Okayama: Photography meeting, day 1

Today was the opening day of the ISO Photography Standards meeting that I’m here in Okayama for. It’s being held at the Okayama Convention Centre, which is just a few minutes walk from our hotel, on the opposite side of the main train station.

For breakfast we went to a nearby 7-Eleven and picked up some packaged onigiri and a couple of random sweet things and headed back to the hotel room to eat them. After that, I walked the short distance to the Convention Centre, and found the meeting room, where I was early, but the Japanese admin staff had already set up. There were coffee and tea and some simple snacks, including some specialities local to Okayama:

  • Kibi-dango – small type of mochi
  • Ote-manju – very thin flour based shell filled with adzuki paste
  • Yumesen – “waffle” wafers filled with cream, vanilla or matcha

This meeting is a Plenary meeting for all of ISO Technical Committee 42 Photography, which is the umbrella committee for our technical activities in Working Group 18 on digital photography. The whole committee also includes other working groups dealing with photo printing, image stability, storage, and other issues related to physical photography. We only have a plenary meeting once every two years, and in between the separate working groups have their own technical meetings (WG18 meets three times a year). The first part of the meeting this morning was a plenary session, which was essentially administrative business for TC42 as a whole. It was also the first chance for the new chair of TC42 to lead a face-to-face plenary meeting after the 2021 meeting was replaced by a fully virtual meeting due to COVID.

After that plenary session we had the opening session of the WG18 meeting, again more administrative stuff. The main thing for me was discussion and planning of the meeting scheduled for Sydney in October 2024. We needed to decide on the dates, bearing in mind things like technical conferences that some members may be attending around the same time of the year, so there are no travel clashes. We decided on the week of 14-18 October, 2024.

During the lunch break I went by myself to a curry house not far away and had a Japanese curry with vegetables and a fried pork cutlet.

After lunch we had the first technical session. This discussed work on standards related to low light camera performance with simulation of human hand shake (i.e. not using a tripod), the memory model used for storage of digital images by cameras, and definitions of camera pixel-related specifications (like exactly what a megapixel is and how to count them for camera sensors). These sessions took us through to the close for the day, which finished a half hour early, at 16:30.

After the meeting I returned to the hotel and met my wife (who actually came out to meet me halfway) and then a little later we went out for dinner. I wanted to try an okonomiyaki place that I’d found with reviews saying they did a good vegetarian version. It was just around the corner from CBD Green where we had dinner last night, and in fact we’d walked around to have a look at it then. It was a little hard to tell which place it was, as there was no English signage at all, but it looked popular with a queue of people waiting for tables. So we went a bit early tonight to hopefully beat the queues.

When we got there, the place only had two tables occupied out of about ten, so we were seated and they turned the hotplate in the middle of our table on to heat up. The waitress apologised that they didn’t have menus in English. I said we wanted okonomiyaki and my wife was vegetarian, and she said that was okay. She went down a list of options, pointing at the lines on the Japanese menu: beef, pork, prawns, squid, mix, and also the same again with noodles. We opted for the noodle-free versions, I got the mix and my wife the vegetarian. We were looking forward to cooking them ourselves on the hotplate, but we noticed a guy cooking things on a bigger hotplate at the kitchen/bar area. One set of cooked noodles came out for one of the other tables and they put it on their hotplate and turned it down to just keep it hot. Then soon after they brought our already cooked okonomiyaki over and did the same.

Oh well. We still got to add our own sauce and mayonnaise and kelp flakes, and bonito shavings on mine. And it was really good. Although they were a little on the small side compared to other places where I’ve had okonomiyaki before. But they were very inexpensive. The whole meal, plus a glass of beer for me came to only ¥21,000, or about A$21.

We explored a little further down the street where the restaurant was, as it looked interesting, with dozens of other small restaurants lining the sides. Then we walked back to the station, where earlier we’d seen a take-away crepe place, with a queue of people waiting to order. I fancied one of those for dessert to make the total dinner more substantial. When we got there, there was still a long queue, and I realised why when I saw a sign that indicated that the place was having a one-day sale, and all crepes were only ¥390. In fact, the queue was even longer than it looked, because we saw a young couple try to join on the end, only to be escorted by a staff member outside the food hall area, to an additional roped off queuing area out in the main station concourse, where more customers were already waiting! So… we decided not to bother queuing up for crepes, and I got a Belgian waffle from another place nearby, a peach and strawberry one. It was very good – crisp crust, chewy interior, and good strawberry flavour in the waffle itself, topped with a peach cream.

Back in the hotel we showered and prepared for another earlyish night, with hopefully a solid sleep for myself this time.

One thought on “Okayama: Photography meeting, day 1”

  1. My thoughts reading this:

    “This discussed work on standards related to low light camera performance with simulation of human hand shake”

    Why would they be photographing the common greeting of gripping right hands?

    “(i.e. not using a tripod) …”


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