Today’s inspirational message…
Today’s inspirational message…
At Tseun Wan MTR station, I nearly witness a tragedy unfold.
I have to admit, I do it myself, fairly often actually. Walking while texting or Facebooking or even writing in this blog. I try to be careful, looking up regularly to make sure I don’t walk into walls, poles, people, buses, etc. Yesterday, however…
It was probably because of this that I had a full view of someone of else doing what I would probably be doing otherwise, walking along, typing away. The young woman was heading for the escalator, as well as I. What she didn’t see was another woman who had just come up an escalator and was heading for a collision course.
The second woman looked like she was trying to get her bearings. Most likely she had not been to Tseung Wan station for a while, or ever, and was trying to figure out what direction to go for her exit. It was because of this that the second woman didn’t notice the woman on her phone walking straight towards her. Nor did she notice that she was standing right by the top of a very long staircase when the texting lady was approaching.
It happened in an instant. As I stood there, silently bearing witness to it, time seemed to slow down slightly. The young lady on her phone and the woman trying to find her bearings, collided right at the top of the stairs. The lady lost her balance and tee-toddled on one foot, waving her arms, trying to get her balance, as the heel of her foot was tipping over the top of the stairs.
The young lady on her phone backed up, face slightly aghast, as she simultaneously reached out with one hand to say “sorry”, while securing her phone with the other hand.
My mind immediately sent electrical signals to my imagination to imagine screaming “NOOO!!!” as the scene unfolded. But it all happened too quick for my imagination to send the signals to my arms to drop my bags and reach out to save the woman.
By sheer luck and a bit of expert, amateur tightrope walker style re-balancing, the woman regained her footing and stayed at the top of the stairway. A brief moment of realization of what happened transpired before she gave a very dirty look to the young lady, who went back to her phone texting and heading to the escalator as if nothing had happened.
Seeing that tragedy was overted, I went back to my business. But I couldn’t help think that this is something that must be happening all too often. I tried looking up how many injuries or fatalities come about from texting while walking. Best I could find was an article in USA Today that blamed a large surge in pedestrian deaths last year on cell phone use.
In either case, stay sharp and watch your steps my friends, whether texting or not.
Deep in the heart of Shinjuku District is a place that can not truly be described, it must be witnessed and experienced to really understand the awesomeness. This place is Robot Restaurant.
Last time I visited Tokyo, I knew I wanted to hit up all the pop culture stuff I could find. People watching in Harajuku, Maid Cafes and anime shopping in Akihabara, bar hopping in Roppongi, etc. When trying to plan out my limited amoung of time (so much to do! So few vacation days), I spotted ad in the Time Out Tokyo that peaked my interest…
ROBOT RESTAURANT. This I had to see.
So many questions came to mind. What did it mean? A restaurant where robots act as the waiters? Do the robots put on a show? Is it just a decoration with some anamatronic robots here and there like Mars 2120 was back in New York? Or would it be an emersive experience like I’ve heard about the ninja restaurant?
First thing: Robot Restaurant is not really a restaurant. They serve snacks, but it is definitely a show rather than a sitdown food establishment.
Second thing: To merely call it a “show” is to woefully understate the experience that is this place. It is an in-your-face spectacle times a hundred. It’s hard to explain through words or even pictures how it felt to be behold the glory that is Robot Restaurant. I’ll try my best in the rest of this article, but take a look at this video to get a taste of the robot madness.
If you’re still reading after watching the video, here’s the rundown.
We got tickets to the show. The whole experience starts off pretty chill with hanging out in this shiny, gold, and lit up waiting room. You can have some refreshments in there while listening to a guy in a robot suit playing some classics on a solo guitar.
Then you get taken into the main show room. And considering the show you’re about to witness, this room is tiny. It looks like about the size room that you’d see an off off broadway show with 4 actors and a sofa for set dressing. Three rows of seats on either side.
Then the lights go out and the show starts. And what a show! Everything is all glow in the dark, neon lit, kinetic energy.
In that small passage way between the rows of audience, comes a parade of giant platforms with drums and assorted musical instuments, dancing girls, acrobats, assorted other characters and performers. And that’s just for starters!
And everything is all right in front of your and around you. It’s hard to decide where to look because so much is going on at the same time. And you have to keep alert too because these floats come like inches away from you if you’re in the front row.
After the first parade, comes the monster fights!
There was even a bit where a “Kung Fu Panda” style Panda and his Monkey and Tiger sidekicks jump in to try to take on the evil alien robots. They get some help from some karate kicking, giant hammer wielding, anime girls. (See the Video above)
Then once the robot, alien, monster fights ended, there was some more performances and then another awesome robot parade!
There’s an intermission in the middle to take a bathroom break and get some extra snacks, but otherwise it was non-stop, frenetic thrills and frenzied audio-visual stimulation.
Anyway, like I said before, my words and even pictures or video pale in comparrison to experiencing it for real. Have you been to Robot Restaurant before? Let me know what you thought about it in the comments!
Official site of Robot Restaurant: http://www.shinjuku-robot.com/pc/
It’s Chinese New Year New Year and the MTR is showcasing some new “don’ts” for the holiday season.
Passing through the MTR recently, you might have noticed signs like this around each station.
When I saw, I immediately thought to myself “special rules for Chinese New Year.” Let’s take a closer look at what we see here.
For starters, I think most Hong Kong people are familiar with this one…
No Metallic Balloons.
I kind of figured this was some kind of super precautionary measure, just in case one of these wanders on to the track and gets sucked into some machinery. But, apparently, the threat is real though. Back in 1996, a “rogue Minnie Mouse Balloon” made it’s way onto a track and short circuited all the lines from Admirality to Quarry Bay. So, I can understand this one.
But then you have this one…
No Orange Trees.
Even the briefest encounter with Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, will make you wonder, “what’s with all the orange trees?” They are a fairly integral part of traditional Chinese celebrations for the New Year. This comes from the similiarity of the Chinese word for “tangerine” to the word “luck”. Also, the Chinese word for “orange” is similiar to the word for “wealth”. Therefore a gift of orange or tangerine tree is like wishing someone “an abundance of happiness and prosperity”.
So why the ban on orange and tangerine trees on the MTR? I took a look through the MTR website and couldn’t find much on this, so I’m going to assume that it’s because the MTR management is worried that oranges will fall off the trees and then some tai tai will step on them and start screaming “Aiya! My Christian Louboutin’s are ruined!”
Next we see this one…
No Candles and… Insense Sticks, I think?
It goes without saying that the last thing you’d want on a crowded rush hour MTR is someone lighting up candles or incense… I think those 3 sticks in the middle are incense. They could just as easily be Roman candles or tiki torches from the look of it. One would think this would fall under general, year round common sense, “don’t light fires on a train”. Given that there’s an actual sign being put up for it, it’s hard not to imagine that some buffoon must have tried this at some point or another. Hence, the need to warn others.
Last, but not least we have…
No Roasted Pig
What Chinese New Year celebration in Hong Kong is complete without a Cantonese style roasted pig. This is, by far, one of my favorite traditional dishes in Hong Kong. If someone has a roasted pig served up, you can be sure that I’m geting seconds, and thirds, maybe fourths. But what gives about not letting these on the MTR?
Of course we all know that eating and drinking is not allowed on the MTR, but carrying food frm place to place is usually not an issue. While I could imagine someone getting impatient and ripping into one of these roast pigs right ont he MTR, I doubt that would be very feasible.
I guess one can imagine it must be because these are already kind of awkward to carry. You have to carry them flat, can’t just plop this on a seat. Plus, if it’s not a suckling pig you’re carrying, that mofo is going to be one big slab of meat. I’d imagine it would only be a matter of time before the guy holding this, loses control and drops it all over some tai tai’s brand new Chanel outfit.
In either case, we wish you safe travels on your holiday, whether you’re heading on the MTR to visit family and friends or taking a different mode of transport.
Happy year of the Rooster to all! Gong Hei Fat Choi!
I didn’t make the connection until I saw a poster in the MTR that suspiciously seemed to hint at an interesting piece of inspiration that blew my mind. Read the full story.
ok, I admit, it didn’t blow my mind, but it did make me go “hmmm.” Is it just me or does this poster make Moana look like an animated remake of the Kevin Costner movie Waterworld?
I saw this ad in the MTR today and between the trimaran looking canoe, the big hero guy and girl with grit buddy combo, and the floating city of dudes chasing them across the ocean int he background, it totally made me think of that Kevin Costner film that many remember as being his biggest box office bomb. In recent years, though, I’ve heard it’s been getting a bit more respect amongst film appreciators.
In either case, compare the above MTR poster to this screenshot from Waterworld.
A bit of visual similiarity, wouldn’t you say? Plus the trailer seems to showcase some story similiarities as well. From what I gather from the trailer, the plot seems to be:
A woman searches across the vast expanse of seemingly endless water for the key to saving civilization, only to meet a reluctant, but legendary hero who helps her battle an ocean-bound, naval army of maniacs, among other obstacles.
Kind of sounds like the basic plotline of Waterworld (minus the whole fish gills, drinking your own pee, and trying to find the one last island on earth, bits though).
So, of course, it’s not a remake, but it would be interesting if there actually was at least some borrowing or inspiration taken from the Kevin Costner
classic. Not unusual to think, considering that Disney has done this kind of thing before. Afterall, The Incredibles was pretty much The Fantastic Four meets a James Bond movie.
In either case, it looks like a fun ride and another good addition to the Disney Princess movie tradition. I’ll be sure to check it out, but you can be sure that I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for some easter eggs.
That awkward moment at a coffee shop when someone is sitting right over the power plug and you need to reach under theirs legs to plug in or pull out your cord.
I was at Starbucks doing a bit of writing and internet cruising on my computer, while enjoying my overpriced cappuccino. I had my laptop connected to a nearby plug at ground level and had been comfortably hogging it for more than an hour as I, ever so slowly, sipped my tall size coffee.
I needed to ask her if I could sneak in underneath her legs to get my cord. Only problem was that the lady was right in the middle of a hot coffee date. And the guy who she sitting with had her full attention, enthusiastically chatting her up a storm.
I couldn’t understand more than a word or two of what he was saying, as he was talking fast and furious in Cantonese. I could only assume it was an amazing story though, just by the sheer excitement in how he was telling it, with body language to match.
Whatever story he was telling, I got the feeling he was determined to impress this lady and believe me, he was succeeding. She was completely enraptured by this story, whatever it might have been.
Meanwhile, I was sitting there, waiting for a stopping point of some kind to intercede, but there seemed to be no stopping this guy’s flow. He was firing off words like James Joyce on amphetamines. For those unfamiliar with the works of James Joyce, check out this clip from the classic film Back To School from 0:42 onward for a taste of what I mean.
Being that it would be kind of awkward to interrupt this couple during their moment, I decided to stall my plunge downward to retrieve my cord. I started slowly, but steadily packing up all my things. As I did, I was hoping that, by the time I had finished wrapping up my odds and ends and shoved them into my backpack, I would finally get my chance at making a congenial interruption, with as little awkwardness as possible. Unfortunately, I had no such luck…
I sat there with powercord half wrapped in my hands, looking over at them with this “hey, I don’t mean to interrupt” look on my face, patiently waiting for them to notice my eyes burning into their faces, but nope. They were in another world. A happier world. A world without being trapped from taking their powercord from underneath a pair of legs while the nonstop blossoming of true love was taking place above the table.
Eventually, my patience wore thin and I had to take action.
I tapped on the girl’s shoulder, while the dude was mid-sentence. Surprise registered on them both instantly as she turned to find this random westerner stealing away this girl’s attention. Immediately, I was like “hi, excuse me, sorry, but I need to, down there, my cord, the plug, really sorry about that, thanks!”
Realizing what I was asking, the lady moved her legs just enough in order for me squeeze down underneath her. And so I contorted my body downward to try to take this cord from under her legs as unsuspiciously as possible.
When I rose up, trimphantly, cord in hand, I saw the face of the guy. His facial expression was brief, but definitive. No doubt in my mind, this guy was saying to himself “hey, I was the one that was supposed to get in between her legs.”
So I just give him this look back like “geez guy, what you want from me?” I mean, let’s be real. I gotta do, what I gotta do.
I didn’t say another word. I finished packing up and rushed out like a thief in the night, leaving them to awkwardly continue their date. I could tell that I must have spoiled “the mood”, but I do hope he managed to get back on his game. I mean you had to give him credit. He must have had one hell of a story that he was telling.
Still, let this be a lesson to all coffee daters out there. If you want to make the best impression, before you start telling her the story of the century, or reciting heart melting poetry, be sure to take a second to make sure your girl isn’t sitting on some other guy’s cord first.
Define “Awkward”: two female cleaning ladies having a spirited argument in Cantonese right in front of the men’s bathroom door, completely ignoring my pleas to get past.
Now you might say to yourself, “what’s the big deal? Just ask them to move out of the way.”
Believe me my friend, I tried, but these ladies were having it out and were not having any of my interruptions.
For those unfamiliar with the sheer power of old Chinese ladies in full out argument mode, check this article from the SCMP out.
I know that was in Mainland China, not Hong Kong, but those ladies argued for 8 hours straight until they passed out on the street.
The two aunties in front of me didn’t seem to have the same reckless abandon, but in a place where “face” means everything, no one goes down without a spirited verbal fight.
So just to give a little background to my own situation, it was right before the holidays. I was doing some last minute running around. Extra long lines had me holding it in for a while. Once checked out and bagged, I ran upstairs to the luxury section of stores. The bathrooms there tend to be clearer and less lines, but of course more hidden from plain sight.
After finally a bit of maze deciphering, I finally discover the entrance to the bathrooms, only to be confronted by this obstacle; two old Chinese cleaning ladies in a full on argument.
Using my observational skills and very rough Cantonese, I could only surmise that they must have been arguing about wash clothes, of all topics. Now they could have been arguing about a man, about politics, or post-brexit economic strategies for all I knew, but they were waving around wash clothes like you wouldn’t believe.
And there I was, arms full of packages and desperate to go through to relieve myself. I tried saying “excuse me”. I even tried an “Mm goi!” I was ready to try in Italian, Spanish, and even throw in a “sacre bleu!” if I thought it would help, but these two ladies didn’t seem ready to hear me in any language.
Plow through them? Yeah I could have tried that, but two things to keep in mind.
1. I was using much of my reserve energy to “hold it in” if you know what I mean. Afterall, I’m too old to get away with the pee pee dance. So I had to keep my cool and that takes some effort to look like you’re not making effort.
2. If there’s one thing you never want to do, it’s arbitrarily step in the middle of any fight, regardless if it’s about a man or owed money or wash clothes, as this one seemed.
I later came across this article about strategies and tactics to use when trying to break up a fight.
Regardless, I had to deal with this situation as best as I could muster. The next washroom was a long pee pee dance away.
So I calculated how much reserve energy to redirect without wetting myself, fired the vocal thrusters and let out a last chance “Mm Goi Siu je”.
The two ladies heard this time. They turned to me and looked at me with a combination of “stupid Gwalio” and who are you calling “young lady?”
They parted out of the way and I rushed through into the bathroom, just in the nick of time. So crisis averted and I was soon back on my way to getting ready for the holidays.
I hope all your holidays were as least awkward as possible. Happy new year everyone!