Back in the hotel room at 11 p.m., remarkably early considering, nursing two very sore feet and a mild headache.
This more serious day followed our flashy opening on Sunday, starring Prime Minister Mori and the Royal Family. With them, things were all sunshine and roses, and with all the Japan bashing that followed, I'm wondering if they're now regretting having us over.
So yes, I'm downing a ¥600 bottle of water from the mini-bar and watching Space Shower TV, a showcase of Japanese music videos, mostly because all I've seen over on CNN is stuff about Tiger Woods. (All that fuss over a green jacket!) Space Shower TV is like MTV, produced with 80s technology but with today's pop/rave/punk aesthetics. Surreal, at times. The video that was just on featured excessive female nudity, some male nudity, and lots of sex, ropes, and bloody sinks.
One thing they do that I like, though, is playing several consecutive videos from a single artist. I think I've now seen every video Weezer ever did, with "El Scorcho" just ending and "The Good Life" now beginning.
Behind the scenes, today was as crazy as it gets. The language barrier is a big part of it, but so is our hosts' natural resistance to change and "outsider input" the years of experience our office brings to the table is often politely pushed aside and ignored. A lot of it is protocol, though, dealing with many VIPs with differing sensitivities, and already there've been some colorful moments.
One major task the production of the daily meeting newspaper had us expecting a huge challenge given most of our local colleagues' English skills, but fortunately we ended up working with a great team of editors and freelancers from The Japan Times and around Tokyo whose English was nearly perfect.
The split venues, meanwhile, were as much of a nightmare as we expected, and our feet were aching in no time. Eventually we made more efficient use of our friendly team of interns, and generally planned better to minimize excessive walking back and forth. But still, today alone, I must have passed through Odaiba Station thirty-five times.
Our last task tonight dealt with unfinished business, and not surprisingly our work was ultimately left unfinished too. Our first Board of Directors meeting on Sunday ran long, so it has to be continued tomorrow night. But by that time, many members will have left Tokyo, so we've got to count carefully to make sure we make quorum, without which all this planning becomes moot. You haven't fully absorbed the meaning of the word "futile" until you've tried to find twenty people split randomly between two hotels, staffed by people who speak only Japanese.
Otherwise, it was the usual conference fare. Producing documents, distributing policy statements and media advisories, taking (poor) digital photos, and working with and for everyone else. I even got a little taste of Hawaii during our roundtable on Tourism and Cultural Exchange, finding John Waihee, Robert Fishman, and Brenda Foster in one room.
One day to go. Three plenaries and another luncheon, and a closing gala dinner, by which time the "work" is done for everyone except us. We leave late Wednesday afternoon, so perhaps we'll have the morning free to get into trouble around town. We'll see.
I can't wait to be back with my family. I can't wait to be back in Hawaii. (My Keali`i Reichel CD and today's Robert Fishman sighting just doesn't cut it.) The strike worries me, but at least I ended up not missing any classes, after all.
Based on handwritten notes collected Monday, April 9, 2001, finally reconstituted and posted after considerable delay.
Bummers...no Easter egg hunt with Katie this morning. And, I could've used you on a Coke commercial last Tuesday. Have a safe flight home!
Tutu Sue (April 15, 2001 4:02 PM)
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© 1997-2008 Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: email@example.com · Created: 13 November 1997 · Last Modified: 14 January 2008