Cool Japanese Things #4

  • All you can eat/drink reception. You have two and a half hours…. go!
  • Fast trains. Because faster is better. Really.
  • Vending machine restaurants. No wait staff, you purchase your order from a vending machine, which gives you tickets you hand to the cooks. Order up!
  • Cheap food. If not cheap, at least not expensive, dinner out at Osaka pub with slightly more sake than I could handle and full up on (over-the-moon tasty) snack/tapas plates for about $40.

Cool Japanese Things #3

  • Umbrella lockers. In the art museum, there are standard left lockers for storing your bags and coats, but also little vertical lockers for locking up your umbrella while you tour the building! Is this a rainy city? I am thinking, yes.
  • Vertical gas station. Why waste space with gas pumps at ground level when you can just hang the filling hoses down from the ceiling? Hai!
  • Blogging from the car. Taichi has a mifi box, so the laptop works even while we are travelling underneath the triple-decker freeway, heading back to the guesthouse. Zoom zoom zoom.

Cool Japanese Things #2

  • Talks with lots of demos. When you can’t understand the words, nothing talks like demos! I learned about bits of HTML5 for rendering, orientation sensors, location awareness and drag-and-drop!
  • Rice for breakfast. Wrapped in a belt of seaweed to hold it together, a patty of rice about the size of a hockey puck is not that different from a breakfast roll. Should have gotten two.
  • Insane double decker freeways. Running through a canyon of buildings, there’s something very blade-runnerish about the multi-level freeways. How far away is the ground?

Only one not-cool thing, being away from home on Halowe’en. Family is gathered to have wine and snacks right about now and the kids are bouncing off the walls getting ready to head out. Wish I was there.

Cool Japanese Things #1

I am going to feel the lack of a camera on this trip. I didn’t even bother to bring my phone because it would have been a functionless brick.

  • Techno toilet seats. The one in the hotel had an explanation printed on it about why it was not heated. Nonetheless it still had three knobs. There is much more to learn about Japanese toilet seats. Looking forward to it.
  • Defogged mirror. I took a hot shower, got out, and there was a neat square of unfogged mirror area right over the sink! Touch it, yes, it’s warmed from behind to keep the class clear of condensation.
  • Hotel kimono. I don’t feel like getting dressed yes, and I don’t feel like sitting around writing blog posts in the nude. Enter the hotel kimono! It’s a little short for me, but that’s OK.
  • Taxi seats with doilies. Taxi this morning had pretty white lace doilies on the backs of the seats. Also a pristine white seat cover on the back. Curiously despite being lovingly cared for the car itself looked like it dated from 1989.

OpenGovWest BC

There’s an open government conference coming up next month, on November 10 at the University of Victoria: OpenGovWest BC! We are gathering some great local stories, from Vancouver and the Provincial and Federal governments, and a great group of attendees — the kinds of folks looking to change the way government works. If you’re in the area and want to join in, I encourage you to register soon, the fee is nominal and the venue will fill up fast.