More Random Thoughts

I was in Taipei for the last few days. In many ways, it was really nice to be back to Motherland. My family and I immigrated from Taiwan to Canada more than 20 years ago and this was only my 3rd time back. I was joking with some of my Canadian co-workers that they probably knew Taipei better than me.

Knowing how to speak Mandarin, understand Taiwanese, and read Chinese characters certainly helped getting around in Taipei. It also helped with building business relationships. While visiting customers, I was told by my Taiwanese colleagues to present in Mandarin. Taiwanese customers warmed up to me pretty quickly and were impressed that I could speak good Mandarin.

Instead of flying to Tokyo on Friday, my destination for the final leg of the 16 day business trip, I decided to spend the weekend in Taipei so I could visit my extended family. I also met up with Jeremy, Winnie, and GCC Jr. from Go Curry Cracker. Mrs. T, Baby T1.0 and I met up with them in Osaka about 1.5 years ago, so it was really neat to see them again in person.

Just like when I met up with Jay (FI Fighter), Jeremy and I discussed a lot of FIRE related topics (Winnie was busy preparing for a talk for her book). Mrs. T and I imagined we would do something similar as GCC team so it was great to get some insights from Jeremy. It was also great to pick on Jeremy’s brain at length on how he grew his blog and what he did to gain more media exposure. Jeremy was very open and gave some excellent tips.

Jeremy, Winnie, and I also talked about travels, living abroad, kids, kids’ education while traveling/living abroad, and many more. The GCC team invited me to their place so I could check out what kind of apartment you can get for $1,000 US per month. I also shamelessly accepted a free lunch from them. 😀

Had traditional Taiwanese food one evening
More traditional Taiwanese food
Ferris wheel in Taipei
Sashimi dinner in Taipei. Yum!

The FIRE concept seemed to be getting more and more exposure in media around the world. The other night I was flipping through TV channels before going to bed (a novelty for me since we don’t have a TV at home). One of the shows was about a Taiwanese ex-CEO that retired at age of 45. He worked for 23 years and raised to the top but decided to retire early. Some interesting things from the short segment that I watched:

  • The ex-CEO said retiring early was like removing “golden handcuffs” from his hands. He felt free and liberated after leaving work.
  • He emphasized that one must find his/her life purpose in early retirement. You can’t just sit around watching TV all day long. You will get bored very quickly.
  • In early retirement, you have more time to learn new things and pick up hobbies. Focus on filling your life with new knowledge, that’s how you can grow as a human being. For examples, the ex-CEO published a few traveling books, learned how to play guitar, and often performed on the street with his guitar.
  • After couple years, the ex-CEO was amazed how he found time to work during his working career. There are so many things to do each day in early retirement.
  • The ex-CEO also encouraged people to think outside of the box. Don’t follow the traditional thinking. Go outside of your comfort zone.

Interestingly enough, same ideas also popped up during my conversation with Jeremy and Winnie – the ability to manage your time and decide what you want to do with your life. Why take a 2 week vacation to go to Europe when you can spend 3 months in Europe?

Japan is one of my favourite countries to visit. It is one of the Asian countries that felt at home. Streets are clean, people are friendly, traffics are orderly, and food is fantastic. I am staying in Yokohama for the next few nights. Although I have been to Yokohama many times, I have never stayed in the area. Therefore, it was neat to walk around Sunday afternoon. Yokohama definitely had a different vibe compared to Tokyo. Although still a big city, it was way less crowded in Yokohama.

Gotta have Ippudo ramen while in Japan!
Ferris wheel in Yokohama
Sake by the bottles

Although I’ve been to Japan many times, I finally had blowfish for the first time. It really reminded me of the Simpsons episode.

Blowfish shabu shabu
Blowfish sahimi. Yum!

It has been a long business trip. Only a few more days to go. I can’t wait to go back home and sleep in my own bed. 🙂


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26 thoughts on “More Random Thoughts”

  1. The food really looks tasty and healthy :p even I’m planning the trip to Yokohama from a really long time. Japan is really an amazing place to spend time, especially the food you can have there. Since I’m a foodie; I love every place where you can have tasty and healthy food. Thanks for sharing the photos man, it feels so awesome to see. Will definitely try to go Japan as soon as possible.

  2. Great when you can combine business with pleasure. Even when it puts some burden on your personal family life.

    Meting other bloggers is always great. You get to share ideas and can learn from them.

    The CEO story is really nice. IT is a great summary of what FI is about.

  3. One thing to consider if you plan to travel extensively (before or after retirement) is the pros and cons of owning pets. This is something that is difficult to manage unless you have cooperative and helpful family. Kennels/dog sitting gets expensive and transporting a couple of dogs is time consuming and also expensive. The documentation required by some countries is unbelievable, even the ones that have many homeless and stray dogs.

  4. So cool that you got to meet up with Jeremy & Winnie. They have a great blog.

    Agree with the lessons from that CEO turned early retiree. You have to find the passion or early retirement is just going to be as meaningful/meaningless as your life was when you were working. Early retirement gives you the time and space to work on your life’s purpose…but it doesn’t automatically give you a purpose.

  5. Japan just seems wonderful. I’ve never been but there is something about the culture and the environment there that is very enticing. Sounds like it was a great trip and glad you’re still kickin’ after the blow fish!

    • Japan is one of my favourite countries. It’s super safe, super clean, and people are extremely helpful and polite. Still kickin’ after the blowfish. Phew!

    • I guess it is pretty neat to eat fancy food and stuff. The blowfish dinner was over $150 US per person. The portion size was pretty small, I was still hungry afterwards haha.

  6. Awesome man! I love Japan too! Haven’t been to Taiwan yet but can’t wait… I here it’s a slightly more affordable version of HK, in a sense, haha.

    That Simpsons episode was epic!

    Glad you are finding the right balance and way to enjoy your work travels by mixing in a good amount of play.


    • Taiwan is a more affordable version of HK for sure. You can eat for quite cheap if you’re looking for Taiwanese food. Of course, you can get some ridiculously expensive food in Taiwan too.

    • I wasn’t too concerned with eating blowfish (or puffer fish as some ppl call it) given the restaurant specialized in blowfish dishes. The entire meal was different parts of blowfish.

  7. Yokohama now huh? You *must* be having a great time!

    I haven’t been to Yokohama for years, but I remember some good times when I did visit. To me, it all seemed part of the Tokyo-megatropolis…with a slightly more chinese vibe. But the food was good. Can’t complain about that.

    I still need to visit Taiwan someday. I’ve got a school buddy that lives there now, but there’s just so many great places to travel!

    • Yokohama is a part of the Tokyo-megatropolis for sure but less crowded and crazy from what I have seen. I have been to Yokohama many times but haven’t stayed here before. It was nice to not having to get on packed trains every single day. 🙂


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