Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

This is a real picture from the guest information book in the room. "It's a great pleasure to stay with us." Ya... right.

We arrived last night at Maholova Minds to have a weekend off-site about "the space." Chris and Barak flew in from the US. Michiel, our intern from Hitotsubashi was coordinating the event with Barak. I was in Europe when they were deciding the place, so while it is not my fault, I am also not blaming anyone in particular since I said I this place sounded fine. We are in a hotel sort of place dedicated to off-sites called Maholova Minds in Miura beach near Tokyo. It was a sweaty train ride Friday night through rush hour Tokyo with our bags. It was kind of raining as we left Tokyo on the subway and it was still raining an hour and a half later when we dragged our bags up a hill from the train station to Maholova Minds.

We arrived around 11pm and the place was dark. Barak asked where all of the bowing Japanese service people were. I noticed a sign in front of the plastic flowers at the entrance and it said, "Dear Customers, please don't touch the flowers." The bath was about to close and the vending machines about to be turned off. When I arrived in my room, there was a smell... part mold, part... sweat or something. The carpet was so dirty, spilling stuff on it was doing it a favor. There was a sign on the wall that said, don't touch the poison on the balcony which was there to kill the pigeons. When Mizuka asked me over the phone whether it was the worst place I have ever stayed... I had to think about it, but I couldn't remember anywhere worse. Anyway...

The bed was tilted and small and had down pillows which I am allergic to, but I fell asleep anyway. I was sleeping restlessly because I had left the curtains open and it was starting to get light. Then I had a very strange dream...

I was at some nice conference, but the facilities were a bit dumpy. I was supposed to teach a session on leadership where I had a bunch of GLT's and the leadership course was to teach them how to drive race cars and to race on a circuit. We finally made it on to the circuit where there were a bunch of F-1's and mechanics. There was one mechanic/co-driver with each car and they were preparing the cars. It was so noisy that I couldn't talk so I took the team to another building (scene keeps getting dumpier) and I explain all of the details. The turns, controlling the car, etc. When I get back to the circuit, the drivers and the person in charge of coordinating the event with me is gone. They had gone home for the day without confirming with me. I get REALLY mad at the guy who is still there and tells me this, but then I refrain myelf from killing the messenger. I storm out of the building slamming the door, telling everyone that I quit. My reason is simply that I can't stand the disorganization and their wasting my time and the time of my GLT's who were so looking forward to racing today. As I was storming out, Klaus Schwab came and talked to me. He said he understood why I was upset and apologized. I said it wasn't his fault... then I woke up.

What a weird dream. I was a bit dissappointed at Michiel and others for the disorganization yesterday. Michiel and others had also been discussing with me what they thought were some vision/leadership/management issues at Neoteny. (Partially the reason I was organizing the off-site.) I was also a bit disappointed by the leadership session at the GLT Summit (mostly because I was expecting so much...). I had been invited to the Kuala Lumpur Asian World Economic Forum meeting to be a discussion leader, but when I noticed that I wasn't in the printed program and I realized that I had a TON of work to catch up on in Tokyo, I cancelled my participating in the KL meeting and was feeling a bit guilty since I had told Klaus Schwab I would be there. I had heard a rumor that one of the organizers of the World Economic Forum events was leaving. This place is dumpy and moldy which was probably adding to my suppressed anxiety. Also, as I was dragging our bags up the hill through the rain, I had wished I had driven in my car instead of chosen to take the train. All of these rather random anxieties got rolled up into this strange dream. I wonder if I always have these weird anxiety wrap-up dreams, but just don't remember. Blogging about this feels even stranger sort of hanging my anxieties up in public to dry. On the other hand, Justin writes about EVERYTHING. Even his swollen penis. [This link contains graphic images for mature audiences only. Some readers have expressed concern and have been offended by the content. I will keep the link here, because it does make my point. I don't think Justin is particularly embarassed by the pictures, although his girlfriend Jane seems a bit disturbed by them. I would be too if I was Justin's girlfriend.] But, I probably shouldn't compare myself with or try to be like Justin. He's quite unique. Anyway, I'll see what I think about this after breakfast and coffee.

Disclaimer: I just woke up and I am still only half-awake, but I decided to write this before I forgot this dream, which I tend to do once I am fully awake. On the other hand, I often think that thoughts that I have when I am half-asleep are stupid once I am fully awake. I apologize, if this is a stupid entry. My new attempt at dream blogging...

airstation.jpg Cool! I was officially recognized as a "Japanese digital entrepreneur/venture capitalist" by Esther Dyson! Saw this article today for the first time. (Thanks Frank!) This about the Fortune Brainstorming Conference I blogged about. I brought everyone the MELCO Airstation. It is the smallest 802.11b access point that I know of. Recently, all port-a-demo pitches in Japan of network technologies involve one of these little guys.

Esther Dyson - NYT Syndicate

The Wi-Fi Warrior
by Esther Dyson
distributed by the New York Times Syndicate - August 07, 2002



The system worked flawlessly for me, but somehow Farber was having trouble with it. Gage decided to "help" him. As you might expect, it was only after Gage stopped "helping" that Farber got his laptop working, and everyone was happy. (Sorry, John!)

Once online, Farber told our story to Joichi Ito, a Japanese digital entrepreneur/venture capitalist who was joining us in Aspen for the second conference, a far bigger affair. Ito promised to bring some Japanese access points, much smaller ones, costing only about $150 each from a company called Melco.

But the drama wasn't over. Now we had to persuade the organizers of the next event to keep the line alive (at $500 per day). The normal price at home would be no more than about $50 per month.

Somehow we succeeded. Gage brought his AirPort back and the next conference was fully wired -- at least in the hotel basement.

Finally, for a third conference, at the Aspen Institute, I found yet another unused DSL line. This time, I had my own device -- one of Melco's Buffalo AirStations that Ito had brought. It came in a nice box, covered in Japanese documentation that I couldn't read, and weighed only about 6 ounces, just a third of the AirPort's weight.

So I've been helping Justin try to get his Journalist Visa for Japan. I wrote a letter and helped him get one which got taken away the when he left Japan last time. Now he is applying for another one and I've written another letter.

Justin Hall

Update: They asked my sponsor, Joichi Ito, to call (because he is Japanese, he might "understand the nuance" they suggested). He did, from Europe. Nice of him. He reports, "They didn't ask me anything, but told me that the Tokyo office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reviewing your case and that they would then consult the MOJ. That's all they said. They said this is not necessarily standard procedure, but also not uncommon. Maybe the "nuance" they wanted to convey was that they are wrapped up in a bureaucratic mess..."

He needed to come to Tokyo for the game show so he snuck back in. (I don't actually know if he did anything illegal, but it sounds sneaky.) He posted it his sneaking on his web page. In wonder if immigration reads his page. Hmm... I wonder if they read my blog. ;-)
Justin Hall

I had half a breath held at immigration but my two-day-old passport was free of incriminiating stamps or damamge and so I was permitted to enter Japan without a second glance. Adventure can be created by concern, my worry that I was bound to be kept back. So having that relieved made me nearly ecstatic, restraining a loud yell in the airport.

Immigration is the most aweful thing that I ever have to deal with in my life. It impacts taxes, travel and basic human dignity. You have no rights, they don't tell you anything and basically sucks. Anything not to have to deal with immigration is great. That's what is wonderful about traveling in Europe. I RARELY have to every show my passport and have never had a bad experience.
As we all know, the US is terrible. They throw people into little cells and strip search people regularly. At least Justin is unlikely to have that done to him in Japan. (Even if they do see his picture on his site and keep an eye out for him the next time he comes through Narita...)

Another one from BoingBoing

I truely love the OED and this new edition sounds cool. "bunny-hugger" in the OED is really something I must ponder tonight. I'm going to go to amazon now to buy this...
The essence of the Oxford English Dictionary

2002 is indeed an auspicious year. It is the first year that can celebrate a World Cup, a Royal Jubilee, and a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. In terms of frequency, a new Shorter comes between the other two events: it is almost ten years since the previous edition, and this is only the fifth edition of a book that was first published in 1933.

People often point out that 'Shorter' is a strange title for a two volume work. Of course it's only 'Short' when compared to the twenty volumes of the full Oxford English Dictionary. Although one tenth the size of the OED, it manages to include around one third of its content: it aims to include all words used in English since 1700, as well as everything in Shakespeare, the Authorized Version of the Bible, the poetry of Milton, and Spenser's Faerie Queene. As a historical dictionary, it includes obsolete words if they are used by major authors and earlier meanings where they explain the development of a word. More than ten centuries of English are covered here, from the Old English period to the 21st century.

Some 3,500 new entries have been added to the fifth edition. Asylum seeker, economic migrant, bed-blocking, and stakeholder pension reflect the serious side of life; bunny-hugger (a conservationist or animal lover), chick flick (a film appealing to women), gearhead (a car enthusiast), and Grinch (a spoilsport or killjoy) are entries in a more light-hearted vein. Several entries are testaments to the popularity of science fiction, among them Tardis from the TV series Doctor Who, Jedi from Star Wars, and Klingon from Star Trek.

Now I'm sitting on a panel sponsored by the government about security. The panel is focused on the security of government networks. I am sitting on the far left and the guy in favor of the national ID is sitting on the far left. I just talked about the importance of privacy and the fact that privacy is different from security. I talked about how privacy is not only a right of citizens, but a necessary element for demcracy. I talked about how the OECD guidelines for privacy were written before the Internet and that we needed to look at the future. I talked about Roger Clarke's distinction between entity and identity and the fact that Privacy Enhancing Technologies can make the same networks much more robust from a privacy perspective and that this was a different way of thinking about architecture than just security...

Chris Goggans (aka Erik Bloodaxe) spoke yesterday. I wish I could have heard him. I heard it was a good talk. He is the one that got me invited to this panel. Pretty funny. One of the most famous hackers from American invites me to a government sponsored panel in Japan...

The mic cables look shielded... I wonder if I can stay connected even when I talked on the mic...