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X-E1@東京: Still Water
· I bought a ticket on the Tokyo airport bus leaving from near the Google office and thought my fun with the new camera was over; but I was wrong. A half-hour wait provoked a random stroll which brought me to a little teeny shrine down a little teeny alley ...
· Ah, the camera and the motorized vehicle; both blossomed last century but are going strong. Let’s apply the first to the second and do it with a new camera in Tokyo. What’s not to like? Shameless plug: Includes my personal favorite picture in this series ... [4 comments]
X-E1@東京: Shades of Grey
· I’m a color guy; but some pictures cry out for B&W. These are both from Kitanomaru Park, which I recommend to anyone for a walk, whatever the weather. There are museums about, and the Budokan; if that name rings a bell in your head this is probably why. Also it’s just a nice garden; the botanically-inclined will appreciate the careful labeling ... [2 comments]
· The event that took me to Tokyo with a new camera was in Chiyoda, which is to say right next to the Imperial palace. On two successive days, I took the opportunity to go visit; once to Kitanomaru Park, and once to the East Garden itself. Pictures today from the latter ...
· On Day Two of the new-camera-in-Tokyo trail let’s move gradually from people to geometry. Because any city has lots of that ... [4 comments]
· So, I took the new camera to Tokyo and came back with pictures, which will inhabit this space for the next few days. For most, I’m not gonna claim they’re “typical”; but these are. If you’re going to show the truth about 東京, it has to be people. Because its buildings and cars and streets and so on are mostly nothing special, but the people who live among them are ...
· What happened was, this month includes trips to Tokyo and the Big Island. And lately I’ve been reading about cameras full of shiny new ideas. So I decided to indulge myself; here are way too many words about the state of cameras in general and in particular the one I bought ... [13 comments]
GDD in Yokohama
· I was part of the entertainment at the recent GDD Tokyo 2011; I guess nobody’s feelings are hurt if you hold a Tokyo-branded event down in Yokohama ... [4 comments]
Bar Android & Twicca
· On Monday nights, this funky little teeny second-floor bar in Shibuya becomes Bar Android, a gathering place for Android geeks. This last Monday, which was Hallowe’en, I went; what a blast, and I got a new Twitter client ... [10 comments]
· Roppongi is a district in Tokyo that I don’t much like; Roppongi Hills is a glistening temple of ultramodernism that I can’t avoid because the Google offices are there. It’s all very nicely done but flavorless in an international way. I will say that, particularly now with the Tokyo International Film Festival in progress, there are more drop-dead cool outfits (for both genders) walking around than I’ve seen in one place for a long time ... [4 comments]
The Robot Road
· In an epic travel-planning failure, during the last 14 days I’ve found myself in Tokyo and then Århus, Denmark, to talk in public, mostly about Android, but mostly really to learn things. Here are some of them ... [10 comments]
· Tokyo is one of the most glamorous and intense places in the world. I’ve photographed it a lot, and my pictures tend to reflect that. But on returning from my most recent trip, along with the usual stuff, there were some distinctly unglamorous photos. Not that good; but I thought they told interesting stories ... [1 comment]
Upcoming Gig — GDD Tokyo
· GDD stands for Google Developer Day; since not everyone can come to Google I/O, we take I/O on the road to various points in several continents and both hemispheres. GDD Tokyo, on September 28th, is 2010’s first; I’ll be helping out there talking Android in the keynote. I assume the Tokyo Googlers will find something else useful to do while I’m there. Regular readers here know that I have a special relationship with Tokyo — can’t wait to be back. [1 comment]
· I snagged the front center seat on the Narita bus so I had a panoramic view forward; the haze of jetlag and post-speech letdown was biting hard as the Nissan Diesel grumbled up onto the Rainbow Bridge. The architectural madness around Tokyo Bay soars white on cream on beige on black in the filtered sun against the shit-coloured Tokyo November afternoon sky and when you’re weakened you can kid yourself that it all fits together and makes sense somehow, but it doesn’t. It can’t be photographed and it can’t be described, you have to see it and you still won’t believe it. It’s just crazy, that’s all. [3 comments]
· I didn’t have to take off for my first meeting till eleven, so I cruised into Shinjuku around 9:30 to see what I could do about the slow-camera problem. Which turned out to be about perfect, since it’s Yodabashi’s opening time; so I got a leisurely look at the stuff with help from the staff. I gather the normal Yodabashi experience is wall-to-wall crush ... [10 comments]
Narita T2 ANA Lounge
· If you travel a lot on Star Alliance and you’re heading out of Narita, I’d like to recommend the ANA Lounge in Narita Terminal 2, out at the far end around Gate 44. It’s one of the nicest I’ve seen anywhere. They have lots of space, comfy chairs, secluded cubicles if you need to buckle down, decent WiFi albeit with slow DNS, excellent draught beer from a way-cool automated pouring machine, a selection of fine sakes, vegetarian sushi, and—this is just beyond brilliant—an Udon/Soba bar where a couple of wrinkled old guys will fix you a bowl on demand. There are few items I can think of that are more proactively therapeutic against a 10+-hour flight than a bellyfull of light warm salty Japanese soup and noodles. If you’re feeling burned out and have four or five fine sakes that tends to counteract the benefits though. Hmmm, upstairs there’s an ANA “First Class” facility I didn’t have sufficient status to get into. The mind boggles at the delights that must lie inside. [1 comment]
Immediately Upcoming Gig
· My colleague & buddy Bob Brewin has been yanked away from his scheduled gig at Web 2.0 Expo Tokyo and I was
strongly kindly requested to fill in. So, I show up in Tokyo Tuesday afternoon and come home Thursday suppertime. Oh joy. I like Tokyo but this is suboptimal. [5 comments] 東京 XII: Changing
· I’ve been coming to Tokyo since 1991 or so, and while Japanese culture is often called insular and set-in-its-ways, the changes have been dramatic ... [6 comments]
東京 XI: Lounging
· On the Tuesday evening before I left, we had some pure fun, attending the “Developer’s Lounge”, organized by Sun but attended by a menagerie of geeks, every flavor. Think of a short unconference with free food and beer ...
東京 IX: Working
· This is just a thank-you to a few of my Tokyo colleagues, but it has my favorite picture from the whole trip ... [1 comment]
東京 VIII: Shopping
· Whatever you may say about Tokyo, whether you like it or not, it’s a great place to shop. For selection not bargains; there is lots of stuff you just won’t find anywhere else ... [3 comments]
東京 VII: Drinking
· The last couple of months I’ve been in both Tokyo and London, and I visit Silicon Valley all the time. Tokyo and London are like each other, and unlike the Valley, in that they have a business-drinking culture. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that in the Valley you have to drive everywhere, and you’d have to be pretty booze-hungry, or just suicidal, to load up before getting behind the wheel on 280 or 85 or 237 or 101 ... [1 comment]
東京 VI: Recharging
· Tokyo is big and fast and intense and it’ll make you tired. And, many months of the year, hot and sweaty too. Fortunately, it offers a solution for these problems ... [5 comments]
東京 V: Playing
· I don’t know what Japan’s largest export is, but I think its most important export is culture. Pop culture to be precise; there are few places where as you walk the streets you see things you’ll see on fashion catwalks and in TV-show backdrops and and Paper pages this time next year; and Tokyo is one of them ... [3 comments]
東京 IV: Phoning
· Here’s a travel tip: When you go to Japan, rent a phone! It doesn’t cost too much money or time and it simplifies life incredibly. With remarks on Japanese phone culture and a completely unrelated picture ... [2 comments]
東京 III: Traveling
· Tokyo is huge any way you measure; one of the world’s largest cities by population and not built up that high, so it sprawls forever across the Kantō plain. Even the city’s core, which I would roughly say is everything inside the Yamanote JR Line or walkable from one of its stations, is pretty vast. Most times, though, you don’t notice because everywhere you go, you go by train, often underground or with not much of a view ... [5 comments]
東京 II: Eating
· Among all the astounding things about Tokyo, for me the single most astounding is the food business. The number of restaurants and cafés and lunch counters and bakeries and bars and street vendors beggars description. In my experience, most of them are good ... [5 comments]
東京 I: Visiting
· Tokyo, you know, it’s like this. After I’ve been there 48 hours I start to go crazy, and there’s this question: how do the people manage? I mean the lousy weather and the endless concrete and the absence of silence, never a rest for the eyes or ears either, and the crowds and the crowds and the crowds ... [2 comments]
· Here I am in superultrahypermegaTokyo. I’m tired ... [3 comments]
People in Tokyo
· Last Thursday and Friday I had a bunch of meetings with people in Tokyo and Chiba and thus there are stories and pictures ...
· I’m here in Tokyo to attend the WWW2005 show. I’d thought about trying for a geeks/bloggers gathering, but I’m only here briefly and the Sun Japan people have set me up with a bunch of meetings; mostly with people who’d like to hear about blogging and syndication. I thought it would be easier to show than talk, so herewith some words and pictures about this trip to Japan ...
· I just posted some old snaps of Japan’s #1 tourist attraction, and while I was digging through the pix ran across these, of Asakusa, a Tokyo shopping district whose name written phonetically in English would be “Asaxa.” Japanese words transcribed into English contain many instances of the letter “u” which are not pronounced even though Japanese will insist furiously that they are there (a consequence, I think, of using syllabics for phonetic readings). Asakusa is really nice, a good place to shop, eat, and drink, and if you’ve ever seen anyone’s tourist snaps of Tokyo, you’ve probably seen it; but perhaps not these. [Updated: A note on Japanese pronunciation.] ...
Tokyo Transit Maps
· I'll be going to Tokyo for a W3C TAG meeting in November, and we're doing some logistics now months in advance to nail down the meeting location. I love the place, and a late-fall trip has the advantage that you can do some Christmas shopping, you just can't beat Tokyo for that. Anyhow, this note is just to give you a look at some way-cool transit maps I ran across ...
· The sci-fi analogies are overwhelming, streaming in on 100 channels labeled "The Sprawl", "Blade Runner", "Fifth Element", you name it, Shibuya in the 8PM rush in the rain, neon everything flares brilliantly off rain-drenched cars and awnings and streets. Everyone (everyone, everyone) has an umbrella. I have a leather jacket and a broad Australian Akubra and feel pretty immune to the rain and more maneuverable than the umbrella'ed throngs but every Japanese and even every other gaijin, even the seedy street merchants and black dudes striking homie poses outside the gym-shoe store, has an umbrella. I resolve not to mind standing out ...
By Tim Bray
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