Nov 26 2005 Kelly Norton

I'm back from five days in Tokyo just in time to be crushed by the end of the term, which was not designed to accommodate spending four days in Tokyo. Nothing to do now but try to do three weeks of work in two days and not get too worked up over not finishing.

The primary purpose of the trip was to visit two long-time Media Lab sponsors, Toshiba and Toppan. The upside of going to see Japanese businesses was that we were able to see parts of both companies that are usually impossible to see, like Toshiba's design and research centers. The downside, of course, is that we had to spend a lot of time hanging out in Japanese businesses, which are notoriously unexciting. In fact, I think Japanese business culture considers excitement impolite.

While I may change my tune while I'm cleaning out my desk after the first of the year, the trip was a rewarding experience. I took quite a few photos, which will go into the huge pile of other photos that I've intended to post for over a year. For now, let me just leave you with some immediate (maybe not lasting impressions) taken from the trip:

  1. Color is cool, especially pink.
  2. Raw fish, it's not just for breakfast anymore.
  3. Bidets …
  4. Doraemon is cute.
  5. Caviar sauce looks but does not taste like it's made of strawberries.
  6. There is a trade off between politeness and sincerity. Japanese are very polite; northeasters are very sincere.
  7. “Please refrain from using cell phones on the bus as it will annoy your neighbors.”
  8. 4 days is a ridiculously short time to see Tokyo.
Ginza Buddha Men Walking in Hats Tsukiji Scallops and Octopuses Cartoon kids must Walk their bicycle Bloody fish Tokyo Tower from Roppongi Hills Fruit Asakusa people soup