DM's USA and Japan 2016 Diary

Day 13 - CP+ camera show, hibachi dinner

Thursday, 25 February, 2016

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Today we had a break from the ISO meetings to allow us to attend the CP+ trade show, which is one of the largest camera and photography exhibitions in the world. As ISO photography committee members, we got admission to the special "press time", which was a special two hour window for members of the press to see the exhibits before the general public was allowed in. This was from 10:00 to 12:00.

Before that, I got up a bit before 07:00 and dressed for the day. After yesterday's experience, I made sure not to leave the hotel in search of breakfast until the convenience stores opened at 7. This time I went back to the Sunkus in Queen's Square, hoping to also find an ATM to withdraw some cash, since I was down to just a few coins. There was an ATM right next to the Sunkus store, but it had a sign indicating that it only operated from 7:45 in the morning! So I paid for a couple of rice snacks and a tub of yoghurt with some of my last coins, and returned to my room to eat and then do some stretching exercises.

At 9:00 I went down to the meeting room to collect a pass to the CP+ show, as we'd been instructed yesterday. Only a few people were there, and it turned out we had to wait until almost 10:00 to get our passes, and then Yamamoto-san, who had a CIPA staff ID, led us over to the convention centre hall where the show was. CIPA is the Camera and Imaging Products Association, the Japanese organisation which runs CP+. He led us to the entrance door, where a huge queue of several hundred people, all with press passes, was waiting to be let in. Yamamoto-san told us to just wait right at the entrance, next to the head of the queue, and he would get us in with his staff privileges. But a security woman stopped him and a big conversation ensued. It was in Japanese, but later I chatted with Scott Geffert and he said, "That was like Yamamoto saying, 'Let us in, I'm staff', and the woman said, 'I don't care who you are, go to the back of the queue'." The exchange went back and forth between them a few times, and as they argued the queue of press started entering the hall. After a couple of minutes it become clear that the security woman was not going to let us skip the queue, so we walked to the back of it and then followed all the press people into the hall. It moved fast though and this only cost us a couple of minutes.

Inside, the hall was huge, with dozens of stalls of various sizes, ranging from tiny booths for small manufacturers of things like tripods or camera straps up to huge display area with multiple interactive exhibits and hands-on stations with equipment for the big camera manufacturers. Several of these had stage areas with models posing for photographers, both those using their own cameras and for people testing the many hands-on cameras and lenses being shown off by the exhibitor. Many had special telephoto lens demo areas at the back, up a short set of stairs, with the gear ranged to have a long view across the exhibition hall so you could take photos of people a long way away. There were also some areas like this with binoculars and spotting scopes.


I wandered around, making sure to check the displays of all the camera manufacturers. Canon's area had a series of gymnasts, both female and male, performing compact routines, rather than the uniformly female models of the other manufacturers who basically just stood and smiled at everyone taking photos of them. Canon also had displays of HDR and 8k video screens, while Epson was showing off a 4k laser projector system. The 8k video was in a dark room with additional screens showing lower resolution images in the peripheral vision, to give a sense of being surrounded by the imagery, and it was quite impressive.

There were several displays of photographs, printed large and mounted on walls, showing off either the cameras, the printers, or the paper manufacturer. One paper maker produced traditional style Japanese paper, with the visible fibres in it and rough surface and edges, and was showing this paper printed with large photographs, which looked amazing. There was a small booth where a guy was showing off cameras made of cardboard, with a simple plastic lens mounted in nested cardboard tubes, which you slid to focus. The viewing screen was simply a translucent screen which formed an image camera obscura style. And the image sensor was photosensitive sheets of paper, which you developed after exposure with chemicals, producing a sort of blueprint style of photo. It looked pretty cool in a very low fidelity way.

There were booths by smaller manufacturers such as Lensbaby, Lomography, and various companies making lens attachments for phone cameras. Accessory makers were well represented, with several tripod stalls, camera bag stalls, and a few filter stalls. One of these, Marumi, had samples of many of their filters in multiple thread sizes, and you could try them out on your own camera, so I tried shooting several photos with various star filters, soft focus, and other things.

There was so much to see that I didn't really have time to see it all in the two hours of press time we had. At 12:00, I'd arranged to meet Jonathan, Scott Geffert, and Albrecht at the exit. I only found Jonathan there and we waited until 12:10 and then decided to just go, since we had to be back from lunch by 13:30 for the keynote talk of the show, which was "highly recommended" by the ISO meeting organisers. As it turned out, when we returned from lunch and ran into Scott and Albrecht at the talk, they said they'd waited from 12:00 to 12:15 at the exit and then gave up on us and went to lunch! We figured they must have been at another exit.

Jonathan and I went over to World Porters and the sushi place I'd been to on Monday. We ordered a bunch of sushi pieces and really enjoyed them. This time I tried the seared salmon with a

mayonnaise, which was delicious. We got back in time to drop some things off at the hotel before the keynote talk.

We'd been told to look for Yamamoto-san, who would escort us into the talk venue - a room seating 400 people. It looked crowded when we arrived, and we questioned whether Yamamoto would be able to get us in, after the incident with the security guard earlier. But get us in he did, and we were given earpieces by the staff to listen in to live English translation of the speech. The talk was about the emergence of 4k and 8k video displays, and was supposed to go for an hour. The theme was essentially that these new high resolution displays will be ideal for displaying photography in the household consumer market, and so may drive a renewal in a desire for high quality photography which could improve sales of dedicated cameras. This message and the entire talk took a scant half hour, and it ended at 14:00, half an earlier than we expected.

Following this, we had the afternoon free, as we had agreed in the ISO meeting to run the scheduled late afternoon sessions on different days. In fact we've already run one of them on Wednesday. I decided to go back into the CP+ show, this time armed with my SLR which I retrieved from my hotel room. I explored more in there until 16:30, when I returned to my room to relax a bit before dinner.

Margaret, Scott Geffert, Albrecht, and I had arranged to meet at 18:30 for dinner in the hotel lobby. This time everyone showed up on time and in the same place. Nobody had a plan, so I led the group to the basement food area next to the Landmark Tower, where the World Beer Museum restaurant was. There were ten restaurants on that level, but none appealed to everyone, so we went up a floor where there were two more, and found a good looking very traditional place where you had to take your shoes off to enter, but they had a wait of 45 minutes for a table. So we tried the other one, which turned out to be a place where you cook your own food on a charcoal grill at your table.

We ordered three different types of beef, herbed chicken, prawns, and plates of mixed vegetables and mixed mushrooms to cook on the grill, as well as a cucumber salad appetiser. The salad was delicious, with an interesting dressing that seemed vaguely familiar but none of us could identify. The beef was of three different levels of tenderness when cooked, two quite nice, but the last one rather chewy. After filling up on these things, Scott and Albrecht tried the "snow ice" dessert which was advertised on a placard on the table. This turned out to be a very light and powdery shaved ice concoction with coconut flavour. Margaret and I preferred to try seeking a more substantial dessert elsewhere, so we paid and left to search for some.

This was a bad idea, as we searched the Landmark Tower and Queen's Square shopping areas for somewhere to get some dessert, but didn't find anything that looked good, or indeed open. Since we knew there were good dessert places in the World Porters shopping centre, we decided to walk over there, a few blocks away. This would have worked fine, but for the fact that by the time we got there it was nine o'clock. And it turned out that everything closed at nine o'clock, and this being Japan, it meant that everything closed at nine o'clock on the dot, at precisely the same time. And we arrived at the ice cream place as two customers were being served, with the staff literally still in the process of scooping out the ice cream for them, but when we asked to buy some, while one staff person took the money off these customers, the other staff member waved his hand at us and said they were closed. We quickly ran around to the other ice cream, crepe, waffle, and cake places nearby, and found them all to have just closed that minute as well.

Determined to get something, I went into the Starbucks near the entrance, which was still open and got a take away cup of little cinnamon bun bites, while Scott got a coffee. We walked back to the hotel and I had two of the cinnamon bites before brushing my teeth and preparing for bed. I left most of them for eating tomorrow, perhaps at breakfast.

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