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3DR and IDEO

Spent the day at the Tokyo Internatiknal Forum attending two sessions at the Hitachi Social Innovation Forum 2015. It was two really good speakers sharing their thoughts, experience and anecdotes on innovation and creativity.

First out was the founder and CEO (his name slips my mind right now) of 3DR, the biggest commercial drone company in the world. They are larger than all the traditional airplane companies together, counting drones. He got the idea for the company playing with Lego with his kids, and started the company by partnering with a 19 year old kid in Tijuana that he did not know and had never met in real life (only over Internet). 

The second speaker was Tom Kelley, founder of IDEO and creator of design thinking. He spoke of creative confidence and how much potential we miss out on just because we are not able of unlocking our creativity. 

If you have the chance to hear either of them speak on these or similar topics… Don’t miss it!

Marinating in Sulfuric Water

Started out the day with a run through Hell Valley, up the mountain visiting a few tourist stops and back again. Almost no people so early in the morning.

Back at te ryokan I showered and marinated in sulfuric water until my soar muscles became jelly. Then it was time for breakfast.

The rest of the day we spent relaxing in our room or in a hot tub. My favorite place was in the onsen on the 5th floor, just under the roof top. Very relaxing.

But the outdoor bath in the garden was pretty nice too. Next to the pond I was soaking in were some really tasty looking fishes. Maybe dinner?

Dinner was, again, superb. And big. After this much work we desrve a good night’s sleep 😉

Heartbeat of the Earth

Heartbeat of the earth, that’s how they are promoting this area, Toyako. Indeed you can see close up how the earth is continuously changing. And it makes you think.

I started the day taking a run along the lake. All the time I had the beautiful group of “sugar tops” visible, with Mt. Yotei in the background (which I’ve also seen from the other side when snowboarding in Niseko).

Once back after my run the time until check-out was spent in various hot tubs. Relaxing.

After checking out we stopped close by at the geopark with multiple geosites. One was a mountain created about 70 years ago, still steaming. Another was Mt. Usu with its various tops. The highest peak (Ousu) changed in 1977, it blew off in a big eruption. The latest eruption was in 2000. Hopefully nothing will happen while we are visiting.

On our way to the next ryokan/onsen we took a small road over the mountains instead of the express way. It was well worth the extra time it took, stunning views. And we encountered a fox sitting by the road, counting cars. As we slowed down (s)he approached us. We drove off. Even if we would like to bring her/him back with us we are not allowed to have pets at home, and not on the flight back either I think.

First thing we did at our destination was to have a look at the source of the hot water for the whole onsen area. We visited Hell Valley (地獄谷), and some other quite stinky and humid places.

Once we had inspected, and OKed the sources of hot water we checked in at our ryokan. And enjoyed the hot tub in our room, and the public ones too. Meditative.

At 5:30 pm we had a knock on the door in our dining area (yes, the room came with a dining area). The “maid” door opened and out came Kumi-san to serve us dinner. What a treat :-)


A Visit to Toyako

Started out early, just like any other weekday. However, our destination was Toyako, via Haneda, a 1.5 hour’s flight and another 1.5 hour’s drive by rental car.

Arriving at Toyako we were met by a stunning view of a roundish crater created 110,000 years ago with a group of vulcano tops covered in green in the middle (created merely 50,000 years ago). after checking in we spent the rest of te day taking in the scenary from various places, like the roof top onsen.

In the evening, after a 10 course dinner, we enjoyed fireworks over the lake from the hot tub in our room. And fell happily to sleep.

Sunday Morning on a Wednesday Night

Enjoyed a Maroon 5 concert at the Yokohama Arena. A high powered, no breaks, 1.5 hour experience. 

Rival Sons

A few days ago I got an early birthday gift when the postman knocked on my door and handed over a package. It contained a book and the “Great Western Valkyrie” album by Rival Sons. It’s been in my headphones ever since. Superb modern 70ies influenced rock. Just like I like it!