Not enough popcorn in the world to read this exposé on

Let’s just say that if almost everybody tells you not to write your website in Perl and you still insist on it, then you deserve all of the consequences of that decision.

But they seem to be making so much money than most of the dysfunctionality in the article does not really affect the company.

As the blisters develop and his feet start to bleed, Walton asks the right questions. What are the human and environmental costs of Singapore’s success, and are they sustainable?

His conclusions are more nuanced than either Singapore’s detractors or its cheerleaders would like. The island’s vaunted meritocracy is imperfect, especially seen from the perspective of its Malay and Indian minorities; and the pressures on citizens to perform and conform are so intense that those who do not fit in sometimes opt for voluntary exile.

Not having walked the length of the island (which sounds amazing) but talking about Singapore from afar, I came to many of the same conclusions. Still a fascinating place in so so many ways.

Packing List

I used to travel between the Netherlands and Germany at least once a month and pretty quickly I grew tired of forgetting things. That’s why I made a list (in bold, comments added) with the things that I should take or at least consider taking. Whenever I pack my bag, I quickly scan the list and make sure I’ve covered the bases. Maybe it’ll be helpful to you as well.

This and clothes go into a Patagonia MLC bag.

Take knife off keychain

I’ve forgotten to do this more than a couple of times. What makes it weirder still is that TXL/SXF will allow me to fly out with a Swiss army knife but most other airports will not allow me to fly back with one.


These are things that are irreplaceable and without which a trip usually cannot happen.

  • Laptop
    Obvious. Macbook Pro 13″.
  • Power cable
    Without this the laptop is pretty worthless. Replacements if you can find them in a local store are upwards of €100.
  • Passport
    Without this traveling isn’t really possible.
  • Boarding cards / tickets
    You could get these from the airport but I print out everything I can at home.


  • Sunblock
    At some point it becomes silly to buy new sunblock at every sunny destination.
  • Toothbrush, paste
    Sometimes I don’t bother to bring any and buy them at the destination airport but it’s more reliable to pack. Often I also take the head of my electric tooth brush.
  • Lipbalm
    I put this on there after I once needed it and paid €11 for a stick at ZRH.
  • Assorted other toiletries
    This is a pain with only a carry-on. I try to usually depend as much as possible on what is available at my destination.

Getting around

These are particularly essential for the Netherlands where you need to bring a card to be able to prove your identity to the various transit systems around.

  • Foreign SIM
    Often this means just my Dutch T-Mobile SIM. I often have SIMs for destinations outside of Europe but those are so short lived that they aren’t reusable.
  • Foreign money / transit cards
    I have ziploc bags per country with the currency leftovers as well as any transit card (Oyster, Suica) or SIM that may still be usable.
  • Power converters
    The US and the UK account for most of my trips where these are necessary. I put these in the ziploc bags with the currency.
  • Paperclip
    I used to need one of these to do the SIM swap. Now I have an Apple SIM pin in the box with all my SIM cards.
  • Keys
    Keys to my parents place in the Netherlands or any other home/office at the destination.
  • Small backpack
    The MLC isn’t very practical to haul around town. I have a tiny Bach day pack that is super basic but fits everything you could need during a day.
  • Canteen
    I usually don’t bother taking this because of weight and bulk, but it is useful for longer trips.


  • VGA dongle
    Trips usually involve some kind of public speaking and as a speaker you should be self-sufficient. Don’t leave this at the venue where you’re speaking.
  • Pens
    I need to carry some quality pens with me. I usually have a four color box of Staedtler fineliners and a couple of Japanese gel pens.
  • Index cards
    Always useful but don’t bring too many because paper is heavy.
  • Business cards
    Trips are usually for business and people appreciate a nicely designed business card.
  • Headphones with microphone
    The standard Apple ones will do for most calls.
  • Noise cancelling headphones
    You need headphones with some noise cancelling effect for during flights. I used to travel with my Sony MDR-7506. They are bulky but if you fly an easyJet to Berlin with those on your head, everybody thinks you’re a DJ. Now I prefer to take my Sennheiser CX-300 II in-ears.

Special wardrobe

  • Havaianas
    Bring if the destination is hot.
  • Running shoes, pants
    Nice to be able to do some sports while traveling.
  • Swimming trunks
    Always bring these.
  • Sunglasses
    I always take my Moscot Lemtosh with me.
  • Hiking shoes
    Whether to bring my decade old pair of Meindls is heavily dependent on the type of trip and the environment.
  • Climbing shoes
    If there are climbing halls nearby, I’ll take these instead of/in addition to running shoes.

Things to check at home

  • Washing machine faucet shut
  • Gas turned off
  • Lock door
  • Fridge empty, leave door open

Tokyo Coffee Notes

Here are my notes from a couple of weeks of drinking coffee in Tokyo on a fact finding mission for Cuppings. With Cuppings we try to give you a guide of the best coffee places around the world based on our personal tastings. Some notable locales are still not as well represented as they should be. London and New York have their own excellent guides for coffee with Oliver Strand’s Coffee App and the London Coffee Map. Tokyo is one place that I thought we should fill in.

I had picked my hotel to be on the right side of the city to be off to a running start so I could visit places right from the very first day. So landed at Narita, got my Mifi and while waiting to checkin I made my way to.

Little Nap Coffee Stand

I had a quick lunch and walked to the Little Nap Coffee Stand (checkin, tip) which I had seen a video of over at My First Coffee and was totally smitten with. As promised the store was beautiful and the coffee was excellent.


Little Nap

Fuglen Tokyo

Then I walked over to this place recommended to me by Companion Coffee. This Fuglen (checkin, tip) is a sister to a store by the same name in Oslo. This place turned out to be more of a cafe with an event program and cocktails in the evening and a diverse group of Japanese people and expats hanging around with laptops during the day.


The decorations are lush Nordic wood and the Kalita Wave pour over that I had was terrific.

Mixology and coffee makes a good combination here in Fuglen. Just had my first Kalita Wave.

Omotesando Koffee

I think I am going to cry. No kidding.

Then after some more walking around at the end of the day I finally hit the promised place: Omotesando Koffee (checkin, tip) which had been recommended to me by countless people and where Eiichi Kunimoto practices his craft. I had an iced cappuccino here because —what I hadn’t counted on— the weather was extremely pressing and it was rainy humid and very warm all day. It stayed that way for most of my stay.

Omotesando Koffee

The iced cappuccino at Omotesando is more of a milkshake like concoction with the espresso shot put into a blender along with some ice and milk, the result is poured out into your cup and sprinkled with —I think— cinnamon. Drinking this at that moment in the idyllic garden of Omotesando was a near religious experience and felt like the best coffee I have ever had. I returned to Omotesando a number of times during my visit for the coffee, the amicable staff and the quiet ambiance of its garden.

Omotesando Garden

Bear Pond Espresso

The next day I walked from my hotel to Shimokitazawa, a 20 minute saunter in the heat through the quiet residential area of Hatagaya. I don’t have any pictures of Bear Pond (checkin, tip) because of their policy but this was the other summit of my Tokyo coffee experience.

Katsuyuki Tanaka (and Eiichi Kunimoto of Omotesando) are very different and have a totally different style of coffee and shop but both elevate making coffee to a level which can only be called artistry.

The ambiance at Bear Pond is slightly forbidding but with the American radio playing it is rather easy to unwind on one of the stools and wait for your espresso to be served. That espresso when it comes out is one of the shortest shots you have ever drunk and probably also one of the most intense.

I ordered an espresso on an empty stomach which I normally never do because it gives me problems. But this espresso was so smooth that not only did my stomach not get upset, it was so delicious that I chased it with another one. With the reduced quantity it becomes something of an effort to get every last bit of taste out of the cup.

I brought back a bag of Bear Pond’s house blend ‘Flower Child’ and even when made in Berlin (by the heroes of Companion Coffee) after two weeks, it still had that characteristic deep chocolate like flavour.

Cafe Obscura

Cafe Obscura

The next stop was Cafe Obscura (checkin, tip), a somewhat out of the way place with lots of nice leather sofas and good siphons on offer. Obscura also have a laboratory which I skipped in favor of this place. The siphon coffee is expertly made and really good.

Siphon Bar

Nozy Coffee

Then it was a quick visit to Nozy Coffee (checkin, tip) which is a small but very nice looking coffee place. I had a solid cappuccino and saw that they have lots of beans on offer. Unfortunately I had no time to come back and bring some of these with me, but this place is one to look out for.

Nozy Coffee has a terrific selection of beans

Be A Good Neighbor (Sendagaya)

Be A Good Neighbor

The following day started out at the tiny Be A Good Neighbor (checkin, tip) store in Sendagaya. The cappuccino and the cake were both excellent and the barista was very helpful in offering tips about where to get more coffee. Especially useful was his pointer to Paddlers which I started the next day with.

Be A Good Neighbor

Streamer Coffee Company Shibuya


I then walked on to Shibuya to try the coffee at Streamer (checkin, tip). The type of coffee which they serve here and which I had is a latte. I normally don’t drink them but in the light of trying out the coffee as it is being served locally I had one. Shockingly this was the first place in Tokyo I encountered where the coffee was not fantastic.


What Streamer does do really well is to be a nice place to hangout. There were lots of people in the store with and without laptops having a great time and relaxing which is exactly what I did as well.

Streamer lounge

On the Corner No. 8 Bear Pond

On the Corner

The last stop this day was the Shibuya On the Corner Bear Pond No. 8 (tip) take-out bar which is a beautiful store front with attached coffee bar where you can sit on a handful of stools and recharge your phone or as it seems to be the intention: take out your coffee. You get an expertly drawn coffee with milk in it and a no photo policy is in effect here as well, so I can show you the cup I drank it from:

Bear Pond No. 8

I did not visit the restaurant and instead had an awesome burger around the corner at Whoopie Gold Burger.

Paddler’s Coffee

Iced Stumptown at paddlers coffee

The next day I trekked to the area around Sangubashi station in the morning and had a terrific start of the day at Paddlers Coffee (checkin, tip) a brilliant setup lunch place with Stumptown coffee on offer. I had a spectacular iced coffee in the stifling heat.

Iced Stumptown

Cafe Kitsune

My first double espresso from a Slayer espresso machine at Cafe Kitsune.

I then made it out to Cafe Kitsune (checkin, tip) whose presence I had just been alerted to. This is a fashion store in Omotesando where they have a fabled Slayer Espresso machine.

Espresso selfie

Then it was off to Kyoto to see some sights and sample the coffee outside of Tokyo. This was something of a disappointment, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Specialty Coffee Unir

In Kyoto I found it rather hard to get a coffee that I would term drinkable. Most of the local brews are very dark roasted and ridiculously over extracted to a point that I can hardly drink them even with milk and sugar (or gum syrup).


One exception to his in Kyoto was Unir (checkin, tip) where they make a very nice cappuccino and which I visited a couple of times because of this.

アカツキコーヒー (Akatsuki Coffee)

Real deal

Based on some research I found Akatsuki (checkin, tip) which is a nice place in a different part of town. This place gets the filter brew almost right and the shop itself looks beautiful.

Omotesando Koffee

Another Omotesando! The branding of this one is perfect. Soon he'll be taking over the world.

What I didn’t know until my last day in Kyoto and after my camera broke down is that they have a branch of Omotesando (checkin, tip)in the city on the main shopping street in a fashion store of United Arrows. The same impeccable Omotesando branding and the same fantastic coffee. I’m half glad that I didn’t know of it before because given the Kyoto coffee scene I would have been at this place all the time.

Hood Cafe

Well designed and just saw somebody in a Phil&Sebastian t-shirt. This bodes well.

Then it was off to Osaka to do the same. My experience here was a bit better than in Kyoto but not much. Hood (checkin, tip) is a very nice coffee shop which manages to hit all of the cultural paraphernalia associated with third wave coffee and also serves a bunch of different beans and methods but still it does not seem to hit the level of Tokyo. Still they serve very good coffee even without comparing it to the stuff on offer in the rest of the city.

Right side of the store to stitch together.

Espresso Bar Millpour

Seeing what the coffee here is like

Next up was Millpour (checkin, tip) which is a tiny place in the city where they make a near perfect cappuccino.

After that detour it was time to get back to Tokyo and to finish this visit.

The Monocle Cafe

Good coffee. Don't know about the better living.

I dropped by the Monocle Cafe (checkin, tip) in the basement of a clothing store and was disappointed by the coffee though the food was rather ok. The coffee is not terrible, but it does not have the quality that you would expect from Monocle which is more or less the same for the rest of the store.

Be A Good Neighbor Skytree

Deep in the Skytree

Then I made my way over to the Be A Good Neighbor (checkin, tip) store in the Skytree. The Skytree itself is a pandemonium of commerce where people are screaming at you all the time to buy something. Finding your way through the mall to the exact location of Be A Good Neighbor is no mean feat, but finally having arrived there the coffee is as excellent as in their other store. I would only recommend going here if you’re already in the area or god forbid entering the Skytree but then it is a welcome place to rest.

Be A Good Neighbor

Sarutahiko Coffee

Charming little cafe in Ebisu

I also did a round of Ebisu and found two very nice coffee places in that part of town. Sarutahiko (checkin) is a small shop but it seems to have everything necessary and made a very nice coffee. Definitely worth a visit.

Hitinui Espresso Bar

Tiny espressobar and Tahitian dance school

A bit further on is Hitinui (checkin, tip) which is a tiny place and also doubles as a Tahitian dance school. I couldn’t check out the dance, but the cappuccino was excellent and the barista very friendly.


Identity Coffee Bar+Gallery

Identity Coffee Bar+ Gallery (checkin, tip) also in Omotesando is a rather nice store and has an excellent selection of both Intelligentsia and Handsome beans which they prefer perfectly.

That was the roundup from my Tokyo coffee experience. I visited a couple of the places several times and brought back some bags of coffee but I am extremely impressed with the coffee culture and I’ll definitely be back.