Dispatch from the road: The first few days in Tokyo

Tokyo has been treating me very nicely these last couple of days. It’s a true pleasure to be here, meet old and new friends, and to continue lots of conversations started in Berlin, San Francisco and online.

A few days ago at a dinner after O’Reilly Solid in San Francisco, Héctor García had very kindly invited me to a tour of the Digital Garage HQ in Tokyo. DG is fascinating as it’s not only an excellent incubator these days, but also has been at the forefront of all internet developments in Japan for about 20 years. It was lovely to see the offices and to enjoy a conversation about the relevance of (still) blogging today. Héctor is also the author of A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony, which I just ordered and recommend you do, too.) Thank you for everything, Héctor!

Gratuitous shot of some sides at dinner.


Almost by chance I had a chance to visit Chris Palmieri, founder of AQ, again. Back during my last trip to Japan, the AQ team had kindly invited M. and me to join for a Hanami picnic. This time, after introducing me to the whole team, Chris took me out to a favorite restaurant of his specialized in tonkotsu (pork belly). Over this mouth-watering lunch we caught up about the IoT, interfaces that go beyond screens and how to run an international business.


In the evening of May 29, I got to attend one of the occasions that made this trip possible: The Berlin Innovation Meetup, a Berlin-Tokyo talent and knowledge exchange night organized by Recruit Technologies and Bistream as part of Recruit’s Berlin Tokyo Project.

Prepping backstage with the teams of Bistream, Xyo, Headwave and our translators.


Together with a delegation of Berlin’s finest, we spent the evening discussing Berlin’s and Tokyo’s tech, startup, hardware and Internet of Things ecosystem, and potential for fostering exchange between Japan and Germany.

A room full of technologists, designers & engineers, brought together by Recruit Technologies.

Leah Stuhltrager of Berlin’s top art & tech venue The Wye killing it.

The view from Recruit Technologies HQ, floor 33. It’s a bit hard to see in this photo, but the park-like thing you see between the high rise buildings is the Emperor’s Palace.

Along the way, I gathered a new title.

Post-presentation dinner with the crew.


A big thank you for allowing me to be part of this great exchange to Recruit and Bistream, and particularly to Makoto Takeda and Takeshi Nakano!

Leave a Reply