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Global Warming Summit December 6, 2007

Posted by fukumimi in Energy, Environment, Travel.

No, I’m not in Bali.

Unlike approximately 10,000 participants (from 190 countires) of said UN summit on global warming.

Anyone see the irony of transporting all those people by plane to a resort island to discuss global warming? I won’t deny that there are cases where face-to-face meetings are invaluable if not absolutely necessary, but 10,000 people???

Fighting jetlag May 22, 2007

Posted by fukumimi in Travel.
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From the New Scientist
Only works on jetlag due to eastbound flights though….

Another interesting effect of sildenafil…

I guess this will be a common excuse used by jetsetting guys when wives find little blue pills amongst their belongings.

(Sildenafil was originally developed for angina, but they found an interesting side-effect, the rest is history. There is also more recent research indicating potential applicability in improving energy balance (anti-obesity), as well as certain cardiovascular indications)

The Post Money Value: Free Advertising October 16, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Travel.

The Post Money Value: Free Advertising

Fellow VC blogger Rick Segal had a post about the advertising power of stickers on his laptop, and I had a similar experience the other day so I thought I’d share it.

I have a Firefox sticker (or more accurately, a GetFirefox.jp sticker) on my laptop (I got a bunch of stickers from my friend Gen, who does his thing at Mozilla Japan), and last week travelling through SFO on my way back to Japan from a trip to the Valley, I had to pull my laptop out of my bag as I passed through customs. The guy at the X-ray machine took a quick look at my machine (a Panasonic Let’s Note, I think this is my 3rd Panasonic machine, and haven’t been tempted to switch to another brand since my first Panasonic – it is a 12″ screen B5 size model, with integrated DVD+RW/CD-RW drive weighing in at 1.2kg and with more than 7 hours of battery juice (I think the newest ones are more like 9-10 hours) and a thankfully small outboard power adaptor, unlike those bricks you get with certain other manufacturers), and instantly inquired if I worked “at Firefox”. I corrected him about the name of the organisation which develops Firefox, and said that I don’t work at Mozilla, but have a friend who does.

I was pleasantly surprised that the Firefox logo was instantly recognisable even to an employee of the TSA, but then maybe that was because this was San Francisco.

In any case, from my brief chat with the TSA guy and the body language of his colleagues, it seems that Firefox is “cool” even outside the IT/internet echo chamber. Whilst the security guys were frisking other people left, right, and center (it was quiet and I guess they were trying to alleviate boredom by opening the bags of nearly everyone going through), I was whisked through by the cheeriest bunch of TSA people I have had the pleasure of meeting since 9/11….

So, apparently I am now a modern day sandwich board man for the Firefox movement, but that’s all good, because I’m all for what the guys at Mozilla are doing. (and if it helps me get through US security quicker than otherwise might be the case, all the better)

Flying to the US tomorrow October 5, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in IT, Travel.
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The relative paucity of posts recently is due to the fact that I have been trying to clear away as much work as possible before my trip to the US which starts tomorrow. (I have a bunch of posts in draft status which I’ll try to finish on the plane or something)

I’m flying to San Francisco and spending a week in Silicon Valley meeting portfolio companies, VCs, and companies which have been identified as prospective investments opportunities. I guess it may be the last chance to use Connexion internet access on the plane (flying JAL this time, which means no meaningful airmiles, but this time I had no choice….)

I really don’t want to travel at this particular time as I have a lot on my plate already, but the trip was scheduled a long time ago and this time I am accompanying the big boss, which I’m sure will be a lot of fun.

It is his first trip overseas since joining our firm (from the mother ship, as is customary for our firm which is majority owned by a large financial institution), and hopefully he’ll appreciate the more eduational aspects of the trip as well as the tourist sights I am expected to show him during the weekend. I decided to spend a day or two on my own in the Valley after I drive the big boss to the airport so I can do a little bit of exploring on my own, and hopefully I won’t be handcuffed to him all weekend either. For starters I need to go shopping for a bunch of books which are difficult and expensive to get hold of here in Japan….

If anyone has any tips for somewhere (or someone?) I should try to visit during my trip (food tips especially welcome, it has been a couple of years since my last trip to that part of the world), feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

World Cup 2006: FIFA mismanagement, again May 29, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Football, Sport, Travel, World Cup.

The Sankei Shimbun had an article over the weekend exposing the full scale of the accomodations debacle that is currently angering hoteliers in Germany.

FIFA's subsidiary WCAS which had reserved as many as 2 million room.nights for sponsors, VIPs, and teams, has cancelled more than 1 million room.nights. The cancellations amount to 8000 rooms at 76 hotels, of which 5000 rooms are concentrated in and around Berlin. 

Hoteliers are angry that the cancellations occured so late, although the cancellations occured before cancellation fees kicked in. (I suspect normal people are being held to draconian cancellation clauses, whereas WCAS has negotiated flexible terms)

Some hotels are slashing prices to increase occupancy rates, whereas some have said it would be unfair to those who have reserved their rooms at the published rates and will not be modifying pricing.

This is not the first time FIFA have screwed up. A similar hotel cancellation problem was reported in Japan/Korea 2002.

There is also the question of why WCAS was handling this role. WCAS is said to be a company associated with FIFA, but details are unclear. FIFA still seems to be awarding lucrative deals like this to companies set up by insiders and associates, despite the fiasco of the on-line booking system and hotels 4 years ago.

It is high time organisations like FIFA (and the IOC, amongst others) get their act together and implement trasparency and accountability in their process, however hard it may be to kick a decades long habit of lining their own pockets. 

Reporting from London May 5, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Travel.
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I'm posting this from a Wi-Fi connection in the London hotel I am currently staying in.

Whilst the rest of Japan is mostly on holiday for "Golden Week", I'm here in Europe for work (the sacrifices I make for work…).

Lots of Japanese tourists here, but even more noticeable is the number of Chinese tourists. It's a trend I have seen accelerating every time I come over here. Lots of Chinese tourists in Tokyo these days as well. No mistake, the Chinese tourists are going to be a big commercial force.

Flew into London on tuesday, and have had a rather hectic schedule over the last couple of days, doing day trips to Paris (on the Eurostar) and Geneva (using London City Airport for the first time). Sitting for hours in cramped seats is doing my back and knees no good at all.

The weather here is extremely pleasant, a little too warm if anything. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it will last, the weekend forecast isn't great.
The pilot of the Swiss flight back to London last night took the scenic route, traversing west over south London before doing a 180 over central London, flying over the Royal Mile and the City before skimming the rooftops of Canary Wharf. Lots of residential developments in the Docklands, can't but wonder if these people don't mind the roar of aircraft overhead. (even if they are smaller allegedly quieter aircraft)

Today I have some meetings in London, and then next week I will be travelling around the UK for a couple of days before flying off to the US East Coast. 

Met with a couple of friends from my student days for dinner last night, both Japanese still living in London. It's always nice to catch up with old friends.