Tokyo option experience & certain specification

25Aug06

1. Orange tofu.

2. Paul is on the subway on the way to the Tokyo opening of Cars. At the Tokyo opening we saw hundreds of kids running around wearing paper car-character hats on their heads, out of their minds with excitement. Later in the day Paul gave an interview at the Apple store in Ginza and was asked repeatedly for his autograph because, as he said, “They must have thought I was someone famous.” Please note the pink Parco pig.

3. Entirely by coincidence, the same weekend that my friend Paul was in Tokyo on business, my friend John Barretto was in Tokyo on business too. Paul and John had never met before, but they both know my friend Tessa, and they both (sort of) have worked for the same boss — John at Apple, and Paul at Pixar. John had only been in Tokyo for one day, but he already knew where to take us for dinner after the Pixar party. Gonpachi is a famous restaurant in Tokyo with a series of locations. The 200 bodycount fight sequence in the first of the Kill Bill movies was either filmed in Tokyo’s largest branch of Gonpachi, or was modeled on it (I can’t remember which). John took us to the Roppongi location because it was right near the hotel where he was staying. While I was eating, I couldn’t stop imagining Uma Thurman prancing on the counter wearing Bruce Lee’s famous Game of Death tracksuit.

4. While Paul was giving interviews at the Apple store, I went back to the Mori Museum to get a better look at the Pixar exhibit, which I had had to rush through the night before. After spending a few hours in the main cylinder of the strange glass-and-steel complex that is Roppongi Hills, I decided to walk around the grounds to see what I could find. What I found was a baton-routine in the making, being choreographed in the courtyard of the Fuji TV building. This was clearly serious business since there were several camera trucks there and a barrier barring entrance. I imagine the routine showed up on Fuji TV later in the day, perhaps as part of some kind of anniversary celebration or something.

5. After taking us to an incredible yakitori restaurant, where I had the most delicious chicken sashimi that I’ve had yet, Taro-kun and Koba-chan led us to a basement-level Thai restaurant and bar. It was very red, and since it was a hot, hot day, the beer was very cold, and very delicious.

6. Here’s Taro-kun.

7. Paul is looking thoughtful.

8. I’m looking sweatful. Did I mention that Japanese summer is violently hot?

9. John examines Koba-chan’s Ricoh GRD. Since John was visiting during the World Cup, everyone he ran into kept pointing out that he looks like Ronaldo, even at Tsukiji fish market. In fact, on his last day here, since John is a Ronaldo fan, he picked up a Ronaldo jersey at the soccer emporium. He put it on for the trip from Shibuya to Roppongi and when the janitor standing in the lobby of the Shibuya Excel saw John walking toward the elevator, she stopped mopping, stared, and her jaw dropped straight to the floor where it made a clacking sound. After that I told John that he wasn’t allowed to wear his jersey in public until he got back to the States.

10. Here’s Koba-chan.

11. Since Paul is an artist, he sometimes does things like spontaneously draw sketches. Actually, I think he was goaded into this by Taro and Koba, one of whom took these photographs. I think it took Paul only 1.39 minutes to draw this sketch. I really love Paul’s sketches (especially his pencil work).

12. Have I mentioned yet that Japan will be the first country where biomorphically shaped robots and humans interact on a daily basis? I’m totally serious about this. Already there are plans for robot companions for elderly people, and one of the professors at Osaka University has designed a ‘realistic’ female robot that can talk and react relatively naturally with an interlocutor. Okay, it’s actually totally-creepy-naturally because it’s close enough, but not quite close enough, but it’s still interesting. His new project is to make a robot of himself so that he doesn’t have to come to campus to teach. I’m not kidding.

We’re still not sure how the guy inside the bubble fit himself into the red promotion-bot. (Photo by John Barretto.)



2 Responses to “Tokyo option experience & certain specification”

  1. 1 laurel

    you can totally tell how hot it is by those pictures. they made me want a cold beer, too.

  2. 2 Trane DeVore

    Yeah — everybody’s just a little shiny.


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