Thursday, 21 December 2017
Today we had a full program with the Minister. I started off the day by having breakfast at the Tokyo Station Hotel restaurant. They served a full spread of Japanese breakfast. It was my first time having a Japanese breakfast, I wasn’t really sure how to eat the various dishes, so I just had a bit of everything.
Our transport, a Toyota Alphard, was waiting for us at the hotel lobby. We picked up the minister and headed to our first meeting of the day at the JR Central HQ.
We met Mr Shukuri Masafumi, Chairman of International High Speech Rail Association (IHRA). Shukuri-san and his colleagues gave a briefing to Minister Nancy on the role of IHRA and the advancements made by the Japanese shinkansen.
In the afternoon, Minister Nancy went back to her hotel to rest. I went for a quick lunch with my boss in the Ginza area.
We went for a nice stroll in the area before going for the next meeting. I am always amazed by how dense, yet very systematic and clean, Japanese cities are.
After that, all of us headed to Shibuya district to meet Mr Masaki Ogata, Vice Chairman of JR East. The meeting was held at JR East’s HQ. Ogata-san explained to Minister Nancy on what JR East does, their various innovative products (like the Suica – a smart card for travel) and also how JR East is leading the consortium for the upcoming High Speed Rail tender in Malaysia.
From Shibuya, we went for a courtesy visit to Japanese Minister Keiichi Ishii. He is the minister of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT). Minister Keiichi reiterated the Japanese interest in the Malaysia High Speed Rail project, and are open to further cooperation in matters related to transport and technology.
For dinner, we went to Samiyakiya Nishiazabu, a well known restaurant for its halal yakiniku (grilled meat) in Roppongi area.
Apparently it’s really famous among Malaysians too. There is a “Mahathir course” and even a note by the Malaysian Prime Minister on the wall!
After dinner, I had some time to myself. I went for a walk in the area around the hotel. There were some interesting night decorations in Ginza, especially given Christmas and the new year is just around the corner.
After all that walking, I felt like having a nice supper before heading back to the hotel. I spotted an interesting looking cafe, RL Waffle Cafe, at Tokyo Station. They served excellent waffles till late, with a nice view of the commuters passing by.