Thepans Japan 2017

The trip we have all been waiting for. We head to Japan and will be at Osaka and Kyoto. There will be lots of sightseeing, shopping, food and cultural immersion.

Rather than doing a big blog post, I’ve been journalling our journey in Instagram instead and here is the full collection of our best photos.

KONICHIWA Japan! Much excites! #ThepansJP2017 #cleopan #clarapan #cliepan

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

A few lovely photos of #cleopan that was on Pearls phone. #ThepansJP2017

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Kids hungry so parents become foodPANda delivery service. #ThepansJP2017

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Breakfast. #ThepansJP2017

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Ive always wanted to stay in a proper legit Ryokan and this trip to Kyoto, our stay is the highlight. To book for our family of 5 is not so easy and Ryokan is also charged per head, it all adds up to quite a bit. I took too long to choose, then there are only a few left I could book and Im glad my top shortlist Yachiyo was still available. Our room is called Honkan (yes its true) I remember when I was young, my parents would bring us on trips and create wonderful memories and knowing that they managed to provide that to my siblings and I, Ive always told myself I must also be able to provide my kids such trips to and to create good memories when they are young. So my kids have their grandparents to thank. We arrived today and was not disappointed. Very nice and how Ive imagined a Ryokan should be, the staff were also very professional and friendly. Past few nights Ive been telling the girls about what Onsen is and how they need to keep know the etiquette of a public bath in Japan and they freaked out. Their dad made them travel all the way to Japan to be naked in front of strangers was unfathomable. lol. I had my fun for a while as they were glad to realize it was a private bath. Im really looking forward to the authentic Kyo-Kaiseki 12 course Japanese dinner tmr in our Ryokan in our Yukata. But first, lets sleep. The kids all KO after their dip. Arashiyama tmr. #ThepansJP2017 #Kyoto #Japan #cliepan #clarapan #cleopan

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Glorious morning. #ThepansJP2017 #Kyoto #Japan #Ryokan #Onsen

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

We spent the whole afternoon at Nishiki Market. Lots to see and eat. We lunched thru our journey in the Market. One thing to note is that in Japan, always eat at the stall and get rid of your trash at the same stall, else its kinda rude to walk around with your food and there are no bins so always bring small plastic bags. Ice cream with mini rice crackers is the bomb. It adds that much needed texture kick to an ice cream. Kids found Daiso branded clay and they went crazy and almost emptied the shelves. Apparently it is a much sought after ingredient to make slime with the perfect viscosity and the slime wont turn to muck or harden. The whole Singapore no more stock already since Jan 2017. #ThepansJP2017 #Kyoto #Japan #cliepan #cleopan #clarapan

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Simple day today. We left Kyoto via Shinkansen for Osaka and everyone was amazed at how fast it was as the normal train to Kyoto took quite some time. Dropped off our luggage at the Hotel and headed for Kuromon Market to have lunch and check out the giant crab legs and seafood. We then walked to Denden Town to checkout the toys. Clara bought a bunch of cute Japanese figurines. Cleo got a few too and as a bonus I found a Star Wars Scout Trooper which Ive always wanted but too lazy to order. Went to Gram with the hopes to try they super fluffy pancakes but they only sell 20 sets every 2 hours and we were there at the wrong time. Anyway, headed back to the hotel and had a simple non Japanese Dinner. Pizza! Ok, time to do laundry and get ready for USJ tmr. #ThepansJP2017 #cleopan #clarapan #cliepan #Osaka #Japan

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

USJ day in Osaka. Cleo and Clara wore their onesie for the whole day and felt totally comfortable in it. It looks fun and was also functional in the cold. We eventually did not get the express pass as no one really take rides in the family. Lets just say all the rides we took had < 5mins queue. Think Tea Cup / Merry Go Round. The most exciting one would be the one Cleo and Clara *yawn* took *yawn* have you seen the angle of the steep slope!! Harry Potter world was quite amazing. The whole place felt out of this world. Jaws was meh. Felt like lots of seafood. Jurassic World had a super scary ride and we were so entertained just looking at people screaming. Jaws felt like a big seafood area and Backdraft section knew their swing music. :) Minion world was colorful but not really our thing. We walked pass the rest briefly. Tiring day but we felt like Good parents. #ThepansJP2017 #cliepan #cleopan #clarapan #japan #osaka #UniversalStudios #USJ

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Started the day with waffles for brunch at Namba Wall then took a train to Shinsaibashi to Shop. Daimaru, 7 floors of Tokyu Hands where we went crazy only to be followed by 3 floors of Daiso. Walked a lot more and slowly walked back to Namba where our hotel is. Kids at the Cup Noodles they made at the Cup Noodle Museum and we parents went out to eat random local food. I had raw sea urchin for the first time and it was in a bowl of low grade raw stuff and rice. Ewww… lol. Had to get back to hotel to have MY Cup Noodle which my eldest Cli caringly made for me complete with chopsticks, wet wipes and a bottle of water. ?????? Ok now to shower and sleep. Tmr we gonna split up and me and the kiddy girls will go Denden Town again and the big girls will do their girly shopping. #ThepansJP2017 #Osaka #Japan

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Last minute shopping day started with Ice Cream for breakfast. We spent most of the day at Bic Camera knowing that our luggages are bursting at he seams. Cleo and Clara really like their Gachapon (that put money in then turn turn to get a capsule ball surprise). Clara was amused to see an adult also so excited about it. I bought a smartphone gimbal (stupid me, should have bought it at the start of the trip). That is the final thing I bought for myself on this trip which totals at 2 items lol. The other was a Star Wars Scout Trooper figurine which Ive been looking for ages. Last bite at Namba with Osakas famous octopus balls and we are off to the Airport heading for home on a red eye flight. #ThepansJP2017 #cliepan #cleopan #clarapan #Osaka #Japan #Namba #BicCamera #travel #holiday

A post shared by Nicholas Pan (@nickpan) on

Till the next trip.

Heyday Vintage Jazz Lounge Shanghai

Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China

Was in Shanghai for a week for work and really wanted to get some Jazz. Firstly went to The Jazz bar at Peace Hotel as it was at The Bund and my colleagues and I wanted to go there anyway to check it out.

The Jazz Bar at Peace Hotel, Shanghai
The Jazz Bar at Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Oh man… The Jazz Bar’s Old Jazz Band was really old. Kudos for playing live music for so long, but it was not something I had in mind. Thank goodness for a soulful female vocalist that saved the night with classics from Old Shanghai Jazz. I could see quite a few senior ladies really enjoying themselves and dancing to the music up front and that brought a smile as I could sense the joy they had.

In short… its kinda old for me… I’ll skip it.

A friend of mine then recommended a place called Heyday. I looked it up Baidu (because no Google in China) and the web design / look and feel was right. It had that 20s Art Deco feel. Yes we had to check it out.

Colleagues and Friends
Colleagues and Friends

We went on a Saturday night not expecting much but we were just blown away. The Pianist from Israel, double bassist from Korea and drummer from Brazil were out of this world.

Heyday Jazz Lounge
Heyday Jazz Lounge

The vocalists were also superb. Song after song, solo after solo, my feet can’t stop tapping along and you can see from the crowd, cheers and applause, it was a great night. The musicians gave their all, cracked jokes and really engaged an interactive audience.

I put together a short footage to capture the feel of Heyday. Too wonderful.


THIS PLACE IS MAGIC! If I wanted to open the bar, this is it!

Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin
Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin
Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin
Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin

We stayed till the bar close down. TWICE. It was that good. I was there 20th May 2017 and again on 23rd May.

Heyday Bartenders
Heyday Bartenders
Good Night
Good Night

It was a really good night and I think I’ll have to come to Heyday again whenever I come to Shanghai. Everyone needs to go to Heyday.

Heyday Jazz Lounge
50 Tai’An Road (near Xinguo Road)
泰安路50号,近兴国路
P: 6236-6075
W: http://www.heydayjazz.cn
F: https://www.facebook.com/heydayjazzshanghai/

WPP StreamAsia 2014

Stream Asia 2014
Stream Asia 2014

I had the privilege to attend the by invitation only StreamAsia 2014 unconference which happened at the Berjaya Langkawi Resort in Malaysia.

Named by WIRED as ‘one of the world’s best tech conferences’ and described as the ‘Bilderberg of Advertising’ by the Guardian, Stream is the WPP unconference.

My Makey Makey session on the Big Board
My Makey Makey session on the Big Board

The key of any unconference is participation and I went prepared with a bunch of carrots and Makey Makeys to share how easy it is to connect the real world with the digital world. I represented VML Qais at this event, so was really looking forward to get to know more people, what better way then with carrots right. :)

A minute of silence for MH370
A minute of silence for MH370

But before we started the whole event, there was a minute of silence as everyone is still shocked my the tragedy of MH370.

Gadgethon
Gadgethon

On of the first events was the Gadgethon. Individuals each had 2 mins to demo a cool gadget and of cause I used it to demo the Makey Makey carrot piano setup and also marketed my unconference segment which was on another day.

There were some real cool stuff shared. Robotic arms, Smart homes, an remote droid thingy, etc.

WPP UnConference
WPP UnConference

The main meat of the unconference happened in tents on the beach. How awesome is that. Marketing professionals talking about really current issues and challenges faced by brands and marketers. There were also some really future thinking topics like how will online advertising be like in 10 years, many industries were covered, from Hospitality to Kids. Here is Jason Oke facilitating the discussion on Click Fraud. I also attended a session where we talked about the idea of reality TV funding our first Mars colony before Nasa can.

All these were done in berms, flip flops, shades and a coconut in hand. How classy.

The Tech Lab
The Tech Lab

There were lots of cool gadgets displayed at the Tech Lab which allowed everyone to get some hands-on. I think there were easily about 15 items on display including the Oculus Rift, Cubelets, many many different kind of mobile phones especially affordable smartphones from China, Interactive Digital Kiosks, an Instant Instagram photo printer and more.

I setup the Makey Makey to allow people to play Pac Man and Tetris. Here is a video of how the 5 player Tetris turned out. Real fun.

Google Glass Selfie
Google Glass Selfie

Finally I managed to try out the Google Glass. Its really cool, but I feel the technology is still very rough. Can’t wait for it to be mainstream.

Xbox One Demo
Xbox One Demo

Managed to get a demo of the Xbox One also from someone at Microsoft. I have to say the capabilities of this console is quite amazing and the amount of stuff it can sense is just jaw dropping. If I tell you It can sense your heartbeat would you believe me?

Stream's Got Talent
Stream’s Got Talent

There was also lots of opportunities for individuals to showcase their other talents. There was a band, an Opera singer, Powerpoint Karaoke, cooking and of cause drinks as well.

#StreamAsia 2014
#StreamAsia 2014

One of my favourite photo of this trip would have to be this one where I used some luminous paint and wrote the event’s hashtag #StreamAsia on me hairy leg lol.

It was an awesome experience and I manage to have real interesting conversations with many new people. An amazing feat as I do feel this is not what introverts do. Hope to get re-invited to this inspiring event.