Dalton Tanonaka



Born in Hawaii, Tanonaka has enjoyed an international career in print and broadcast journalism. Having won numerous awards for his work, including being named ‘Best News Anchor/Presenter’ at the Asian Television Awards, he chats with Asia Dreams about life in Jakarta.

Asia Dreams: What attracted you to moving to Jakarta and what do you do there professionally?

Tanonaka: My move to Jakarta in 2006 was precipitated by my friendship with Surya Paloh, the owner of Metro TV.  I had interviewed him when I was with CNN in 2001 for my “TalkAsia” program and stayed in touch.  When he wanted to create a new English program for international distribution, the timing was right for me to make the move.  I now anchor “Indonesia Now,” co-host “TalkIndonesia,” and anchor a monthly regional program “ASEAN Today.”  I also write a monthly column for the Jakarta Globe newspaper.

Asia Dreams: Please name your favorite hotel and restaurant and describe what you like about each place.

Tanonaka: Hotel Mulia does things elegantly and with the best quality of any city hotel.  It’s pricey, but I do not mind to pay the price for good service and products.  Each of its restaurants is recommendable, and its music venues are comfortable and fun.  Rooms feel luxurious. Restaurant?  I always like C’s in the Grand Hyatt Jakarta for business or social occasions.  Nothing fancy.  Just straight ahead food.  And be sure to pick out your own lobster from the tank.

Asia Dreams: It seems like Jakarta residents either love or loathe living in the city. What are the tricks to enjoying life in Jakarta despite the heavy congestion?

Tanonaka: I get a lot of work done in my car.  Make sure you have a mobile device with a good Internet plan.  Keep reading materials handy.  And download karaoke tracks to your iPod.  When you’re stuck in traffic, singing is the best stress-reliever.  And sometimes motorbike riders next to you join in.

Asia Dreams: Please describe Jakarta in 5 words.

Tanonaka: Perfectly frustrating, but perfectly nice.