合コン - Goukon

Obviously have never attended one, but I sometimes witness these matchmaking meetups (dinner/lunch…) from a nearby table.

Today, I was unlucky enough to be next to a “large scale” 合コン (Goukon) of about 12 people (6 men, 6 women). It was loud, it was annoying. Each of the men trying to be funny and loud and show how great he is with the women doing the same. Does it really work ? probably it does. When going on a date (after the goukon), one can see the real character.
But what do shy introvert people do ? Change their character for a day, or just lose the girl they like.

At some point, I wanted to go to the next table and tell the men how lame they look from aside, but obviously I did not. They can be lame, loud, try to impress the girls and hope for a date with the girl they like.

Good luck!

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Would like to write later more about the book and my take, but wanted to start with Walter Isaacson’s summary.

Some points he mentioned are very relevant to today, but some of his points may have been good to Leonardo 500 years ago, but definitely do not today’s life style and knowledge.

  1. Be Curious, Relentlessly Curious
  2. Seek Knowledge for its own sake
  3. Retain a childlike sense of wonder
  4. Observe
  5. Start with the details
  6. See things unseen – Do not understand this one
  7. Go down rabbit holes
  8. Get distracted – ???
  9. Respect facts
  10. Procrastinate – I would rephrase this to take some time off, let your mind wonder
  11. Let the perfect be the enemy of the good
  12. Think visually
  13. Avoid Silos –
  14. Let your reach exceed your grasp – do not get this one
  15. Indulge Fantasy
  16. Create for yourself, not only for patrons – Not only for your company
  17. Collaborate – YES!
  18. Make lists
  19. Take notes, on paper
  20. Be open to mystery

On Nibs

A while back I learned that very few watch manufacturers have their own mechanism, the rest buy the mechanism and design a fancy case. So basically what most people pay for is the design and brand.

And today I learn that it is also true for most Fountain pen manufacturers.
Not sure where is the source of information, but found two links with same information: Nib1 Nib2 . It actually seem like the same source as the user name in Link2 is identical to the first source.

Shockingly, most “brand pen” like Montverde, Visconti and more are actually using Bock.

So glad my current collection has: Pilot, Platinum, Parker and Montblanc. All are in-house nibs.

Machiavelli on staff

While reading for the second or third time, the paragraph “CONCERNING THE PERSONAL STAFF OF PRINCES” made me think.

How come I read over and over about “how to hire”, the need for a strong staff, when Machiavelli wrote about it 500 years ago. Is it that we ignore and need a constant reminder, or is it that human nature has basically not changed and we need the reminder.

Machiavelli wrote :

The choice of staff is very important to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. The first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his capability, is by observing the people he has around him. When they are capable and faithful, he may always be considered wise because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise, one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.

Pilot Custom 823

As my old MontBlanc was leaking a bit, I decided to replace it. Researched, tested and decided on a Pilot Custom 823 M nib, transparent.

The nib is great, the pen is amazing. Takes time to adjust to operating it, but it is worth it. An amazing pen, and the transparency also adds to it.

Female Photographers

Went to Tokyo Photographic Art Museum and enjoyed “The Time of Photography” very much.

While in the exhibition, I noticed I like better the works of female photographers. Now, I do not know if selection in the exhibition was better, if I have a bias towards female photographers or if they are just better.

First time (that I remember) to see works by Taguchi Kazuna (田口和奈) and Yoneda Tomoko (米田知子). And always enjoy to see works of Kawauchi Rinko (川内 倫子). I also recommend her instagram page.

Soba Tamawarai 玉笑 

Had lunch at 玉笑 and felt obliged to share my experience.

Maybe I should start with the food. Ordered only おろしそば , which tasted great. I regret not ordering more side dishes, but I really wanted to finish lunch quickly.

I fully understand the “slow food”, but there is “slow” and there is “too slow”. 玉笑 is definitely too slow.
Arrived just before 11:30 and luckily there were not many people on line. Then the staff started to call in the customers, slowly. Although there was definitely space, I had two wait about 20 minutes after getting inside. Why? The 6 customers that went inside before did not start eating yet, but just had tea and finished ordering. 20 minutes to take an order and server tea?

Ordered a 天せいろ, but was told that it was “sold out”. Did not see anyone else eating, so I guess it was “sold out” before they started. Why not tell me or mark it as “not available”?
So I ordered a おろしそば and had to wait another 20 minutes to get it. Are they so understaffed that they cannot serve 6 customers at the same time? Ate it and rushed out first. (6th in, first out).

Food was definitely good, but I will not go there again. Can just imagine what happens when it is “really busy”.

The Cure , Fuji Rock

Unfortunately, I could not go to Fuji Rock this year. I tried, enrolled, but lost the draw and decided not to do an overnight bus. I am too old for that.

Watched the concert Live on YouTube. (Thank you Softbank) . It was magnificent.

When the show ended, Robert Smith seemed like he wants to stay on the Stage, that it is difficult for him to part from the crowd. His body language showed emotions, which was very endearing.

I was not the only one noticing it, and he was asked about it in the post concert interview.
The interview has some good news for me as Robert Smith stated he would like to come back to Japan and tour it properly! YEAH!

Customer service / Sales skills

Purchased yesterday 3 sports items from Adidas Shibuya.
It was not my intention to buy Adidas, as I always try to diversify where I spend my money and brands I use.

Walked in to “Under Armour” Shibuya, a beautiful black building. Interior was rather dark, climbed the stairs to the second floor.
Two sales staff were there, the man was very muscular and busy chatting with the female sales. “Sale” items were not clearly marked, pricing was difficult to see.

Did not feel like shopping there, so crossed the street to Adidas, a very bright spacious shop. Climbed to the second floor, Items under “Sale” were clearly marked, pricing was visible. Still had questions so asked the very helpful and available staff and ended up purchasing 3 items.

Totally different experience. Is it a company culture, shop, personnel?