Thursday, May 15, 2008

In Japan: Sushi, Karaoke, & Technology

What is Japan all about? In addition to technological development and traditional cultural values, it's also about simple things like sushi, green tea,...and, of course, karaoke! I have eaten more fish (the freshest there is!) and enjoyed more karaoke this week in Japan than I ever have in my life!

Staying in a hot spring hotel (although I didn't experience the hot spring myself), eating a traditional Japanese dinner in a kimono, and sleeping on a tatami mat are experiences I will never forget, nor ones I ever thought I'd experience in my life. An authentic Japanese fish market is a scene like no other, with determined workers scattered about, and massive pieces of fish striking up a frenzy of auction bids. The 400-year-old Matsumoto castle tests one's balance with extremely steep steps (made as such to keep enemies away). And heated toilet seats and bidets in every hotel seemed to be a topic of discussion and fascination among everyone on this trip.

Although the purpose of my travels wasn't solely to experience the wonderful Japanese culture, it was an amazing opportunity to do just that. Thanks to our gracious host, Epson, for providing a fun, fascinating, and educational experience. On the business end, this trip has inspired a future blog entry, which will examine the viability of projectors in the home theatre market. Everyone is hot to trot when it comes to fancy flat-panel TVs, but is there enough education out there about the alternative option of front projection, and to a greater degree, the improvements being made in 3LCD technology? There are many advantages to go this route: a truly BIG screen experience and easy portability immediately come to mind.

While front projection won't be for everyone, and might not sit in the centre of your main home theatre, it could very well be a plausible option for the basement, the cottage, and even as part of a dedicated "movie room" in the home along with a flat-panel TV. Stay tuned for more commentary, as well as my first impressions of Akihabara, which can be considered "tech-central" in Japan.

Photos: Waking up at 4 a.m. to experience Japan's fish market and watch an auction that sees massive, fresh tuna reach bids as high as $10,000 is an event to remember. At bottom is the group enjoying a traditional Japanese dinner in full fashion, followed by an evening of karaoke!

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