As of last night, I am back in New Zealand after my fantastic 2 month hiatus in Asia. My third trip to the region in as many years was rewarding as ever, visiting a while new set of cities from my usual base of Hong Kong.
Japan: Osaka, Kyoto, Fujikawa & Tokyo
China: Beijing, Souzhou, Hongzhou, Shanghai & Hei Feng
Most Epic City: Beijing
Though this was my third trip to China, it was my first trip to the capital and it was most definitely the most epic city I visited. Temperatures were between -10 to 5 degrees centigrade making it the coldest city I've been too. We had snow on the Great Wall which apparently is a rapidly deteriorating phenomena.
Beijing gives a completely different feel than most other large cities in Asia with it's circular city planning, extremely wide roads and relatively low skyline. The people there were extremely foreign friendly, especially when compared to say the Hanoi; the capital of Vietnam.
Did I mention it was cold?
City I Want to Return to the Most: Tokyo
I absolutely fell in love with this city. An amazing, vibrant and action packed place that, despite its size, feels and is remarkably safe. I need to go back to this city for at least a week as I'm only just scratching the surface. I did achieve my primary goal however; eating a plate of Fugu, the famous Japanese puffer fish (poison fish, poison fish, tasty fish!). Fortunately our good friend is moving over to Tokyo to become an interpreter so I may get to return sooner than I originally thought.
And now that I'm back...
It's time for the major announcement of 2009: I won't be going to management consulting at Deloitte as originally planned, but will instead be completing my Masters at Auckland University. Quite a few reasons led up to this decision, some of which I hope to discuss here at a later time. This however means I've got the opportunity to participate in other aspects of university life such as sitting on the committee for Spark (The student led entrepreneurship initiative on campus) and on the executive of our local Toastmasters chapter. More on both of those in the future.
So know that I'm back to technology I guess that means I should start writing again.