Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sayonara Japan!

I'm sad that it was our last day in Japan yesterday, January 31st.

We made our way back from Kyoto after the Unreasonable workshop event at the University the night before and spent the night on the ship.  It was a weird feeling to be back on the ship.  It did feel like coming back to a home-like place, but there was definitely a part of me that didn't want to be back on the ship.

We woke up early and grabbed breakfast on the ship, then headed off to visit Kobe, the port we were stopped in.  It was a much warmer day than the other days we had in Tokyo, and after a quick train ride, we made it to the middle of the city.

First things first, a bathroom break led me to a bathroom stall where someone had forgotten their Pungency.  I couldn't help but take a photo.  When I first saw it, it looked like this drink was called "The Pregnancy," but The Pungency is higher on the what's-funny-left-in-a-bathroom-stall-o-meter, so I'll take it as my morning comic relief.

There were huge buildings, and all of the businesses are stacked on top of one another.  We wandered around a bit until we found a temple, and went in to check it out.  It had a lovely area with large trees and little paths leading to mini temples that looked just like the big one...only little.  It was a peaceful moment with the tiny stream and pigeons wandering around the leaves.  Made for a nice break.

We also found a Japanese arcade which was five levels of sensory overload.  Each level had a different theme: fighting games, space games, music games, fluffy girly games and then gambling.  A full room of chairs with virtual horse-racing.  You could climb inside one of the space games and be completely surrounded by screens as if you were looking out of a robot that you were controlling.  There were drumming games with a full electric drum kit and another one with big, rubber Taiko drums.  We didn't play anything, but we saw some locals in action.  One kid's fingers were flying across a grid of twelve square buttons as he clicked along to a techno song.  An impressive, yet relatively useless skill.

A small piece of the giant food-ery.
We left there because I was in search of a sake set for myself, and we found a little kitchen accessory store with a serious inventory problem.  You couldn't even turn around in the store, and no more than four people could be perusing at one time.  We did find a lovely set that looked perfect for a certain sister of mine, so we chose it and purchased it from the little man running the place.

We decided to have a progressive lunch back to the train station where we needed to meet up with the rest of the team so Matt could shoot the entrepreneurs testing out their solar stove in the middle of a walking area.  We found a couple fun bakeries and pastry places with interesting food, so we bought random things that looked interesting.  While standing in line, I proceeded to drop the little plastic bag holding the sake set, and smashed it on the concrete.  I was really disappointed at such a stupid move, but Matt was willing to walk back to the store with me to pick out another one.

I walked back in the little shop, and the man looked confused at my presence.  I tried to explain, in English, what I had done with my last set, but he just stared.  I motioned as if I were dropping something, pointed to the ground and made a "KSSH" sound, as if glass were breaking.  "Ooooooh," he said, and let me through to pick up another.  Just a reminder that most sound effects translate if you're ever in a bind.

Tiny little fishies surprised us atop our noodles.
Matt met up with the team and filmed One Earth Designs with their solar stove, and I headed to a large department store called Sogo that would be a ten-story equivalent to Macy's.  At the very bottom of the building was a ridiculously awesome area of food vendors with awesome food.  Sweet, savory, fried, fresh, raw and colorful.  It was a magical, sense-ical experience.  We found some treats that we had liked before, and spent our final Yen.

It was time to go back to the ship, so we took a final stop at a coffee shop and bought some spicy hot chocolate.  It had chili powder in it, Mexican-style, and it hit the spot for a cold walk back to the ship.  The sun was setting, and the line was long as we all went back through security with our goodies and boarded the ship.

Everyone was exhausted, and we hunkered down to listen to each other's stories.  We had all split up at certain points during our Japan visit, so we made it a point to hear one another's adventures.  A wonderful, wonderful visit, and an amazing country that I would highly recommend visiting.

Sayonara, Japan!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Let's Talk Toilets

As a final reflection on Japan, I’d like to highlight theirexcrement receivers.

First and foremost, the defecation destinations are gearedtoward utter and complete privacy. The Japanese have a conservative nature that filters throughout theirculture and is especially prevalent in the potty palaces.

There are two main throne designs.  In the parks and more rugged locations, the toilets are madefor squatting.  They are basicallya female urinal, and what I would describe as a first-world hole in theground.  During “business time” youhave to try really hard not to sprinkle your shoes.

The second design is a top-notch, button-filled,heated-seat, technologically advanced creation that makes you feel like you’reenjoying your pressure-relieving solace via robot.  There is a button for flushing.  There is a button for cleaning – bidet-style.  There is a button for lady-cleansing andone to stop any buttons you’ve started. And, finally, there is a little button with a music note on it.  You can control the volume of thisfeature depending on your bio-volume.

When we asked about that last button, we were told that itplays free-jazz to counter the noises that one might make while nature calls,but it’s actually just a constant flushing sound effect that covers up anythingyou’re doing in Tinkle Town.

The irony that I find in how much privacy is needed in thebathrooms is the fact that if you go to a Japanese bath, you are stripped downand required to bathe under a bucket in front of a camera that a little grandmawatches and yells at you if you do anything wrong, then head out in nothing butwhat God gave you and share a hot spring with a new set of friends also intheir birthday suits.

All joking aside, I loved Japan.  The people were fantastically friendly and so kind andhelpful.  The food was delicious,albeit a tad weird and tentacle-ly at times.  I would highly recommend going to Japan.  It’s relatively easy to get around withminimal Japanese, but if you’re going to come, find yourself a local friend ora guide because those are the people that will lead you to really experienceeach city’s finest details.

Water Anyone?


Wednesday, January 30

Water anyone?

Today, we were not able to sleep in.  Matt, Jessie and I were on assignment to follow Pedro and Rosa of Aquaphytex to a water conference at the Tokyo Big Sight conference center.

We began our day at 7:00am and went for a Family Mart breakfast.  Family Mart is the Japanese equivalent of a convenience store.  They actually have 7-11’s here which they call 7-11’s.  The only thing you can’t get there are Slurpee’s.  We found what looked like a Canadian bacon pizza (which was actually smoked fish on mayonnaise on white bread), a chocolate chip scone (which was actually card board with brown-flavored chunks of wax) and dried tomatoes (which was actually candied pieces of tomato that shouldn’t have been sweet).

We found our way via subways and trains to the conference center.  The architecture of that place was very impressive.  It’s like a big upside down pyramid on top of four towers.  It was very massive and glamorous.  So much glass and every inch of any piece of glass was spotless.

The biggest thing I noticed about Tokyo is how clean it is.  People are clean and quiet and calm and there is an order to everything.  It’s like the entire city is designed like clockwork, and people are on the same frequency.  The world just works.  People don’t run into each other, and the organized chaos of the subways made us feel like clunky gorillas in a glass factory.  (Okay…that might not make sense, but if you were here, you’d be like…”yeah, I could see that.”)

We met Rosa and Pedro at the entrance and headed in to the water conference.  We were registered online, but they couldn’t find our reservations, so Pedro made up a story about why we had cameras and got us in on “research and development” passes.  He’s a smooth-talker, that Pedro.

We had a bit of a gear mishap, and had forgotten a way to power the microphone that Jessie brought.  We had to think quick and rigged up our Zoom recorder on her pistol grip, but still didn’t have a way to block the wind noise.  Medical masks, like the ones doctors wear that goes over their face and around their ears, are pretty big in Tokyo.  It was explained to us that they are so socially accepted that people use them if they are sick as a courtesy to not get other sick, but also if they have forgotten to put on make-up or forget to shave, they just wear a mask.  It was weird at first to see them all over, but we’ve slowly gotten used to them.

That said, we had bought a few of them as a joke since Pedro had a cold, and thought it would be funny to have him wear it around.   With our wind-screen deficiency, we found that the little surgical masks worked perfectly.  So, our home-made Zoom holder got itself a face mask.  We had some stares and there were multiple Japanese pictures who took a photo of us.

Thought the conference, we acted like students and made Pedro look like an extremely important person as we interviewed him with every booth that he visited.  The booths were full of unique water-purifying innovations that people around Asia have created and were showing off.  We saw a poop conveyer machine, a rainbow-bead filter and a water filter set up like an undulating coffee table complete with a flower arrangement on top.  It was quite the experience.  We didn’t fit there at all, but we had a good time.

We had some noodles out in the food court area for lunch, and then headed to the bullet train to go from Yokohama over to Kyoto where the final Unreasonable event was taking place in Japan.

The bullet trains are really fun!  They’re so smooth and sooooo fast, and you get an awesome tour of rural Japan.  We happened to head out right during sunset, so it was a magical two hours through beautiful mountains and small towns.  At one point, we went close by Mt. Fuji which was an amazing site with the green mountains in front of it’s white, snow-covered body.
By bus, it takes ten hours to get from Tokyo to Kyoto, but our bullet train only took two hours and 20 minutes.

We got to Kyoto and found our way to the event, but since we were following entrepreneurs on a “business detour,” we missed the event and just arrived for the dinner reception.

This is the life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Wild Day Three in Tokyo

We slept in again.  Amazing.

We got up and headed out of the apartment to find some lunch/breakfast.  We had looked up a location where we wanted to eat, but it wasn't open at 11am, so we decided to wait for 11:30.  We walked around the streets by our apartment going from vending machine to vending machine tasting all the crazy canned delights you can get for 100Yen.

Matt got creamed corn. Mark got red bean. Larissa got hot chocolate which tasted like warm Yoohoo.  It entertained us enough to pass a half hour, so we made our way back to the restaurant only to find that it was locked up tight.  We decided to find another spot and turned down an ally way.

We saw through a little glass door a little bar with men in suits eating noodles. It was plum full, so we started walking away.  A woman came out calling to us and invited us in.  There were six of us, so we pointed out how many, and she assured us that we would be okay.  (Or something like that in Japanese.)

We headed into the packed shop, obviously the only foreigners, and had no idea where she was going to seat us.  She took us back to the storage room and told us to take off our shoes.  We did as we were told and then she led us up into a secret tiny room where two men were eating on the floor with a long table.  We joined them and awkwardly introduced ourselves using the two words we knew in Japanese: "hello" and "delicious".

We had a fun exchange because the woman didn't give us any menus, she just pointed to us asking what we wanted.  We turned to the two men and the one man pointed to his bowl and said, "Number one!"  The other man pointed to his bowl and said, "Miso!"

We all ordered number one.  Of course.

We carried on conversation with them in a funny way.  They asked if we were American, and we tried to communicate that we were in film.  They said, "cinema," and we all said, "Hai!" The one man nodded and said, "Sean Connery."  It was a nice lunch.

We all paid and headed back to the apartment to start our day of b-roll shooting.  Our first stop was the main Buddhist temple in Tokyo.  We got on the train and after some confusion with how to switch trains, we got to a large marketplace full of fun trinket shopping.

The temple was beautiful and fascinating.  People had an interesting ritual that I haven't learned about, so I'm looking forward to looking it up later.  They would go and wash their hands and their mouths out in a fountain, then pay to get some incense and put their little incense stick all together in a larger pot of incense, then waft it into their hair.  Then, they head up to the big temple, donate some money, pray for a moment, then walk in.  Inside are little cans of sticks that they shake up, a stick falls out with a number on it, they match the number to a drawer then open the drawer to find their fortune.  Some are very good, and some are very bad.

I couldn't help myself.  I had to do the fortune, so I went for it and got the "best" fortune. Yay!

In Japan, I stick out - not only because I'm tall, but also because I'm very white and very blond.  While I was reading a sign explaining the fortunes, I turned to see four little Japanese kids in uniforms and yellow hats crowded around staring at me.  I said hello to them, and they lit up with joy.  One little girl stepped forward and began practicing her English with me.

"Hello. How are you?" "I'm doing well, thank you. How are you?" I say.  "I am fine. What's your name?"  "Shawna. What's your name?"  "Chin Yoi.  Welcome to Japan."  "Thank you!" I say.  Then, once the first was done, the second came up and we started all over again.  It was the cutest thing I've ever experienced.  Nice kids.

Matt and I left the temple in search of a snack and found ourselves on some very fun side streets with other street vendors and rickshaws.  We found a street vendor with weird stick snacks, and we decided to test them out.  Matt got one wrapped in a grape leaf with a rice dough that had a sweet red bean mixture in it. We found out it's called "monju." Very delicious.  I had little rice dough balls dipped in sweet teriyaki.  Mega delicous.

After our snack, we met up with the rest of the team and found a little place for a sake break.  After that we had to catch the train to get to the Times Square of Tokyo which is called Shibuya.  It was total sensory overload.  The team was very nice to accommodate me, and had a second night of sushi since I was sick the night before.

We found some friends from the Unreasonable pitch event on our first day, and they took us to a Japanese pub called "180" because the beers are 180Yen.  They ordered up a bunch of Japanese pub fare and we got to try wasabi octopus, deep fried whole fish, delicious Korean pickled vegetables with cow intestine in it, and of course, lots and lots of beer.  We were allowed to ask him anything about Japan, so we all asked all the things we were wondering.  Like, why do people where those medical masks all the time?  Well, my friends, the reason is that those masks are socially acceptable, and people wear them if they forgot to put on make-up, forgot to shave, or if they are sick so that they don't get other people sick.  It's not weird in their culture, and it takes some time to get used to because it's really prevalent.

We stayed far too late at the pub and realized we had to sprint to catch the last train back to our apartment which is in North Tokyo.  We booked it to the station, ran to the train, caught it, then had to transfer, and then sprint to the final train.  We made it right on time, and the doors closed on our heels.

An exciting end to a long day.  Tomorrow, we have an early morning to finish filming in Tokyo at a water conference that one of the entrepreneurs, Pedro of Aquaphytex, is going to, then make our way to Kyoto by 4pm for the second Unreasonable event.  Sounds like we'll get to ride the bullet train.  Toot toot!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tokyo - Day 2

We slept in today, and it felt amazing!  We were all so exhausted from our lack of sleep on the ship that our cozy little floor mats did the trick.  Patrick was the only one that didn't get good sleep.  He headed off to go with Protei on their trek to do more investigating with their boats in Japan.  They'll be doing a lot of hiking and roughing it, but Patrick is going to gather some amazing footage, so we've all agreed it'll be a worthwhile adventure.

We headed off to find some breakfast around 10am.  We realized, in the daylight, that we're in a great location in downtown Tokyo.  It's actually a very expensive part of the city, and we really got a great deal with our Airbnb apartment.  If you haven't checked this out already, you should definitely use them when you're traveling.  Airbnb.com where you can rent people's houses or apartments around the world as you would a hotel room.  It's awesome!

We walked around a bit, getting our bearings, and had a good laugh at how lost we were the night before when we were trying to find the apartment building.  We tried to follow the directions, but got them wrong and found ourselves in a little courtyard in the middle of high-rise apartment buildings.  The courtyard or park, I guess you could call it, had public restrooms, and I was so glad because I had so much Jasmine tea at last night's event.

I headed in to the female side, and opened the stall door only to reveal a small porcelain hole in the ground.  It had water in it, and was shaped like a tiny, flat urinal in an oval shape.  Ooooh boy.  Toilets in Japan are quite interesting.  Whether they're high-tech enough to give you a spray-down, play a little tune to cover your biological sounds and have a heated seat for comfort, or they're low-tech enough to be a hole in the ground, they make bio-time interesting.

Anyway...back to our morning walk.  We found a little restaurant that had a good price and pretty pictures outside, and let ourselves in.  They had just opened for lunch, and we were the only patrons.  We settled down to a table and looked at the woman there handed us menus.  There was no english in sight, and she was standing there, pressuring us to order.  Some of our companions were set on Udon, so when they said that, she laughed aloud and repeated something that sounded similar.  We weren't sure what she was saying nor why we were laughing, so they just said, "Hai."  (Yes, in Japanese)

Pointing to our lunch.
The woman turned to Matt and I, and we hesitated then randomly pointed to pictures.  She seemed satisfied with our order and headed back to yell at the cook.  We crossed our fingers in hopes that we didn't order the sheep stomach or raw octopus.

Our orders came out amazing!  It turned out that we were in a Chinese restaurant in the middle of Tokyo.  So, they didn't have Udon, but whatever Mark, Larissa and Jessie had was pretty good.  We snarfed it down and headed for the train to meet the Unreasonables from Vita Beans who were meeting with a private school called Tokyo International School in another part of Tokyo.

When we arrived, we found a school teaming with life.  The kids were brilliant and the teaching methods were ridiculously hands on.  Patrick, the head, led us around and talked to use about their beliefs of keeping the creativity in kids.  We interviewed the kindergartners as they were read a book, then the eighth graders who were creating speakers from scratch in shop class, then to the fifth graders who were putting together Key Note presentations about NGO's.  (yeah, seriously)
My and Jessie's favorite new candy. Grape Fettuccine!

It was a fun experience to meet all the children from all over the world, and see how magnificent school could be.  Patrick talked about how long it took to convince parents that the children were actually learning, because there aren't hours of homework and memorization tests to study for.  Parents expect "rigor" and Patrick argues that this school offers a far better method of teaching than just memorizing facts.  It's all through experience.  Look it up if you get that chance: http://www.tokyois.com/main/

We went back to the apartment to meet up with the rest of the film crew who had been shooting b-roll around Tokyo while we interviewed at the school.  As soon as I hit the train, I realized something terrible was on the way.  It hit me: my first bout with food poisoning.

The film crew sent over a sushi-eating photo while I was sick.
I was doubled over with stomach pain and started sweating and shaking, and in our tiny little one bedroom apartment, I holed up in our single airplane sized bathroom.  Bad news!  The team could wait no longer, for there was fresh Japanese sushi to be had for dinner, and I sent them along without me because I was feeling so terrible.

I'm doing better now, but am ready to snuggle up on my floor mat and kiss the rest of this day goodnight.  I have high hopes that I'll still get a chance to try real Japanese sushi, but also have a tiny thought in the back of my mind that wonders if raw fish is the best thing to move forward with...

Tomorrow we head to a water conference with Pedro of Aquaphytex, then make our way to Kyoto for the next part of the Unreasonable event in Japan.  More adventure to come!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Konichiwa Tokyo!


Sunday, January 27, we woke up to calm seas, and it was the mostwelcome break I’ve had in quite some time.  Our muscles were buzzing after battling the rough seas, andno one had more than two hours of restful slumber.

Regardless, this was the big day!  It was our huge event in Tokyo, and everyone needed to be atthe top of their game to impress the media outlets and local entrepreneurs andstudents who would be attending.

We had breakfast on the sixth deck and watched the ship takeport in Yokohama.  It was sobeautiful to see land after eight days at sea.  I was definitely struggling with cabin fever, but I was notalone.  The sight of Mount Fuji wasstunning!  The snow coveredmountain was an interesting dichotomy behind the industrial madness of theport.

We got off the ship with all of our film gear and followedthree local tour guides to get to the Digital Garage in Tokyo.  We rode the train there and it was afun behind-the-scenes tour of the apartment buildings.

We arrived to the Digital Garage, dumped our gear and headedto find some lunch.  Armed with6000 Yen, “please”, “yes” and “thank you” in Japanese, and empty bellies, wewalked the streets of Tokyo in search of ramen noodles.  We found a quaint restaurant where abunch of us fit and were glad for an English side of the menu.

Cesar, the entrepreneur from Protei, whose family isJapanese, sat with us and taught us how to appropriately slurp ournoodles.  It’s apparently rude toquietly enjoy your lunch, so the loud sucking-of-ramen via chopsticks wasproudly adopted by our team.

We had also ordered some dumplings to split, and Evanproceeded to get us some soy sauce. He poured it into a dish on the table, and Cesar jumped in to stophim.  “That’s for smoking,” hesaid.  Smoking?  Oh…it was an ash tray.  Silly Americans.

The ticket was in Japanese, so we just handed it to thatlady and showed us all her cash and let her pick out what she felt wasappropriate pay.  “Hai!” she said.

The event was packed, and people were so excited to hear theentrepreneur’s pitches.  WiredMagazine (of Japan) took a photo of each team, and they were interviewed byJapan’s two major newspapers.  Itwas the best Unreasonable event I’ve attended so far.

We enjoyed an amazing meal during the ending VIP party wherepeople were able to mingle and exchange business cards with local entrepreneursand business owners.  In Japaneseculture, business cards are a huge deal. You are supposed to hand it with two hands, bow, and then when the otherperson gives you their card, analyze it, love it, point at it, bow and thankthem, then tuck it safely into your wallet.  I got three.

We ventured back out into Tokyo to find our way to the AirBNBapartment that we rented from the ship. It said that it slept seven, but when we (finally) arrived, we found aroom big enough for two twin beds, and a kitchen living room combo with abathroom off of it.  Luckily, ithad the two twin beds and four floor mats.  We basically made the apartment floor one giant bed for allof us to crash.  It was more funthan it might appear.



Matt was there waiting for us because he had gone with aSemester at Sea field lab to video the students discovering Tokyo’sculture.  His funny story of theday was that they had gone to a karaoke bar to get dinner, and it was a five-coursemeal of an omelet, fish and chips, salad, mussels and then chicken wings.  During the omelet course, the waitresscame around with catsup and asked if he wanted any.  He said, I’d like catsup on half.  She spoke to him in Japanese, so he pointed to half of theomelet and said, “only here.  Justhalf.”  She responded with, “youwant cat or bear?”  Mattresponded…”cat?”  She whippedaround the omelet and drew a little catsup cat with little catsup paw prints.  Best. Dinner. Ever.

Thar She Bloooows!



Danny and I demonstrating the size of the waves.
Oh..Saturday was a terrible, terrible storm.  The ship was rocking and rolling, and plates, televisions, mirrors and people were flying all over the place.  Most people just stayed in their rooms and eventually classes were cancelled.

The ship’s crew said that this was the worst encounter they’d had on this ship, but the captain assured us that we were safe.  With what he had experienced, he would rate this about a 7 out of 10.  So glad I wasn’t on the 10.  This was almost worse than our Drake Passage crossing to Antarctica, and those are considered the roughest seas on earth!

These are waaaaay bigger than they look.
At one point during the morning, there was a huge popping sound during one of the waves impacts.  It went down across the ship as if rivets were popping out.  We were concerned, but didn’t ask about it.

Then, this vacuuming sound started up in the hallway outside of our rooms.  We’re on the third deck at the very front of the ship, and apparently a pipe had burst and was flooding our floor.  There was standing water on the carpet, and the crew immediately jumped into action sucking it out into buckets and downstairs.

At that point, everyone was punchy and ready to jump ship, so we found it more amusing than anything.  My top bunk kept folding up.  At one point in the night, when I visited the bathroom, I came back out to find that my bed was gone.  It had folded up once my weight was off of it.
Team sea-sickness hanging out in the windows.

The absolute longest night ensued because we were afraid to be thrown from our beds.  Sleep didn’t come easily.

We had gotten Japanese lessons from Cesar and Peter who were both from Japan, and they taught us how to avoid offending the new friends we’ll meet in Tokyo.  They taught us how to say “please” and “thank you” and “delicious” and “cute” for photos where we make peace signs to the camera.

They also taught us how to say a form of “excuse me” where you bow and allow another person to do something before you do.  If you were on an elevator, you should let the other people out first.  They demonstrated by bowing and bowing and bowing and saying “doso” to one another.  They said the only way to win the polite battles was to offer the door to someone else for so long that you miss your elevator floor and go up to the next one with them.






Thursday, January 24, 2013

We Got Cabin Fever

*Cue dramatic music*

And so it begins...the cabin fever.  I've begun to realize how trapped we are on this vessel in the middle of the ocean.

*The strings swell and the tubas enter with an ominous tone*

The food is the same. The same potatoes. The same pasta. The same salad and salad dressings. Every day, the same.

*The flutes trill in horror*

I've hit my head on the same ceiling sprinkler while getting up on my bunk just about every day.  The little sore spot is the same.  Knocked...every...day.

*The timpani booms*

And now, we're having plumbing issues with people flushing things they shouldn't, so multiple hallways reek of yesterday's meals.  At least it's something new...

*Cymbals crash and the trumpets peter out to nothing*

Okay...but seriously.  I now realize why they try to fill people's day with different events, classes, lectures, workouts, dances, and random assignments to be done around the ship.  Since I've been editing episode two, I've had these last four days to schedule as I please, and with no boundaries or structure, one's mind begins to play games.  I forget to take breaks, or take too long of a break and find myself feeling guilty.

This evening, I went to dinner and broke my solo-act and realized everything's fine.  Life is good living on this luxurious ship.  We're all just ready for another port.  With fourteen days on the ship interrupted by two days on land, people need to really focus on their studies or projects or business in order to avoid cabin fever.

Today was extremely smooth compared to yesterday, but we can't hope for the smooth sailing to continue any longer.  This evening we're turning north.  The port side of the ship (South) where we've been rockin' the smooth seas, (pictured to the right) was light and fluffy with a nice sunset, but look to the starboard side of the ship (North) where we're turning after dinner, and it's a big ole' storm.  We've been told to batten down our rooms and hold on tight.  We've also been told that now is the time to take seasick medicine if you haven't already.

We've started working out our plans for Japan, and Matt and I are going to be a part of the film crew that travels across-country.  So, instead of visiting Yokohama, then getting back on the ship and riding to Kobe, we're going to get off in Yokohama, go to Tokyo for two days, then take a train over to the next event and end in Kobe where we'll get back on the ship after a total of five days.  We're REALLY looking forward to being on land and eating different food.  The food on the ship is actually very good, it's just that it doesn't have a ton of variety.

When we get close to Japan, they block our ship's satellites which cuts out our internet, but since I'll be on land for the duration of our Japan visit, hopefully I'll be able to update the blog with our day by day. Wish us luck with tonight's waves!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Rough Seas = Short Showers

We had a wonderful "Women in Business" celebration last night and enjoyed the "fine dining" event on the ship.  You go into a little classroom off of the lower dining room, and you're served a five-course meal of amazing food.  It was a pleasure spending time to get to know the women that we're working with on the ship.

I had the smoked salmon appetizer (as seen in the picture on the left).  The food was absolutely fantastic.  I had the cream of broccoli soup, caesar salad, sirloin steak and then fried ice cream for dessert.


After dinner, I went to my room to lay down, and immediately fell asleep, but was rocketed awake by canons blasting in the room.  The seas became rough during the night and since we're in the bow of the ship, we hear and feel every slam of the waves.

Once I was awake, I realized that I was totally weightless, and tried to sit up, but as soon as I engaged my core, the ship fell back down a wave, and I was pressed into the mattress.  My grogginess didn't help the situation because I felt like I needed to get down off my top bunk.  This turned out to be a terrible idea with the waves.

Then, another wave hit again. BOOM!  The entire room shook and with each swell, the room popped and creaked as if it were being ripped apart.

I had woken up enough to realize we weren't in any danger, but then I wasn't really able to go back to sleep.  Laying on my side, I was tossed back and forth, so I laid on my back hoping that the seas would rock me to sleep.  Each time I drifted...BOOM.

It was a long night.

The seas were calmer this morning, but showering was a little rough.  We've been talking about how to conserve water on the ship because at the rate we're going, we're going to run out before we get to Spain.  Rough seas help the showering situation.  One doesn't want to stay in the moist, churning compartment for longer than needed.

Today's a post-production day, and I'm working on editing the second webisode which we'll try to start getting online once we get to Japan on Sunday.

Five more days at sea, and the waves are scheduled to get worse.  It's time for the PMA (positive mental attitude) to kick in.  At least I'm not seasick!


Monday, January 21, 2013

A Missing Time Event

So, yesterday, Sunday, January 20th, 2013 seemed like a normal-enough day.  Matt and I woke up and did our 7am yoga on the 7th port deck.  We had breakfast, and then we began our day of post-production.  This means that we lock ourselves in tiny closets and stare at our computers for hours on end.

Lunch was non-descript.  The usual salad, potatoes, pasta and meat options.  Pretty good pork and chocolate pudding for dessert.  Yum.

We finished up post-production, then headed for dinner.  It seems that most of our days just consist of eating.  Every time I turn around it's time for another meal, but with the rocking of the ship, our bodies are working overtime to keep balance, and we all find ourselves famished.

After dinner, it's time to begin the evening's festivities.  Our first celebration is for Pedro whose birthday is going to be completely skipped by our travel over the international dateline.  It was decided by his teammate, Rosa, to have a happy no-birthday celebration for him.  Daniel arranged a mandatory meeting in the Tipsy Toucan where allegedly the dean of students had some beef with us and needed us all to be there for the talk.

We had a film crew set up for the surprise and the ship made a happy no-birthday cake that was set out with one candle.  Pedro was very surprised, and we all had a good laugh at his speech.  I really need to work on my Spanish.

A long celebration ensued because we were all trying to stay up until midnight for our missing time event.  We danced (as usual) and Pedro somehow smuggled aboard some tequila which he generously shared even with those who didn't want it.  Highly entertaining, but all in good fun.

At 5 minutes to midnight, we had one final song, "Bohemian Rhapsody", which led to us forming a circle and singing and dancing in unison.  We headed up to the top deck with all of the students and had a countdown to midnight.




It was actually extremely anticlimactic which made us all laugh, sing one more Journey song, and then head for bed.

A mock-up of the international dateline comp
The most beautiful part, though, was standing on the top deck of a ship going 19 knots in the middle of the ocean at night.  The moon was out and the clouds were lit up.  The moon was just over the direction we were heading, so its reflection created a silvery pathway to blackness.  The air was warm and salty, and in the (very few) moments of silence there was a peaceful magic of how alone we are out here.  Sometime the thought is scary, but at that moment, it felt exciting.

Because it was our glory day, Matt and I slept in until 10am, then watched the Little Mermaid one and a half times through as we got ready for the day.  (They loop films on the closed circuit TV and today was Little Mermaid day).

We headed up for a community lunch with most of the team, then met all our parents for some Skype time.

Today, (Tuesday, January 22) the Unreasonable team is celebrating "Women in Business" day, and all of us ladies are going to go and get a spa treatment.  I decided to splurge for a massage.  All of this carrying of equipment up and down and up and down stairs on a rocking ship really does a number on my back.  After our spa treatments, we're headed to a fancy dinner with the Captain of the ship.  He's British and dryly entertaining, so I'm sure a room full of ladies will be fun for him as well.

Word is, we won't hit our 15 meter swells until we turn north tomorrow evening on our way to Japan.  We've avoided almost all the weather so far, but we have to face it eventually in order to get North up to Japan.  Wish us luck!  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Karaoke Night

So, we gained another hour again tonight, which forced the staff, faculty and Unreasonable people on the ship to hold a Karaoke night in the faculty lounge (nicknamed: "the Tipsy Toucan").

The evening began at 9:30pm, and after a few songs, the realization was made that there were a couple students on the front deck which surrounds the entire Tipsy Toucan, so the blinds were promptly closed which gave us all a good laugh.

Matt and Patrick realized that the song they wanted to dedicate to Larissa wasn't in the Karaoke repertoire, so they promptly worked up a rendition of "Poker Face" on the white, grand piano located next to the bar.  The crowd went wild.  Don't worry.  We have video.

Once the Dean of students realized the talent on our team, he decided to end the night with Journey's, "Don't Stop Believin'" by request.  Everyone gathered around the piano (about 30 people) and sang along with Matt and Mark playing.  This is a great crowd!

Before the next song, Pedro, the founder of Aquaphytex and our resident "personality," stops everyone. He silences them and says, (in broken english) "No no no, we entrepreneurs.  Next song, ten dollars."

We all had a good laugh and bid one another good night.  With our extra hour of sleep, midnight is only 11pm.

Life is good on a ship heading west.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Back to Sea!


The evening of the 17th was Oli’s birthday, the associate producer on our film crew, so we celebrated in the faculty lounge with a giant dance party.  It was a ton of fun.  Even the learning partners from Nike joined in by beginning a limbo game on the dance floor.

I whipped out my absolute best dance moves, and got many compliments on my stellar ability. :-)

The morning of the 18th was pretty low key. The ship had chilled in the port of Honolulu overnight in order to avoid a massive storm that was going across our path to Japan.  We were all quite thankful for the decision to try and avoid it.  The ship left around noon on the 18th, and we began our nine-day trek across the Pacific for Japan.

The 18th was a pretty low-key day.  We were all coming off the high of being in port, and got a lot of post-production work done.  (Logging footage and organizing it, syncing the sound with the video and editing.)

Today, the 19th, was also pretty low-key.  Matt and I had breakfast, and then I shot a quick thing where Daniel explained why the Artificial Vision for the Blind team decided to get off the ship in Hawaii.  It was sad to see them go, but they need to take care of their team before trying to spread their awesome technology.  It was a good move for them, but we will miss their personalities.

After lunch out on the back deck (the weather is perfect!) we had a required hour of “fun” scheduled by Larissa.  We ended up sitting around a table on the deck and talking, but it was nice to get away from our work for a little bit.  Jessie and I then interviewed One Earth Designs’ team member, Catlin.  I ran camera while Patrick asked questions, and I set it up as an epic shot with her solar stove on the top-aft deck overlooking the ocean.  So epic.

My absolute favorite part of today, though came with an interaction between our film team and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  Mark was standing with his backpack blocking a walkway, and didn’t notice that Arch was trying to come through.  Arch proceeded to crouch down a bit, give Mark three taps on the butt and let out a silly, high-pitched giggle.  Mark moved out of the way, then turned to Patrick and said, “His Grace just slapped my ass.”

Best moment of the trip so far.

Photo compliments of Evan Swineheart

Friday, January 18, 2013

Port in Honolulu


We began Thursday with 7:00am yoga on the 7th deck, and then headed for breakfast, which we ate outside.  We were ported in Honolulu this morning, so it was beautiful and calm out on the aft deck with an epic view of the island.

We had a 9:00am film crew brainstorming meeting where we began the process of figuring out how to put together all of the footage we’ve shot so far into a coherent 22-minute episode.

After six days at sea during our crossing from Ensanada over to Hilo, I felt like there was no story.  We were all locked on a ship shooting classes and workshops day after day.  I thought that this epic trip would not be so epic after all, but after porting and realizing how busy everyone is in ports, and how many roadblocks and issues everyone runs into while trying to navigate around a country, I realized that we’ve got the makings for a very fun and entertaining series.  Conflict makes for good TV.

I ended the day by chillin’ in the “Eagle’s Nest” dumping, logging and sorting the hours and hours of footage that our three crews had shot during the two days in Hilo.  Now that we have a system down for sorting, I enjoy the organizational process.  Plus, it’s a lot easier while the ship sits in port rather than during the winter storms in the Pacific.

I hear we have the roughest and longest crossing coming up, and we’re going to jump through time as we cross the dateline just outside of Japan.  We’ll rocket ourselves from being three hours behind Mountain Time to being (something like) 22 hours ahead.  In a matter of seconds, we’ll all lose a day of our lives.  How poetic.

I just got an update from the captain, and we're going to spend the night in port in Honolulu because there's a crazy storm going across our path, and waiting a day will likely lower the chances of hitting right in the middle of it.  Sounds like this day delay in leaving for Japan will give us a little bit of an easier crossing, but it will still catch the end of the storm.

Wish us luck!


Last day in Hilo


I will probably end up starting all of my posts like this, but Wednesday was just a wonderful day!

After the workshop at the Hilo University yesterday, the entrepreneurs were charged with running an experiment in the next 24-hours to find out whether or not there is a market for their product in Hawaii and how they would need to modify or adapt in order to serve the community.

The lesson that George really wants people to get out of his classes and workshops is to begin all innovations with empathy.  If you don’t interview the people who are dealing with the problem you want to solve, you won’t actually know if you’re solving the correct problem.

Matt and I were assigned to go to the Hilo farmer’s market with the two companies that have a stove product: Prakti, with an efficient stove that has either one or two burners and used wood or charcoal and One Earth Designs with a portable solar stove meant for people who are nomadic in rural China.

The day started out with attempting to get both companies off the ship and into a taxi to get over to the downtown area where the farmer’s market is.  There were the six of us plus four other tag-alongs that wanted to come, too.  This presented a mini-van mishap where Prakti’s stoves got in one cab and the Prakti people got in another.  After many a sprint up and down the port, we got products with their people.

We arrived to the Hilo farmer’s market, and were totally blown away by the variety of products being sold.  Tons of fruit, vegetables and Thai food, clothing, soaps, trinkets, live music, juices – you name it!  It was fun to walk through and taste Hawaiian avocados, raw cocoa beans, Kona coffee and drink coconut milk straight from a coconut.

My very favorite new fruit is called a rambutan.  It’s the red, spiky fruit you see below.  You crack open the outside of it, and it opens up to what looks and feels like the inside of a grape.  It’s a very subtle sweet flavor with a tropical tinge.  So, so, so delicious.  I hope that we’ll be able to find more of them in the other Asian countries we visit.  Maybe in Vietnam?

We filmed Mouhsine and Minh of Prakti Design and Scot and Catlin of One Earth Design as they showed their two stoves to the locals.  People were excited and surprised by their technologies, and both companies learned a lot.

My favorite interaction was when a preschool class of nine children on a knotted rope came by.  Their teacher pointed out the massive solar stove and asked Catlin if she would explain it to them.  The little children gathered around as Catlin gave them a scientific explanation of how they designed it for women in rural China and why pieces we cut in certain ways and where it got hot.  The children seemed totally taken with Catlin and seemed to hang on every word until she said they could touch it.  They went crazy!  Touching every piece of the reflective plastic, leaning on the frame.  The teacher realized that it was not a good idea and suggested that they give their new teacher, Catlin, a hug and be on their way.

Nine little Hawaiian kiddos went in for a Catlin group hug, and it was the absolute cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  One little boy loved his hug so much, he wouldn’t let go until the teacher pulled him off and stuck him back on the rope.  Good times.

Matt and I finished filming and then explored the market and headed to find a place to eat lunch.  We found a little fish taco place called Lucy’s.  The food was delicious and I had a beverage called a “beautiful” which is a mixture of hibiscus tea and pineapple juice.  It was very yummy!  Instead of a little number to mark our order, they gave us a dog piƱata for our table. (What you see in the picture).

After lunch, we found the post office and sent off a few postcards, then walked back to the middle of downtown to grab a taxi.  We found a couple professors from the ship and split a taxi with them.  The taxi driver taught us the main three sounds in Arabic on the way back to the ship and described them as the sound of breathing out with lion’s breath, clearing your throat and puking.  We practiced with him and had a good laugh.

Back on the ship, we were totally exhausted after carrying our gear all over Hilo and crashed for a little bit.  Matt watched the ship pull out of Hilo and had dinner on the deck with most of the film crew as the sun started to set.

We all headed to bed early to try and catch up on rest.  We port in Honolulu tomorrow to finish fueling up and then head off to Japan.








Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Land ho!

Today was a great day!

I was far too excited for Hawaiian landfall, and I couldn't sleep, so I ended up waking Matt up and heading up to the deck to watch the sun rise as we came upon the big island of Hawaii to port in Hilo. At 5:00am, it was pitch black, but with Matt's sun tracking app, we set up with Evan for a sunrise timelapse and waited...

Students started to flow onto the decks as the sun came up, and with the little bit of dawn, we could just make out the island in the distance. It was truly a beautiful and exhilarating sight. We went through long dark clouds and with each passing we got a sprinkle of rain that stopped as soon as it started.

Around 6:30am, we were getting really close to the island and the pilot boat came out to greet our ship. Once he passed by, a set of three humpback whales swam by blowing mist into the air. We watched them as they swam off into the distance, and all of a sudden, one after the other, they breeched. Over and over they danced in a circle.

After our whale excitement, we headed for breakfast on the ship, and with the warm 70-degree morning, we ate out on the deck. The crew was splitting up today, A-team headed to shoot the Unreasonable Rapid Ideation Workshop, B-squad went to document the company that will be, ever so sadly, leaving the institute due to some issues back home, then move on to rent a car and get b-roll around the island. And, Team-Corliss headed with the SAS students to shoot some snorkeling. They got to swim with a few sea turtles. Got some great footage.

As a camera-person of the A-team, I boarded the big yellow school bus with our driver, Uncle Ben, and rode over to the University of Hilo for the Unreasonable event. With some unforeseen changes with attendance, George and Daniel thought up a whole new plan right quick and led an amazing session with the companies and local Hawaiians.

To kick off the event, a representative from the mayor's office came and read a proclamation in which the mayor officially named today, "Unreasonable at Sea Day" for all of Hawaii. Every sentence started with "whereas" which was far more distracting than it should have been and became an ongoing joke throughout the rest of the workshop. It was a totally honoring thing for Unreasonable, though, and it was really fun to receive the official certificate of proclamation with gold signed seal.

After the event, we met up with the rest of the film crew and found ourselves a taxi to hit up the Hilo Wal-Mart and get any final supplies for our 9-day voyage to Japan (AKA - candy, goldfish and soon-to-be confiscated beef jerky...boo.)

We walked from Wal-Mart over to the Hilo Cafe where Matt and I split a Hawaiian mushroom pot pie, and I had a coconut limeade to drink. Oh, that was so ding, darn good. It was fun to eat out in a restaurant with non-ship food. The crews split up to share what we all did today.

Matt documented the most emotional moment yet, with the company who was leaving the voyage, then headed to grab b-roll around the island which led them on many an adventure of meeting ripped locals on a beach, shooting over a cliff with the jib (I wasn't there to stop them), and finally landing them at the best fish taco joint in all of Hawaii.

I'm only slightly jealous because our event was catered with awesome sticky rice, curry, pad thai, thai iced tea and taro chips. The locals were excited to share their food with us, and we got to meet the company that created all of the biodegradable eatery that we dined with.

A very busy day followed by another one tomorrow since it's our last day in Hawaii. The companies were challenged to do an experiment with their products within the next 24-hours to see how their product needs to be changed, marketed or tweaked in order to do well in Hawaii. Matt and I will be following Mouhsine of Prakti Designs to the weekly farmer's market tomorrow in downtown Hilo, where he will show off his stoves and see if there is any interest in them.

More to come!







Monday, January 14, 2013

Back To Work

We headed back to work last night with filming the "Fireside Chat" with Unreasonable Mentor and Time Magazine Hero of the Planet, Hunter Lovins.  She is quite the inspiring lady, and her latest book is called, "The Way Out: Kickstarting Capitalism to Save our Economic Ass."  She's most known for her book about solving climate change called, "Natural Capitalism."  Her pitch is that we need to use capitalism to solve the climate crisis, and make sustainable living affordable and profitable.  If it's all a hoax...we'll make money.  If climate change is real, we'll save the planet and make money.

I would highly recommend looking her up and reading about her life's story.  I won't even attempt to summarize her talk, but you can look forward to seeing it through Unreasonable Channels like Unreasonable.is.  I know we have to have these deliverables done by the time we reach Spain, but I'm not sure how soon they will see the light of the internet.  Anyway...

At the end of the live interview conducted by Daniel Epstein, they opened it up to the room for questions, and one student raised his hand and said, "I'm an acting major, and I now feel completely useless after hearing what you've done in this world with your life.  Do you have any advice for people who are in the arts?"

Hunter looked out to the crowd and asked people to raise their hands if they could name 10 scientists and what they are known for.  A few people raised their hands.  She then asked, how many of you can name 10 actors?  The room shot up their hands.

She reminded him that the arts and media are the cultural influencers to our society and without them, the information that needs to reach the masses would never be able to move enough people to action.

"My advice?" She said, "be a good one."

I was totally struck by the interaction because I was nodding along with the student as he said that he felt inadequate in taking up space in this world as an artist, but with Hunter's response, I felt confident in my role.

Meeting these movers and shakers in the entrepreneurial world has been exciting, but also intimidating. It has made me question the role I've chosen, but without the me's in the world, no one would know that any of this was happening.  A person born without eyeballs wouldn't know that someone else has found a non-obtrusive way for them to see.

Directors like our friend Jeff Orlowski, who currently has national distribution for his film, Chasing Ice,  are a prime example of how doing what you do best is all a part of our world's global issues.  He's a part of the movement to help people understand that climate change is a real issue that we need to do something about.  He's not coming up with the solutions, but his film is helping with the biggest boundary the issue faces right now: the skeptics.

One of the Unreasonable Learning Partners from Nike told a story of how HP and Microsoft put resources toward sending IT people down to Haiti after the earthquake.  You might ask, "what the heck would geeks be helpful with after an earthquake?"  Instead of throwing money at the problem, they sent people down to assist all of the aid workers in setting up their bases.  Since it was a disaster area, new networks and hubs needed to be set up so that they could all communicate, and these technology companies saw a way that they could assist with what they do best.

Hunter has many other speaking engagements around the world, so she'll be getting off the ship in Hawaii, but it was an absolute pleasure to be around and get to film her as she spoke with students and the entrepreneurs in the Unreasonable program on the ship.

We'll be picking up a new round of learning partners and a couple more mentors in Hawaii, though, so the fun does not stop.

We get to port in Hilo, Hawaii tomorrow morning around 8:00am, but the film crew is getting up for a sunrise timelapse and some footage of pulling into our first port.  It'll be the first land we've seen in 6 days, so I'm sure everyone on the ship will be up and ready to welcome the sight of the island.

To see some of the photos and (soon) videos that we're assisting the SAS communications team with, don't forget to check out the News from the Helm section on the Semesteratsea.org website.  Matt's jib will have a shot in the student embarkation/bon voyage video that should be going up tomorrow.

Aloha!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Glory Days

Today is a beautiful day at sea. It's 68 degrees in the air and 70 degrees in the ocean. (Don't worry mom and dad - we only know that because of the announcement.) We're about a day and a half outside of Hawaii, and people on the ship have started to settle in to what it will be like to live here.

Again, I must reiterate that time is so weird on the ship. Weekdays and weekends no longer exists. We're either in an A-day or B-day (for students' classes), a port day, or an off day, which in the Unreasonable program we call "glory days." We don't have a port hole in our room, so we go to sleep in the dark and wake up in the dark, and it's really hard to tell what time it is unless we're on the upper decks where there are wonderfully large windows. The days seem to meld together, and it feels like we've been on the ship for a month, and it's really only been a total of six days. I've already started to get used to it now that we've gotten a little bit of a groove to our days.

The plan is to get a 24-hour glory day each week, but with the way our port schedules change things, we might have to squash a couple into a week and skip some on other weeks. It's so nice to have a day where we don't have to have a camera in our hand or be editing in the affectionately-named "vomit closet", however, cabin fever is a real worry on a voyage this long. The academic community tries really hard to keep people busy so that they can't dwell on the fact that we're completely confined to this moving space for days on end.

This six-day journey to Hawaii is the second-longest leg that we'll have to sail continuously without seeing any land. Hawaii to Japan will take nine days total. After leaving Ensanada, Mexico, it only took me two days to want off the ship. :-) After getting over my motion sickness, though, it's really a nice way to live. Far better than I was expecting.

Yesterday, Daniel Epstein (Founder of the Unreasonable Institute) and George Kembell (founder of Stanford's D-School) had their first class of the course that they are teaching together. We have a running joke about what it's called because no one can remember it. It's something like global entrepreneurial impact studies of the 21st century. Okay - I have no idea what it's called, but it doesn't totally matter because I can describe what they're doing it. They opened with having students pull out their syllabus and ripping it in half. This immediately got the students attention.

Semester at Sea, as we've been learning, was created for hands-on, real-life eduction for college students to not just teach them about the world, but to show them the world. Get them entered into their learning and their studies by taking them to places where they can apply it.

With the Unreasonable Institute or Unreasonable at Sea program on the ship, students get to work directly with 11 companies that are in different stages of development working on social issues our world is facing.

During the first class, all 11 companies pitched what they do and then offered up an issue that they need to solve right now. This ranged from the company called Artificial Vision for the Blind, who need to completely rename and rebrand their company complete with a website by the time we get to Japan, to the company called One Earth Design, who needs to figure out a way to make their solar cooker appeal to the first-world camping market in order to increase their profit margins to continue to be sustainable in selling the stove for less in third world countries where other people need it.

Plus, the three learning partners onboard the ship, SAP, Xbox and Nike had to pitch what they're working on right now and an issue that they need help solving. Nike, for example, has a piece of the company called "The Girl Effect" where they want to increase the level of education for girls in other countries, and the way that they feel they can do this is by motivating boys to become advocates for female education. (That seems like a complicated way to put it...I'd recommend looking it up because it's a great program.)

Then, once everyone pitched, the students in the class got to break up and go to the company that they were most excited about helping, and do rapid ideation to help find a few ideas that would help the companies with their issues. It was a very neat experience overall. Academia DEFINITELY needs more classes like this!

After a long day of shooting, we headed up to the Glazer Lounge, which is restricted to just faculty and staff - of which we are considered. In the spirit of renaming things, this awesome lounge is deemed the Tipsy Toucan. It's on the front of the ship, with almost floor to ceiling windows, many chairs and tables, a bar and a dance floor complete with disco lights and lasers. We celebrated with a dance party and got everybody from the Unreasonable program dancing away into the night.

I went to sit down and take a break from my grueling dance moves, and looked out into the pitch blackness of the Pacific Ocean. I realized that we are 1,000 miles from any sort of civilization living as if we're just down the street from our homes at a dance club. It was a humbling moment in the middle of all the excitement to realize how darn lucky I am to have been chosen as a part of this journey.

I agree with Daniel's belief that entrepreneurism will change the world, and my job, as a part of this film crew, is to make sure that everyone is aware of what's going on. These companies are ridiculous. Protei designs autonomous sailing drones that can head out into the ocean and clean up oil spills and plastic all while mapping out uncharted parts of the ocean. What? Damascus Fortune has found a way to take carbon emissions out of our atmosphere and turn them into a light weight material, called carbon nanotubes, and make a profit out of waste. What?! Artificial Vision for the Blind has literally found a cure for blindness. SAY WHAT?!

Yeah. This is cool.