Archive for November, 2008

Slow Month

Thursday, November 27th, 2008 by Ian

Nothing to report over the last little while.  Doesn’t anyone out there have anything of interest going on?

Japan Update

Saturday, November 1st, 2008 by Ian

Amid a rising chorus of requests for a de-brief, I have finally updated the gallery with some pictures.

The trip wasn’t very long and because we were a day late getting there it was even more rushed.  4.5 days total I think.

  • Wednesday: Arrived in the evening and immediately went to a meeting.  Drinks and sushi afterwards.
  • Thursday: Our trip to the fab plant.  We were up early, and on the bullet train to Fujitsu’s Mie fabrication plant.  Several meetings and a tour later, we were back in Tokyo.  A little late but we had a Shabu Shabu dinner and turned in.
  • Friday:  Went to the electronics district of Tokyo — Akihabara.  They have the coolest new toys there, but they are still quite expensive.  Japan is a fairly expensive place all round.  Then we were back to Shinjuku (near the hotel) for a meeting that we missed when we missed our plane, and we spent the evening tooling around Ginza (The high fashion area) and Roppongi…a night club area.
  • Saturday:  We did a little shopping and played pachinko.  Then went to the East Gardens.  When we were done there, we headed for the Harajuku district where all the Cos-Players and cool kids hang out.
  • Sunday:  We did a little more shopping, then headed back to te airport to come home.

I think that summarizes the trip; fairly whirlwind, and the jetlag has been killing me all week back home.  The week in Japan really seems like a huge blur.  I had to look at the pictures to try and remember all the things we did in such a limited time.  I would go back.  It’s a pretty cool place…though I wasn’t excited about the food, the people I was with who WOULD cross the dtreet for Sushi said it was amazing.  But other than McDonalds, there really aren’t many options.  Shabu shabu, tempura or sushi.

The pachinko story is my favourite so I’ll tell it here:  I had to drag my companions into the parlour because they didn’t see the point and it took about 15 minutes of “talking” with a helper and much hand waving to get going, but I put my 1000 yen in the machine and got….maybe…100 balls.  I lost the first half, and then something happened (we don’t really know what), but the machine started paying out, and paying out, and paying out.  A crowd had formed around the ignorant North Americans.  We ended up with 4 big tubs of balls, and after counting, we had something like 5400 balls.  Well, gambling is illegal in Japan, so it works like Chuck E Cheese.  You get a prize for your winnings….cigarettes, bobbles, lighters….or GOLD.  I knew how this worked, so I took the GOLD.  We had 5.5 grams or so in 1.0 and 0.3 gram ingots.  We still didn’t have a clue what we had won.  As a grey market enterprise, there is a man ACROSS the STREET from the pachino parlour that (surprisingly) BUYS the GOLD.  I ended up with 205000 yen (and I kept one of the 0.3 gram ingots).  That works out to about $205US for an input of $10.  Nice return!

Anyway, that’s pretty much it.  It was quick and dirty, but we were there and it’s an experience for sure.  I’d go back any time.