Tokyo 2018

It had been almost four years since I was last in Japan so time to pay a visit to some clients and our hard working storage technical team here.

I was lucky to use my last system wide upgrade flying to Tokyo, so I caught a few hours shut eye on the way here. That made the whole trip more pleasant to be time adjusted and wrested – especially for a jam packed 2-day business trip.

On my first day, I called on the IT leadership team at JPX to  discuss some new storage technical options. After our business meeting, our client was more than happy to let us roam the exchange floor and snap some obligatory pictures. I was surprised to see almost no traders on the floor and no one waving their hands like in NYC. But we did get to see a new company listing ceremony.

As is tradition, we went out for dinner with the technical management team after work. They team took me to a traditional Japanese restaurant, Chuo – Ginza. We all got to know each other better from one dinner than having a dozen conference calls. Now, I expect a more lively discussion on future calls.

After dinner, my host walked me to the bridge crossing the Sumida River to see a really cool scene that I captured with my iPhone. Only wish I had a better camera for that shot. Probably the shot of the week.

I have to chuckle as I use the elevators here in Japan. I never see less than 5 people in an elevator car. My aunt would never manage to get anywhere here in Japan with her claustrophobia unless she walked a lot of stairs. The concept of personal space here in Japan is much narrower than perhaps anywhere else I have been. I guess that is a cultural norm in a city with over 9 million and a metropolitan area with more than 13 million.

My hotel
When I checked into my hotel, it struck me as one of those hotels in a 70’s time warp. The room is small with dingy carpet circa 1978. But then there are the charming things. Rather that take a photo I will try to paint a picture verbally.

Dinner tonight was in the hotel lounge where the bar tender is dressed in a black suite and gray tie with a white shirt that shows that 70s sleeve reveal and a pocket scarf in his suit. There is a live pianist playing the classics like “Over the Rainbow” and “The Girl from Ipanema” to set a mood, the 65” big screen TV above the bar is playing a continual set of Tokyo night live scenes of the most famous and beautiful places in town.

And then I noticed something. The bar tender put on a show. When he mixes a drink, he doesn’t just put ice in a glass and pour the ingredients in. First, places each bottle for targeted mix on the bar as if to point out, “this is what I am making”. Then he gently places as much ice as possible into the glass and uses a metal implement to “ice the glass” by swirling the ice 15-20 times until the glass frosts up. He empties the melted water from the glass. Then begins to gently pour precisely the right amount of each ingredient into the glass before serving it.

The best show was his Martini creation because of how he mixed the Vodka in his metal mixer. It was as if he was dancing with the mixer. It was as entertaining as I would imagine Sinatra in his prime.

Thanks again to my hosts. It was a very productive 2 business days. Now I have to rest so I can be ready for that 15 hours worth of flights back home tomorrow.

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