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.
I did not fall in love with Yokohama; mind you, we only saw the glossy boring built-up part right around the Pacifico convention center. The only thing that was visually interesting was this great big honking pink Ferris wheel. It was right outside my hotel room window. Here it is by day:
And two by night, one close-up. The latter is when I walked over to try to get a ride; at closing time, alas.
The Event · It was great. The Google Japan team is formidable, and they threw themselves into the work. Production values, preparation, polish, energy, nothing was missing. Maybe my favorite part was the ADK corral, where people showed off contraptions built around Android’s new USB-wrangling capabilities.
This first is a mobile multi-fan; it has cameras to see you, a motor and wheels to follow you around, and, well, you can see the fans. Someone had serious fun here.
The most impressive demo, I thought, was this, from Seraku:
Somehow or other, this bathroom mirror had a data display, a little ghostly but very clear, and you could control it by waving your hand; no touching required, and thus no mirror smudges. In this demo it was showing traffic and weather info, presumably for use to plan your commute while shaving or applying make-up.
There was a sort of sheet hung off the back of the mirror; they let me peek in and there was quite a bit of technology back there, obviously hand-assembled. Very impressive; I want one.
Closing the Show · The organizers set up a “closing ceremony” which was cheerfully deranged in the best Japanese style. I’m not quite sure what this guy’s schtick was, but the audience loved him.
To end it all with a bang, they had forty-plus Googlers from the Tokyo office do a precision high-energy in-the-flesh cover of World Order’s famous sarariman dance routine. They’d practiced it endlessly and it brought the house down. I thought the visual appeal was enhanced by the inclusion of gaijin and females in the troupe.
There’s a three-minute retrospective of the event on YouTube.
Anyhow, on the morning after they showed us which trains to get on to go home, or in my case to Haneda airport on the way to Shanghai. I took this picture with my new Galaxy Nexus’ camera on the platform at Yokohama station.
It’s also included in my Galaxy Nexus World Tour set over on Google+; for some reason or another, it drew the most reaction of any picture in the set.