Bangkok - Dice!

Dice space in Ari, coworking, coffee, games and lounge

I have passed by Dice!s door a gazillion times on the way to my beloved nail salon (Happy hours) few meters further down Ari soi 2. Judging by the entrance and claims about coffee / coworking, it stroke me as a hipster barista where entrepreneurs in rounded Oliver Peoples dropped by and debated business ideas over creamy cappuccino.

Once again, Jorge proved me wrong.

Dice! has a lot more to offer than coffee, in fact it is a whole building of amazing opportunities to work, play and chill at the terrace, where hipster parties are arranged on Saturday evenings. It felt like time travel to my beloved Stockholm, specially that day when Fer and me ended up in a VICE Magazine party thanks to some tickets I grabbed in the air, while being thrown from a mysterious van touring my hood, Södermalm. People wearing vintage, home-made projections, plastic cups and a cool crowd. We were too hangover to drink, but we def enjoyed the time and the chat.

Quite a lovely plan to wrap up a rainy Saturday, hanging with the locals.

View Post


Shibuya center gai「渋谷センター街」

If you give me 1 day in Tokyo, I'll take you to Shibuya. If you give me 1 hour in Tokyo, I'll take you to Shibuya. If you give me 1 min in Tokyo... It'll be Shibuya.

Tokyo is not a monumental city in the sense of Rome or Paris, where there are clear sights that one must see surrounded by charming streets and little corners, tucked away the crowds here and there, often by and for the locals. In Tokyo anything can happen, but you can never tell where, how or why. 

Tokyo is a magic tale where all the people you cross by, play a character.

View Post


Baan Khrua - la belleza de lo inesperado.

Baan Khrua neighborhood in Bangkok
Khlong Saen Saeb canal

Baan Khrua
Al salir de la casa de Jim Thompson decidí continuar caminando a lo largo del canal por el que había llegado allí, desde Ratchatewi BTS. Supongo que el tránsito de los barcos me llamó la atención, en contraste con las casas tradicionales cada una con embarcadero y barco propio, en cuyos porches pasaban varias familias la lluviosa sobremesa. Todo tenía un regustillo tradicional, pero en ese momento no llegaba a ser consciente de hasta qué punto.

En el mapa se ve un poco raro, la mayor parte del tiempo caminé a lo largo del canal.

View Post


El rey de la seda

Jim Thompson the king of thai silk
Ayer visité la casa de Jim Thompson, cuya vida es una de las más fascinantes del Sudeste Asiático. Quizás por ser una persona con empeño, visión y positividad me resulte un perfil tan inspirador al nivel del inimitable Rauschenberg. En un nivel abstracto mi propósito es similar: Divulgar, entretener y crear entusiasmo en Occidente, acerca de las maravillas que esconde Asia.
View Post


Ebisu「恵比寿西」- Daikanyama「代官山」aka the place to be

 A walk in the cool hood of Tokyo, Ebisu and Daikanyama
Ebisu, god of the fishermen.

If you've been following our steps for a while know it wasn't easy to find a place to live in Tokyo.

We started in Aoyama - damn so young, happy and optimistic about the future... But i couldn't read a word of Japanese yet - and had a background of other expat acquaintances living Kamiyacho or Shinagawa. But we kept searching for an apartment we liked aesthetically which was well connected to both Shimbashi (where I worked) and Yokohama (where Enrique worked). I clearly remember the day we visited Park Axis Daikanyama - just like with our apartment in Söder or my home now in Bangkok - I knew it was our place to be. Time went buy and every day, we grew more fond of the choice.

For you as visitor in Tokyo, it may not be so easy to find a hotel around Ebisu station (unless you can afford Westin) but if you do, man that's the perfect base to explore the city, connected to JR Yamanote, Hibiya metro line and various JR lines going North-South, making it easy to reach Kamakura or Odaiba. Walking distance from Shibuya, with a vibrant-yet-local restaurant scene to explore. This is the place to be.

The post today is a nostalgia walk, for all those who came visit us and an exciting portrait of what the beginning of this route can provide for the newcomers in town! You can also check out some more additional information on the dining scene of Nakameguro (also very close from Ebisu West exit) and how pretty it turns during hanami season (cherry blossom watching) which is superb here.
View Post


Izakaya「居酒屋」: The soul of Tokyo Friday nights

Izakaya friday nights
Friday night, at the Izakaya

My godfather visited Japan last week, with his wife and kids. The initial plan was for me to tag along and play local guide, but dates didn't work out as my work event in Malaga aligned with the only remaining week in their packed summer calendar. It did not matter though, I created a few condensed guides of our Tokyo highlights (Kamakura, Shibuya, Asakusa, Odaiba) and spoke with him almost on daily basis. Somehow his words would always transport me back in time, to various different experiences throughout the years and visitors.

We spent summer 2017 in Seoul and reserved took a long weekend to visit Tokyo. A very emotional experience as Enrique had not came back since we left in April 2014. In 3 super packed days together, we did a nostalgia journey to our favourite things - you may move out of Japan, but deep in your heart you never really move on from Japan.

Friday night, our friend Tomomi booked a table in a popular izakaya near her job. Eventually she got tangled at work - which is why you can't see her pretty face joining us at the table - but gifted us with an amazing opportunity to revive one of the best parts of our salaryman life, the Friday escape.

Japan like Korea, is a country with an amazing cultural heritage. Beyond arts and temples, one could highlight the high morals, taste for perfection, pride on a work well done and honorable behavior, which turn the tourist experience into the most amazing on Earth but the daily life into a high-pressure endeavour. A double-edged sword of all sorts.

When Friday comes, salaryman run to the izakaya - sometimes followed by the karaoke, like we did once... Get some skewers, secure cold beers or high-ball (coloured soda with whisky) and let the packed tiny space become noisier as their faces turn red. There are some famous places - like Ebisu Yokocho - but I find more interesting the real ones, that only those who work in the surroundings know well.

... and culinary advice
People planning their vacation sometimes contact me, asking about good restaurants, which I try to capture here. When it comes to Tokyo, the FAQ revolves around sushi places. The spectrum of Japanese cuisine is broad, with an unbeatable price for value and null chances of food poisoning. We always brought guests to experience sushi at Katumidori but in general,  my overall recommendation would be to would rather aim to use food joints in Japan to get a taste of the local lifestyle.

Restaurants in Japan are "themed" meaning that they often revolve around one single thing they excel on e.g. ramen, sushi, katsu-don (beef rice bowl), unagi-don (eel rice bowl), but you cannot have something else and definitely, you cannot change the menu options (swapping rice by greens is NG).

Given my culinary preferences (raw, green, wine) and my fascination for cultural nuances, izakayas aka the Japanese tapas bar are my favourite pick. Here you are almost expected to get drunk, while ordering from a picture menu illustrating a wider variety - grilled fish, chicken skewers, gyoza, salad, sashimi... If you come in a group, it is often possible to book a separate room to hang out with your friends, where you are allowed to spend as much time as you like - but hey if you have nobody, just grab a seat at the counter and chat with the other loners (pictured above).

Below two are authentic izakaya where my local friends took me during my visits to Tokyo last year. Hopefully you can squeeze them in and catch a glimpse of salaryman cooling down.

石志水産品川店 Shinshimizu Izakaya (near Shinagawa station) [MAP]
〒108-0074 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Takanawa, 3 Chome−26−33 京急第10ビル

魚真 渋谷店 Uoshin Fish Restaurant (near Shibuya station) [MAP]
2 Chome-25-5 Dōgenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0043

View Post


Thai made-to-order

Thai order made, Tuzani at Ari, Bangkok
Hace un tiempo, os contaba la historia de mi madre junto a mi visión acerca de las personas creativas (en un sentido abstracto), esas que están llenas de curiosidad, que no temen salirse de lo establecido e innovar.

Crecí junto a mi madre cosiendo desde casa, yendo con ella a la tienda de telas tanto que me conocían por el nombre y me invitaban a coca-colas. Quizás sea por eso, que entendiera muy pronto y muy claramente las 3 claves para hacerte algo a medida (y no fracasar en el intento):
  1. Conocer la forma de tu cuerpo, saber lo que te favorece (y lo que no) e.g. si estás plana, con espalda y brazos de nadador, los tirantes spaghetti no son lo mejor.
  2. Conocer tu estilo, evitar copiar lo que no encaja contigo. Ir con una idea lo más clara posible.
  3. Contar con imaginación para visualizar el resultado. En su defecto, probarte prendas de corte/tela similar para hacerte una idea de antemano.
View Post



Tokyo city lights

Sometimes in life we have to decide, to stay, to move. Sometimes in life we wonder, how things will end up. Sometimes in life we make the mistake to bother about others, what if they fail to understand. Should not really matter as long as we stay true to the voice deep inside, that one we can clearly hear when we are alone at night.

There is too much purposeless jealous mediocrity in the world. People who lack strength to do anything and shift focus into dragging others down, as extremely draining dark holes of energy. I have come to appreciate that such attitude shows correlation with some underlying psychological issue - light depression, insecurity... - that they don't have the guts to acknowledge, address or overcome either.  Nobody is lazy by nature, they just failed to find enough motivation for whatever reason.

This kind of people typically fill with envy, while failing to apprehend that the true value of experiences, that magic which got you there, often originates from struggles which were dealt with consistency, patience and curiosity. That the outcome of dealing with challenges, even when not fully positive will at least result on some learning. Any experience is valuable, as long as you learn the lesson it was meant to teach you.

On the other side of the spectrum, I feel deeply inspired but people who try, who dare, who do. They are the engine that moves the World.

Experiences and knowledge are not easily portrayed by the camera or shared in instagram - pillar of our society of inspirational imagery but to me, these are the most valuable assets we can reach for. Nobody can take them away from us. That's maybe while writing is valuable to me, as self-reflection but also as means to share my experiences hoping for others to leverage from them. As humans, this is all we leave behind right? Memories.

Today marks 2 years since my father left us all of the sudden, with a heart-stroke at his favourite beach.

Rest in peace, he was not an easy person, his soul partly broken by all the difficulties that he had to go through since early age. Back in the 1940s life was not exactly easy for a post-war half-orphan half-literate child from a tiny village in Galicia.

My father taught me the importance of the ability to look at ourselves from an outside-in perspective. It's key to achieve balance and success. Schools hardly train us in soft-skills or psychology, but I strongly believe it is critical to develop a way to understand and deal with our personality, as first step to manage and anticipate everyone else, of course. Both valuable in business and in life.

His life proves that anything is possible as long as you are committed to it, but that does not mean it will be easy...  Growth and comfort never coexist.
View Post


The ultimate Tokyo Sunday

The ultimate Tokyo walk around Shibuya and Shinjuku
As there's no picture which can capture it all, I'll leave you with our main tip... WALK THE CITY!

This map shows the first phase of our favourite Sunday walk ever  (avoid weekdays if possible):
  1. Start from Ebisu West exit where the statue is
  2. Find Ebisu Ichiban aka the street lined up with steel flowers
  3. Walk all the way up - reaching near to our former home, Park Axis Daikanyama
  4. Walk downhill and explore Daikanyama log road - brunch here is amazing.
  5. Then left, till you get to Daikanyama T-site and its lovely Tsutaya Book shop branch
  6. Walk along the main street, passing by Junie Moon aka Blythe heaven
  7. Continue straight and under so you reach the street that goes parallel to the train tracks
  8. Follow all the way till Shibuya station (West exit), reaching Hachiko and the crossing
  9. Then comes teen shopping at Shibuya 109 and the craze of Shibuya's Center Gai - best manicure in esNail if you are up for a beauty souvenir
  10. Remember the Katumidori Sushi branch located on the top floor of Seibu - best sushi ever
  11. With full tummy, it's turn for the cool Harajuku Cat Street - plenty of shops and an interesting atmosphere, much more welcoming that the usual glassy Asian mall

View Post


Nerds on fire: Comiket, Odaiba and summer fireworks

How I felt when realizing my family is visiting that weekend...

The lucky ones visiting Tokyo the weekend of August 10-12 get a chance to experience the summer highlights, all in one packed 11th of August at Odaiba , shown in this map.
  1. From Ebisu station, take Rinkai line and get off at Tokyo Big sight.
  2. Follow the masses to the entrance of Comiket, the main otaku event (10AM-4PM, August 10-12 2018) where you can both buy manga and watch some of the World's best Cosplay
  3. Once you've had enough, walk towards Odaiba, explore the area near the Rainbow Bridge where the fake Statue of Liberty is and some of the malls - Gundam may be renovated, but the wow factor remains untouched!!!
  4. Make sure to come to the seaside 1-2h before the fireworks start, grab your spot and wait.
  5. Enjoy the event and be patient trying to get home! Japanese fireworks are famous because of their complexity, beauty and length. Edomode is one of the best and most crowded!

View Post


Old to new to cool: Asakusa, Ginza, Roppongi, Naka-meguro

Today we explore the oldest, the newest and the coolest of Tokyo. Depending how early is your start and how much energy you've got for the walk, you can start either from Ueno or from Asakusa.

This map shows the morning route:
  1. Start from Ueno station, visit Ueno koen a park that often feels like a bit of time travel.
  2. Walk towards Kappabashi Dōgugai where local artisans perfect knives and wax models of food, great spot for souvenirs
  3. Continue the way towards Senso-ji - if you visit May, do not miss the Sanja Matsuri the Yakuza-run festival, where huge drums are played while mafia tattoos are honored - the main temple in Tokyo
  4. Streets around Senso-ji are quite crowded, but also amazing for traditional souvenir shopping.
  5. If you feel hungry, engage on the tabearuki aka Japanese art of snackin' on the road.
  6. Alternatively find some lunch in the old style restaurants around or take a quick walk to the Asakusa station for a quick subway ride to Ginza.
  7. Do not miss a chance to take a picture with the Asahi building right on the bridge. You could also keep walking and go up Skytree - but it felt a bit of tourist trap....

View Post
© dontplayahate. All rights reserved.