Starbucks in Leicester the staff have always been polite. There may be a touch of work-weary there at times but polite is always there. London they were good. The Starbucks in San Francisco I don’t remember. In New York it was straightforward. It wasn’t rude, more like “You want coffee I’ll give it you – so what do you want”. That’s okay, not like I went in there for anything but coffee. But here in Fukuoka? Welcoming, anticipated my need for a translation (in the UK chances are they would wait for the language barrier to be hit first) and she was friendly, great eye contact, smiling – everything any Starbucks boss could have wanted. Great way to start the day.
I took the straightest route today and was first at the nulabs office. Not a problem – headed downstairs and out to the bridge to watch everything pass by. The traffic is so quiet, it really is surprising. Cars in our village can make more noise than here. Ned and I went down to the shop later and he bought me this bun-like thing with cream or similar in it. Very nice, a little like a choux bun. The shop down there and as others have cigarette promotions. Not just behind a till but posters in windows, packs in the aisles with free lighters. There seem to be a fair number of smokers around and I suppose the tobacco companies are quite happy that UK-like laws do not come into force here.
Lunchtime I was taken to a place that did spicy noodles. There was a scale of 1-20 which was heat. Cool to extremely hot. 5 was where I went with and indeed it was spicy. So with chopsticks – a pack of forks had been bought for me if I needed them but they stayed in the packet – I was eating the noodles, egg, pork, green veg first dipping it into the sauce. By the end of the meal I was doing pretty well with the noodles and chopsticks and approving noises were made which was nice.
Matt T had sent the files over this morning so I forwarded them to Ishibashi in the office and only a couple of hours later they arrived. That meant I had to have something to put them in which could also hold those I would be given. Ned kindly took my to a store that did those. It is (1) very strange to have business cards still and (2) even stranger to see my face on them. I’m sure everyone says it’s a bad photo of them but mine really is. Last time I saw a photo of myself I was still at ~100kg and the weight loss is quite visible. Not like I can change it now.
Tonight there was a meeting of developers to talk about translations and maybe some other talk came in – difficult to judge just from some drawing/writing on the whiteboard. Everyone introduced themself and then Takayuki Miyoshi led the talk for most of the evening. After the more formal discussion drinks and food were bought and much informal chatting went on. I met almost everyone, exchanged many business cards and while language was a problem we still managed to talk about various things both to do with WordPress and not. Noel had arrived so we met for the first time. Met Yuki and I really like the gallery she created with WP. It would obviously have been so much better to be able to talk more freely but that’s that way it is.
Not sure what time we left, maybe 11pm or just after – and it was only a couple of minutes away from the hotel. Tomorrow I check what I am saying at WordCamp, go buy some stuff for the ladies at home and continue to walk around this city still amazed I am here. I want to stay until I am bored – then I go to Hokkaido and stay there until I am bored. Then Kobe, Tokyo, Kyoto … I would be here for a very long time. It’s going to be happy on Monday because I go back home to my family but also sad because there is so much more to experience here.
And Final Fantasy I and II were released for the iDevice today so I have those ready for the plane home.