Wham, bam, Japan, man.

Phew! For a moment then I thought I was getting too old for all this. But just for a moment :)…

I’ve just completed a crazy quick business trip to Japan. Three islands (Honshu, Kyushu and Okinawa) and four cities – some well-known, others not very. Contrary to custom, there was practically no sightseeing on the schedule, only meetings, speeches and interviews. Still, you know me: there’s always something to write about and point a camera at!…

The Japanese market is complex, tricky, demanding, conservative, tough. Business is always good, and numbers of customers and partners grow – but only very slowly. So slowly I need to regularly get myself over there in person two or three times a year – a lot more often than to other countries. Not that I’m complaining. Regular readers will recall I have a soft spot for all things Nippon.

Now, the schedule’s always tight in Japan, but this time was just silly tight. A non-stop marathon of meetings, interviews, presentations and negotiations. It almost got too much physically. So I was naturally looking forward to a nice warm soft bed in the evening back at the hotel. But hey, a not-so warm, hard bed? Even that will do!…

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Perhaps what made the trip especially trying was that it was tacked onto the end of a similarly busy working schedule in Beijing. But no, there was no mistaking it when I woke up that morning: I was in one of the most interesting and unusual cities on the planet – and a personal favorite of mine. Clear skies and Mount Fuji as the backdrop (to whose peak I’ve been twice already!). Unmistakably… Tokyo!

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Like I say, it was a hectic day: meetings, handshakes, chats, photos, interviews (Nikkei and NHK), then back onto a plane and onward.

Unlike the ‘going native’ thing in the hotel room, the ‘going native’ thing with the domestic flight situation was most welcome: in Japan you can get to the airport with just 15 (fifteen!) minutes left until your flight!! You need to be without luggage for the hold and to have already checked-in online and printed out your boarding pass, but still… BONUS! Then it’s just five minutes getting through security, and another 10 minutes and off you fly! But more on this theme in a separate tale shortly…

Meantime, I’m already somewhere else.

Hi everyone from…

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PS Here’s an interesting tale from the annals of industrial safety:

That’s all for today folks; to be continued tomorrow…

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