Japan/USA diary, day 3

Wednesday 3 June, 2015. 21:39

Today we got into the ad hoc discussion groups in the ISO meeting, which was more interesting than yesterday. These cover the actual technical discussions leading to standards definitions, and often people have differing views on things. Mostly it was a lot of agreement, but there were some disagreements which will need to be nutted out over future drafts of the proposals.

I got up at 07:20 this morning and checked the weather forecast for Sapporo. It said 100% chance of rain, so I took my umbrella, though it wasn’t raining yet and the weather was actually warmer and the sky a bit clearer than yesterday (though still very cloudy). When I got to the convention centre I mentioned to Jackson that I’d brought my umbrella since the forecast said it was going to rain today, and he was surprised as his weather app said there was only a 30% chance of rain.

Night bikes
Rain in Sapporo (evening).

I got breakfast at the 7-11 store near the convention centre today, to avoid having to carry food on the subway. I got another couple of the cheap sushi packs, plus an interesting looking bun with chocolate streaks through it. It turned out to be very doughy and sweet. I ate in the park next to the convention centre, enjoying the outdoors a bit before spending all day inside.

Some of the sessions were short and we had plenty of breaks, but we got out for lunch a little after 12:00 and had to be back by 13:00. The same crowd of Americans and myself went to the nearby mall again and wanted to try something different but many eating places were full already, so we ended up in the same sushi place as yesterday. This time I sat with Margaret and Neelam, as well as Jackson and Scott. The women had worked out how to order yesterday, using little slips of paper, so we did that today. We somehow ended up with lots of plates and nobody really knew how they corresponded to what we’d ordered, but it was all good. We left just before 13:00, and were a few minutes late back to the technical discussions, but Toru waited for everyone to arrive before starting.

Susukino Street (evening).

In a break I got into a big discussion with Jackson, Shigeo Sakaue, and Noaya Katoh about Sakaue’s texture measurement proposal, which will be discussed tomorrow morning. It looks like that will be a very interesting session, since there’s a lot to hash out.

In the afternoon sessions it began raining outside, quite heavily, and we heard rolls of thunder several times in the meeting room – though it has no windows so we couldn’t see the rain except during breaks when we could go out into the foyer. The last technical session ended early, and most people left, but I had to stay back as a national delegate to attend an administrative session, which ran until 18:30.

I headed back in the steady rain with Ken Parulski to Higashi station and to our hotel. He said his throat was feeling sore so he was going to have a hot shower and then think about dinner. So I headed out alone to find dinner. I walked towards the region where Ramen Alley was, passing busy Susukino Street, which seems to be the heart of activity in Sapporo in the evening, and roamed the surrounding streets until I found a likely looking little restaurant on a corner.

English menu
The English restaurant menu.

I went in and discovered that the menus on the tables were entirely in Japanese text, without any pictures to indicate what the dishes might be. The waitress quickly determined that I didn’t speak Japanese and gave me a makeshift English menu composed of photos of dishes with an ingredient list underneath in English, pasted into a couple of exercise books with Winnie the Pooh covers. It felt like ordering from the kiddie menu. I chose a good looking bowl of udon noodles with a tempura prawn and some other bits and pieces including fish cake, mochi, and a poached egg. When it arrived at my table, the broth in the bowl was still boiling and bubbling. I also got a glass of Sapporo beer to wash it down. The food was really good, and inexpensive.

Boiling broth
Udon with tempura.

By now the rain had eased off a lot, and I walked back to the crepe place to try the strawberry cheesecake crepe tonight. It was nice, but only had whipped cream with no ice cream, which would have improved it I think.

Then it was back to the hotel for a shower and relax before bedtime.

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