Coming to an end – a week in Tokyo

As a long week(plus) of travel comes to a close, it is often a time of reflection for me. Apart from counting down the number of nights remaining, planning the trek to the airport, and hoping I have enough clean clothes, I take a few moments to make sure that I write down my learnings.

Depending on the trip, and its purpose, the definition of success can be different. As I rarely travel for Trade show attendance anymore, and this was split between a NPI and supporting an important partner at a big conference, my goals were varied.

This week was a success. First, the introduction to Japan of the new product was outstanding. Lots of interest and traffic, a great start. Three long, tiring, days standing in the booth, coupled with a 75 minute slog via JR takes a toll on the body. My shoes are about dead, and my problematic feet were agonizing. Still, worth it.

The weekend was fun, and a good balance between hectic and relaxing. Having a Japan virgin (colleague who hadn’t been to Japan before) made it interesting. Saw enough sites, and ate enough good food to be worth it.


  • Trains running late. This is new to me, but apparently it is now common. Last night, the Chuo rapid line was running almost 30 minutes late. (in the old days, only something like a bad accident, or a suicide would delay trains…)
  • Smoking seems to be down. There are signs on the street saying no smoking, not 100% adhered to, but clearly there is less smoking out and about. Most restaurants we went to were either no smoking, or they had segregated the smoking areas. This is hugely welcome.
  • Good public wifi everywhere. Yes, it is pay to play, but for about 7 bucks, you can get WiFi for 24 hours that covers most public places in Tokyo. There are even a couple of competing services. Convenient.(in 2008, my last trip here, many hotels didn’t even have WiFi, just wired connections)
  • Google Maps – while I didn’t have data roaming, so I was a bit blind, google maps makes it trivial to navigate by train/bus/walking. Next time, I will pay the man and turn on data roaming.
  • Apple iPhones are the big winner here. Looking on trains and stations, it is about 8-1 iPhones to android or other phones. Not even close. I am sure this is a biased sampling, but Apple seems to be kicking google’s (and Samsung’s) ass here.

One more full day, and then off to the airport. Flying ANA direct into San Jose, a Dreamliner, not a bad way to fly.

Update: a night of drinking and sushi has laid me low.  I didn’t think I could vomit so much for so long. No breakfast or lunch today, me thinks.