After the aforementioned sleep, I get up and do some reading and writing. Tokyo (and, I presume, the whole of Japan) does not use daylight savings time, so it gets full light at about 5:30. I get cleaned up and, dressed in blue shorts and the blue Hawaiian shirt (why surprise them with my attire - I'll let them know from the start), I meet Patrick Wong in the lobby and we have breakfast.
Patrick is the V.P. of Project Management - he tells me that he is Richard Lee's (ultimate ruler of PCCW - for those at home Pacific Century Cyber Works - imagine Rogers cable but way, way bigger) "man on the ground". PCCW-J is to start a project running a Massively Multiplayer Online Game, he's here to make sure that it happens. I'm here to shown them what we know from helping other companies do the same.
Patrick is Chinese, but roams the world in his job. He has lived in Toronto, and, at one time, while working for the Atomic Energy Commission of Canada, he and I were probably working at Point Lepreau in New Brunswick simultaneously. It is a small world, it just takes a long time to move around it.
His favorite breakfast spot is a western-style place in the mall in the hotel, called the Royal. After an excellent pancake breakfast (and, once again, the price seems much more reasonable than the hotels' prices) we take a taxi in the pouring rain (I found out later this is Typhoon 15 - they don't get names) to the PCCW-J NOW (Network Of the World) studios.
Part of the preparations for the trip included a map being sent to me that shows the office and it's surroundings. I was advised to show the map to a taxi driver to get taken there. The problem seems to be that there aren't really street addresses in Japan as we know them. The driver has to puzzle out the location from the other landmarks on the map, since the NOW studios aren't in a "famous" building. But after a short ride in the rain, we are here. Outside most buildings are racks, where people leave their umbrellas before entering. I have visions in my head of roaming, umbrella-stealing gangs, but that is not reality.
Inside, whoa! It's shagadelic, baby! A huge space, very open, with seemingly thousands of Aeron chairs. (Note to those not in the dot-com biz - In North America, lots of start-ups put money into these cool chairs, at US$1000 a pop. Most of them failed. In fact, a theory grew up that the percentage of Aeron chairs in the place was a measure of how likely it was to fail. Therefore, my first reaction is one of visceral panic. I was reassured by the Chief Technology Officer that, in fact, these chairs are cheaper in Japan than locally produced ones, and thus good business. Hmmm. He also offered to ship a couple to the Toronto office. Double hmmm. They are very comfortable.) On the right is the lunch room. Those stools actually are kinda comfy, in a retro, post-60's pre-70's kinda way. And check out that conversation nook. I'm not sure I could get up from there without a) hurting myself, and b) looking like a clumsy hippo.
Since NOW has a TV satellite, and was (is? I'm not clear) to provide TV programming, there is a virtual studio and control room. The studio, like a holodeck, can have 3d backgrounds, with subjects superimposed on top. And the background can change as the camera moves. In the control room screen, note the chair and ladder from the studio.
I meet the people here and - More Canadians! John Yow is from Toronto, and Risa Villineuve (no relation to Jacques) is introduced as French-Canadian. I guess it only makes since that the English and Japanese speaking crowd will have a large percentage of world travelers.
After some introductory meetings, lunch is held at a "Japanizied Fried Chicken" place down the street. Think, tempura chicken. Kinda. Anyway, it's very good, and there's lots of it. The restaurant owner is a musket collector, and there are some lovely examples on the wall. We return for more successful meetings, and then I do some email. Patrick and I leave the office at about 7:30, and take the subway back to the hotel.
The Tokyo subway! Visions of wall to wall people, with staff to push you in the doors. It might be like that at rush hour, but it's merely standing room only at 7:30. I get a 3000 yen pass, and we are back at the hotel in 20 minutes (three stops, one train change). I could be on the TTC, except for a distinct lack of English.
We dine at a place called World something Cafe, again in the hotel mall. And it is great! And cheap! T-Bone steak and a pork chop for (converting) C$30. The place itself is fine, but the clientele is western or westernized. I'll be lobbying for something more Japanese tomorrow. During the meal, the day catches up with me. I almost fall asleep in my coffee. When I get back to my room, I don't even turn on the TV, so I have a big surprise waiting in the morning.