Okayama: Photography meeting day 2

I slept a bit better but not fully through the night. We got up at 07:00 and had breakfast in the hotel room with the things we’d bought last night. I had a salmon onigiri and a small set of sushi rolls. My wife had a red bean paste bun, and then tried what she thought was simply some plain type of mini bread rolls, but which turned out to be a “3 flavours” thing with chocolate, custard, and red bean paste in the middle of the mini rolls!

After this we prepared for the day and left around 08:00. My wife walked with me to the coffee shop I found yesterday near the Convention Centre and got a latte there. We parted and I went to the meetings, while she was planning to visit the Okayama Prefectural Museum and Okayamajinja shrine.

The ISO meeting today started with a session on a proposal for measuring the information capacity of camera systems, using Shannon information theory. Then we discussed angle-dependent image flare measurement, followed by depth camera characterisation for accuracy and resolution.

We broke for lunch a little early. I met my wife and we walked north of the Convention Centre to find one of the lunch places recommended by the meeting organisers. We found the place called Sanuki Otoko Udon Nose and were looking at the picture menu board outside, which looked like it had some suitable vegetarian options for her. Then one of the Japanese delegates from my meeting came out and said hello, and asked if we needed any assistance with the Japanese. I asked if there were vegetarian options and he pointed out a few on the menu board outside, so we went in. We all had to wait a few minutes for a table, and my meeting colleague was with two other Japanese delegates, so I reintroduced them to my wife (they probably met briefly last year in Cologne at the beer garden dinner).

A couple of minutes later we were seated at the central bar-like area. The waitress gave us an English menu, and my wife picked a dish of cold udon noodles with kelp and some other vegetables, plus a quail egg. I chose a bowl of hot noodles with tempura prawns and vegetables, which came with a smaller bowl of dipping sauce and a plate of chopped spring onions, sesame seeds, and ginger. My Japanese colleague helped us interpret the waitress, who was asking a couple of questions. He said that the dishes came in three sizes, which he described as 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0. We both asked for the 1.0 versions. She also wanted to know if she should bring the cold noodles first, or wait until the other dish was cooked so we could eat together, and we chose the latter.

The meals came and they were both substantial. The quail eggs were raw. My wife mixed hers through the cold noodles with the sauce, while I put mine into my dipping sauce and swirled it around. We filled up quickly and were very glad we’d chosen the 1.0 size! After paying (cash only) the cheap ¥1700 for the meals, I left my wife at the nearby Hokancho shopping street so she could look around there, while I headed back to the meeting.

The next session was about camera autofocus repeatability. And then there was a long session on high dynamic range photo display and gain maps for dynamic range conversion. This included a couple of interesting demos of HDR image conversion and display, using an Apple HDR monitor to show off the images. This was pretty impressive, and hopefully a preview of a near future with easy access to HDR images and good ways of displaying them for people on all sorts of display hardware.

The digital photography working group session ended by 17:00, but I had an extra two hour meeting until 19:00 with the TC 42 Administrative Working Group, which deals with business matters at the higher technical committee level.

After this I left and met up with my wife again. We dropped my bag off at our room and then walked over to Omame-dokoro Masu, a place described by Google as a tofu restaurant. It had good reviews and many people saying it was great for vegetarians. We found what I thought was the place, but it was difficult to tell as there were three doors close to each other, and no English anywhere in sight. We poked our noses in one and I asked the staff inside simply “tofu?” and they nodded, so we entered and took seats at the bar counter. The place was tiny and there were just seven seats, but there was also apparently an upstairs room with other customers up there.

One staff member typed on his phone and then showed us a translation which said, “Sorry the menu is only in Japanese.” We said that was okay, and I used Google’s photo translate on my phone to get an idea of what was on the menu. We ordered the “peanut tofu” appetiser, “special tofu dumplings”, and “assortment of 6 types of fried tofu – sweet and spicy sauce, spicy miso, plum meat, dengaku, grated radish, fried garlic”. I assumed “plum meat” meant the flesh of a plum. I got a beer to drink and M. tried a “Calpis”, which turned out to be a milky yoghurt drink, which she liked. The last dish arrived first, being six blocks of fried tofu topped with the various things. But one looked suspiciously like tiny fish and tasted to me a bit like it, so I asked after looking up the Japanese word for fish, and the guy confirmed it was indeed fish. So I ate that one, but my wife had the dengaku (miso) one and half of each of the others.

Then the dumplings arrived, looking like fried gyoza. I tried one, and the filling was very suspiciously meaty. I asked the guy, who asked another staff member, who said they had chicken in them. So this was a bit surprising! I ate them, and they were good, but my wife was left not having any. We ordered a couple of other things, this time asking to confirm they were fully vegetarian before ordering. So it was a bit of a mixed bag, with unexpected items and surprise meat in dishes. I wonder how many vegetarians have gone to this place and assumed the entire menu was vegetarian, and came away thinking some of the dishes had surprisingly good “imitation meat” in them!

We were full, and walked home along another different route for variety. We stopped in at 7-Eleven for more breakfast supplies and then went back to the hotel for the night. I grabbed a random ice cream which had zebras on the wrapper, and it turned out to be vanilla ice cream with ripply stripes of chocolate through it, and was quite good. So it was really a day of surprising food!

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