On the last day of the study tour we visited Sharp. We started the day a half hour earlier than planned because Sharp has told us the move the program forward. After hours of traveling by train we finally got off at Chiba – a suburb of Tokyo with enormous skyscrapers. It was obviously some luxury business park. After a 15 minute walk we finally found the Sharp building where we first got a tour of Sharp technologies. This included LCD TV’s, how LCD works, solar panels and Sharp’s view of the future. Although nice to see, its not all that shocking for us: all of the things we got to see are available on the market. One of the cool things was the 3D LCD (also on a mobile phone) and the dual view LCD (the driver of the car sees the navigation chart while the passenger can watch a movie – on the same screen).
After the tour we went up to the 21st floor where they had a banquet prepared for us: salads, cheese, spaghetti and chicken, even bread (which is a speciality in Japan). And we got to talk to some of the people working for Sharp. The sole lady of the Sharp researchers turned out to be miss Ni from China. She spoke also by far the best English of the whole bunch.
After lunch we got some presentations that were mildly interesting except for one french guy who had an interesting vision for the smart phone (that wasn’t so very smart at the moment according to him). After we left Sharp we headed back to Tokyo where we heard that we were running late for the last group meal of the trip so everyone had to come along wearing a suit.
It turned out that the last meal was in fancy restaurant with a live jazz band on the 52 floor in one of the tallest buildings of Tokyo. Except for a breathtaking view, they also had very good food and some very fine cocktails. I tried the Liberty Island (vodka, leechy juice and something I forgot) and The Graces (Gray Goose – vodka, leechy juice and cranberry juice) and finished off with a good cappuccino.
Because I had not expect the little detour to this awesome restaurant, my plan to bring my suitcase to the hotel went out the window as we left at half past eleven while the subway stops at half past twelve. So we just headed back to the hostel where I started packing (read: folding my clothes to make it fit again). This took a while longer than I planned which meant I jumped into bed at 4 o’clock in the morning…