Notes From The Henna Gaijin comes to us courtesy of Japanware.com where this series is being written by Lynn Fredricks, the President of Proactive International. Lynn is the former International Sales Manager for Now Software, one-time makers of Now Up-to-Date and Contact and Now Utilities (both since acquired by PowerOn Software), and later at Qualcommis Eudora division.. You can find more information on the Henna Gaijin at Japanware Web site.
Welcome to Notes from the Henna Gaijin. "Henna Gaijin" means roughly "weird foreigner," which aptly applies to people like myself. If you want to know more about who I am and how I am involved with the Macintosh community, find out more at the Japanware.com Web site.
I am going to try to add some notes here regularly at Japanware.com. I will be sharing my "weird" views of Japan, Tokyo and the show which I hope you can put to use in a practical way.
The cost of going to MACWORLD Expo Tokyo isnit that much greater than going to MACWORLD in San Francisco. In fact, although my plane ticket is a bit more expensive flying to San Francisco than from our nearest airport to Narita International Airport, all other costs are lower than attending MACWORLD San Francisco -- even the cost of the hotel and dining.
I am going to start out the Notes with some tips on selecting the best place to stay by cost, quality and easy access to the expo.
January 24, 2001
MACWORLD Expo Tokyo 2001
MACWORLD Expo Tokyo runs from February 22-24 (Thursday - Saturday) at Makuhari Messe in Makuhari, Chiba.
Apple loves Japan, for the simple fact that it is the #2 market for Apple products outside of the United States. Last year it ran an extra day so that Steve Jobs could show up and give his speech. MACWORLD Expo Tokyo 2000 drew 182,688 attendees during the four day show.
Makuhari "City" is a techno-area in Chiba prefecture. If you take public transportation, you are not that far out from Tokyo. Although there are a few attractions on the Makuhari Map (side-bar), if you are looking to see some real Japanese cultural sites, youill have to travel out of the area.
Makuhari is very convenient though, because not only is it a reasonable train ride via the Keiyo Line into Tokyo proper, but it is also two stops away from Tokyo Disneyland. It mostly duplicates the Orange County Disneyland experience, except that everyone, from Mickey to the ghosts in the haunted house, speak Japanese. Many US companies have also located their offices in Makuhari, and Iim sure you will quickly spot IBM Japan and BMW Japan before you arrive at your hotel.
On the Makuhari City Site map, check out building #36. This building has quite a few restaurants, including a number of small cafes. If you are fond of Indian food, you should visit the Maharajah during lunch time as they have an excellent buffet at a very reasonable price. If you continue "north" up the map, youill also find some convenience stores and a McDonaldis (the ultimate constant in the universe!).
My favorites in the area can be found at Plena Makuhari, a vertical "mall" at building #54. If you need any business materials, there is an excellent supply store on the second floor. If you like a light breakfast out, there is a "Cote diOr" bakery on the first floor and an excellent cake shop as well. Fast food junkies should give Lotteria a try. For dinner, there is an excellent Korean barbecue restaurant on the top floor. Avoid the ramen shop. I am not a ramen maniac, but I have slurped noodles from one end of Japan to the other, and the ramen shop in Plena Makuhari is the worst I have ever had.
If you just got back from MACWORLD Expo San Francisco, youill be pleasantly surprised at the hotel rates in Makuhari. At 13,500 yen, for example, the Makuhari Prince Hotel is about the same price as many hotels recommended in San Francisco with preferred rates (and they didnit include a free breakfast, either!).
Makuhari Prince Hotel
This is my favorite hotel. It shares the sky bridge to Makuhari Messe with The New Otani, which is especially nice since February can be both cold and wet in Tokyo.
If you check the side-bar youill see that the rooms are less expensive than the New Otani. If you reserve through the English link provided, the price is even slightly lower than the Japanese ordering page!
This price also includes a breakfast ticket. While not as elegant as the New Otaniis offerings, breakfast is a cafeteria affair, but well arranged and of high quality. There is a broad selection of western dishes as well as Japanese favorites. Since the Makuhari Prince is also a favorite with family vacationers, you can dine here in a more relaxed atmosphere.
There is a cake shop in the hotel lobby which is a great place to relax. There is also a small shop where you can get everything from mixed beverages to medicine.
The New Otani Hotel Makuhari
This hotel is more upscale than Makurhari Prince Hotel -- in fact, New Otani Hotels are among the highest ranked hotels in the country, so naturally they cost more. It shares the sky bridge to Makuhari Messe with The Prince Hotel, which is especially nice since February can be both cold and wet in Tokyo.
The New Otani isnit as cheap as the Makuhari Price Hotel. In fact, it can be one of the most expensive hotels in the area. Youill see though what you are paying for when you enter the hotel, which has a much more upscale lobby and a wider selection of internal bars and restaurants.
Some plans at the New Otani also include a breakfast ticket. The dining room has an elegant atmosphere and youill see a chef with the requisite puffy white hat. I have found though that the food isnit any better than the Makuhari Prince, in quality and presentation. Because of the elegant atmosphere though, you may embarrass yourself if you are used to hotel dining in very relaxed clothes. Since you never know if a potential business partner may be staying here as well, you should leave the tee shirts and shorts in your room.
Something you are burning to know about MACWORLD Expo Tokyo? Let me know at email@example.com and Iill put it into the next update.