Hotel Service or why hotels in Israel are expensive

Was on business trip to both Tel Aviv and Osaka in February. I wanted to write I was surprised to notice the differences in service between hotels, but thinking more about it, it is not surprising, just annoying.

Comparing Tel Aviv Herods to Osaka New Otani:

  1. Price – Herods was 50% more expensive than New Otani !!!
  2. Service – Impeccable in New Otani.
    Quite bad in Herods with several examples:
    a. Room was not cleaned on my first night. Called and asked for towels. Someone came over, just gave me the towels without offering any explanation or apology
    b. Extended one night and paid, without getting a receipt for the payment. They were busy and wanted to serve customer behind me
    c. Breakfast was delayed
  3. When passing staff in the Corridor, I was greeted in New Otani while completely ignored in Tel Aviv. In Herods, the service cart was always next to the elevator even when the staff was not there, while in New Otani staff waited for me to pass before opening and entering the service room

As you can understand, I can go on and on to explain the differences, which makes me think again about different cultures, pricing and what I get back for my money .

Hotel New Otani Osaka, Highly Recommended !!!

No tourists

Was on a business trip to Osaka last week.

Although surprisingly the Shinkansen was packed, the lack of tourists was obvious.
Had 30 minutes to walk around Osaka Castle, but could hardly see foreign tourists.

Corona Virus is definitely taking it’s toll on Japanese Economy

大阪城
大阪城

My next Camera ? Fujifilm X100V

I have been very happy with Ricoh GR for street photography, carrying it with me all the time.

But as it is aging and new models coming out I considered moving to Ricoh GR3. Tested, compared to previous models, compared to Fujifilm X100f, but then decided to wait for the X100V.

It is out and looks quite impressive, and I want it so much.
Since I am on a business trip, will have to wait till I come back to Japan to test it and then make a final decision, but most chances are that I will buy it.

JLPT N1

(Just realized I did not blog about passing JLPT N2 and previous experience of JLPT N1)

I passed JLPT N1.
Maybe I should write “I barely passed”, but it does not really matter.
I passed JLPT N1.


When I passed JLPT N2, I told my friends that I plan to take N1 a few years later without studying as a way to measure my level, and so I did.
Tried once and failed. A few years passed so decided to try again. Had several books at home, but eventually did not study AT ALL.

This time it felt better than previous examination, but I had less confidence in the listening part than the previous time.

Delighted by the achievement. Not happy with the actual score, but have no motivation to do the test again.

Things you see in the train

Thinking more about it, not very surprising, nor strange. But it did intrigue me for a few seconds.

During morning rush, a woman in her 20s entered the train and stood with her back to me. I was obviously not staring at her smartphone, but did notice she opened Tinder, closed it immediately, then moved to the browser and closed most of the open tabs, some of which were well known porn sites.

As if she was “cleaning” her smartphone from last night activities.
I think I was mostly puzzled by the need to clean. Is it because she does not want to be embarrassed while surfing in the train, or is it that she does not want her co-workers, friends notice it. I guess it is the latter, but I will never know.

Cafe Staff

As I love Coffee and work very often in Cafes in Tokyo, it sometimes happens that I recognize and get recognized by Cafe Staff.
Only this morning I went to Tully’s in Tamachi 田町, and was greeted by a woman who works at another Tully’s branch. I recognizer her, and she recognized me as well.

She explained that she came to assist only today as they had personnel storage.

Again, amazing how I bump into people around Tokyo. A small Town

Book Publishing in Japan

Interesting numbers from The Economist about the Top ten countries for Book publishing.

As I believed for a long time, and now clear from the numbers, Japan is by far the biggest in book publishing per Million People. China and Korea are second and third.

Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell

Just finished reading Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell.

As always, written very well and triggers thinking, but I was missing conclusion and tools. It is obvious that we bring bias when talking to strangers, that we do not really know when people lie to us. But are there there tools or methods for us to re-asses the situation, slow down and handler it better.

Malcom starts and ends the book with the story of Sandra Bland, describes the mistakes that where done as well as the police policy change that contributed to the incident. I found this analysis interesting, but not helpful as I live and Japan and do not encounter such scenarios.

Could relate a lot to transparency and how we perceive other people which also connected to my past work experience.

While working in a small startup, I kept feeling that my opinion is being ignored. Another Group Leader’s opinion was usually winning, when I felt (and sometimes knew) he was wrong. I realized back then that the way we communicate, look, perceived, determined this bias towards him. While I was being appreciated for being Technically strong and usually correct, I could not move the company and people towards my opinion. At some point, the R&D manager told me he perceived my opinion as pessimistic. I was rather shocked as I did not perceive myself the same way. I could have said I am more realistic, but definitely not “pessimistic”. That was an important lesson to me as I realized that my communication style was perceived wrong, not only by strangers, but by the people I work with every day.

Many years passed since then, but I keep seeing bias in companies towards employees that may be more charismatic, create an aura of “I know what I am doing”, while in some cases it is the wrong path. Companies and people do not have tools to distinguish between the “real deal” to the Charismatic “False Prophet”.

Diverging a bit, Sabbatai Zvi was a false prophet who started as a super star, as the prophet of the Jews, but ended up converting to Islam and bringing hardship to many Jewish communities.
Do we have tools to recognize the “false prophets” around us, and protect ourselves and companies ?

P4 Programming

Going through the “Getting Started with P4” on AWS. Seems to work very well, but using a rather (free) weak compute node.

Originally written by Bruno Rijsman ; I was rather surprised there was no better guide, or rather a better tested Guide.

This exercise by itself is not very exciting, but it is obviously the first step to better understand P4 Programming and what it can do.

Will keep the blog updated as I progress

And there it is, the first update. Obviously the Free Tier Compute does not have enough storage to install all needed packages. Will have to use another resource for this exercise.