This April I returned to Tokyo and Osaka, to give a talk at the UML Forum, and then visit friends in Kinki.

 

My first full day in Japan was drizzly and threatened worse, so I scrapped my plan to do the Hakone circuit and went to Kamakura instead. I took few pictures of urban Tokyo, too busy either attending the UML conference, finding errands to run, or enjoying myself. But on Friday, I realized my goal of visiting the National Garden, Shinjuku Gyoen. I walked along an old castle wall which is now a park. Those cliches about Japan and cherry blossoms? On this day is was all true. Sakura city, baby. Shinjuku Gyoen was a beautiful as I'd imagined, with a thin haze veiling the city. Families and group of friends were picnicking and taking pictures. But this is what I was there for. Some people actively appreciated the beauty of nature, while others chose more peaceful forms of enjoyment. As I headed towards the greenhouse, I reflected that if I lived in Shinjuku ni-chome, I'd be home by now. This was not to be. After an uneventful ride on the Shink, I was in Osaka by dinnertime, to visit my friends Sven and Ling.

 

To distinguish good and bad men. This, and to bring peace between the robots and the humans, were the reasons for Astroboy's creation. The Saturday after I got to Osaka, Sven and I joined up with Alison to go out to Takrazuka, home of a famous all-women's opera corps and of the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum. Astroboy was a childhood favorite, and I'd just missed the April 7, 2003 festivities for his once-fictitious birthday. First, Sven and I stopped at the Sony showroom and bonded with the robot dogs. The museum was a hoot, part of it was a serious exhibit of the history of manga in Japan, including forgotten political gems from the 1920s. Part was intended to be education, although the use of computers seemed excessive.

 

That evening, we all went out to a barbecue hosted by Bogdan and Hitomi. It was held a a city park which had been the site of a World's Fair in 1990. Great food and drink was had by all. Especially beef.

April 27, 2003