People stuffed onto a train in Tokyo, Japan – Video

Fortunately when I was in Tokyo, I didn’t have to experience the notorious peak hour rush on the public transport system. And looking at this video I’m glad avoid all of it. Here in Melbourne, Australia we have congested trains (that’s partly due to the prehistoric train infrastructure we have not changing anytime soon) but that’s nothing compared to literally being squeezed onto the train like in Tokyo.

In the video, you see people being groped and plied into any empty space possible on the train carriage. The train station staff certainly can’t complain they don’t get a workout during their working hours. Though I would question why you would get on a train like this – imagine its your next stop and your stuck in the middle. Surely you can wait for the next train which is 3-4 minutes away (Japanese punctuality at its best). On second thoughts, that may be as full. Oh well, that’s Tokyo for you

– Anth

Kiva Microfinance loans – Rethinking how we give – Video

For quite sometime now, I’ve been active on the Kiva Microfinance website and I thought it about time I share this with you. Kiva is a website where you can lend money to individual projects around the world to people or groups in areas such as health, retail, agriculture, business and much more. Once the loan requirement has been satisfied, then the loan recipient has a schedule of repayments they should meet in order to repay the assistance they have been granted.

Through the time you receive updates on the progress of the moneys’ effect on their lives and how the repayments are going. What sets Kiva apart from the usual charities, is that it’s not given to anyone in a laissez faire manner. But rather requires the overseas recipient to be responsible for creating their own success on the back of their ideas and resources available, where the money helps give the kickstart or boost for more success. To empower people rather than create dependency I believe is the way forward in sustainable world assistance and this is why after 50 Kiva loans, I’m still lending out to new great ideas.

Not not sound preachy, i highly recommend visiting http://www.kiva.org and to create your own change in the world – even if its a simple 25 USD dollar loan from your PC. You won’t regret it!

– Anth

By: Kiva

Tokyo Disneyland – Halloween 2014 – Own Video

I finally can start to publish some of my footage from my Asian trip to Japan and Singapore. And to start things off, any visitor to Tokyo will most likely be making their way to Disneyland and also neighbouring Disneysea. I must say it was pretty packed and from reports, the parks can be notorious for being overcrowded. Think long queues and time waiting around. So my thinking arriving after 5pm on Halloween, was that things would be more settled. But as you can guess, being Halloween it was chock-a-block. Being Japan, I didn’t mind and soon realised that any hope of going on one of the major rides was not going to happen. So wandering the park was pretty epic, to see the amazing Halloween sets and also even the stores, with their styling.

What I was fortunate enough to experience was the nighttime shows – the light parade where there were floats all in Disney characters in LED lighting, which went on for over 20 minutes. Followed by the Cinderella projection show on the main Disney castle – which is this video snippet. Being there for Halloween brought a new dimension to the already carnival like atmosphere to the park. Patrons were asked to dress up as their favourite Disney characters and I noticed a warning to guests (especially the female ones) for modest dressing. It would appear that the Japanese female youth like to dress with very high hemlined skirts and bordering risqué Disney attire – and of course Disney saw this coming. Apparently to maintain the ‘child friendliness of the park’ which is understandable. But anyway, with the little time I had there, it totally blew my mind into pieces and after the trip to Japan these pieces are still being put back together. A bit of Disney makes everything better it seems.

– Anth

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Japans’ Golden Route – Video

Having come back from Japan and still sifting through all the images (around 3,000 of them), words pretty much cannot articulate the scenery and experiences of being there. What can is a video I found, showcasing the areas of Japan which i visited – Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. A small snapshot of a new romance with a country I now want to visit again – more than ever.

– Anth

By: Discover the spirit of Japan – Japan videos

Sydney New Years Eve – Video

Last new years eve, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Sydney to experience the massive fireworks they put on. We booked tickets on a harbour cruise and had a great spot on the harbour. Caught up in the awe of the moment, I didn’t dare take any video – as i wanted to enjoy the here and now. I did take many photos though. So i’ll let another person show you what it was like – in this video.

Wishing you all a very happy new year!

My new years resolution: Be more carefree, adventurous, be daring to travel more often, enjoy every moment and develop a fresh start in a new career. and who knows, I even plan to visit Sydney again for next years NYE ;)

– Anth

World Expo Milan 2015 – The wonder of food – (Sponsored post)

Earlier in 2014, I had the privilege of being invited to a dinner hosted by the Italian tourism board at the elegant Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne. The occasion was to promote the world expo being held in Milan, Italy in 2015 and they definitely impressed invited guests from the diverse tourism and travel industry on the night. We met so many lovely people on the night who had amazing travel stories and insightful conversations, with many laughs along the way. I must extend my many thanks to the Italian tourism board for the privilege of my colleague and myself for being invited to such an evening.

Guests were treated to a banquet of italian traditional dishes, antipasto platters on the table and lovely wine – which continued throughout the night. The organisers certainly out did themselves on hosting such an event and soon we realised how sitting the night was for the theme of the expo. That was impressive enough, but then we were treated to a presentation about the world expo in Milan. Some organisers had flown out from Italy just to present on the night and explained the theme of this edition of the world expo – food. This is to be held from the 1st May 2015 to 31st October 2015.

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Centering around the motto “feeding the planet, energy for life”, the world expo site in Milan is divided into food groups (clusters) for the countries which are not hosting their own pavilions – such as fruit & legumes, spices, islands, arid zones, bio mediterranean, cereals and tubers, coffee, cocoa and rice. Whilst other countries who opt for their own pavilion will construct amazing sites of architectural beauty. Looking online at may countries’ pavilions plans the architecture is jaw droppingly amazing and showcases the uniqueness of each nation. The site covers over 1 million square kilometers, 60 pavilions in total and 130 nations represented.

Surprising to find out that Australia did not express interest to participate in the expo – especially considering the rich agricultural industry and also multicultural food scene in our nation. For Italy though, the theme of food is quite fitting where many people associate the country with its offering of culinary delights ranging from pastas, pasties, gelato and much more. My last visit to Italy was like eating my way through the country, tasting all the lovingly prepared food and diversity in flavours.

Expo: a Malpensa primo Airbus Alitalia con livrea ufficiale

The presentation went on to showcase the expo through captivating videos featuring Italian tenor Andrea bocelli and the landscapes of Milan. Finally concluding with a very clever initiative to encourage Italian immigrants and descendents to return back to Italy for the expo. The ‘Made of Italians’ Initiative provides special discounts, offers, free entry to museums and more for italians living abroad and also foreign citizens of italian origin. They have tapped into the large market of italians living in places such as in Australia and the United states. More information about this initiative can be found on http://www.madeofitalians.expo2015.org

After reading through various leaflets and information about the expo, it has certainly encouraged for me to make time to visit Italy again to immerse myself in the excitement and spectacle that the expo 2015 will be. A feast for all the senses and especially the tastes on offer. Speaking frankly and objectively, I would be delighted to encourage travellers to venture to Milan in 2015 during the expo to take advantage of this unique occasion of having the world’s plate all in one location. And at the same time to enjoy the wonder that is Italy.

My recommendation – Arrive in Italy for the expo with an empty stomach and leave the country with amazing memories and taste experiences of a lifetime. Buon appetito.

More information about the World Expo Milan 2015 can be foun on their official website: http://www.expo2015.org/en/

– Anthony

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – Real Madrid Stadium Redevelopment

Having visited magnificent Madrid and all its cultural charm, one landmark that stands out is the football mecca of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – home to the successful local Real Madrid football club. One of the world’s most valuable sporting clubs (and probably rolling in as much  money as it pays its players), they have recently released redevelopment proposals for the stadium to be completed by 2020.

Its futuristic design of the stadium wrapped by a large LED exterior will showcase video footage of the clubs sucesses, while inside will play host to a retail precinct and mixed use premises. Complete with a seamless retractable roof, the stadium is certainly ambitious emough to put forward such a plan in light of the economic situation in Spain currently. The project already faces an immediate challenge with legal matters, so whether this project comes to light will yet to be seen.