Just got back after a super useful visit to Tokyo. Spent 5 days there working with my colleagues on the Japanese Marketing Pilot. We've made terrific progress and I feel confident that we will be able to help the business with our efforts.

We were busy on most days, usually working till quite late in the evening/ night especially on Thursday and Friday when we had focus groups discussions to attend in the evening - the practise is to do them after office hours so that the participants can attend after finishing the days work.

That didn't of course stop us from sampling the delicious Japanese food - Mizushima-san (Yuju) was great about taking me to a different place for lunch everyday so I was able to sample things like Prawn Tempura, Sukiyaki Bento and Mackerel (which was outstanding)

Fujibayashi-san took us out one evening to a place called Shabu-gen where we had the famous Shabu- Shabu. The beef is dipped in a boiling cauldron of broth where it is cooked for a few minutes after which you take it out, mix it in different sauces and then eat. Absolutely mouth watering!! (Turns out that Glenn, Hardeep and Raju were taken to that same restaurant as well when they visited Japan a few months back)

Courtesy of Yuju, I also learnt some more about Kobe beef - turns out that the cows are fed beer so that the beef becomes tender!! Also learnt that some milk cows are made to listen to Mozart so that they relax and give more milk. Certainly gives a new twist to the term 'cash cow':-) It's price ranges from $10 to $50 per 10 grams. No misprint there:-)! Must be drinking some pretty expensive beer.

Unlike last time when I stayed in a Hotel in the same building as the office, this time I stayed at the Century Hyatt in Shinjuku. It is a 9-10 minute walk from the office so I managed to get some exercise as well. I was thinking to myself that we spend so much time in our cars here in the US that we need to block aside time to exercise, whereas if you are walking to work, exercise is integrated into your work life. Needless to say I enjoyed the simple pleasure of being able to walk to work. On some days it rained and being forewarned by Shannon who had visited the week before, I carried my umbrella and put it to good use.  

On the return flight I watched 'Memoirs of a Geisha' which I enjoyed very much and on landing in Portland (since I was routed through there) also bought the book and am reading it now.

I really enjoy visiting Japan and working with the people there - we have some very  committed and hard working people there so we are making very good progress. The food is of course a bonus:-)