Brad Fitzpatrick (brad) wrote,
Brad Fitzpatrick

Random Tokyo Observations

This list is by no means complete, and true to the <ul> tag's name, it's an unordered list. So... random observations on Tokyo:
  • YAPC::Asia was fun.
  • Here are my slides. And in Japanese too! Thanks, translators! (it's less of a regurgitation of previous slides than normal... lot of new stuff at the end, and early stuff is condensed a lot)
  • Cask rocks. Whitaker, you'd have loooooved it. And at only ~$20/drink, what a deal! :P
  • While I'm not one of those people that's all into Asian girls, I'm not against Asian girls... but what I really respect is the whole presentation: fancy clothes, makeup, accessories, tall socks, shiny big boots, skirts, elaborate hair... these girls really get into it. It's actually quite impressive. Makes me feel like a slob, even when I'm what-I-feel-is dressed up.
  • I know maybe a dozen Japanese words now, but my favorite is definitely 出口. I don't know how you say it, but I say "double trident walking box". It means "exit" and I see it everywhere. It got me successfully out of a bathroom that had two matching doors. I think the other one was a maintenance closet.
  • They drive on the left side? They also walk on the left side. Never knew that.
  • Good service.
  • Being surrounded by Japanese writing that I can't even pronounce or recognize or even attempt to understand is somewhat demoralizing. Fortunately the subway is in Rōmaji. Phew.
  • Everything on little trays. Bills, money, passports. Trays, trays, trays.
  • The whole business card exchange formality fanciness.
  • Bowing. (which I thought I'd have trouble adjusting to, but came without even thinking about it... weird.)
  • Everybody in suits & ties.
  • Face masks. If you're sick, you wear a face mask. Otherwise you're just an asshole that should be shunned or something. Because seriously, tons of face masks... at any one time, you can look around and see several of them.
  • Their phones suck. Big, boxy, plastic, not-shiny, large-lines. They look cheap, not sexy/sleek. This place is the future in so many regards (especially timezone!), so why are the phones so crap looking? Mystery.
  • My hotel is the future.
  • Except my hotel's TV turns on everytime I enter the room. So then I have to walk over and turn off the game show or whatever's on. I don't know how to disable this feature of my hotel room. I don't want the TV on whenever I enter.
  • What are all those buttons on the toilet? I'm afraid to press them.
  • The Engrish cracks my shit up. This might deserve its own post, with photos. I'll tease you with one: "Please shut the door when you take a bath. Because hot air of the bathroom makes a fire alarm ring." With a picture of a shower, not a bath. And arguably there are two fire alarm sensors here, so their use of the indefinite article "a" could be construed as correct, but there's just one alarm... or the system is one... or it's just colloquial to treat all fire alarms as singular. Like everybody in my Russian class messed up on a recent test thinking одежда (clothes) is plural, even though we could see the ending and know it's not. But I guess "clothing" is singular. In any case, I find myself over-analyzing all the Engrish.
  • I notice white people. Sometimes we pass on the street and make understanding eye contact with each other. ("What's your story?") Makes me think of this comic kinda. Actually hover your mouse on that comic. That alttext inspired me to start up a conversation recently (in Belize) in which I totally got shot down, but it was oh-so-fun and worth it for the story, so I totally don't regret it. <3 xkcd.
  • Vending machines.
  • Vending machines take $100 bills (10,000 Yen).
  • $5 coins, $1 coins, etc... Coins are worth stuff.
  • Japanese addresses are pure chaos. Craziness. Especially when you can't read Japanese, which would only make it slightly more sane.
  • ......
This post is long enough. I'll stop.

Conference is now done. It's 10 pm... should I go back out? Not sure what I'd do, and I'm already fading pretty quick. I think I'll wake up early and go to the fish market which keeps getting recommended to me.
Tags: perl, tech, travel, yapcasia2007
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