Big in Japan
I’m back from Japan. Thank you to everyone who took the time to give me some sightseeing tips. I had a a great trip.
Web Directions East was really well organised. John and his team took really good care of me and all the other speakers. The only glitch was on my part and it was medical in nature.
Maybe it was the long flight over, maybe it was lack of sleep, but my body protested its new-found surroundings by rebelling in the vocal department. As I was wrapping up my presentation on stage on the morning of the conference, I could feel my throat becoming raspier. An hour or two later, my voice was on its way out. I attempted some damage control by ducking back to the hotel for the afternoon which meant that sadly, I missed a whole bunch of undoubtedly excellent presentation while I tried resting up my body and throat. I still had a whole day of workshopping to do two days after the conference proper and I needed my voice for that.
I spent the day before the workshop being somewhat antisocial by not speaking at all. That helped somewhat but on the day of the workshop itself, I still sounded like Tom Waits. From a medical standpoint, I probably shouldn’t have attempted to spend a whole day talking about Ajax but from a professional standpoint, I was determined to deliver what I had promised. I made it through …just. There were times when I thought I really wouldn’t be able to reach the end of the workshop but it somehow worked out. On the positive side, I really only had to make sure I was audible to one person: the simultaneous interpreter. The interpreters’ voices were all working just fine so the workshop attendees received a translation of my words without an accompanying translation of my laryngitis.
On reflection, it probably wasn’t the best idea to celebrate the successful conclusion of the workshop with an evening of merriment that culminated with karaoke. But hey, when in Japan, right?
The rest of my time in Japan was spent soaking up as many sights, sounds and—most importantly—tastes as I possibly could. In brief…
- Everybody I met in Japan was friendly and helpful. This is a country where people don’t get into fights when they get drunk, they just get even more polite and friendly.
- Every subway stop in Tokyo has its own jingle. This is, quite simply, awesome.
- Advertisements eschew telling you a domain name in favour of showing you what to search for. They must be very confident of their search engine rankings.
- Shinjuku is a great part of Tokyo. Personally, I think it’s even cooler than Shibuya.
- A trip to Akihabara proved fruitful. I successfully acquired a tachikoma.
- Getting up early to visit Tsukiji fish market was totally worth it. It’s a huge chaotic cathedral of seafood.
- Visiting the Meiji shrine on a weekend was fortuitous. There was more than one wedding party to observe.
- Kyoto is a beautiful place, perhaps one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Staying in a ryokan heightened the experience.
- Osaka—or at least the Dotonbori— is crazier than Shinjuku and Shibuya combined. It’s an unimaginative cliché to say this but it really was like Bladerunner.
Then there was the food: sushi, unagi and yakitori in Tokyo, udon in Kyoto, okonomiyaki and takoyaki in Osaka …it was all wonderful.
Diligent tourist that I am, I had my camera with me at all times. For your viewing pleasure I give you: