It's all about the rosette.
A Japanese ribbon cutting ceremony is the height of cool. A long red ribbon is held aloft by chrome stanchions and is studded with ribbon rosettes. In between each rosette stands a white-gloved person wearing his or her own rosette, waiting for the cue to cut. Simultaneously, each dignitary makes his or her cut with a pair of golden shears.
I'd seen it done before, but this was my day. The gloves, the rosette, the cameras...it was awesome.
I was under strict instructions from another english-speaking person that I was to wear the rosette at all times on this day, especially at dinner. I felt even more conspicuous than usual.
After the keynote presentation by our colleague we ate by ourselves at The Plastic Wasabi.
After our second colleague's presentation, which included the thoughtful proposition that one of the stakeholders in any company is the environment, we went off to the exhibits. My favorite? The people who make big colorful buttons that light up. Their website doesn't do justice to how beautiful their switches and buttons are. I'm such an analog girl.
The sounds in the exhibition hall were multitudinous and deafening. The rosette was noticed by every single person we passed. The stimulation was intense.
We found an oasis of calm at a booth manned by a fellow ribbon cutter. He served us tea and Dundee Cake and we chatted with yet another ribbon cutter who had spent his entire afternoon in interviews. The forklift company doesn't allow interviews, so I was in luck.
Then we made our way to our room to practice the presentation one last time. Having nowhere else to go, mrguy stuffed his ears with earbuds, turned on his iPod and put a pillow over his head until I was finished.
Dinner was at a banquet hall in the convention center. Hundreds of people stood around round tables drinking Suntory whiskey and water and eating gorgeous sushi. Each of us presenters and our hosts made an appearance on stage (this is the reason you need to wear the rosette), and at the end of introductions and kudos and shout outs for people who have worked hard to make this happen, we on the stage simultanously clapped once, on cue. This signified the almost halfway point of the exhibition. We have no equivalent gesture in America.
After the banquet we considered eating this:
but ate ramen out of the vending machine instead. Soooo tired.