Sunday, August 28, 2005

Travel to Tokyo....and the missing RAZR

okay, so here I sit at what is 5:30am Monday morning in Tokyo, and about 1:30pm in the afternoon of the previous day in Portland, OR. so, its entirely possible that you’re reading this before I finish writing it. The images above are of my hotel and an image looking out of my hotel window...i have one of the bay windows near the top (25th floor).

I’m here in Tokyo for the CEDEC 2005 conference. I will be speaking to game developers on how to thread their game engines for upcoming CPU architectures. I will also be presenting some case studies demonstrating these techniques. So far registration for the class is around 300, making the largest class I’ve ever presented to. Additionally, there will be a translator and I had to send my slide set out last Tuesday for translation and printing. now, that is all fine and dandy, but I usually don’t even start preparing a talk until a few days before and make changes until the last minute….so this has left me in a bit of a pickle. I’ve been told I will have to speak slowly so the translator can do the necessary rehash, so I’m hoping that my 60 minute talk will be able to fit into the 90 minutes slot with translation. I will also be visiting a few game developers since I’m already in the area in the next 3 days.

the trip
I left Portland on Friday and arrived here Saturday evening about 5pm. It was a direct flight, so that was very nice. I hopped off the plane and headed down to baggage claim, then off to see if I could find my way into the urbanity of Tokyo. I exchanged some money, using credit cards is a no-no here, pretty much impossible. I also grabbed a train ticket on JR (japan railways) to get into town. Lucky me, the train was boarding in 4 minutes, so I hurried down to grab my seat (car 8, row 1, seat B) for the one hour train ride. You might be wondering why I remember such trivia, and its because, within 60 minutes of being in Tokyo, I lost my cell phone, which is why I won’t be posting any pictures :( Now, obviously instinct is to blame somebody else, but this is Japan, one of the safest societies on the planet. but how is it that a person who has NEVER lost a phone in 6 years manages to lose it in 60 minutes in a region he can’t even make a phone call? yeah, that’s murphy’s law. so now I have to just suck it up and order a new one I guess. it should be there very soon after I return to pdx. but man, my new Motorola razr, ugh…(insert metal love ballad here).

the hotel and ginza
when I arrived in town and finally got settled after my 10 hours on a plane and 1 hour on a train I strolled around ginza and found some food. this part of town has lots of lights and action, lots of people around, and very very easy to just get lost, as I did in about an hour. finally I decided to jump in a cab to have him drive me back to the hotel. when I said ‘imperial hotel please’ he laughed, jumped out and pointed and said ‘two blocks, you walk faster’. I had basically been circling around and didn’t manage to see the 30 story hotel right in front of me! I’ll blame it on jet lag. and the loss of the cell phone of course.

I’m staying at the imperial hotel , just across the street from the imperial palace on the 25th floor. I have an amazing view of the city from here through 3 huge windows…its awesome. I’m watching the sunrise over the city now. (again, still jetlagged).

the subway, shinjuku, shibuya, akasaka
since I was wide awake around 4am yesterday (today too) i was one of the first to hit the subway station just outside the hotel. now, the subway system here is just incredible as anyone who has visited Tokyo will probably tell you. I was glad to be one of the first down the stairs so I could absorb the map and all the places you can go, etc. I’m guessing I stood there in front of the maps for about 45 minutes just trying to get my head wrapped around everything. by the end of the day I was jumping trains like a pro, and it really is something. I mean, these trains will take you all over, to tons of interesting places. and there are security guards/police around to help should you need it.

I visited the areas of Shinjuku and Shibuya as well as Akasaka. Shinjuku seems to be where lots of the young go to party and such. at 6am, many of them were still up and figuring out what to do with their day, still dressed in their party outfits from the night before. Shibuya was a bit more touristy with a more ‘big’ commercial feel in the air. If I have time before I leave I am told to visit Akihabra and the fist market. we’ll see if there is time for that later, for ht enet few days I have to focus on conference activity. Akasaka was where lots of government buildings and stuff was located. I did some filiming with the camcorder but didn’t bring a USB cable to pull off the images so it’ll have to wait until I return.

some food comments
had some sushi and some chicken katsu. food here is great! but fruit is hard to come by. i paid $3 for a pear at a fruit market. oh and at mcdonalds here, they have a sandwich that is a COMBINATION egg mcmuffin and a hamburger. seriously, its got a bun, egg, bacon, and a hamburger patty. its huge! no, I did not eat one, but man, it looks TASTY :)


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