalia like the the pretty bowls and snow sculptures aren’t things you should expect on a normal day.

How to get there

Otaru station is one JR ride away from Sapporo Station. If you are on a tourist visa, get the JR Pass. They have one for the whole of Japan, and one just for Sapporo (or Hokkaido?). That makes things way cheaper.

Quick Tips

  • Hokkaido milk is pretty famous. Try the ice cream (I did even though it was soooo cold)
  • Otaru Canal is pretty during the day. But it also gets really cold. So time your trip right so you enjoy say, an hour or two of daylight then another hour of darkness. It’s such a transformation seeing the snow structures before and after lighting.
My favorinte view in Otaru. Why? No people (the crowd is behind me).
One of the old warehouses turned food court.
They have this a lot all over Japan. I’ve seen one in Okinawa, in Fukuoka, in Tokyo…. It’s like street that’s covered like a gym with food and craft stalls
Playing in the snow. grrrr so cold
Freebies! Freebies! (I didn’t get one though.)
Check the Otaru at Night post. This becomes pretty impressive.
Awww.  ❤