I returned from Tokyo on Monday. I gave a talk at the Web Directions East conference. I’ve never had a simultaneous translation of a presentation before. I hope it went OK. I’ll be forever grateful to John Allsopp, Satoshi Kukichi and the rest of the WDE team for inviting me to speak, being incredibly gracious hosts and generally being awesome people. I’ll never get tired of traveling to faraway places, where (without fail) the quality of people in this industry inspire, impress and humble me. I feel lucky.
I don’t think I’ll travel that distance again without the rest of my family.
I’ll never forget walking through customs after spending the entire Election Day in the air. CNN was on in the airport lobby. ‘Barrack Obama Elected President of the United States’ it said. Twenty seconds later, John McCain started his concession speech. Relief after 14 hours of nail-biting anticipation.
I took a lot of photos. I tried packing as much into a few days as possible. I was amazed by the giganticness of the city. I caught a view of the cityscape at night, at the top of the hotel where Lost in Translation was filmed. They wanted a $20 cover charge, so we left.
I loved that every train station in Tokyo has it’s own unique short little melody (hear them all). I love how this aids accessibility with audio. I’m thinking we need more unique audible melodies for events that happen on the web or desktop. I was also impressed with the grooved sidewalk path found throughout the entire city, which would direct a blind person from station to station, uninterrupted.
I probably didn’t bow enough.
I sang Don’t Stop Believing in a karaoke bar in Shinjuku along with friends old and new. I’ve never sang karaoke before. I had the best doughnut I’ve had in my life in Harajuku, at Tamagotchi Donuts. I was amazed by the depth of the character culture in Japan. It permeates everything and everyone — not just for kids, but a part of general communication throughout the city.
I tried the eel (unagi) and ‘chicken knuckles’, but was less adventurous with the raw horsemeat. I loved the simplicity of the food in Japan. I have a new favorite snack in ‘onigiri‘, a triangle of sushi rice, seaweed, and (in my case) teriyaki-soaked seaweed inside. I’ll have to hunt for those here at home.
I learned two Japanese phrases. I should’ve learned more.