Today (3rd day) we have visited 2 companies. Omron and NAIST. Omron makes nanotech electrical components like miniature fiber-optics and face recognition software. Omron has a nice building and they do some cool stuff but they work pretty much on a practical side: they have a problem and they develop a solution.
Like I said before, 2 of the group became sick from last nights food and they became ill while we were on the move: Ronald decorated the floor of the bus and Erik spectacularly demonstrated the acoustics of the Omron building. As we walked outside the open balcony of the Omron building our tour guide (pretty Japanese girl) explained how they worked in an open workspace and people came outside for fresh air or to smoke a cigarette in piece and quiet. She barely had said that when Erik hurled towards the nearest fire escape and demonstrated the echoing of the balcony haven. The look on the poor girls face when she realized what was going on was priceless.
After we finalized the Omron tour without further incidents (or rather more incidents), we headed towards a hotel in that area that had an all-you-can-eat-buffet with western style food. After everyone stuffed themselves, we took off towards NAIST. The 2 sick people in the group went home (or rather went home after a hospital visit, just in case) by taxi.
NAIST is a university which is rather small and new. They sort of lack the internal know-how in the field they are trying to engineer. After we finally got there, my feet were killing me and I was dying for a smoke. After a short introduction (which boiled down to – "You are too early, go play outside") I was looking for the smoking area when I asked someone where I could smoke. As he didn’t speak English, he brought me to some dopey old professor. Nice guy, eager to help me and so I followed him. When we got outside it became apparent that he know something about the study trip and after some chatter he said goodbye and went back inside.
I quickly followed after a minute or so and the lectures started. Once I sat down I realized the old man I was standing outside with was sitting in the front row and a minute later he was introduced as the vice-president of the university… Whoops 😛
The level of English was below sub-standard and so communication was poor. Most of the talks were barely understandable and one guy actually read the slides line by line – to nobodies surprise it became apparent that he couldn’t answer the questions at the end of his presentation. After the boring lectures, we went to the demos that were mildly impressive (actually, most stuff already exists and other stuff is crap even we could do in a simple project – and they are post-grads!)
Eventually we went to the hotel and after we got the money for the food we set off towards the McDonalds near Osaka Garden. One heck of a walk when your legs hurt like hell but the prospect of a full stomach in days made it worth while. The food was great (as in, not some raw ingredient with seaweed and freaking rice) and we finally had the idea that we had eaten properly. On the way back we crashed a bakery on the station for a desert (remember, if its red, ask if its ichigo – strawberry- and if so: its safe to eat).