By Wednesday afternoon our bullet train cruised phantom like to modernity into Tokyo’s main station. Earlier that day we had left our sleepy Ryokan an hour from Nagoya towards the Toyota HQ. A tour of one of their fifty odd assembly plants was memorable. Walking around, I overheated at the complexity of the operation. Defect rates across the 350 cars rolling off the assembly line are close to nil, thanks in part to a collective responsibility for quality control. A discussion with the group Executive Deputy VP gave us a strong sense of what Toyota stands for – critical to add meaning to everyday life on the assembly line.
The 1.5 hour bullet train ride afforded forty winks of sleep and a chance to forge more friendships within our group. However, a spectacular view of Mount Fuji evaded us as it lay shrouded in thick fog, despite the sky being otherwise resolutely clear. Evening entertainment kicked off with aplomb at the ‘Kill Bill restaurant’ in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, galvanised after our previous night’s group karaoke.
– Robert Habib –