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On Hotels · I’m head­ing home af­ter a cou­ple of days of cus­tomer vis­it­ing in Min­neapolis. The week be­fore, I’d been in Mat­sue, a small and re­mote Ja­panese city. The prices were about the same, but Ja­panese ho­tel was de­ci­sive­ly bet­ter, and it’s just sil­ly that North Amer­i­can ho­tels are so crap­py in so many ways ...
[12 comments]  
Matsue, Shimane · What hap­pened was, I got an email from a Ja­panese col­league ask­ing if I could come to an all-day meet­ing at the Sun EBC with the Open Source Soft­ware So­ci­ety Shi­mane. I wrote back say­ing “Huh?” and he wrote back ex­plain­ing that Shi­mane is a pre­fec­ture in Ja­pan and that the del­e­ga­tion would in­clude Yuk­i­hi­ro Mat­sumo­to, al­so known as “Matz”, the de­sign­er of Ruby, who lives there, and that I’d been asked for. I wrote back say­ing “OK”, and now I want to go and vis­it Mat­sue, the cap­i­tal city of Shi­mane, an hour’s flight from Toky­o ...
[4 comments]  
COOL BIZ · Via NoniWe­blog, a point­er to the un­sur­pris­ing fact that Ja­panese busi­ness­peo­ple are dis­cov­er­ing the virtues of not wear­ing a tie; if you’ve ev­er been to work in a Tokyo sum­mer you’ll un­der­stand why this is a good thing. But, in a unique­ly Ja­panese way, they’re not just do­ing it, they’re mount­ing an of­fi­cial government-backed cam­paign. But most­ly I wrote this so I could slip in a point­er to this pic­ture.
 
3 Views of Mount Fuji · What hap­pened was, tired in an air­port look­ing for lightweight read­ing, I grabbed The Last De­fend­er of Camelot, col­lect­ed late works of Roger Ze­lazny, who was at the cen­tre of the SciFi uni­verse a few decades back. It has a piece called 24 Views of Mount Fu­ji, by Hoku­sai which won a Hu­go in 1986 and as a sto­ry is on­ly OK but as a nar­ra­tive wrapped around a fa­mous set of pic­tures it’s aw­ful­ly good. On im­pulse, I typed “hokusai 24” in­to Google, to dis­cov­er that there are 36 pic­tures in the orig­i­nal se­ries, but that Tim Ea­gen, back in ’98, poked around the Web and as­sem­bled the 24 im­ages from the Ze­lazny sto­ry; a fine piece of cu­ra­tor­ship and re­al­ly an es­sen­tial com­pan­ion to read­ing the sto­ry. Look­ing at one of them, I thought: I’ve been there. There’s an amus­ing nar­ra­tive to ac­com­pa­ny the views ...
 
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