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Days 1 and 2 in Tokyo: Akihabara, Suntory Hall and JLUG

As you might remember, we left off the story last time with departing to Tokyo. Our hotel in Tokyo was a pretty cheap place called Horidome Villa (business hotel). The room about the same size as what we had in Osaka we were able to book for just about $65/night. We arrived quite late in the day and took what appeared to be the last available room, that also turned out to be the worst room as well: very humid, with small flies everywhere and with bad smell. Front desk acknowledged the problem and promised to provide with another room on the next day after some people check out.

So we slept for quite a bit of time in the morning and then the front desk informed us that we can move to another room at like noon, so we decided to wait until noon in hotel (and it was around 10:30 already) so that we can move our stuff to that other room.

Another problem with this hotel turned out to be that they did not have any nonsmoking floor. One of the floors had all non-smoking rooms, which just meant that all smoking guests of those rooms went to the hall for a smoke, and the smell immediately penetrate at least our room (both of the rooms we tried actually).

Window view
This is what we had for a window view.

After all relocation was done we decided to walk to Akihabara which was just a couple of subway stops from this hotel.

One of the main destinations was VOLKS showroom where we spent quite a bit of time. The showroom is now in it's own building and not just some cramped space in Radio Kaikan as it used to me (and Radio Kaikan is now scheduled for demolition).

VOLKS Akihabara showroom
This is how the showroom looks like outside (it's already getting dark since we spent a lot of time there and sunset in Tokyo at winter is pretty early too).

After this we just walked around looking for various anime-related shops and other places that might be interesting.

Mini mousepad
Animate is one of such shops. This is some pretty small mouse pad. Doll-size ;)

Keyboards with pictures
And they also had these cool keyboards. I wanted to buy one, but then reconsidered. Now I am kicking myself for not buying one ;)

Water saving toilet+wash basin combo
And the toilet there was also interesting. As soon as you flushed the water that fills the water tank first runs through a faucet so you can wash your hands with it.

And the elevator:

Elevator in Animate

Elevator in Animate
Pretty cool inside too.

After some more time around it came time to meet my boss at a sushi restaurant in Roppongi Hills so we headed there. We were promised a very good sushi place.

Sushi restaurant
Some appetizers first.

Sushi restaurant

Maing wasabi

Making wasabi
And this is real wasabi preparation from a wasabi root.

Making sushi
And a sushi is in the making now.

Sushi

Sushi
These two sushi above were different kinds of "toro" (fatty tuna belly).

Sushi

Sushi Anago
This is anago, sea eel. Ksusha likes unagi which is a fresh water eel, but somehow it's considered less popular in Japan so they only had anago that we decided to try. I think it's fine, but Ksusha thinks the unagi is better.

Making sushi

Ebi sushi

Sushi restaurant

Sushi restaurant
Some shots inside of the bar (a pretty small place).

Sushi

Sushi

Sushi

Sushi
Tuna again (yet another kind).

Sushi
This is octopus sushi that still was a bit harder that it's supposed to be we think.

Sushi

Sushi
And of course some red caviar.

The reason I was meeting with my boss  (Eric) was that on the next day (Dec 1st) we planned to take part in Japanese Lustre User Group (JLUG) so needed to discuss some plans and I needed to prepare a presentation to deliver.

So the rest of the day and then some time in the morning I spent in hotel working on the presentation.

In the morning (well, at about 10am) we went to a hotel where my boss stayed (a very nice room with a great view at ANA hotel)

View from ANA Hotel window
Window view somewhat destroyed by a bad weather.

Finished the slides and such, but before going to JLUG, Ksusha wanted to visit a free Christmas Organ concerto in Suntory Hall that happened to be nearby, so the Eric went to meet some partners and we went to the hall.

Suntory Hall
The hall before music starts.

The performance was pretty short, just 45 minutes and featured some classic works like Bach and some popular Christmas stuff.

Suntory Hall
This is the Suntory Hall foyer after the concert.

Suntory Hall square
And this is area right in front of the entrance to the Suntory Hall.

Next we found some place to have lunch and rushed to the JLUG place.

Ksusha was the photographer for the LUG as I needed to do the talk.

JLUG
A lot of people attended for a single country conference.

Most of the talks were in Japanese though, so we only had some general ideas about the topics from the slides.

JLUG
Riken representative telling about their K-Computer system, the fastst system in the world by a wide margin (Joint project with Fujitsu).

Eric at JLUG
Eric gives an opening speech.

JLUG

JLUG

Sumimoto-san at JLUG
Sumimoto-san from Fujitsu explained some bits about their Lustre adaptation they named FEFS, that is used in K Computer.

Me at JLUG
My presentation.

JLUG
Hashizume-san from DDN Japan.

After the event some people banded together and went to an izakaya (western analog: saloon) for some food and drinks.

Dinner
No idea what that was. (Yes, Hina-chan was there too, everybody expected Shirase-sensei of course, but it was hard to bring both of them together).

Soup
This was some fish-cake soup.

Appetizer
Some tiny fish and chicken appetizers (the piece at the right is raw chicken).

Yakitori

Yakitori
And yakitori.

Dinner table
Big sake bottles on the table.

Full glass of sake
You are supposed to fill a big glass with sake completely like this and then drink all of it in one go.

Full glass of sake
Another example.

dinner

Dinner

Dinner

Dinner
Rice soup. No idea what were those other dishes above, though ;)

Desert
And this is the desert, some ice cream with mango jelly.

This concludes our second day in Tokyo.

And, btw, the reason for our delay in buying hotels everywhere for this trip was because the JLUG schedule only got set at a very late date :(

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