I was very fortunate to have the chance of catching up with a friend and his family in Japan during my stay in Tokyo. Not to mention the pleasure of bunking into a guest room at their apartment during the weekend – everybody knows how expensive the hotel rates are in Tokyo! I was initially expecting a (small) traditional Japanese apartment with cozy tatamis, but was only to be astonished by the fact that I was staying in Tokyo’s most expensive apartment! A whooping USD 18K is but only a month’s rental fee…..
There were at least 3 high-tech electronic gates that would prevent any unintended guest from getting close to the residential areas. No wonder this apartment is one of the favourites among Tokyo’s celebrated public figures.
Not to mention how fanciful the various function rooms, pet washing room (yes, there is one!) and car parks are. 90% of the cars parked at the residential parking lots were high-end sports cars, giving one the illusion of walking into a car exhibition showroom. To bring that jaw-dropping astonishment to the next level, there was an all-automated “valet” parking system which demanded nothing but only the driver’s press on the buttons in order to fetch his/her car from the underground lots.
And vroom vroom, we were all set to have a ride outside!
I have seen many dashing Ferraris flaunting themselves on the road, but have never thought of being driven on a coupé cabriolet before. Though I’m not a fan of these big boys’ toys, I was told that the particular model I sat on belongs to a limited edition version with only 10 other twin siblings in Japan.
Other than a plush blue Ferrari on Saturday, I was also being driven around on a black Porsche SUV on Sunday (sorry folks, I forgot to snap a picture of the Porsche…)
Accelerator stepped, engines roared, hardtop retracted, heads turned, momentary vanity granted.
On a less than 2 hours sightseeing trip, I could hardly say that I “have been” to the various key attractions in Tokyo. Literally, it was a sightseeing trip, as I did not manage to get down the car, except for a 5 minutes rest by the Tokyo Bay.
Did it ever cross your mind that there is a resemblance between the Tokyo Tower and the Eiffel Tower in Paris? That’s simply because an Eiffel-Tower-lookalike was what the Tokyo Tower was meant to be! Not very original yea? :P
Perhaps due to its juxtaposition to a modern surrounding, the vibe of the Tokyo Tower swings toward modernity. I look forward to witnessing the historic grandeur of the Eiffel Tower one day!
Standing proud as the world’s tallest till 2000, the Daikanransha (おだいば) still remains as one of the world’s tallest Ferris wheels after The Singapore Flyer and The London Eye.
Round and round it goes, up and down it goes, our Ferris wheel of life.
Guess who stays behind this mega high wall,
who has a driving range in his house,
who’s the most wealthy man in Japan today?
It’s the CEO of Uniqlo – Mr Tadashi Yanai.
I was surprised by this answer because one would expect the wealthiest family to be associated with one of those conglomerates like Mitsubishi or automobile giant like Honda. Interestingly, the reason these families (despite still being extraordinarily wealthy) fall off the richest chart is the punishingly high inheritance tax in Japan – up to 50% (especially on properties). The more heirs one has, the less each heir gets. Hence, one can easily imagine the magnitude at which old family businesses are split up, after going through public listing and a few generations of inheritance.
优衣库之所以成功，主要有两大原因。一是柳井正在创业初期看准了中国的低价服装制造业的潜力，迅速地在日本扩张其低价却品质不差的服装业务；第二则是柳井正的长远国际观。在国内业绩稳定的时期，他并没有因此而怠慢，反而加快脚步趁着全球化的趋势而迅速扩张国际市场。当今的优衣库已是全球第五大平价服饰品牌（在 Zara, H&M, Gap, 与 The Limited 之后）。
I’ve gotten a glimpse and a microscopic slice of the high life during my weekend stay. The best part of that? Is the realisation of what wealth can and cannot bring to one’s life. The more we own, the less we have. No doubt one should strive towards a higher standard and quality of life, but it does not mean the optimum is excessive luxury. Do we need to have driving ranges at home? Do we have to own a Airbus A380? Do we want to live in houses with walls that provide security level as high as prisons?
To each his own. But I guess ultimately everyone hopes to live a carefree and contented life which glitters in its own unique way, and that we would have no hesitance in riding through the entire journey all over again. :)