In November 2013, I attended the NEC iEXPO in Tokyo. I posted about that event at UCStrategies. This deck is
less about NEC and more about Japan.
The Prince Park Tower Hotel was my primary hotel in
Tokyo. Very nice. Excellent views of Tokyo Tower. It is
near a nice park and offers excellent facilities. I was
on the 12th floor – about half way up.
Tokyo Tower as seen from the top floor of my hotel. It was
my favorite landmark. Inspired by some other tower, but
more boldly painted. It is historic, iconic, functional, and
beautiful. I did go up it, but the views are better when
looking at it.
It was built in 1958 and is 1093’ tall. For some period it was
the tallest man-made thing in Tokyo.
View from my hotel room.
View from below
This was the toilet in my hotel room – an impressive
device. The seat opens when you walk in. The wireless
controller for the rest of its advanced car wash-like
features is on the wall. This is a chair that would make
Captain Kirk envious.
The Japanese have a very respectable approach to the
I was not the only guest from Boulder in my hotel room. Nice to see Celestial Seasonings tea despite
being in a country known for its tea.
This logical contraption was an umbrella locker outside the front of the hotel. Just stick your personal
umbrella in an open slot and take the key. Makes sense.
I walked around nearby parks, and could not help but notice NEC on these signs.
LEFT: In Shiba-park, NEC is trying to call Parantica sita (a migratory butterfly), as one of its environmental activities
since 2011. Volunteers weed naturalized plants by hand during lunch.
RIGHT: This garden is maintained by volunteers from NEC Group, "Biodiversity garden club".
The spread at the NEC House. It is a company-owned hall used for various receptions and
events. It is where I met Mr. Endo, NEC President. Lots of seafood including sushi and freshly
fried tempura. At the end ceremonial Matcha tea was served.
The Imperial Palace is surrounded by a moat and trees (mostly cherry and full-size bonsai trees). The bridge is
called Niju-bashi Bridge.
The Big Blue Bronco
at Denver Airport
Denver, home of the
Broncos, has a big blue one
at the airport. I wonder if
there is a big green one at
the Saitama airport.
Tokyo is the proud home of the Tokyo Skytree, completed
in 2011 and at 2080’ it is currently the tallest structure in
Did not make it up this one.
Asakusa (浅草) district in Tokyo is most famous for the Sensō-ji (浅草寺, Sensōji, also known as Asakusa Kannon
Temple) a Buddhist temple that was completed in 645 (NOT SHOWN), making it Tokyo's oldest temple.
There are NOT a lot of old buildings in Tokyo due to destruction from bombings in WW2 (and Godzilla).
RIGHT: Many come for the healing smoke outside the temple.
I bought some Kaminari-okoshi. A snack
made with sweet rice and peanuts. It is
considered lucky. Very tasty, and it is way
better than Rice Krispy Treats.
Near the temple was a crowded shopping street, called Nakamise. It was full of Japanese souvenirs such
as yukata and folding fans. The shopping street has a history that goes back several centuries. The circled item is
the bear my tour-guide is holding on a tall stick so that we can follow her.
I bought a bag of candied ginger from a street vendor ($10). There was no
evidence of a ginger shortage in Japan. It is used in all meals and between
The Asakusa area is known for tempura, which was indeed delicious. It was here that I discovered
Literally "tea cup steam" or "steamed in a tea bowl" is an egg custard with numerous ingredients such
as shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko, yuri-ne (lily root) and boiled shrimp served in a tea-cup-like container.
Yes, I rode in a Rickshaw. And of course, I kept thinking of Seinfeld and trying to figure out how to get the
homeless to pull these in New York.
I mistakenly thought that the Rickshaw was Chinese, but it was indeed invented in Japan. The
word rickshaw originates from the Japanese word jinrikisha (人力車, 人 jin = human, 力 riki = power or
force, 車 sha = vehicle), which literally means "human-powered vehicle.”
I was very envious of these two-toed shoes of the Rickshaw “driver”
This is the Akihabara electronics area of Tokyo.
The seven story store on the left was a single electronics
store surrounded by many more just like it. Not only was it
Walmart huge, but it was also full service. Every electronic
device and accessory imaginable (including NEC tablets, PCs,
and notebooks). Prices weren’t particularly attractive, so it
was more of a site to see than fully experience. I think I made
it to the 3rd floor before becoming completely overwhelmed.
At the entrance to the store was a sushi bar, noteworthy
because it had the same name of the place I frequent in
Boulder, Sushi Zanmai.
ATMs are easy to find, and they are all made by NEC.
Might be a bit hard to see, but I thought this bike rack was interesting. The bikes are parked
at different heights to allow more bikes in less space (in theory). Also, I noticed several
electric-assist bikes around town too.
Had to change hotels for the last night in
Tokyo due to high hotel demand for the Tokyo
Car Show (and NEC iEXPO). The Prince Hotel
was a star down from the Prince Park Tower.
This photo taken from Tokyo Tower.
We often hear how compact
everything is in Japan. However, hotel
#2 had what was quite possibly the
largest bed in the entire world, which
I never expected to find in Japan. I
wonder what they call it? Emperor
This was my only sushi shot – honestly the sushi looks the same as it does here, but it is different.
The ginger is sweeter and the wasabi is fresh (no powder here). Many unfamiliar fish. It certainly felt
This was my favorite dinner – Shabu Shabu. Thinly sliced meats and vegetables cooked in boiling water at the
table, lots of sauces. Appropriate attire includes a bib.
No trip to Japan would be complete without a Ninja. This
particular restaurant had several – one even did card tricks.
Back in Colorado? Nope, but I did find a chairlift! Actually gondola for those in the know. Not for skiing,
but for sightseeing in Hakone, a volcanic area. According to Guinness, this is the world’s busiest gondola.
A very cold and hot place at the same time. Only about 1000 feet high, but the winds were freezing. Had it been a
clearer day, we could have easily seen Mt. Fuji. That’s volcanic steam, and as everyone knows, the best thing to do
with naturally heated volcanic water is to hard boil eggs. The region is well known for its volcanic black eggs.
Hotel #3, and my favorite, the
Out of the big city, the Odawara Hilton is a high-end resort. However, this was the off-season. The
outdoor pools and acres of tennis courts were closed. What was particularly nice about this hotel was
the large Japanese baths on the 3rd floor. I’ve never been cleaner.
That’s the pacific ocean out there – Get this, the sun rises on the Pacific.
The great image of Buddha in in the city
of Kamakura is designated a National
Treasure. The Buddha is a bronze statue
11.3 m high, weighing 121 tons, and was
built in the 13th century. Kamakura
became the center of rule by the
In those days many temples were
constructed in Kamakura, and many
Buddhist statues created in the Chinese
Sung style. Initially the statue was
housed in a large building, but this was
washed away by flood twice (in the 14th
and 15th centuries) leaving only the
Thinking about traveling in Japan on your own? Unlike many other non-English speaking countries, it is
pretty hard to decipher things. If you can’t read Japanese, I think that’s Morse code on the right.
This is a Japanese vending machine. What’s unique about it is it serves hot and cold drinks. Notice the
labels are either blue or red. You can buy a can of hot coffee or a bottle of cold water from this machine.
SLURPEE is the same word in Japanese.
Most meals have lots of dishes. I’d hate to be a dishwasher in Japan.
This particular feast was tempura and Soba (buckwheat) noodles. As everyone knows, the Soba
noodles are to be dipped in the tempura sauce.
East meets West. This is KitKat Matcha. Instead of chocolate, the bar is dipped in sweet matcha
green tea. I bought this at the airport and it was a hit at home.
I had a wonderful time, Japan is a wonderful place. Domo arigato
to NEC for hosting an event that made this trip possible.