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Move to Zürich

I have moved to Zürich on July from Auckland where I've been in about 10 years.

[Photo] Panorama view on Lindenhof hill

I am working as a software engineer here in Zürich for IT company which is based on California and runs a sort of cloud services.

It took about 3 months to get working permit in Switzerland after getting an offer. It was a bit tough time for us because we had no idea when it would be completed.

Once my family and I have got the permit, we were so busy to handle everything, ... arrange for moving; telling to friends, relatives, and coworkers; arrange process for our house; etc etc ...

Due to hard effort of my daughter and wife, we can finally arrive at Zürich.

Brief summary until getting into Switzerland:

Sep 2012
Applied the position. Sent my CV to the company.
Oct 2012
Rejected the application due to the extensive visa application process.
Dec 2012
Contacted from the company.
Jan 2013
Technical interview via Skype (1st).
Jan 2013
Technical interview via Skype (2nd).
Jan 2013
Technical interview via Skype (3rd).
Jan 2013
Interview with HR via phone.
Feb 2013
Interview. Got the offer.
Feb 2013
Signed the offer.
Mar 2013
Started visa application process.
Mar 2013
Submitted required documents.
Apr 2013
Got visa approval from Switzerland Federal Authority.
Apr 2013
Got final approval for myself.
May 2013
Got final approval for family.
Jul 2013
Arrived at Zürich.
Aug 2013
Family & cats arrived.

I would like to really thank our friends and coworkers. New Zealand is great country to live, I'm certainly missing all friends and life in New Zealand. Please keep in touch.

Home screen on my iPhone (iOS6)

It's inspired from Today's home screen on my iPhone (in Japanese) ("今日のiPhoneホーム画面" is original title in Japanese)

Home screen on iOS6

It's likely the last home screen in iOS6. I'm sorry it's a bit hard to see because I've put all 5 screens together.

1st screen
Only Apple's standard apps, except "Podcasts". However Podcasts app seems semi-standard app.
2nd screen
Social apps & daily use. I've tried put blue-ish icons on left, red-ish icons on right.
3rd screen
Apple, Google, Evernote then my apps.
4th screen
Dictionaries, books.
5th screen
banks, trains, and some others ...

I tend to ...

  • avoid using Folder if possible.
  • put similar coloured icons together.
  • put more likely used app at bottom.

Auckland Marathon 2011 (half marathon)

I've finished Half Marathon at adidas Auckland Marathon 2011 → My time is around 1 hour and 42 mins.

It's my first half marathon. I'm glad at my time which is faster than my target time (1 hour and 45 mins).

I've been jogging about 3 km after work for 2 years to be fit myself. At the begging of this year, I decided to try longer distance.

Although I've considered full marathon (42.195 km); it's too long as the first try, so I decided to enter half marathon.

Auckland Marathon starts very early in the morning; before sunrise.

[Picture] At Devonport

Too early for normal public transport, but there are special ferries and special buses for the Marathon.

There are about 4 km to the closest bus stop of the special buses; so I have to walk (and jog a bit) there, it was good warm-up for me as a result.

[Picture] Sunrise from the start point

The start point is the same for full marathon and half marathon. Full marathon started first then half marathon started. I could see sunrize during waiting a start.

[Picture] Start gate

Here was the start gate. You can see "Elite" sign, can't you? Faster runners lined at the start gate then slower runners started at posterior.

[Picture] At Northcote

About 10 km from the start, my wife and daughter cheered me. My daughter has created a big banner for me.

[Picture] Climbing Harbor Bridge

About 15 km from the start, finally I've started climbing Harbor Bridge.

It's just started, I had to climb about 1 km long steep hill...

[Picture] The flags on the bridge

There are New Zealand national flags on the top of the bridge.

[Picture] City from the bridge

Only cars can go through Harbor Bridge usually. So I would like to take pictures when I ran on the bridge.

I've brought my mobile phone to take pictures. Fortunately it's sunny day and bright enough to take pictures without stop.

[Picture] At the goal

At the goal. The runner with yellow balloons was "Pace Maker".

[Picture] Last spurt

Finally I could reach the goal. There are a lot of up-down in the course; it was tough. I'm not sure I can run full marathon next time.


In this about a half year, I am making a pudding every week. It seems to score high points with not only my family but also my friends.

The original recipes come from "Cookpad" which is the most famous sharing recipe website in Japan.

Caramel sauce

[→Original recipe (in Japanese)]

The following ingredients for about three puddings.

  • Water : 100 ml
  • Caster suger : 200 g
  • Boiled water : 100 ml
  1. Putting sugar into the water then heating it over moderate heat.
  2. It will become brown after boiling.
  3. Stopping heating when it became dark brown.
  4. Putting boiled water into it. [Caution] Please be careful not to burn.

Pudding (steamed)

[→Original recipe (in Japanese)]

I'm using a pressure cooker (Fissler in Japanese) for this.

  • Milk : 500 〜 550 ml
  • Brown sugar : 40 g
  • Egg : 3
  • Vanilla extract : a few drops

[Picture]Pudding ingredients

I'm using a glass bowl although using 4 small glasses in the original recipe.

[Picture]Making pudding STEP 1 Pouring caramel source into the bowl. Putting about 200 cc water into the pressure cooker then putting the bown on steamer bascket.
[Picture]Making pudding STEP 2 Heating and stirring milk with sugar over gentle heat.
[Picture]Making pudding STEP 3 Whisking eggs then pouring the milk into it. Stirring it well.
[Picture]Making pudding STEP 4 Adding vanilla extract then pouring fluid pudding onto caramel source (using a sieve basket to strain).
[Picture]Making pudding STEP 5 Steaming it with the pressure cooker (using lower pressure level). Taking 2 minutes after a pressure ring up.
[Picture]Making pudding STEP 6 Then stopping heating. Leaving it about 1 hour without heating. Putting it into fridge, it will be ready to eat next day.

He was so tired ...

Two kittens joined my family.

[Photo] Kittens who joined our family.

I took over two kittens from my coworker.

They were gradually getting used to our house, although they were a bit nervous when they came. Now they are often playing together freely.

My birthday present is ...

I was getting one year older this week.

Usually we go out to eat on the family member's birthday.

I thought that I'd like to eat "Italian" this year, so we've been to PORTOFINO in Takapuna.

[Photo] Spaghetti Alla Bolognese

[Photo] Chiken Fettechine

[Photo] Pizza Prosciutto

It was quite good. We really enjoyed the dinner.

Good meal and my family make me so happy, and there was futher surprise on that day......





[写真]2009 年の誕生日プレゼント

Wow! That's a recliner!

It has footrest, too. I've never known we call it "ottoman" so far.

I wonder where my wife hide it in our house. She said "You may notice it..." ... No, I have never noticed.

Thank you very much. I am a really lucky man.

Sightseeing - Kamakura, Tokyo

My co-worker asked me about sightseeing in Japan, so I noted about it here.

She set the following conditions out.

  • She will stay at her friend's house in Yokohama for 10 days.
  • She will visit in November.
  • She has never been to Japan so far.
  • She prefer to day trips because she can back to Yokohama everynight.
  • She can buy Japan Rail Pass if necessary.

Well, I listed the candidates of sightseeing as follows:

I've checked fares/fees as of October 2008, but they basically show the costs from Yokohama station. They may be changed depends on your nearest station, so please take them only as a guide.

I've also estimated the cost (fares and lunch) for each place very ruoghly, but the cost does not include any shopping cost.

I've got pictures from Wikimedia Commons (except ones in Tokyo Disney Resort). They are pubshed as public domain.

Kamakura (鎌倉)

Kamakura (in Wikitravel)

Kamakura (in Wikipedia)

JR Yokosuka line (Yokohama - Kamakura)
One way fare
330 yen
Rough cost estimation
3,000 - 4,000 yen

Kamakura is a city located next to Yokohama. Kamakura is well known as one of ancient cities in Japan. Kamakura was used to be the capital of Japan around 1200 A.D.

There are a lot of historical temples and shirines in Kamakura.

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu (鶴岡八幡宮)
Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū (in Wikipedia)
I think this shrine is the biggest shrine in Kamakura. It's quite famous in Japan. Especially lots Japenese visit there on the first of January.
Kotoku-in (高徳院)
Kōtoku-in (in Wikipedia)
This temple is renowned for Daibutsu (大仏), in other words, the Great Buddha (see the picture).
Jufuku-ji (寿福寺)
Jufuku-ji (in Wikipedia)
This temple was founded by Hojo Masako (北条政子) who was the wife of Minamoto no Yoritomo (源頼朝) who was the founder and the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate of Japan.
Hase-dera (長谷寺)
Kaikōzan Hase-dera (in Wikipedia)
This temple is one of the great Buddhist temples. It has one of the largest wooden statue in Japan.

You can take Enoden (江の電) to move around Kamakura and visit to Enoshima (江ノ島). One-day ticket is available (580 yen).

There are several famous temples in Kita-Kamakura (北鎌倉) as well. → Yamanouchi (in Wikipedia)

Tokyo Disney Resort (東京ディズニーリゾート)

Tokyo Disney Resort (in Wikitravel)

Tokyo Disney Resort (in Wikipedia)

JR Tokaido line (Yokohama - Tokyo), JR Keiyo line (Tokyo - Maihama)
One way fare
690 yen
Admission fee
5,800 yen (Tokyo Disneyland)
Rough cost estimation
10,000 - 15,000 yen

As you may know, Tokyo Disneyland is the most famous thema park in Japan.

I've visited there in January 2008. Please see my report for details.

The opening time of Tokyo Disneyland / DisneySea will be changed as follows:

Date Disneyland DisneySea
01.11.2008 (Sat) 8:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
02.11.2008 (Sun) 8:00 - 22:00 8:00 - 22:00
03.11.2008 (Mon) 8:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
04.11.2008 (Tue) 9:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
05.11.2008 (Wed) 9:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
06.11.2008 (Thu) 9:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
07.11.2008 (Fri) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
08.11.2008 (Sat) 8:00 - 22:00 8:30 - 22:00
09.11.2008 (Sun) 8:00 - 22:00 8:30 - 22:00
10.11.2008 (Mon) 8:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
11.11.2008 (Tue) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
12.11.2008 (Wed) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
13.11.2008 (Thu) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
14.11.2008 (Fri) 8:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
15.11.2008 (Sat) 8:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
16.11.2008 (Sun) 8:00 - 22:00 8:30 - 22:00
17.11.2008 (Mon) 8:00 - 22:00 8:30 - 22:00
18.11.2008 (Tue) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
19.11.2008 (Wed) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
20.11.2008 (Thu) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
21.11.2008 (Fri) 8:30 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
22.11.2008 (Sat) 8:00 - 22:00 8:00 - 22:00
23.11.2008 (Sun) 8:00 - 22:00 8:00 - 22:00
24.11.2008 (Mon) 8:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
25.11.2008 (Tue) 8:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
26.11.2008 (Wed) 9:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
27.11.2008 (Thu) 9:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
28.11.2008 (Fri) 9:00 - 22:00 9:00 - 22:00
29.11.2008 (Sat) 8:00 - 22:00 8:30 - 22:00
30.11.2008 (Sun) 8:00 - 22:00 8:30 - 22:00

You can check the schedule on the official website, but some information is available in Japanese page only (like the above time table).

It will take about 1 hour from Yokohama to Tokyo Disney Resort by train.

Some attractions are very popular, so you need to stand in very very long line. You may consider to use FASTPASS system to avoid long waiting.

I recommend you to select some attractions where you want to join in advance. I personally recommend the following attractions:

Asakusa (浅草)

Tokyo/Asakusa (in Wikitravel)

Asakusa (in Wikipedia)

JR Tokaido line (Yokohama - Shinbashi), Toei Asakusa line (Shinbashi - Asakusa)
One way fare
660 yen
Rough cost estimation
3,500 - 4,000 yen

Asakusa is located on the north-east part of Tokyo. Asakusa is well known as one of traditional town areas in Tokyo.

Senso-ji (浅草寺) is one of the most popular temples in Tokyo. Kaminarimon (see the picture) is a gate of Senso-ji.

If you visit to Asakusa, I recommend you to visit to Kappabashi (合羽橋) as well. In Kappabashi, there are a lot of shops supplying the restaurant trade. You may marvel at especially plastic display foods (we call them "sample shokuzai").

To visit to Kappabashi, you can use subway [Tokyo Metro Ginza line (Asakusa - Tawaramachi) 160 yen (one way, about 2 mins)].

Harajuku / Aoyama / Omotesando / Shibuya (原宿・青山・表参道・渋谷)

Harajuku (in Wikipedia)

Harajuku (in Wikipedia)

Tokyu Toyoko line (Yokohama - Shibuya), JR Yamanote line (Shibuya - Harajuku)
One way fare
390 yen
Rough cost estimation
3,000 - 3,500 yen

This area is well known internationally for youth style and fashion.

Local landmarks include Yoyogi park (代々木公園) and Meiji shrine (明治神宮). Meiji shrine is one of the biggest shrine in Japan.

If you visit to Harajuku, I recommnd you to walk from Harajuku to Shibuya (see the guidance in Wikitravel for details).

If you walk to Shibuya, the fare of returning to Yokohama will be 260 yen.

Ginza (銀座)

Tokyo/Ginza (in Wikitravel)

Ginza (in Wikipedia)

JR Tokaido line (Yokohama - Shinagawa), JR Yamanote line (Shinagwa - Yurakucho)
One way fare
450 yen
Rough cost estimation
4,000 - 4,500 yen

Ginza is well known as a upmarket are of Tokyo.

I recommend you to visit to Sony Building which is the showrooms of Sony. The first Apple Store in Japan is also located at Ginza.

You can see Japanese traditional style drama at Kabuki Theater (歌舞伎座). It may cost around 800 yen depends on the length of drama.

Tokyo Imperial Palace (皇居)

Tokyo/Chiyoda (in Wikitravel)

Tokyo Imperial Palace (in Wikipedia)

JR Tokaido line (Yokohama - Tokyo)
One way fare
450 yen
Rough cost estimation
3,000 - 3,500 yen

Tokyo imperial place, we call "Kokyo" in Japanese, is the place where Japanese imperial family lives. Tokyo imperial place is located 10-minite walk away from JR Tokyo station (Marunouchi central exit).

The place is basically is closed in normal days, however there is a official guided tour. You can apply the tour online if you want. The online service of application can be accessed from 5:00 to 24:00 in Japanese time.

This place is also known as the castle ruin of Edo-jo (江戸城). There is a moat around Kokyo.

Akihabara (秋葉原)

Tokyo/Akihabara (in Wikitravel)

Akihabara (in Wikipedia)

JR Tokaido line (Yokohama - Shinagawa), JR Yamanote line (Shinagwa - Akihabara)
One way fare
540 yen
Rough cost estimation
3,000 - 3,500 yen

Akihabara is well known as Electric town.

There are many consumer appliance stores around Akihabara. You can buy PC, peripherals and gadgets at a reasonable price.

Akihabara is located in the central Tokyo (Chiyoda ward), so you can probably visit there at the same day of Tokyo imperial palace.

Other places

You can consider to visit the following places as well (I've linked to the Wikitravel).

Tokyo Disney Resort

I have stayed at Tokyo Disney Resort overnight from 8 Jan. Tokyo Disney Sea on the first day, then Tokyo Disney Land on the next day.

My daughter is crazy about Disney Princess recently. This visit would be one of biggest events during the trip to Japan.

I've been to Tokyo Disney Land several times ever. My last visit, however, was over 10 years ago. Tokyo Disney Sea didn't exist at that time.

Tokyo Disney Sea

This is the first visit of Tokyo Disney Sea for me.

The environment of park (buildings and objects) were quite impressive for me in comparison with Tokyo Disney Land.

[Picture]Tokyo Disney Sea Entrance.  There is a big globe at DisneySea AquaSphere.

[Picture]to Mediterranean Harbor.  in the atmosphere of mediterranean town.

[Picture]looks like in Venice.  beatiful night scene

We've attended the following attractions:

  • Ariel's Greeting Grotto (Mermaid Lagoon)
  • Mermaid Lagoon Theater (Mermaid Lagoon)
  • The Magic Lamp Theater (Arabian Coast)
  • Tower of Terror (American Waterfront)
  • DisneySea Transit Steamer Line (American Waterfront)

There are not lots because we've put the weight on seeing shows.

Ariel's Greeting Grotto is a tiny attraction as taking photo with Ariel who is main character of Little Mermaid. My daughter has talked with the mermaid; "Ariel talked in Japanese with English accent!", she said.

I don't like the attraction such as Free Fall, however I didn't have any idea regarding Tower of Terror. Probably I won't ride it any more!

The Magic Lamp Theater was a pretty good. It's not only magic show but it is Disneyfied very well.

We've seen the following shows:

  • Meet & Smile (Mediterranean Harbor)
  • The Legend of Mythica (Mediterranean Harbor)
  • Over the Waves (American Waterfront)
  • BraviSEAmo! (Mediterranean Harbor)

The Legend of Mythica and BraviSEAmo! are grand production, however Meet & Smile was the best show for me on that day.

[Picture]Disney characters greeted at Meet & Smile.  The Disney characters danced nearby.

Tokyo Disney Resort had not crowded on that days. We had easygoing opportunity to go around the park. All attractions had no wating queue.

I strongly recommend to visit Tokyo Disney Resort at the mid of January.

Tokyo Disney Land

To tell the truth, an accident that a float had been broken during a parade happened on 8 Jan, so all parades were cancelled when we've visited Tokyo Disney Land.

Thus we've been around there to attend attractions mainly.

[Picture]The symbol of Tokyo Disney Land, Cinderella Castle.  It's a trademark of Tokyo Disney Land.

[Picture]A scene in Toontown.  I like such funny builings in Toontown.

[Picture]We've found Wendy and Peter Pan.  Wendy and Peter Pan performed a skit.

We've attended the following attractions:

  • Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters (Tomorrowland)
  • Space Mountain (Tomorrowland)
  • Star Tours (Tomorrowland)
  • Jolly Trolley (Toontown)
  • Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (Toontown)
  • Snow White's Adventures (Fantasyland)
  • Pooh's Hunny Hunt (Fantasyland)
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant (Fantasyland)
  • Jungle Cruise (Adventureland)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland)

I felt a sense of speed for Space Mountain as much as I expected. It has been renewed at once, so that's reason why I felt so possibly. I wondered for my daughter too fast, but she quite enjoyed it.

The both of my wife and daughter disappointed Star Tours which I suggested. I'm sorry!

There are few attarctions regarding Disney Princess. One of them is Snow White's Adventures. I think Snow White's Adventures looks like a haunted house, but my daughter like that attraction.

I looked forward to Pooh's Hunny Hunt personally. It's one of the most popular attractions.

[Picture]looks like inside a book!  We enjoyed a waiting zone as well.

The hunny pots go around the course in the building. However there is no rail, they seem to move freely.

Disney characters marched in the park because of parade cancel.

[Picture]The march instead of parade.  Greeting march instead of the parade.

We can see the characters nearby and shaked hands.