Friday, April 19, 2013

What a difference a bull market makes, with the Nikkei in Tokyo, and a never-endingly eventful Travelife



Good morning from Tokyo, the world’s truly 21st century city and one I know very well.

I flew out of Manila yesterday afternoon.

It was a truly beautiful day, as seen from the air. I’m on an airplane almost every week – in fact it was twice this week – and so I’ve seen all kinds of days from the air.

Yesterday afternoon was just spectacular – full of bright colors and sunshine.

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HOLIDAY ON A WHIM

And from this weekend, I’m in Tokyo for a few days.

I decided to just go on holiday since it seems everyone else in the Travelife Magazine team is away right now as well. My entire editorial team is up north in the Philippines, hopefully having a nice time as guests of a good friend of mine.

The rest of the Travelife team are in Australia and in Taiwan.

Yes, almost everyone in the Travelife Magazine team works incredibly hard and also lives a never-ending Travelife. We're very lucky to have a dream team on board.



HOME ALONE.
BUT NOT FOR LONG.

So with no one left in the office, I thought I’d go on a holiday myself.

I have a home in Tokyo, but I decided to book a stay at one of the city’s most talked-about new hotels. I love hotels and never get tired of staying in them, and this one is new and very highly rated. So I thought I'd see it for myself.

You’ll find out more about this hotel later on.

SEVEN GREAT MEALS AHEAD



Then, I have seven very nice meals with friends in Tokyo.

Five of these meals are at some of the city’s best Michelin-starred restaurants, while the seventh meal is one I’m cooking myself for my neighbors in Tokyo.

Haven’t decided yet what I’ll make this time around, but I’m thinking of doing a Bresse chicken with truffles again if I have the time.

My last attempt at Bresse chicken with truffles turned out pretty well.

THE JOYS OF A BULL MARKET
What a difference a bull market makes.

The last time I was in Tokyo, I wrote in this blog about how the financial community was abuzz with the impending prospect of a bull market.

It was late February to early March, and there were so many hedge fund managers in town at that same time for the Tokyo Marathon and a series of financial conferences.

AN EARLY CHRISTMAS


EVERYONE was rubbing their hands in glee over an almost certain stock market recovery that we’ve been waiting 20 long years for.

Well, it’s not quite a full-blown bull market yet, IMHO, as the Nikkei is currently just past 13,000. For this to be a real bull, the Nikkei would have to climb at least to 18,000 or 20,000.

So there’s still some way to go before we can really start bringing out the Salon champagne.

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15% UP AND THE LIVING'S EASY

Nevertheless, between the last time I was here and this weekend, the Japanese stock market has made significant gains.

So many of my hedge fund friends are boasting about gains of between 10% to 15% for this period alone. Predictably, they’re starting to browse through brochures for yachts and vacation homes in France again.



I've even been getting inquiries from several hedge fund friends about investing in apartments in Manila -- and that's how I know there's getting to be liquidity all around.

The last time I saw this mild euphoria in Tokyo was about six years ago, when we had a nice run.

And since then, a tsunami virtually walloped Tokyo’s financial industry, sending everyone running for cover until this recent semi-recovery.

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BACK IN BUSINESS

So the mood in Tokyo now is upbeat and fun.

Everyone is eating out in expensive restaurants again, and looking for all kinds of expensive diversions.

And even I have had to adjust my wardrobe for this trip. This time around, I actually brought a lot of nice Tokyo-style dresses that haven’t been to Tokyo in six years.

 And by Tokyo-style, I mean simple, well-cut solid-colored dresses that can go from day to night, and that go well with good jewelry.

Tokyo isn't a city of flowery dresses or heavy accessories. The peg here involves sleek lines, good fabric, and pretty simple designs a la Audrey Hepburn.

DIFFERENT CITIES, DIFFERENT STYLES

This is the kind of dress I'd wear in Manila
Tokyo style is so different from the colors and fabrics of clothes worn in Manila.

And these Tokyo clothes have been in my Manila closet all this time because I haven’t felt like wearing them here in a recession. But I’ve brought some of my clothes on this trip, finally, for my week full of fancy meals.

And this is how I know that the good times are back in Tokyo, and hopefully also in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.





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