DM's USA and Japan 2016 Diary

Day 14 - ISO meeting, more food

Friday, 26 February, 2016

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I got up about 06:30, and waited until 07:00 to head out and find some cash and breakfast. Fortunately I'd spotted an actual 7-11 store in the Landmark Tower last night, as opposed to the other chains of convenience store, one of which had already rejected my Visa card at an ATM inside. The secret to withdrawing cash from a foreign account in Japan is to use the ATMs in 7-11s, as they always seem to have the required international connectivity, whereas many other ATMs don't.

So I headed over there and indeed managed to successfully withdraw 10,000 yen. Not only did it access my account, but it also printed the remaining balance on the receipt, which is unusual for overseas withdrawals. And it was in yen, so it made me feel rich with all the extra digits. I bought another couple of rice snacks and a blueberry yoghurt for breakfast. I picked an odd looking one with what looked like potato salad and dressing in it, only to discover when I got back to my room and started eating it that it was actually cheese, which was rather a rude shock. Rice and cheese don't go together so well.

The ISO meetings began at 08:30 this morning, to make sure we got through the remaining business in time. We had a few more ad hoc discussion sessions on various standards drafts, then launched into the wrap-up sequence. This consists of summaries of the state of affairs of each open project, including progress since last meeting, discussion and agreements at this meeting, and future actions to be taken with deadline dates. All of this takes some time to go through and a few of the projects had extended discussions at this point to clarify technical points and actions.

We took the lunch break in the middle of this summing up process. I went with Margaret, Scott Geffert, and Albrecht to a sushi place that Margaret had discovered on her first day here, on the 5th floor of yet another shopping mall, across the street from Queen's Square. It seems every block around here is another huge shopping mall. At this place there was lots of sushi going around on the conveyor, so it wasn't necessary to order much if anything from the menu using the paper slips that are handed to the chefs. Six plates of sushi was plenty for me, and in fact one more than I'd had the other days I'd had sushi for lunch, but Scott and Albrecht had eight each, and Margaret said she set a new personal record for herself with nine.

We headed back to finish the wrapping up of the ISO meeting. Following the project summaries was a break for the minutes recorder to edit the action items list and the resolution editing committee (which I'm on as the only representative from Australia) to edit the list of resolutions to be adopted. This latter is pretty easy, as the resolutions generally just consist of a list of motions of thanks to the various organisers and administrators of the meeting. Then everyone reassembles again to go through the list of action items, followed by the list of resolutions, which are generally all approved unanimously. Then it's just a summary of the future meeting dates and locations and the meeting is adjourned. Only this time there was a bit of an issue with the next meeting location, which still hadn't been finalised between options of New York City and Estes Park in Colorado. After some discussion it was decided to go to New York. And with that my business on this long business trip was ended.

It was 16:00, and Scott, Margaret, Jonathan, and I arranged to meet again at 18:30 for dinner. Scott and Margaret decided to use the time to visit the Cup Noodles Museum. I dropped some things in my room and went for a walk to stretch my legs, over to the red brick warehouses and back. This time I checked out the interior of the second warehouse, which I hadn't entered last time I came here on Monday.

At 18:30 I met Margaret and Scott, but they said Jonathan would be joining us later and they would message him the location of wherever we ended up. Margaret suggested this time we have dinner in World Porters, since we know that's where the good dessert places are, and we wanted to get to them before they closed at 9pm. We picked the first place we saw out of the lifts on the fifth floor, which had an extensive display of plastic food out the front, encompassing a range of ingredients and cooking styles, from sashimi to grilled chicken skewers to sukiyaki cooked at your table. They made us wait for a table for ten minutes, for no apparent reason as there seemed to several tables empty.

But eventually we were seated and ordered a bunch of different things from the menu: two different large sashimi platters, a platter of vegetables with miso dipping sauce, two bowls of hot melted butter with garlic and prawns in it served with melba toasts, a plate of four different types of grilled chicken skewers. Jonathan arrived and didn't have to order anything as the food was on its way! We shared everything and it was all good. The chicken skewers included two different cuts of chicken meat, a minced chicken kofta-like thing, and chicken livers, and were served with a raw egg yolk for dipping. All three of the others recoiled in horror at the egg yolk and refused to touch it, but I dipped all my chicken pieces in it. Nearly done, we decided to order an additional couple of plates of mixed deep fried skewers and some fried burdock. The mixed skewers had one with a giant prawn, one with two chunks of cheese, and one with two crab meat balls flavoured with tomato.

After this meal, we headed down to the ground floor to the dessert places. Margaret had some Cold Stone ice cream, while Jonathan and I had crepes from a place called Manna. But they weren't as good as the crepes we'd had in Sapporo, because they didn't have any ice cream in them - mine merely had strawberries, whipped cream, and a slice of cheesecake! So to make up this deficiency we both had a cup of ice cream from the Yoghorino place I'd visited twice already. This time I chose choc mint ice cream.

From here it was a walk back to the hotel through the cold night air. We said bye to Scott until the next meeting in New York, then Margaret and I inquired about transfer buses to Haneda airport. I booked a seat on a bus leaving at 18:00 tomorrow, but Margaret's flight didn't leave until 00:30 and she didn't want to spend hours sitting at the airport, so got a timetable for buses leaving from Yokohama station. We rode the lift together with Jonathan to our respective hotel floors, saying our goodbyes until New York.

And now it's bed time for my last night in Japan before heading home tomorrow.

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