Visiting Tokyo for Verizon and a personal media plan

Tokyo skyline by Harry Vale: click to embiggen[Update 12 September 2013: For a variety of reasons, I’ve cancelled this trip.]

On Monday 16 September I’m heading to Tokyo to attend a lunch presentation by Verizon on the 17 September. Since it’s my first visit to Japan I’ll be staying through to Sunday 22 September and doing something… special.

Yes, I’m going to Tokyo for lunch. Don’t question me. Or rather, don’t question how the internet and media industries work.

It’s actually an opportunity for the Asia Pacific tech journalists to meet Verizon’s president and chief executive officer, Lowell C McAdam, so it’ll be worth it. I’m also presuming they’ll have some announceables.

Wednesday through Sunday will be my exploration days in Tokyo. I’ve decided that I’ll do that as a personal media project, crowdfunding the money to pay for it.

At this stage I think I’ll call it The 9pm Tokyo, but it won’t be “just” a podcast. I’m thinking of setting a “target investigation” as a theme for each of the five days — “Where does the sake come from?” or “Just how weird is the tentacle porn?” — and reporting on that in words and pictures and maybe audio or video. Something like my Unreliable Bangkok series but with many more words.

That then raises the question of what I can actually investigate. Apparently whisky bars are a thing. What else should I see and do in Tokyo?

[Photo: Tokyo, as seen from the Metropolitan Government Building by Harry Vale, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.]

7 Replies to “Visiting Tokyo for Verizon and a personal media plan”

  1. I suggest a visit to the maid cafe to talk to the patrons about why they go and talk to an employee about their experiences there and what led them to working there.

  2. I think the VC scene in Tokyo is really interesting, and also you should travel outside Tokyo because it’s sooo different! I recommend a JR pass and take the shinkansen somewhere even if you turn around and go back to tokyo at the end of the day. It’s only ~2 hours to get to most interesting places from Tokyo. SafeCast are doing really interesting things with technology in and around Fukushima area to create real time maps of radiation and they’re foreigners, so probably speaking English!! FCCJ people like Japansubculture (Jake and Nathalie), Hiroko Tabuchi, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Yuri Kageyama often report on tech and electronic industry! Japan is also notoriously difficult to get a data plan , maybe Verizon will sort you out , but if you need any info (or a data sim card that can be recharged) lemme know~

  3. Rockmelon flavoured Kit Kats. They’re a thing. I charge you to go and investigate. Off you go!

  4. @Snarky Platypus: The maid cafés are exactly the kind of thing I want to visit that might help me understand certain similar aspects of Japanese culture, and interviewing patrons would be fascinating.

    One of the things I liked about my Unreliable Bangkok series was that each one explored a meandering path through specific aspects of Thai culture or society, or my experience of Bangkok, summed up in a word: Smell, Street, Bureaucracy, Lust, Polite, Haircut, East, Henge, Train. I think something similar would work for Tokyo.

    @dave: The day trip to somewhere else via Shinkansen was certainly something I wanted to do. Thank you for all those suggestions, and especially the contacts. I should take advantage of my time there.

    I suppose this means I’m finally have to organise some business cards.

    @Eric TF Bat: That’s a very small investigation.

  5. If you’re getting business cards printed it’s quite wise to get them translated into Japanese and have the resultant copy printed on the reverse side.

    Then make sure you get a second translator to check the work of the first one before printing.

    Also check out the current gift-giving norms as gift swapping is commonplace when you have a meeting with someone important. The choice of gift is very important as much can be inferred by the recipient.

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