Toshiyuki Inoko

The appeal of Tokyo for Toshiyuki Inoko

I love the Washlet. The Washlet is my favorite thing in the world. Tokyo is my favorite city just because of the Washlet alone!

In the past I lived in Tokyo for two years without a home. I could always find a clean toilet at a convenience store. If I walked a little farther, there would be a public bath or a sauna. For meals, family restaurants are open 24 hours a day, and the food is reasonably priced and tasty. You can live comfortably in Tokyo even if you have nothing.

The IT business was really booming in those days, and everyone I knew was living in spacious apartments. I was always telling them, “the place where I live is much bigger—it’s Tokyo!” The only property I have ever owned was my briefcase, but it was never a problem, because Tokyo has never failed to give me everything I needed.

Mind you, one major reason why Tokyo is so attractive to me is that I can speak Japanese. Part of the convenience that makes Tokyo so attractive is that the vast majority of people in Tokyo and Japan speak a common language. Understanding Japanese and Japanese culture is a precondition for that convenience, so I suppose it doesn’t come across the same way for foreign visitors. That’s one difference between Tokyo and other popular cities.

If Tokyo were to become a language-free city—that is, a city where you could have fun without speaking a word of the language—I think it would be more fun and appealing.

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Toshiyuki Inoko

Born in 1977 in the city of Tokushima. In 2001 Inoko graduated from the Department of Mathematical Engineering and Information Physics, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tokyo. At the same time, Inoko founded teamLab Inc., an association of “ultra-technologists” consisting of programmers, engineers, mathematicians, architects, computer-graphics animators and other specialists. TeamLab makes its mark by blurring the lines among art, science, technology and creativity.

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