July 8, 2010

Arriving at Osaka

Today was the day I have been waiting for for several months: Kellian and I were arriving at Osaka for the start of the International Puzzle Party! After some sightseeing in Kyoto, we headed to Osaka by train. Once we got in, we took a cab from the train station to our hotel.

As we expected from the price, the hotel was pretty swank compared to our previous accomodations. We headed upstairs to drop off our bags and get cleaned up a bit before going to the registration table. I picked up my registration packet, my t-shirt, and got my photo taken. Needless to say, I was extremely excited.

While registering, I bumped into Jeff Aurand and Matt Dawson, which was really cool. I had been talking to Matt for a while online but never met him in person! They headed back up to their rooms, so Kellian and I headed down to the lobby to see if we could find anybody else and to to take a look through the registration information.

While in the lobby, we bumped into Stan Isaacs and started chatting while we were waiting for the others. It is quite handy that the IPP folks have nametags, so it is easy to spot other puzzlers and know who I should be introducing myself to. We tried to get some folks together for dinner, but didn't have any takers, so the three of us decided to head out to find something.

Kellian got a recommendation from the front desk, but when we walked out there it turned out to be closed. Oh well! The place next door looked pretty good, so we decided to check that out instead. Interestingly, it turned out to be a place that served food from the island of Okagawa. The staff didn't speak English and the menu was in Japanese without any pictures, so we were having a bit of trouble figuring out what to get.

Fortunatly, another one of the restaurant patrons was kind enough to give us a hand and ordered a few dishes for us. Some were better than others, but overall it was pretty tasty. We had pork in some kind of sweet sauce, tofu and spam (!?) in some kind of sauce, chips made from a bitter vegetable, fried rice with seaweed, and osaka soba noodles.

The woman who was helping us and the waitress noticed our puzzle party bags that they were giving out at registration, so we started talking to them about puzzles. Fortunately, Stan had a few examples handy and pulled out a tanglement puzzle and some twisty puzzles. To my surprise, they were two of the latest designs by Oskar van Deventer: the Overlap Cube (a 2x2x23 cube), and More Maddness. Both were very neat and I wish I had more time with them, but I didn't want to go scrambling Stan's puzzles!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel where there were a ton of people in the lobby hanging out and talking. I met Brian Young, Laurie Brookenshire, and even Oskar van Deventer himself! We all chatted for a while, and some folks showed around some of the puzzles they purchased from local shops in Osaka. I hope I didn't miss out on all the good stuff!

Sorry for not going into more detail, but it is about 1:00AM not and I need to get to sleep. Also, sorry that there aren't any photos...they aren't uploading for some reason. I hope it isn't a permanent issue! I will try again tomorrow. Update: Ok, I figured out how to add a few picures, it doesn't work over the hotel connection, but if I hold the computer up to the window I can get free wireless that works, but it is very slow.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the IPP updates! I couldn't make it to Japan, so I'm enjoying your accounts.

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  2. Loved seeing the "extremely excited" photo of you after registration to the IPP -- you must be "over the moon"! jp

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  3. I won't be able to make it to the IPP, but I'll be in Japan (Osaka, Tokyo) next month. Are there any interesting puzzle shops which you recomend?
    Thanks!
    Have a great time there!!!

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  4. I remember how excited I was at my first IPP so it's so nice to read about your excitement too! I will miss seeing Oskar, Stan, Brian, Laurie and other puzzle friends! Enjoy!

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  5. Thanks everybody!

    Apofatica: I don't think there are any specific puzzle shops in Osaka (there is one in Kyoto called Puzzle-in (puzzlein.com). There are many toy shops that have puzzles in Japan though. Not sure about Tokyo!

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Please don't post spoilers! Thanks for commenting!

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