Work day started with a 2010 kick-off event at the office, notably filled with demos of projects going on in TOK. Some are pretty awesome, I just wish I could share. How awesome? Clearly awesome enough that I didn't need to be able to understand what the presenter was saying (in Japanese) while showing it off.
Being more an introvert than an extrovert I find a day full of meeting people exhausting. I'm enjoying my time at the Tokyo office but I'm ready to head back home to where I can sit quietly in my office and work without guilt.
I visited a few bookstores today, in search of puzzle books (specifically, Nikoli books). I failed at that task but I did succeed in people watching. Bookstores are way more popular here than I've seen them in the US. First, they're crowded here. Second, no one is milling about - they're all standing at a display reading something, quietly and basically motionless. Most of the reading material seems to be periodicals, and a lot of that is manga. Whole stores are filled with manga, and everyone's reading it. It's ... basically exactly what I always imagined Japan to be, but it's still eerie to see it for real.
Sounding out katakana proved more useful (or at least fun) for me today. I'm beginning to think that Japanese actually is just English with some words in kanji. Is there really no native word for "double" as in "one portion of katsu curry or *double* katsu curry" (ダブルカツカレー)? "Mouse" is just マウス -- Japan didn't have rodents until the English suggested a name for them?
I can begin to understand why so many people gush about Tokyo. The city is bustling, clean, brightly lit, and convenient. More importantly there's nothing negative: no litter, few homeless, little crime, low pollution. Myself, I think I still prefer Hong Kong to Tokyo, maybe because Hong Kong isn't quite so perfect. (And, to both I prefer the Bay Area presently.)
Tomorrow: wake, shower, pack, check out, commute to work (found a shortcut - now I no longer go outside!), meet with people, lunch at noon, bus to airport at 1:30, arrive at airport around 3p, idle, flight departs for SFO around 6p, arrive at SFO around 10a, still on Friday.