As a permanent resident who would love the chance to vote, but faces possible loss of citizenship (in a country where scores of my ancestors actually died and/or where brutalised for the chance to vote, and had it taken away from them for nearly a century), the amount of carrying on about something that will occupy at most 5-10 minutes of one’s day, is beyond bizarre and into the realm of insulting.

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Of all the years for me to miss the Parade…

83rd  ANNUAL MACY's THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE 20...

83rd ANNUAL MACY’s THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE 2010 – Times Square, Manhattan NYC – 11/25/10 (Photo credit: asterix611)

Those who remember this corner of the internet as Hikaruland as opposed to hikarublue may remember the infamous Thanksgiving Day Parade Post-Mortems, which have been absent since 2009.

Alas, the parade doesn’t air in Australia (indeed, why would it?), but I do miss it, particularly since it seems this year was a corker.

Matt Lauer faces Twitter storm of criticism for Thanksgiving Day parade coverage on everything from mispronunciation to his thinning hair | Mail Online.

Nonetheless, a Thanksgiving Day Parade post-mortem of sorts will be on air this Saturday at 9pm AEDT (that’s 10am GMT and 5am EST) on The Full Catastrophe on JOY 94.9 and JOY.org.au.

Too early for you? A podcast of The Full Catastrophe will be available by Noon AEDT on Sunday.

>A Long Time Between Drinks

>Well, it’s been over a month since I’ve updated this corner of the Internet, and the main reason why is not laziness, but concern for my company.

I could easily state that “my opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect my employer,”as you often see on many blogs or Twitter pages, but there’s a bit of an interesting twist when one is one’s own employer and responsible not just for oneself but the livelihood of many, ergo, I’ve opted not to say anything. (Believe you me, my tongue is now very swollen from all the biting.)
Next year, I will be launching (after much clearance with what I can and cannot say) a new Hikaruland, which will have a new title (also befitting my relocation to Melbourne).
For now, I would invite everyone to take a look at the 5 year run of Hikaruland, and please feel free to share your favourite posts.
It’s a new decade ahead, and I reckon it’s going to be a cracker.

>Constructing A New Normal *Censored*

>It’s been a tidal wave of change over the past few months. I’ve gone from being a semi-bohemian journalist and teacher’s spouse to an international CEO. As a result, I’ve found posting on this corner of the Internet nigh on impossible either due to time pressures* or due to corporate censorship (tragically, this is my own doing as I’m not going to do my own company over by my own words).

*(Oi! America, realise that a significant part of the world is 10 hours plus ahead. In other words, stop forcing me to be “on” at midnight when I need some sleep)

This new business normal I hope and pray will not be in perpetuity, because I believe in a passion both for and in one’s work. I believe wholeheartedly in what my company stands for and the ideals of its industry. I do not, however, have a passion for the details, nor do I like being vague when expressing myself. (Confused by that statement? So am I, yet it’s the best way I can safely express my opinion at this moment in time.)

So please bear with me.

The upside is that there are things I can talk about. One major one: the midterm elections. As a business owner, this Republican House is going to bugger things up for me. I cannot say much more than that, but just you watch. This lot is still believes in trickle-down economics.

Mind you, the Australian dollar hit A$1 = US$ 1.02 this morning, so I’m quite happy being in the Antipodes.

Location:Melbourne, Victoria

>Constructing A New Normal *Censored*

>It’s been a tidal wave of change over the past few months. I’ve gone from being a semi-bohemian journalist and teacher’s spouse to an international CEO. As a result, I’ve found posting on this corner of the Internet nigh on impossible either due to time pressures* or due to corporate censorship (tragically, this is my own doing as I’m not going to do my own company over by my own words).

*(Oi! America, realise that a significant part of the world is 10 hours plus ahead. In other words, stop forcing me to be “on” at midnight when I need some sleep)

This new business normal I hope and pray will not be in perpetuity, because I believe in a passion both for and in one’s work. I believe wholeheartedly in what my company stands for and the ideals of its industry. I do not, however, have a passion for the details, nor do I like being vague when expressing myself. (Confused by that statement? So am I, yet it’s the best way I can safely express my opinion at this moment in time.)

So please bear with me.

The upside is that there are things I can talk about. One major one: the midterm elections. As a business owner, this Republican House is going to bugger things up for me. I cannot say much more than that, but just you watch. This lot is still believes in trickle-down economics.

Mind you, the Australian dollar hit A$1 = US$ 1.02 this morning, so I’m quite happy being in the Antipodes.

Location:Melbourne, Victoria

>It Ain’t A Small World after all

>

“This is a pen” is the basic English phrase that many Japanese learn at school. It’s also a bit of a pun on the famous Magritte painting about a pipe. My time in Tokyo did feel a bit like a step into Belgian absurdity.

Having not really used my Japanese conversational skills in yonks, I was a bit nervous in resuming them, particularly since I was travelling a more Japanese tourist route rather than Western.

I say tourist route, but basically I mean going to and from Tokyo Disneyland.

Once again, I got socked with long lines, but this is mostly my own fault as circumstances found me going to Tokyo Disneyland on the weekend, when families, couples, and high school students all converge on the world’s only non-Disney owned Disney park.

If you do a search on YouTube, you can find many clips of the rides on tap at Tokyo Disneyland, and I must say, there’s a certain charm and precision at Tokyo Disneyland that’s lacking at the other parks. (Et tu, Hong Kong?)

Whether that justifies 3 hour waits for a Winnie the Pooh ride or a jacked up version of the Haunted Mansion, I’m not entirely certain. All I know is that Disney really needs to export the Tokyo DisneySea park to at least Florida, as that was the first Disney park I went to where it felt like it worked for adults as well as children.

But I digress. One of the things that has somewhat gotten me down in this unexpected Tour de Disney is that It’s A Small World seems to be shutdown at virtually every Disney park (except Hong Kong).

Tokyo? Shut.

Florida? Shut.

California? Shut.

(Were it not for factors involving my Chinese visa I would’ve been able to verify as to whether it was shut in France, but I reckon it probably was.)

Now, the ride admittedly is naff, but given what I’ve been through and the hassles of modern day travel, it would’ve been a nice boost to remember that we’re all the same.

I accept that as a writer, I have a tendency to see metaphors everywhere, and this one was written in bold and underlined twice: The World is really not so small anymore.

True we may be able to travel between in continents in half-a-day, but we’ve lost the sense of commonality. Travelling now for nearly 20 days, I get the sense that as someone doing a long trip home, I’m regarded with a touch of suspicion. Granted, 11 September 01 played a major role in this, but why is it so hard to get back almost a decade later?

Just because we have proof that humans are evil buggers, does that mean that we can no longer accept that we have (and that the vast majority of us are) decent people committed towards peaceful co-existence.

Apparently only in Hong Kong, which seems to be the only place where an American citizen permanently residing in Australia barely raises an eyebrow.

And the local Disneyland still has It’s A Small World.

Next destination:  If birthdates would determine where one should live then I should be living there as opposed to its (probably more fun) neighbour. It’s the Antipodean Canada.

>It Ain’t A Small World after all

>

“This is a pen” is the basic English phrase that many Japanese learn at school. It’s also a bit of a pun on the famous Magritte painting about a pipe. My time in Tokyo did feel a bit like a step into Belgian absurdity.

Having not really used my Japanese conversational skills in yonks, I was a bit nervous in resuming them, particularly since I was travelling a more Japanese tourist route rather than Western.

I say tourist route, but basically I mean going to and from Tokyo Disneyland.

Once again, I got socked with long lines, but this is mostly my own fault as circumstances found me going to Tokyo Disneyland on the weekend, when families, couples, and high school students all converge on the world’s only non-Disney owned Disney park.

If you do a search on YouTube, you can find many clips of the rides on tap at Tokyo Disneyland, and I must say, there’s a certain charm and precision at Tokyo Disneyland that’s lacking at the other parks. (Et tu, Hong Kong?)

Whether that justifies 3 hour waits for a Winnie the Pooh ride or a jacked up version of the Haunted Mansion, I’m not entirely certain. All I know is that Disney really needs to export the Tokyo DisneySea park to at least Florida, as that was the first Disney park I went to where it felt like it worked for adults as well as children.

But I digress. One of the things that has somewhat gotten me down in this unexpected Tour de Disney is that It’s A Small World seems to be shutdown at virtually every Disney park (except Hong Kong).

Tokyo? Shut.

Florida? Shut.

California? Shut.

(Were it not for factors involving my Chinese visa I would’ve been able to verify as to whether it was shut in France, but I reckon it probably was.)

Now, the ride admittedly is naff, but given what I’ve been through and the hassles of modern day travel, it would’ve been a nice boost to remember that we’re all the same.

I accept that as a writer, I have a tendency to see metaphors everywhere, and this one was written in bold and underlined twice: The World is really not so small anymore.

True we may be able to travel between in continents in half-a-day, but we’ve lost the sense of commonality. Travelling now for nearly 20 days, I get the sense that as someone doing a long trip home, I’m regarded with a touch of suspicion. Granted, 11 September 01 played a major role in this, but why is it so hard to get back almost a decade later?

Just because we have proof that humans are evil buggers, does that mean that we can no longer accept that we have (and that the vast majority of us are) decent people committed towards peaceful co-existence.

Apparently only in Hong Kong, which seems to be the only place where an American citizen permanently residing in Australia barely raises an eyebrow.

And the local Disneyland still has It’s A Small World.

Next destination:  If birthdates would determine where one should live then I should be living there as opposed to its (probably more fun) neighbour. It’s the Antipodean Canada.

>World Expo of Queues

>

As I write this, I’m actually in Tokyo, but before I delve into things here, I wanted to talk about Shanghai.

The purpose of the Shanghai stop was pretty much exclusively to see Expo 2010. See it, I did. See pavilions? I saw some.

Why only some?

The queues.

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there would be nasty queues at a major global event hosted by a country over a billion people, but it certainly did to me.

Everything had massive queues attached to it. Even the most obscure country’s pavilion that you’d think close to no one (at least in China) would have any interest in visiting had at least a 20 minute minimum wait.

I wish I was exaggerating for effect, but I waited 20-40 minutes to get inside the following pavilions:

– The Caribbean Community (which apparently now includes Guyana & Suriname)

– Kyrgyzstan

– Cuba (which was a bit of a letdown…architecturally stunning on the outside with a beautiful mural of Havana inside, but basically was a shabby stand selling rum and cigars on the inside)

– Slovenia (“I Feel sLOVEnia” is a brilliant slogan, and the wittiest one I saw…in English.)

– Myanmar (Everything’s peachy keen in Myanmar apparently.)

– Timor-Leste/East Timor (I saw everyone walking about with Timor-Leste bags, yet I couldn’t find a single shop at the pavilion.)

– Peru (A trippy journey up a metaphorical Macchu Picchu, and into a Peruvian restaurant.)

It was over an hour’s wait to get into these:

– North Korea (Quite frankly, there was no way that I was going to pass that opportunity, and North Korea had propaganda by the tonne on sale, yet all everybody wanted to buy were stamps and purified water.)

– South Africa (I’d like to cut the South Africans some slack since they did practically blow the national budget on the World Cup, but it was letdown after the exterior featured a very rousing quote by Nelson Mandela. Honestly, close to no mention about being a “rainbow nation?”)

– Venezuela (Full of rhetoric, but extremely moving Socialist rhetoric about equality and striving to improve economic disparity between the races. Coincidentally (or not), it was located next to the Cuban pavilion. The spirit of Chavezism took hold of me and I proceeded to order some empanadas from the staff at the pavilion’s restaurant in Spanish. The Chinese staff stared at me blankly in response.)

– Australia (“Come visit/invest in Australia! We’ve got natural resources galore and a multiethnic population the size of Shanghai.” That was the message I took away from the flashy Mandarin—subtitled in English—film at the Australian Pavilion. Mind you, the Australian Pavilion seemed to be staffed exclusively by Euro-Australians fluent in Mandarin.)

With those sort of waiting times, I didn’t even bother attempting to visit these pavilions:

– The USA (Although for once the US was making a serious effort at a World Expo. Apparently, Congress passed some law that forbids the US government from using money to do a pavilion, so our piss-poor previous efforts are the fault of corporate America being cheap. Amongst the sponsors this time around? Amway. I kid you not.)

– Iraq (located as far away from Iran as they possibly make it.)

– Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan (and every other -stan out there, save for Kyrgyzstan)

– The Netherlands (which was entitled “Happy Street,” and scene of some of the most vicious queuing behaviour I saw.)

– China/Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan (As much as I wanted to see any potential friction going down “One Country, Three Systems” street, I was not going to wait 4 hours in the sun for it.

Architecturally, this was an amazing event. Truly it was, I really will be keen to see what Shanghai will do with the pavilions after the event ends on Halloween.

As a visitor, however, this Expo left me feeling a little bit left out. For the most part, the pavilions were more about selling the country to the Chinese as opposed to the world at large. While China may be making millionaires by the second, it still somewhat contravenes the purpose of a World Expo–at least to my eyes–to heavily cater to one crowd as opposed to the world at large. Ironically, the organisers seemed to be selling the Expo to foreign visitors as a way to meet China and the World.

I think something got lost in translation.

It’ll be interesting to see what Yeosu (Korea) has in store for 2012.

>Shanghaied

>
As I type this, I am in Shanghai for the World Expo. I am not certain whether I mentioned this on this corner of the internet before, I considered myself a slight China-sceptic. Politically, I was always in the French vein of Socialism, not Chinese. China just seems to be growing and growing without abandon and that gives me serious pause for thought. Yet, actually being here in Shanghai, I am presented with a very cosmopolitan and just as important, ethnically diverse city. I think it if the government encourages this sort of growth, China will truly live up to the potential given to it. The word “People’s Republic,” is not just a phrase, it’s a genuine belief that I think a lot of countries should aspire to.

Now for the delay in posts. Well, I unfortunately fell sick in London and experienced an almost “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” style hospitalization at an NHS hospital. The illness (I’ll spare you the details, but it’s not serious) also reared its head in San Francisco and delayed me there. In New York and Los Angeles, I was stymied by my other job (again, I can’t be frank about that at the moment).

I believe that work and health will not delay me for the remainder of the trip. (Although that being said, the air here is not the healthiest in the world.)

The next stop shouldn’t be a major surprise to anyone who has followed this corner of the internet: it’s not Korea, but close by.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad