Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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Mizuka and I went to the new Marunouchi Building built by Mitsubishi Jisho and had lunch with her parents. It was VERY flashy and expensive looking and jam packed with tourist types. Some restaurants are booked through the end of the year, which is rare in Japan. It is also probably one of the most expensive office buildings right now. On the first floor was a weird "XBOX Cafe" where people could play games and there were some huge screens running game demos. I guess if you have $40bb, you can afford to have a game cafe in the most expensive real estate in Tokyo. Also, everything was VERY high tech - steel, glass, concrete. It really reminded me of the Dogs and Demons book. All of the people lining up in front of the elevators watching impressive ads ABOUT nature on the HDTV displays...

The other amazing thing is that such a tall building was allowed to be built overlooking the Palace. In Japan, you are not supposed to "look down on" the Palace. I heard someone mumble, "Only Mitsubishi could do this..."

Anyway, it is obviously the "Thing to See" right now. It will be interesting to see what happens when all of the other new buildings open next year... Like the huge Roppongi Mori Building. Next year is supposed to be a big year that may crash the office building business because there are so many sky scrapers opening... What a strange thing to be happening during an economic crisis...

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The XBOX Cafe
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The view of the Palace from the 36th floor restaurant we ate at
Plastic
Putting The Boots In — Photo Lab Grasses Up Pot Growers found on BBC News written by holgate, edited by John (Plastic)

excerpt
A house in Leith, near Edinburgh, was raided by police, leading to the arrest of five people, and the seizure of marijuana plants 'valued' at £15,000, after receiving a tip-off from photo-processing staff at the local branch of Boots. It's believed that a lab technician identified the plants when developing a set of prints, and got on the phone to the boys in blue.

"While you can understand photo-labs wishing to protect themselves from obscene images, given that there are specific laws prohibiting the possession and reproduction of such images, it's another thing entirely to call in the police, based solely upon the perception that photographs record something illegal: that is, recognizing a few tell-tale leaves. Undoubtedly, the pot-growers in question weren't the sharpest knives in the box, but is the knowledge that random people may take moral outrage at your photographs another reason to add that digital camera to the Christmas list?"
Yup. Exactly why I first got into digital cameras. I remember one lab which was part of a franchise. I knew the owner fairly well. Anyway, the owner once thanked me for using their service, even though I hadn't told anyone. Also, I had several rolls of film where I had visited the same place several times. The photos of the place were arranged together instead of in the order they appeared on the negatives. It really hit me that someone was "looking" at my pictures... Which makes sense if you think of how a lab works. Now I generally focus on landscape on film. ;-)

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Floor of temple in Koyasan taken while listening to a speech by a monk about the mandalas
I'm really getting into Photo.net. I had been using it mostly for the discussion forums, but recently I created a profile and set up a portfolio. It tracks all of my equipment all the way down to the serial numbers. I scanned a bunch of my 6x6's into Pro Photo CD's and uploaded them to the site. I even got positive feedback on one of my photos! Photo.net which I think was started by Philip Greenspun is obviously a site built by geeks for true enthusiasts and is a real pleasure to use after trying all of the "commercial" photo sites. I think I've found my online home for my photography.
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That's Yanai-san on the left and Hasegawa-san on the right
Had dinner at Gonpachi in Nishiazabu with Hasegawa-san, the CEO of Global Dining, Yanai-san, the CEO of Pia and Jun. Jun is my chairman and an outside board member of Global Dining. I am on the outside board of Pia. Jun and I introduced the two of them over dinner a few months ago, I think. Hasegawa-san took us to Tableaux, Decadance du Chocolat and Dancing Monkey last time. (All places he runs.) Yesterday, we had sushi at Gonpachi. It was totally packed. George Bush ate at Gonpachi when he was in Tokyo. The food was great and the place is huge.

Hasegawa-san is an a amazing guy and I'm a big fan. His company, Global Dining, runs Gonpachi as well other famous chains of restaurants including Cafe La Boheme, Zest, Monsoon Cafe, etc. Global Dining also runs Tableaux, on of my favorite restaurants. Hasegawa-san has a very unique management style for Japan where most of his staff are part time, but very motivated. He has a very open and competitive management style. Global Dining is also famous for being the first company to go public in Japan without a single college graduate on the board!

It's nice beening outside board members of companies that do real things like sell concert tickets and run restaurants. ;-)

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Just installed OS X 10.2 and am trying to "Make the Switch"... I'm using Mizuka's old Powerbook G4 with the broken "/" key, not the cool new one that just came out. I just ordered office and all of the Adobe stuff, so until that arrives, I can't completely switch. I feel totally screwed up right now though. I have a Sony Vaio C1MRX with a great form factor and excellent battery life, I have a Dell Latitude coming that I'm going to configure with with Windows 2000 in a very security conscious mode (after talking to Chris Goggan about what the most secure PC setup was...) and now I have this PowerBook. I hope I am only using one of these a month from now and I HOPE it is going to be the PowerBook.