22 June 2008

The Dance of 10,000 Umbrellas

Met a few friends at Shibuya this afternoon. The rain was coming down a good bit, so I got to watch thousands of umbrellas swirl and bump their way across Shibuya crossing, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world.

17 June 2008

Tokyo Milk Bar

Milk Bar
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
In Tokyo, ever on the cutting edge of things modern and even postmodern, you expect to find all sorts of stuff... but when I saw this on my walk to work yesterday morning, it made me blink. I found myself picturing the inside of the milk bar from A Clockwork Orange, and wondering if this would be anything like that.

I took a closer look today. Instead of a bunch of intense youth in bowler hats, I found a restaurant that serves ice cream and various dishes from and relating to Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost major island. Hokkaido is well known for dairy, beef, seafood, and various produce, so "milk" often carries connotations of Hokkaido.

That said, there's a Cold Stone Creamery just down the block. I think I'll hit there before I gooly down and govoreet me some nadsat.

14 June 2008

Max Headroom

Some of the subway stations are lacking in vertical clearance. This is in Ginza station. There is about six feet of clearance under that ductwork. I've seen lower ceilings, though.

Hazards of the Workplace

Hazards of the Workplace
Originally uploaded by gogakuhei
I've started my new job this week. Things in the workplace are good and all, but this picture (taken from my desk) worries me. In the picture, only 30 feet from my desk, is a Starbucks... in the building, on this floor. A small, but full size, Starbucks. Mochas and muffins, any time of day.

I'm not sure this is a good thing.

This is Where I Work

Roppongi Hills Mori Building. I'm up on the 48th floor. Awesome views, but the evacuation drill yesterday was 48 floors of about 25 steps per floor.

My legs still hurt.

08 June 2008

Let's Try This One More Time...

It's been forever and a few months since my last writing from Kagoshima, and time for me to get back on this writing pony.

I'm now in Tokyo, after a 16 month stint back in California. I came over in February to look for work -- with little more than a few contacts, a couple suits, and a vague idea of how to manage this "looking for work in a foreign country" gig. Finding work took about two months, and getting the working papers/visa took another month and change, but here I am. My first day at the new job starts in about 30 hours.

I looked at cell phones this afternoon. Now that I have a job and a working visa, it's time to settle in -- and a cell phone is pretty much the first step. For as long as I've been interested in Japan, and as long as there have been cell phones, Japan has been about two years ahead of the US as far as cell phone technology has been concerned... but something seems amiss. While I don't think I'd run out and buy one even if they were available, Japan doesn't yet have the iPhone. I also didn't see any Blackberries. They still have all sorts of kick-ass phones, but these are two pretty glaring omissions in the cell phone set. Apple recently reached an arrangement with a Japanese cell provider (hello, Soft Bank!) to bring the iPhone to Japan, and I'm sure that Blackberries are here somewhere.

I guess the point I'm working toward is that either A) the US is catching up to Japan on the cell phone technology front (maybe they're falling behind?), or B) I'm getting old and am losing touch with what's impressive on the technology end of cell phones. I don't know which of those two options I would prefer. I'm afraid the answer is 'B', which means I need to buckle down and get back into the swing of things.

I think I know which phone I want. Once I have a phone, I'll be able to easily upload pictures and comments from my Tokyo (and extra-Tokyo) travels.

Ah... it's good to be back. Sorry I was gone for so long.