DM's Japan 2006 Trip Diary

Day 5 - Utsunomiya

Thursday, 26 January, 2006

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On Thursday we repeated the routine of meeting in the lobby to go get breakfast. Matthew was a bit late, explaining that he'd had some laundry done and the hotel had apparently attached laundry labels to his clothes with staples, as he'd discovered two staples in his underpants... while in the lift down to the lobby! So he'd had to dash off to remove the staples.

We tried more colours of sushi packages, and I grabbed a different package that was more expensive. Matthew said it must have some special filling, so I was interested to see what it was. Having enjoyed the pastry yesterday, I grabbed another chocolaty flaky thing. Eating them on the bus, I discovered I'd scored a chicken sushi packet, while the more expensive one had a lot of fish roe in it. It was a bit too salty for my liking. The chocolate pastry was nice though, filled with a chocolate custard.

Outside Utsunomiya
On the bus to Canon, crossing the Mito-kaido bridge over Kinugawa River

We spent all day measuring lenses in parallel between our system and the Canon system, to try to learn more about the differences. As we arrived and went into the lab, we passed a group of workers measuring the height from a wooden block on the floor to a lens one of them was holding above it. As we walked past, we heard a big clunk as he dropped the lens! They were doing environmental and impact testing. We also saw a batch of shiny new lenses that are in development, Saito-san informing us that it was a new model to be released later this year - exciting!

I grabbed lots of food for lunch today, having a bowl of vegetables with a pork dumpling, a bowl of rice, miso soup, and a potato salad, which I was quite surprised to see on offer. It turned out to be a mixture of potato and taro, so was quite sweet, but very nice. Ikemori-san was visiting Utsunomiya today, and ate with us. Over lunch we learnt that he had designed almost half the lenses in the old Canon FD range, including my own favourite FD 24 mm lens! I almost felt like asking him if he would sign it for me! We had another afternoon break from work too, and this time I bought a pack of Grape Mentos ("the chewy grape") and a Kit Kat which had a maple leaf and a picture of some syrup on the front, so I figured it must be maple syrup flavoured (I haven't opened it yet... I'll eat it tomorrow). This ran my prepaid lunch card down a fair bit, so I'll have to be a little bit careful tomorrow.

We finished work again at about 18:30. Kato-san drove us into town and to another restaurant where we ate with him, Saito-san, Ikeomori-san, and Ishegura-san. It was a Chinese place called Chinese Dining Garden. We had a selection of small dishes served to each of us individually in a procession of small plates. It included some gyoza, as well as, various stir-fries of vegetables, meats and seafood. One of the dishes I'm sure was Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi's prawns in chili sauce, although it wasn't very hot. I learnt a few more words of Japanese, mostly for food items, during the dinner.

Afterwards, Kato-san drove us back to our hotel again and we turned in for the night.

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