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75 Hours in Tokyo!

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  • #16
    And here's a picture of Mr. Katoh, the gentleman in the center. Check out the body language: Relaxed, hands in pockets, jacket open, and smiling (he's looking at one of Korg's first product, a drum machine with -- I'm not kidding! -- tubes in it). Although Korg had never done any kind of press tour before, he was pretty loose and relaxed. Either that, or he's a good actor This is a guy who seems very comfortable with himself.
    The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Anderton
      I was both surprised and delighted when the journalists were taken on a short bus tour, and Korg's Founder, Tsutomu Katoh, sat right on the bus with the rest of us. He had ZERO "attitude," and was unfailingly courteous and attentive; I would think that if one worked for Korg, Mr. Katoh would be receptive to any ideas. I also know he can indeed be very decisive and "managerial," but from everything I understand, a lot of deliberation and mutual respect goes into those kinds of decisions.



      Uhm, no, no Zero attitude, I guess. Japanese people expect to people being respectful. This is why anybody in a company can talk with anybody.
      It
      http://jd800center.blogspot.com
      http://gilbertostrapazon.blogspot.com

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      • #18
        Okay, here's a treat: A picture of Korg's first product, the Donca Matic drum machine released in 1963. While Mr. Katoh was looking at it, someone said "Does it still work?" Mr. Katoh said "I think so," and turned it on. Yup, it still worked.

        By the way it's hard to get a sense of scale from the photo, but it was NOT a tabletop unit -- unless you consider it as the table itself.
        The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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        • #19
          Here's a picture of the outside of their new building. It's very open on the inside, lots of glass and external light coming in. It's also somewhat isolated -- it's not in with a group of skyscrapers -- so there's more potential for it to get light and a feeling of openness.
          The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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          • #20
            Once you get inside, there's a combination showroom/museum with a bunch of old and new Korg gear (you can see the Donca Matic in the corner, just in front of a couple of keyboards). It's relatively modest, not a lot of hype and stuff, very...uh...Japanese, I guess
            The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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            • #21
              And just to give some context, here's a picture of Tokyo taken from hotel room, which was in the Shinjuku district...close to shopping and stuff, although my time there was too limited to actually get to check out much of the town. I'd been to Tokyo before, though, and had a chance to spend some time there as well as Kyoto (a lovely town, very spiritual).

              Japan feels somewhat contradictory to me, personally: On one level, I feel very comfortable there, and have no trouble fitting in on a basic level of social interaction but some of that may be due to spending a fair amount of time studying Japanese culture, so I wouldn't come across like an idiot On the other hand, though, there's always an element of being an outsider that I don't think I could ever overcome, as I am the product of a very different culture. Still, a lot of how the Japanese see the world makes a lot of sense to me.
              The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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              • #22
                This is a picture of some of the people we met at Korg, who were involved in the presentation of new products.

                But note something else of interest: there is a very wide range of ages at Korg. For example, the engineer who designed the Polysix is still roaming the halls, but so are a bunch of kids who appear barely out of their 20s. It seems the Oriental "respect for age" thing is in play, but also, the younger employees are given their time in the spotlight. I don't know if they're treated exactly as equals, but from all appearances, they're treated as equally important. I guess that's making a very subtle difference, but I'm probably being influenced by Japanese thinking as I write this

                Oh, I should add that back row, second from the right is Jerry Kovarsky from Korg USA, and fourth from the right is Jack Hotop, who is a pretty much legendary sound designer in this industry. He's not a household word, but you've heard his sounds.
                The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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                • #23
                  Awesome Craig,
                  Really enjoying this thread, thanks for the travelogue and pix, super entertaining.
                  I love Korg's gear, I'd say out of Yam/Roland/Korg, I'd go for Korg as being my favorite.
                  As for Japan, beautiful culture, seems incredible. I have a Japanese Cooking book, great photos, the way they prepare food, simple, fresh and appetizing, visually appealing, good stuff. From what you're telling us, that sort of approach seems to go hand in hand with their way of life.
                  Also, considering i've spent half of my life using Technics turntables and Akai drum machines, definitely have to give my respects to the Japanese for desigining such cool, reliable, expressive and fun gear.
                  Now it's time to spill the beans my friend, did they finally complete the telepathic sequencer?
                  http://www.myspace.com/dahkter

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                  • #24
                    Damn!! How did you find out about the telepathic sequencer?!? That was supposed to be embargoed until NAMM! You really got me in trouble now...

                    Seriously, I would LOVE to be able to post pictures of the new gear we saw, but it is off limits until NAMM. However, I have some pretty cool video footage of the product introductions that will go up here on Harmony Central after the NAMM show.
                    The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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                    • #25
                      This isn't the coolest picture of the bunch, but there's an interesting story behind.

                      This is a shot of the old Korg building, which was right next to a busy highway. I believe it's still owned by Korg, and has been turned into a rehearsal space. Apparently rehearsal space is at a premium in Tokyo (check out the photo from my hotel room if you have any questions as to why!), and the place is booked pretty much 24/7.

                      I find it interesting that instead of just selling the building off and pocketing the bucks, they kept it going in a musical context. That seems kind of "Japanese" to me, the concept of continuing a legacy.
                      The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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                      • #26


                        Fun stuff man....

                        Enjoy Craig, there's a lot of people here on the other side of the Pacific that would be mighty happy to mosey around the Korg halls and check out new gear. Definitely have some fun and twist some knobs on our behalf!
                        http://www.myspace.com/dahkter

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                        • #27
                          I can't resist this one. The controller for a new Korg product? No, this is the control panel for the toilet in my hotel room! Yes, even the toilets are high-tech, and they have free broadband access in your hotel room (are you listening, greedy American hotels that have the nerve to charge $10 a night for internet access on top of a $200 a night room charge?).
                          The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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                          • #28
                            And for all you fans of Japanese manuals, here's the instructions for the high-tech toilet. I wonder if it's microprocessor-controlled...
                            The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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                            • #29
                              Since you seem to be digging some of the "local color" shots, here's one of downtown Tokyo. I get the feeling it's kind of like what Shenzeng, China will look like in 20 years...no, make that 15...
                              The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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                              • #30
                                On the outskirts of Toyko, things open up a bit...the streets get narrower, you see some gardens among the houses, and so on. I assume this is a somewhat more affluent area on the outskirts of Tokyo.
                                The first 3 books in "The Musician's Guide to Home Recording" series are available from Hal Leonard and http://www.reverb.com. Listen to my music on http://www.YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit http://www.craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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