Thursday, September 10, 2009

Japan - day 3 (Extremely developed, but poorly developed)

So at the beginning of day 4 I am right on schedule to write about day 3.
In the morning of day 3 I when up for breakfast, in the 9th floor of the hotel and saw the first view from above of the city.

As you can see, this justifies the title. I am very impressed with the chaos of the city, the randomness of things, the sheer density of the buildings. This is a very different culture, but we'll get to that.

So I had my presentation, it went fine, managed to keep it under 15 minutes. The questions were easily answered.

After I had the most Chinese food in an supposedly Italian restaurant :P If they thing that is Italian food, OMG :P After some more presentations, the conference is very control driven thus my interest is not that high in most papers.
After this I went to the castle, or the Japanese version of a castle. The area has a lot of the traditional view for Japan, however with strange add ons, like plastic moulded to look like wood, from a distance might look ok, but up close well :P
The castle itself from the outside looks like a house, from the inside looks just like a tower.

Once inside you could see Japanese armour, weapons, etc. From the top you had a magnificent view, but what I like more, was the Portuguese connections ;P

And the view from the top...

A lot of pictures today :p Final picture is the view of the strange electric posts that would give any health and safety officer in the UK a heart attack

The final thought from this day is about food. Food is generally good, there is a lot of variety, and I still haven't eaten sushi or similar things. However the portions are small, cheap but small, and it is strange because the people always look at me and the other Europeans as weird for ordering so much food. The funny thing is, I have not eaten here and got full, just content ;P...

Japan - day 2 ( If it can go wrong...)

Hello, so day 2 in Japan and a bit late since today was the conference so yesterday I didn't have the mind to write anything.
So yesterday I went to the registration of the conference and I got the package for the conference, with the recites and all of that. So when coming back to town by taxi, I left these in the car. After 20 minutes I realised that I left this in the car, so I ran to the taxi place to see if I could find the car driver. After looking for this in about 20 cars I realised it was not there. As you can imagine I was starting to panic. The other drivers started to talk to me, and I tried to explain what happened. I had a recite from the taxi which helped a lot. After 10 minutes of trying to talk and explaining with gestures what was my problem, these very kind, patient and helpful drivers managed to call someone that got the driver to come there. The funny thing was when he got there, he acted like it was his fault. Seriously very stressful, however showing the niceness of the Japanese that having nothing to do with it helped me :)

Another interesting thing I realised on the second day was the toilet of my hotel room, in the mean time there are more things but from the second day I register the phone in the toilet just in front of the toilet seat, which has not numbers to dial, it is just for picking up. When I actually thought about it, this one seems useful, however the future ones wont :P I will take pictures and share them soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Japan - day 1 (Lost in Translation...)

Hello world, it is my first time outside of Europe. Japan an old country with so much history and culture.
Well the intercontinental flight was quite ok, I was very lucky to get the front seats in the economy class, which proved to be very convenient for a 12hour flight. First and only tip for these flights get a sit at the corridor, NOT the window, because you will go to the toilet and if people are sleeping it might be a problem :P.
So I landed in Tokyo, it was quite easy to get the railway pass I needed plus the itinerary for my trip. Didn't see much, besides being extremely tired, it just looked like a lot of apartment buildings. So I went from the airport to the station after Tokyo, and then to Nagoya. In Nagoya I had to catch the local train to Gifu, which proved to be tricky, well not tricky but I felt lost in the train and was afraid that I missed my stop. Why? Well it was all in Japanese...
But I got here, finding the hotel was easy, however the reception of the hotel was another matter. So the entrance to the hotel has nothing except stuff in Japanese and the lifts. So I managed to deduce that the reception was at the 5th floor, yes the 5th, and so I went up.
When I got there, I got my room sorted easily enough, just showed the paper, and got the room, people are very nice here, but their English doesn't allow for big conversations.
Got to my room just to realise that the plug adaptor I bought didn't work, so I went to the reception to see if they had any. This was when I realised that even the guy the spoke better English had a lot of difficulties understanding, but once he did, he got me what I need.
After settling down in my room, I went for a walk and for dinner. Luckily I ran into a friend that is attending this conference, he was here since morning and was very happy to find a familiar face, and a common language :P
We decided to to got a local place, like real Japanese, clearly we did not think this through :P
We sat down, and the girl spoke no English, it was very funny the process of getting food. Strangely enough the food was great, their little English was way more than our Japanese, and despite being hard to get the food, we got it in the end :P
The last thing to mention is the tip, we wanted to give a tip and the girl insisted on us taking the money, which makes me wonder if tipping is not good in Japan... I will keep you posted on that.
So you think I am done? Well almost, so I got back to the hotel and I wanted to get internet, so asked at the reception, after talking for a bit, the guy decided to go to the computer and use the translation tool from yahoo, he wrote Japanese and I in English ;P Honestly I know it is funny but it was the best way to solve the communication problems :P After a few minutes I sorted my internet.
The film "lost in translation" took place in Japan, I can honestly see why ;)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Last Resort...

Interesting title that could be the start of a long post... However it is more of a trip down memory lane. Last Saturday I hear this song, which is from other days where the tune seemed to speak so clearly to me... And now, well some feelings are cyclical, hey have a way of making themselves relevant again... Different time this one, but it felt good to hear the rage...