Susukino Site

February 10, 2017

Outside the Susukino Station is a street with ice sculptures in the middle. Yes, that’s the Susukino Site of the Sapporo Snow Festival. You’ll be done in about 10 minutes. The street isn’t even blocked, so you’ll have to wait for the cars to stop you take the pictures. It’s close to the Ramen Alley so it’s worthy of a look.

Had to wait ’til all the cars are out of sight.

Tsudome Site

February 10, 2017

One of the trio for Sapporo Snow Festival, the Tsudome Site is for those who wanna play with the snow.

I decided not to take the bus from the station and just walk. On the way, I saw these cute snowmen!
Hello little snowman!
Look at their snow covered bike parking lot!
These rows and rows of snowmen will welcome you once you get in. Oh, it’s near the dome, not IN the dome. it’s an open area.
and the first game that caught my attention? Snow rafting! (sorry, no pictures allowed during the ride). You have to pay around JPY600, if I remember correctly. Just zoom in on the picture if it’s clear enough haha
It’s a short ride, and this is the end of the trail. 😦
The next (and last for adult) ride, is right next to it.
Now this one is free, and you have to drag your own ride uphill. It’s a short walk, don’t worry
WHEW! that was way higher when viewed from up top. That was a fun ride, but I didn’t wanna line up for another hour. Time to head out.
This one you simply throw snowballs to the target. You have unlimited tries, make your own snowball. Honestly. Nobody’s even watching this place.
they also have a make your own snowmen. It was kinda cute. Once a section is filled with snowmen, they close off the section and open another block.

Vidya India

February ~20, 2017

One of the visits I probably would never forget is the visit to Bangalore’s Vidya. It’s a chance to see how young women in India struggle, what motivates them and how hard they work.

They struggle with the cultural imposition to women. Their hands are tied. But one thing drives them – their families. Their kids. For example, learning English is a priority because they wanted to talk to their kids in English. Most Indians DO NOT speak English. The people we meet are not at the bottom of the pyramid, and with 1.2billion people, there’s a lot of them. But far more numerous are the ones who struggle on a daily basis.

Vidya is about helping these young women help themselves. And I can’t think of a better way to do it.

Akshaya Patra

February ~20, 2017

One of the “company” visits we had was to Akshaya Patra, which is a food kitchen. Only this food kitchen feeds millions of people, is ISO certified and follows kaizen (continuous improvement).

They are a good example of how a not-for-profit organization (they operate from donations and government subsidies) can apply business concepts and succeed!

The entrance. We had to wear hair net and face mask for our visit, which is pretty standard.
This is a sample meal – the one they fed us come in containers similar to the ones I saw being loaded for delivery.
Right outside. 😦 I doubt that it is their trash, it’s just sad how people throw trash wherever.

Nippon is Nikko!

December 29-31, 2016

The slogan all over the place – Nippon is Nikko, was a nice reminder that I’m still in Japan ;). Four month ish late, wrapping up the entire experience, here’s a rundown of my Nikko trip!
Before going there

  1. Accommodations. Book them online if you can. I stayed at Nikko Park Lodge at JPY3,000 a night (dormitory). You have two options – the one in front of the station and another in the mountains. I suggest going up the mountains if you want to chill and meet people, go to the one in front of the station if you only want a transit place.
  2. Transport. Book the All Nikko pass unless you’re not planning on going anywhere. The city pass is not that useful, as the entire city can actually be walked (if you like walking). I bought the three day pass, and it was worth it. Just the fare from the train station to the lake was more than JPY1,000 one way. Oh, and you can buy it right at the Tobu station in Asakusa.
  3. Plan? Not necessarily. You can do the rest of your itinerary on the way from Asakusa to Tobu Nikko. The two hour trip is more than good enough, and the map they provide when you buy the ticket has all the information you’ll need.
  4. Clothing. Check the weather. It can get really cold.

 

At Nikko

  1. Walk. The central part is relatively small. Just go exploring.
  2. Go north. You can explore Yuzuri falls, Kegon falls, and other Chuzenji near attractions in a day.
  3. Enjoy!

 

My Itinerary

Day 1.

I arrived late(around 3pm), so I simply went to Nikko Lodge and walked around. Well.

the cozy place plus the company of the other travelers was more than good enough for me.

Day 2.

Just went exploring on foot. I mainly explored the city, go lost again and again.

Day 3.

North! Boy was it cold! I walked from Yuzuri falls down to the entirety of the swampland, then took the bus to Kegon falls, then went home. 🙂

The Brooklyn Tabernacle

P_20170319_085342.jpg

March 19, 2017

Pictures aren’t allowed, and please be on time.

This is one amazing church with an extremely powerful choir and an involved congregation. Anyone can come in, they simply request that you stay the duration of the service.

I think this is one of the highlights of my New York trip, and is something anyone interested in music used to celebrate faith should consider.

Bengaluru Market

February 15, 2017

I felt like was in Baclaran in steroids. (Baclaran is a market in the Philippines).

Bengaluru Public Market was noisy, crowded and overflowing! There were people shouting everywhere (as their marketing tool, I think). As with the other Bangalore tours, all I know in terms of the logistics is “be at the hotel lobby by 1pm”.

Piles and piles of goods. Be it vegetables, pots, flowers, etc.
This, if I understood our guide correctly, is something men chew after eating. Like tobacco. Or Mint.  He said it doesn’t taste good. Either way, these leaves were all over the place.
This is for the ladies. This I think is the one used for their “ink”.
look at these CARROTS!
Then we saw this huge tree…
With the cows eating garbage underneath. We didn’t even touch these cows – we don’t know the rules on dealing with them >.<
And here’s a normal tuktuk (or what they call Auto?)
Look, they even have a meter! Never used, of course.

Global Network Week (GNW)

March 2017

As we are part of a 29 strong organization of business schools around the world, we have the opportunity of going to these participating partner schools for a week long exchange, with each school offering a course that showcases their competencies. This is done twice a year – in March and around October.

Since I’m in the field of Finance and Accounting, I chose the Behavioral Finance course offered by Yale University. (Tokyo offers an Innovation related course)

It’s a one credit course, and you pay for everything – fare, accommodations, etc. Partner schools help with the visa processing by providing an invitation letter. It was a really smooth process, and I didn’t have to prove anything at the embassy – all I said was, “I’m going for an exchange, here’s the letter”. They do the same in other schools, from what I hear.

The fun part is that you will unlikely meet students from their schools. Why? Because the students also left their schools to visit partner schools!!!

It’s all about global education, guys. And no school can do that alone.

Yale Integrated Leadership Case Competition

April 7-9, 2017

Spoiler Alert: My team lost.

About five years ago, the Yale School of Management started hosting a new type of case competition (they have a lot) – integrated leadership competition. They send an invitation letter to various schools (primarily GNAM schools, I think) to apply. Those who get accepted after the preliminary application get to go to Yale to try on a raw case (freshly written case) and pose their solutions to the judges.

So how does it work?

December. Invitation letter.

You receive an invitation to send an initial application. In our case, the initial application involves identifying a global issue and posing a proposed solution. That’s it. Submissions can be through video, PowerPoint, essay, etc.

Participants have to be students of the invited schools, with a maximum of four per team maximum. Your team can have less. If you’re that good, you can do it alone, even. But come on.

January. Submission and selection of participants.

Applicants receive notice of whether they are accepted to the finals or not.

February to March. Administrative matters.

You pay the USD350 fee online, apply for your US visa (if you don’t have one yet), arrange for accommodations and flights, etc.

The student pays for everything. Well, that depends on the school policy. Bottom line: Yale will not pay for it.

April. Competition.

It’s a three day event. Basically it goes like this:

Friday evening – say hello to everyone! Oh, there’s no food! So eat before you go here.

All participants are divided into “pools”. At this point, you are only competing against your pool. The judges will only be announced during the competition itself, as some judges are from the company.

Saturday – competition and announcement of winners from each pool. They will proceed to the next level. They get a “twist” for their final presentation the next day.

Sunday morning – finalists’ presentation and program conclusion.

So. What do you get? Aside from winning, of course (if you did win)

Experience. The value of this entire thing is meeting the competitive students from across the globe and Yale. It’s a good litmus test of how you are doing, and how much you still have to do.

People. Honestly, just chatting up the people is pretty nice experience.

Yale Visit. Yale, baby!