CMA Preparation: The Review

The CMA Examination is one of the most expensive there is, and for an almost 30-something professional, is quite a challenge.

Now, there are a couple of things one has to cover, and since I haven’t passed yet (fingers crossed!), the only tip I have for now is:

if you are buying Gleim, wait til July-ish. They have a 30% off to their premium account, and that 30% off applies to the IMA entrance fees too.

So wait! 😉

November 2019 update: They had a 35% Black Friday sale, so you might want to wait for that.

Credit Card in Japan in Less than a Week

A, the dreaded application. Everytime I google they say that for foreigners, credit card applications are painful and usually met with failure. Hence I procrastinated. Plus I had my prepaid card so I figured I should be ok. But since I am encountering some problems lately with a prepaid card, I figured I might as well try.

ANA Mileage. I applied online and got the results within an hour. Guess what – it’s a no.

This Sunday I decided to apply again. To Amazon.co.jp. I received an email in Japanese on Monday that I wasn’t approved. Oh well.

Come Tuesday I received another email saying they’ve linked my credit card to my Amazon account. True enough when I checked amazon I do have a new credit card in my payment method. Oh and that they’re sending my credit card to my house. Eh. Must have read the other email wrong.

So. Profile time (so you can compare).

1. I’ve been in my company 1 year and 14 days as of application. I earn a bit more than the average annual rate based on the articles I’ve read. But those averages are too low based on my friends’ salaries haha.

2. I’ve been in my apartment 1 year and a month.

3. I successfully linked the application to my JP Post Bank account, with about two rent’s worth of cash deposit on it.

4. I did not submit any documents.

And that’s it.

Arashiyama’s Unagi

July 20, 2017

I wanted to eat the famous steak in Arashiyama, but they are closed on Thursdays and guess what day it was? Oh well, I therefore decided to move on and go to the other famous restaurant – the unagi place.

Timeline:

  • 10:40 I was in line. There are more than ten people already in line by the time I got here
  • 10:55 A lady goes out to ask us how many per table
  • 11:12 They allowed us in, and we were immediately seated. Orders are taken as soon as you are ready.
  • 11:25 Unagi was served

I bought the course set, so it was JPY3900. The donburi (unagi on top of rice), medium is JPY2,900. The menu is available online, so you can simply check it out (Unagi Hirokawa). I actually got lost looking for the restaurant, and when I asked people I simply said “unagi”. They already would know what you’re looking for – that’s how famous the place is.

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Here’s the inside of the place.
and here’s the “garden” that serves as your view when eating.

Kyoto’s Suicide Forest?

~July 2017

Japanese culture has the good and the ugly, and one that I would consider on the less… positive side is the high suicide rate. It fascinates me – this culture that allows for ending one’s life, when I came from a culture where ending your own life is one of the ultimate sins that will bring you eternal suffering in hell.

Either way. So we were talking about Aokigahara, the infamous suicide forest at the foot of Mt. Fuji. My professor mentioned that Arashiyama’s bamboo forest was also a suicide place, but since it got so famous, the influx of tourists made in unsuitable for suicide. Kind of difficult to kill yourself when so many tourists are passing through, right?

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Doing Business in Asia (whereas Asia means China, Korea and Japan)

~August 2017

One of the nice opportunities for my university is an exchange between what I heard was called chopstick countries – China’s Beijing, Korea’s Seoul, and Japan’s Tokyo.

What is it for? Probably fostering the relationship between these powerhouses. Hence, in terms of selecting students in my school, I think that they prioritize the Japanese students, then work on the diversity (seriously, diversity is a BIG deal). Either way, what happened?

Btw, this is an extremely late blog entry and I can’t remember the details that well, so I’m no longer separating the rants and facts. Read at your own risk.

The Beijing Nightmare

This happened in summer. In August. If you ask me when to NOT go to any of these countries, August will probably be my answer. It’s hot. It’s humid. And it RAINS a lot.

A group of students from Peking University welcomed us at the airport, which was, well, very welcoming. We got into the bus, and went straight to the Hotel.

We checked in our hotels, and immediately felt the lack of access to the world’s internet. Goodbye email. Goodbye facebook. Goodbye line. I felt like the Chinese government was basically putting me in a box that tells me how I should act and the extent at which I can do things (well, they probably are).

We then proceeded to the university where I the value of the small piece of paper from Guagua (???) School of Management was evident. People were lining up to get into the school, and I’m talking hundreds of meters worth of line. Our bus skipped the line (and in the next couple of days), we sometimes are dropped off outside the school and we have to show that piece of paper to get in).

For the next week, we had classes in the school, company visits and a cancelled visit to the Great Wall of China. Why? Because it. just. won’t. stop. raining. on our free day.

Leaving Beijing, we were a couple of hours early, but with the extremely long and convoluted lines, we made it to the boarding gate 10 minutes after boarding time. Was it the scariest time in my flying life? No (see offloaded). But darn it’s a close second. Good thing the plane was late for half an hour, which we were told when we got into the boarding gate.

Fun in Seoul

Hello, internet! Plenty of notifications the moment we got into Incheon airport.

Same drill as the one in Peking – get into the bus, check in to the hotel, sleep, go to school and go to company trips.

For our free time, the students brought us to Lotte World, where other people went shopping and my group got lost walking looking for seats. We also went to plenty of restaurants, and a kitchen play (which was hilarious but whose title I no longer remember).  We also had an activity where we make Korean alcohol from rice. Unfortunately, we were flying the next day and the concoction is not allowed for flying (coz it’s alcohol and it’ll explode on air. No thanks) so we had to leave it.

Home, sweet home, Tokyo.

Finally! We’re back to Tokyo!!!

Same drill  – except the Tokyo people went their own way the moment we landed at Haneda.

For our free time, there’s no organized activity (yeah, Tokyo didn’t care). But we did tour our own groups! 😀 My group did the Omotesando – Meiji Shrine – Shibuya – Akihabara tour.

 

 

Well, this is just an overview, and if I do get the time (and can still remember it), I’ll probably write more.  Or not.

Flying Jet Star – you get what you paid for… unfortunately.

June 3, 2017

Well, we get what we paid for.

I think this is my fourth time flying jet star – but first for international.

I understand why the seats are extremely cramped. I understand that there are no food nor drinks. What I don’t understand is why they had to spray aerosol an hour before landing across the entire aisle (over the cabin, straight, continuous pray from the front to the back, both sides). Not once, twice! Are they trying to save time for landing? Are they trying to cover up some bad smell?

#whyjetstar

Tokyo to Kansai Region

For some unexpected reasons, I had to go to Kyoto in July, then Osaka the next week. The easiest solution? A two to three hour ride in the Shinkansen (bullet train). How much is a ride? ~JPY13,000 one way to Kyoto. That’s the end of my plans to ride the Shinkansen. Time to bring the cheap accountant out.

What are my options? Shinkansen, normal train, bus and plane.

  • Shinkansen is JPY13,000 one way, around 2-3 hours.
  • Normal train takes around eight hours, the cheapest I found was JPY9,000.
  • Bus ranges from JPY5,000 to 14,000 depending on the type of bus. The sleeper, high end bus is of course the most expensive. You can do the overnight one, to make the eight-nine hour travel less useless.
  • Plane can be as low as JPY4,000 (Jetstar, Peach, Vanilla) to JPY20,000 (ANA), and less than an hour.
    • However, one should include the travel time to/from the airport and the cost.
    • Based on this, plane rides can only go as low as JPY6,000 and takes around four hours
      • JPY4,000 plane
      • JPY1,000 ticket to Narita
      • JPY1,000 to Osaka from Kansai airport. It’s JPY3,500 from Kansai Airport to Kyoto, though there’s a JPY1,700 option with multiple transfers

It’s a no brainer – it has to be a bus if I’m going to Kyoto, but I have flexibility between flying and using the bus to Osaka.

Willer Bus

I used Willer Bus, and lucked out. They had a sale! I paid JPY5000 for this bus, at probably around 50% discount. The meet up point is about a block away from Kyobashi Station of Ginza line – they do provide a google map accessible link in their email.

I was a bit disappointed with this bus station. It’s clean and good, I was just spoiled with the overall transport system of Japan. 

We left at 21:12ish, then arrived 5:48 the next day.

The entire seat inclines (yes, the entire seat). It’s a decent imitation of a lazy boy. I’ll give it a 7/10 in imitating the lazy boy.

Going back, I took a different bus (because this one is not on sale anymore), and that was a painful trip. The seat reclines a lot, yes, but it’s pretty narrow and, well, basically the pains we had to go through with a normal long bus rides. I don’t wanna go through it again. T.T

So for my Osaka trip, I just booked flights. Maybe next time I’ll still book flights for Kyoto trips, or hopefully, have my company pay for my Shinkansen tickets.

 

Up The River

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July 15, 2017

A trek alongside the river and falls of Mt. Kawanori is just the thing to do in summer. As a training hike for Mt. Fuji, my friend and I decided to go up Mt. Kawanori, which, based on the blogs, requires a 6-7 hour hike overall.

Our Actual Itinerary

  • 5:15 leave home
  • 6:46 take rapid line to Okutama station in Shinjuku. This is the earliest train.
  • 8:21 arrive at Okutama station, the last stop. Take a bus going to Kawanoribashi (Bashi is Bridge). This bus is right in front of the station. Take note though, a lot of people take this bus so if you are willing to stand, the  just go in. This will take less than 10 minutes.
  • 8:45 start hike. We ate a quick snack, took some photos, applied sun screen etc. Take note, somewhere on the hike, you’ll have to choose between going straight to the summit (the tourist way) or pass through the falls (the hiking way). We took the right turn to the falls.
  • 10:00ish we arrived at the Falls
  • 12:00ish summit. We stayed for a quick 20 minute lunch, and photo ops, then went down. Some of our friends who walk fast got there 40 minutes before us.
  • 15:30ish at the station
  • 15:45ish back at Okutama to take the rapid line to Shinjuku

How Much?

  • Train from Shinjuku – JPY 1080 (1hr)
  • Bus to jump off – JPY260 (or 280?)

We had a side trip, but I figure the return trip should be more or less the same.

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On the first hour of the hike, there’s plenty of these bridges. You really are just following the flow of the river. 
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The source of the river? This HUGE falls. I don’t even remember it’s name, but it was pretty big. It was also a less than five minute walk from the main trail to the summit.
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After passing through the falls, the trail is pretty generic. But it’s all OPEN fields. OPEN. Meaning there are no corners for you to crouch and do your business, if you know what I mean. So what did we do? We did it out in the open.
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Finally, I see the end!
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dum dum dum dum!!! Here’s the summit marker.
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And unfortunately, this is all the “view” we got to see. The summit is surrounded by trees. T.T