January 27

Why is everything (stocks, ETF, crypto, asset prices) going up?

Lately, everything I look at is going up. I look at stocks of tech companies in US and they are going up. I look at various stock market exchange indexes and they are going up, both in India and in US at least. Crypto-currencies are going up for the last year or so. And not just up, some of these assets are going up in a crazy fashion, doubling 10x in a year. It was becoming hard for me to even understand what I was doing and made investing even more risky.

For a long period of time, until recently, I used to believe that net result of every transaction is 0. If you are spending money, someone is earning money. So if you make money in the stock market, someone should be losing money. That is what the conventional wisdom in my head said. Continue reading

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November 24

What i learned from How to win friends and influence people.

Before I decided to read this book, I used to laugh at the title and I probably looked down on people who might have read it. I mean who needs to read a book to win friends? What kind of loser would that person be? Well, here I am, one of such Losers. In hindsight, the title of the book is unfortunate but catchy. Maybe had it not been titled such, it would not have sold as much or stood out among people the way it did.

This is not a book review as such. This post is more about my opinion on the book and the other chain of thoughts it made me wonder about. The book was first published in 1936. Just reflect on that. Here is a book that can be termed self-help that is still valid and working for 81 years now. That caught my fantasy. The other thing that was equally appealing was Goodreads page of this book. This book has a rating of 4.22/5 from 322,000+ ratings. That blew my mind. Here is a book which 320,000 people have bothered to review and rated 4.2 on average. I mean surely it must have had a profound impact on a lot of people. But even before I got to this point, this book was recommended and was also on my to-read list. I picked it up to read without hesitation.
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November 5

How Safe is my city?

It’s been about 3 months since I moved to Tokyo. There are a lot of things that are very different about this city than say Delhi or Seattle for example. There are a few I don’t like but then there are quite a few that are absolutely wonderful. One of the great things about Tokyo is just how safe I feel in general. It’s a feeling that cannot be described because usually it is about lack of certain elements and environments and so our mind struggles to define the lack of something.

There are quite a few anecdote’s I had heard about Tokyo and all of them ring true somehow. You can leave your cellphone on a table at a coffee shop and that is sufficient to reserve the table (and obviously no one will take it). You can forget your cellphone or camera on a train and you will get it back within the hour. You can actually leave your cellphones on a train seat I heard to hold your seat. Continue reading

August 12

First Reactions: Life in Tokyo

I have been here almost 2 weeks and there are things I see / experience here that sometimes delight me and at other times flummoxes me!

  • The very first thing that hits you is the size of apartments. When we entered our company provided accommodation, we were at a loss initially on how small a 2 bedroom apartment can be. A 1 bedroom place is less than 45 m2 (about 485 sq ft) generally and 2 bedroom places are 65 m2 (650 sq ft) perhaps.
  • Ignoring the actual size, the furniture and layout is designed in a way to make the space feel more spacious than it is. You won’t probably feel cramped in an apartment that’s the size of bedrooms in India.

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March 30

Go Gokarna

Gokarna is almost a unknown twin of Goa. It’s a small religious town in Karnataka, located right on the beach and just below the state of Goa. My trip started off from Bangalore. There are quite a few different types of buses to go from Bangalore to Gokarna. I think there are trains from Bangalore as well but those usually take longer. On this trip we took a bus around 8PM in the evening and reached Gokarna around 6AM. The bus was a sleeper bus with A/C which meant I got some shut-eye during the night. However I strongly recommend to check the bus quality before going since buses can be really filthy. We had taken the KSRTC bus and seriously it was dirty, smelly and full of insects. I wouldn’t recommend it but I am hopeful that there are other cleaner buses as well.

Once we got to Gokarna town, we decided to wing it a bit in terms of where to stay. There are very few established places / hotels in the area. There are 3 major beaches with any kind of accommodation: Kudle, Om beach, Half moon beach. There is one more beach called Paradise beach but that doesn’t have any place to stay as such.
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February 26

The Costa Rican adventure: Arenal

If you haven’t already read the first part of us being in Liberia and Del Coco, I highly recommend reading it here.

We were on a week vacation to Costa Rica and spent the first few days basking in the sun and rolling in the beach. Our second leg was to go to Arenal Volcano region.

Initially we had planned to take a bus from Del coco to arenal volcano where we had planned to spend the last half of our trip. But when we did check out the bus situation it would take 6+ hours and need 3 bus changes to get to La Fortuna (which is the main town near Arenal volcano). Our hotel was about 10 KM from La Fortuna town so we would then have to take another taxi. We kind of decided at last-minute to get a rental car. If you book in advance you can get them for like $10-15 a day and ours was $25 a day. In hindsight, this was the best decision of our trip.
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February 26

The Costa Rican adventure: Liberia and Del Coco

Recently I had a chance to visit Costa Rica. For those of you who don’t know where it is (like I did a year ago), it is in South America. I would say it is central america reaching out to meet south america. You can almost miss it in Maps between the Mexico at top and Colombia / Brazil below. My trip lasted almost a week and it was a very interesting one indeed. In some ways it was a trip of firsts. It was my first trip to South America. It was my first trip where I wasn’t on a vacation from work. It was my first trip to a volcano. It was my first trip where I drove a car. It was also my first trip where I felt US was cheaper.

I had been meaning to take a vacation since Gayatri had a week off around this time. The idea was to go somewhere where I can use an old Alaska airline credit but still not in USA. We kind of settled down to 2 main choices: Cuba and Costa Rica. Both had their pros / cons but what did it eventually was that Cuba was super booked. It seemed like every hotel was booked due to President Day weekend and flights were crazy expensive. As usual I tried to avoid crowds and ended up booking the tickets to Costa Rica.
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November 23

Journey to the unknown : Cambodia

To read from the starting : Part1, Part2, Part3, Part4, Part5, Part6, Part7, Part8, Part9

The last week of this vacation was upon me. As difficult had I found it to come, it was now equally difficult to think about leaving. I was at the border town of Aranyaprathet in Thailand and planning to get to Cambodia today. I had long been waiting to see Angkor Wat. With that intention in mind, I started early hoping to reach early. I checked-out and found no one at reception. So I just left the key at the door and got a tuk-tuk for 50 THB to the border.
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