Yokohama 2017 diary, Day 4

Thursday, 23 February, 2017

This morning was the “big break” from the ISO meetings, meaning we had the morning free to visit the CP+ camera show, being held in the Pacifico Yokohama convention centre adjacent to the hotel. Our instructions were to be in the meeting room at 09:00 to receive registration forms for the show and then be taken over so we could register as press members so we could get in to the “press time” from 10:00 to 12:00, which is restricted to press so they can see the show before the public crowds are admitted.

But first I woke up, a bit after 07:00 again, had a shower, and then went out to get some breakfast from the nearest convenience store, which is over in Pacifico Yokohama. It was about 08:30 when I went there, and the shop was busy with a dozen or more people constantly moving through buying snacks and breakfast or whatever. This time I stuck to the tried and true sushi rice snacks, which delivered a much better experience than the ham wraps from yesterday.

Then I went to the meeting room to get my CP+ registration. Most of the Japanese attendees weren’t there, presumably being not that interested in attending the show. But most of the visitors were also absent, and only showed up fairly late, perhaps thinking they didn’t really need to be there as early as 09:00. Sasaki-san gave us forms to fill in indicating our ages and what industry we worked in. Then at 09:30, Yamamoto-san led us over to the registration desks at the show and herded us into the right area to wait for the entry time. Dozens of staff kept people in order, making sure nobody went anywhere they shouldn’t be and checking everyone’s passes.

Inside the CP+ camera show

Eventually, at 10:00 on the dot we were allowed into the exhibition hall. This giant space was filled with booths from dozens of manufacturers of cameras, lenses, binoculars, telescopes, microscopes, and accessories such as tripods, filters, bags, and so on, as well was printers and paper. Having got the general impression last year, I concentrated mainly on visiting stalls with large photographic prints on display, to look at the photography. Many of the stalls had these, showing off either the cameras, the printers, or the paper, depending on what they manufactured. Canon also had some 8k HDR displays, which were stunning to look at.

Bisected camera at the CP+ camera show

There were a few booth babes handing out brochures and some models posing for people to take photos with the new camera gear on display, but this time two of the major stalls had guys playing basketball instead of women posing. There was a vintage camera museum display in one corner, with some cool old cameras, both still and motion picture film. Near here was a small stall showing off a bunch of clip on lenses for camera phones to give them wide angle, fisheye, macro, and telephoto capabilities. I tested some with my own iPhone, and the worked over the case, so I considered going upstairs to the accessory sales annex to get some. I found the place to buy them and they were just 1000 yen each, which was so cheap that I got two, a fisheye and a combined macro and 120° wide angle, though the guy only took cash and I only had enough for one at first and had to come back after finding an ATM at the 7-11 store down the other end of the exhibition hall.

I met Margaret, Ari, and Ed for lunch and we went back to the same sushi place in Mark Is that we’d gone to on Tuesday. This time we got some of the really fatty tuna. The menu listed normal tuna, then “fatty tuna”, then “fattest tuna”. The fattest tuna was marbled with obvious stripes of fat running through it, and the texture was incredibly creamy and buttery, almost like eating a slab of avocado instead of fish. The butteriness stayed cloying in my throat for several hours afterwards. It was amazing, and really nice, but one piece was plenty.

Sushi, captured with clip-on iPhone fisheye lens

After lunch was the keynote speech by the head of CIPA, an executive from Olympus. Again we had to assemble in the meeting room early so we could be escorted down to the hall and then admitted, since we wouldn’t be allowed in without an escort. We were given earpieces with receivers for getting the English translation of the Japanese speech. We found seats up the front, near a TV screen which showed English translations of the slides being projected on the big screen.

The speech itself was in four parts. The first was simply an introduction to and description of CIPA and what the organisation does. Second was a description of the state of the camera market. He showed sone slides showing a steady decline in sales every month for the past few years, but which showed a slight levelling out in the last few data points. He interpreted this as “turning the corner” and said that the market was now recovering. This seemed incredibly optimistic to me.

Thirdly, the guy talked about how women will lead this recovery in the industry. He showed some stats about how females made up only about 20% of the camera market, but this fraction is growing. Then he presented profiles of a handful of female photographers, and then concluded by saying that the industry had to attract more female photographers by concentrating not on the equipment but on social networking and stuff like that. It all came across as rather narrow minded and condescending, and afterwards Margaret commented that nobody could have gotten away with presenting the same speech in the US.

The fourth topic was about the use of Exif data to enable functionality in the Internet of things. He explained that for smart devices like fridges or cars or whatever to become truly useful, they need cameras that produce images with tags suited to interoperability and data sharing with other devices. He gave some examples, but they were so contrived and uncompelling that I can’t even remember them. All in all, it was a pretty uninspiring speech.

After this, we had a bit of time free before beginning an afternoon session of ISO meetings, tackling another two technical topics. This finished off the main technical work of the meeting, leaving just the final logistical stuff tomorrow.

Matthew had messaged me that there was a dinner arranged with him, Quan, and our Canon Inc. project partners. He sent the address of a shabu shabu restaurant in Kawasaki, saying to meet them there at 18:00. The ISO meeting was supposed to finish at 17:00, giving me plenty of time to get there, but both sessions ran over and it ended up finishing after 17:30. I raced out of the meetings and dropped my laptop bag in my room before heading straight out to Minatomirai station and catching a train to Yokohama, where I changed for a Keikyū line train to Keikyū Kawasaki, making sure that it was an express rather than a local service.

Covered mall
Pedestrian mall in Kawasaki

I arrived at Kawasaki just a few minutes after 18:00, and walked through some interesting streets and a pedestrian area, all lined with lots of shops and restaurants with illuminated signs. It would have been good to explore, but I headed straight to the restaurant and managed to find it without any difficulty, mostly by knowing exactly where it was and following my GPS map on my phone. The place was on the fourth floor of a building and the access was via a tiny lift that opened onto the street; there didn’t appear to be any stairs, at least none that I could see anywhere.

Big advertising
Restaurant front in Kawasaki (not the place I ate dinner)

The lift opened directly into the restaurant and a waiter greeted me in Japanese. I said I was meeting friends, and he pointed me down a corridor to a small room with a half dozen tables, where Matthew, Quan, and the Canon people were set up, across two tables. I sat at a table with Arai-san, Jinno-san, and Seto-san, while Matthew and Quan were sitting with Inoshita-san and Ikeda-san, and they were later joined by Shibata-san the project manager and Nishikawa-san. The shabu shabu was similar to the one last night, but the restaurant was more cramped and dingier, and people on tables all around us were smoking, which got really annoying.

Shabu shabu 2
Shabu shabu in Kawasaki

Again we had a 90 minute time limit, which turned out to be on ordering the food, not on consuming it, as we ended up ordering a huge batch of food and drink just before the deadline and stayed finishing it all off for almost another hour. They’d gone for the drink option too, and after two beers I decided to try something else and went for a yuzu sour, with the citrus fruit yuzu and whatever that was mixed with. One difference is that the Japanese guys just dropped all the sliced meat into the broth to cook, and we fished out pieces later, rather than each of us dangling and holding onto each piece of meat as it cooked quickly. But the major difference was that there was no buffet here for the vegetables and salads and sauces, instead the waiters brought everything to order.

Truly stuffed at the end of this meal, I had to make my way back to Yokohama. Everyone else was walking to Kawasaki station, so I went with them rather than go back to Keikyū Kawasaki. From Kawasaki I had to catch a JR train instead of a Keikyū line train, and there were two different JR lines to choose from, both going to Yokohama. I saw one had a train leaving in three minutes so picked that one and said bye to everyone.

Where the street has no name
Kawasaki at night

This train was really crowded when it arrived, but a lot of people got off, and it wasn’t so bad by the time I got on, but it still had a lot of standing passengers. The JR trains have fewer stops than the other lines, and it was pretty quick getting back to Yokohama. There I changed to the Minatomirai line where an express train soon arrived for the single stop ride to Minatomirai and my hotel. I got in about 21:00, which wasn’t too bad. During the day I heard about Dietmar and some of the others going in to Tokyo and finding a restaurant near the Tsukiji fish markets to have sushi for dinner last night, and not getting back until 22:30 or so.

On the way back to the hotel from the station, I pondered trying to find a dessert place, but thought they probably all closed by 21:00, so I was just a fee minutes too late. Instead I fond a 7-11 in the Landmark Plaza and bought some sushi snacks for breakfast, plus a chocolate and almond coated ice cream on a stick, which I took back to the hotel. After a quick FaceTime call with M., I ate the ice cream then prepared for bed and read a bit before going to sleep.

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