30th November 2016
Traveling up floor by floor, it’s hard not to be enticed by the carefully arranged products on wooden shelves and in glass cabinets.
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7th October 2016
Last week, friend and colleague Irwin Wong and his wife Asuka welcomed their beautiful baby girl Alicia Kanae Wong into the world.
Visiting them in the maternity hospital was a quintessential “only in Japan” experience.
Irwin met me at the station and led me through the back streets to an unassuming tiled building, with a surprisingly lavish entrance full of statues.
I snapped a quick photo as I thought that was a bit odd, but was not prepared for what was to come.
The rest of the interior looked like the Disneyland Hotel. Ornate furniture, more sculptures, and piles of lace everywhere.
It was surreal, but when I met Asuka and Alicia their room definitely felt much less clinical than the typical hospital room.
Apparently there is a deluxe suite akin to the Versailles Palace, complete with Victorian era costumes you can dress up in!
Irwin and Asuka were invited to a dinner with the other new parents on one of their first nights there, and just to add to the layers of bizarre, they were served their meal on fine china bearing the United States Presidential Seal (photo from Irwin).
It was kind of hard to take anything serious in such an environment, but Alicia has now moved out of the hospital and is back home with mum and dad.
I can’t wait to see what kind of person she grows up into under the direction of her talented and loving parents.