April 29, 2002 GMT
Japan (An Intermediate Stop)

The "motorcycle" part of this jounery is still ahead of me. Weeks of pent-up "I want to get going" were finally relieved as I boarded Northwest Airline's flight 007 from SeaTac, bound for Tokyo, on SAT 26 APR. Since I was flying to Shanghai for the start the Globeriders Tour, I decided to layover in Japan and visit my good friends, the Aoyagi family. The first thing I did in Japan?....

RAMEN! - perhaps the quintessential Japanese dish:


[Enjoying a fine bowl of ramen (slurping encouraged!) with Akiko-san and Risako-chan in Aobadai, near Yokohama, Japan.]

Like many, one of the things that fascinates me about Japan is Japanese design and manufacturing. The frenetic pace of product introductions, coupled with extreme consumer savvy, results in an astonishing array of products with designs and features undreamed of elsewhere. Take the following as an example:


[Is it a soon-to-be-launched module for Space Station Freedom?]

What the heck is it? Has the Japanese "transformer" craze re-surfaced? Is it a relay module from the next-generation Bullet Train? Did someone's Lego creation run amok? Believe it or not, this is a "road warrior's" ultimate travel accessory - a universal telephone adapter that allows you to plug your laptop computer into almost any telephone jack, anywhere in the world! The operating manual probably takes up most of a CD-ROM....

Here are two other fine examples. Rather than playing the "what the heck is it guessing game", I'll tell you up-front that these are two solutions to another "road warrior" problem - how to plug your electric shaver into that bizzare electrical socket found Slovenia?:


[Two clever designs for a universal AC outlet adapter shown in "travel" mode.]


[The two adapters "deployed" for use - assembling them in alternative configurations allows you to use them in different AC outlets throughout the world.]

Posted by Mike Paull at April 29, 2002 09:29 AM GMT

pretty dam funny wish i was there

Posted by: sean on April 30, 2002 06:15 PM GMT

Glad to see you're underway Mike. Helge outdid himself at the slide show at MOHAI, missed seeing you there. I hope all your travels are as rewarding as the ramen stop!!

Posted by: Wayne on April 30, 2002 07:33 PM GMT

It's really nice to see you again, Mike-san~

When are you coming backt to Seattle?

Natchan siad "Hi~"

Posted by: Hamlet on April 30, 2002 09:16 PM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.

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