Archive for October, 2008

Zen weighs in

Friday, October 31st, 2008

He may not be old enough to vote, he may not be American, but Zen has an opinion anyway. Luckily, we only have to wait a few days to see if he got it right or not:

Today was an interesting day – I got a call to appear on one TV station for commentary on Japan at 11:30. Then later in the morning I got another call to be on a different TV station for commentary on Japan for a 12:00 broadcast. Luckily both studios were in the same building. What fun!

Besides Zen’s newest YouTube appearance, here are some interesting videos. Both are takes on the Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy):

Pretty Fly (For a Rabbi)

Pretty Fly (For a Jedi)

Softball hero Zen Hoflich!

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Today Zen went to his first-ever competitive softball game.  He plays for the Coconuts, a Japanese Kids Softball League team in Singapore, and he loves it.  Since he’s among the youngest on the team, he couldn’t play regularly throughout (and maybe he doesn’t really know all of the rules either), but they did let him bat once in a game that the team looked like it wasn’t going to win – hey, they were down 11-2 and it was the last inning.  On the first pitch he hit a foul, then got a strike, then he hit the ball square into the outfield!  He ran to first, and the kid who had been on third base ran home to earn a point (Zen’s first RBI).  The next kid up at bat hit the ball but was tagged out at first, so Zen didn’t get a chance to earn a point on his own, but it was really good fun nonetheless.

Action replay:

The Mighty Coconuts in a pre-game huddle

Naoko also has a Coconuts t-shirt

Zen with his good friend Haku

Plain Sunset

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I went to a fun media event tonight, and Singapore’s best original rock ‘n’ roll band Plain Sunset played. They were really good. They are the original line-up of the band, which recorded their first album Runaway in 1998 in eight hours. The band now has four CDs out, but is still not recognised in Singapore – although they got a lot of appreciation from the guests at the event that I went to tonight. Here are some pics and a video of the band. John Chan, the lead singer and guitarist of the band, did play an acoustic set earlier in the evening, although I didn’t get a pic of him. Sorry, John.

i bugged the guys to play “Cindy Crawford” from their first album, but they wouldn’t, claiming they “weren’t in practice.” Be on guard, guys!!!

Plain Sunset video!!!

Plain Sunset live at Zouk!



Me and Plain Sunset onstage for a picture. I’m holding a copy of their first CD after they’d signed it for me.

Long live Plain Sunset!!

New pics

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Wow, what a fortnight!  On October 9th we went to Brewerkz for dinner and a stroll down Clarke Quay and Boat Quay and past the parliament and to the Fullerton and the Merlion, then home late.  Saturday Naoko and her parents went off to Cambodia while I took care of Zen.  Saturday and Sunday we chilled out at home, and on Monday and Tuesday I looked after Zen while working from home. Tuesday night they came back, and early Wednesday I was off to Hong Kong for a business trip.  The weather was uncharacteristically good, and I had a nice mix of interviews, business meetings, and hanging out with a friend (and his 13-year-old son).   Got back, went to work on Friday and to do a TV spot, which was nice because it gave the Fujinos a chance to see that part of what I do.  Then to meet the Fujinos and Naoko and Zen at Clarke Quay again after work for a lovely dinner at Jumbo – lobster, crab, shrimp, beer.  Whew.  Stayed up late editing the DVD of their trip, and then to sleep.  They went to the airport with Naoko and Zen this morning, and then when Naoko and Zen came back we had a lovely family breakfast.

Dinner on Clarke Quay’s Brewerkz

Clarke Quay scenery

Neon Zen

Late night Merlion

A meaty stack of books

Bank balancing act with a little monk(ey)

Naoko and her mother in Cambodia at Angkor Wat

Naoko’s parents at Angkor Wat

Angkor sunset

Capturing the sunset

Khymer traditional dance

Naoko among the ruins

Hong Kong trolly

Hong Kong bus

The view from the International Finance Centre’s 55th floor


Last dinner with the Fujinos, on Clarke Quay again


Zen with his precious Hokkaido ice cream

Jii-chan and Baa-chan in Singapore part 2

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

I was busy this week, but Jii-san and Baa-san spent lots of time with Zen and Naoko:

They went to look at zen’s school one day.




Then they went to Singapore’s newest attraction: the “Asia’s Banking CEOs” display at Kinokuniya Bookstore on Orchard Road.


Then they went to Singapore Botanical Garden.


They saw the tree that’s on the Singapore $5 bill…

…and the beautiful National Orchid Garden.




Next stop: Cambodia!

happy wedding anniversary!

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

We got guests from overseas again, Naoko’s mum and dad. They came on Saturday afternoon. We spent the day cleaning and tidying, even Zen, and then at 2:00 they went off to the airport while I stayed at home doing more errands and working. Then they came out near 6:00, and the four of them took a taxi back here. We had a great dinner with lots of beer, sochu and gin ‘n’ tonic. They went to sleep not to late and I stayed up late working.

Sunday they went off to Bukit Timah Nature Park for a walk, and I worked. Then off to Zen’s softball while I worked. Zen got a new uniform, see the pictures below. After that, I took Zen to his swimming lesson, and then we went to Holland Village to eat Chinese food at Crystal Jade. Today is their wedding anniversary – 44 years – so it was an extra special treat. Went home, watched a bit of today’s videos, and then everybody went to sleep.

Dinner at Crystal Jade in Holland Village

Bukit Batok Nature Park

Zen’s first Basebal Uniform



Wednesday was a national holiday, so we went to Turf City, the former horse race track not far from us. No horses race there any more, and they’ve turned it into a sort of place where there are shops and restaurants. It’s quite run down, but it has its own charm nonetheless.

Unique Restaurant, with its fish tanks full of edible critters on display

Care for some shark?

Is this a tree or some sort of overgrown art object?

The clocks say 10:00 and 10:30, even though the picture was taken at 3:00.  If a broken clock can be right twice a day, two broken clocks will be right four times a day.