27. January 2009 23:59
A soup of sea snake, pig's trotter and seaweed
Another day of work in the hotel: which is a shame since the weather outside has been even warmer and very sunny. This morning was mostly given over to a meeting (via Skype™) with OASIS people to discuss how the future maintenance of ODF might be handled. This was a very constructive exchange, and while there are many details to work out over the coming weeks, my personal impressions was that all parties felt confident a good solution was in reach, and that the era of megaphone diplomacy on this topic was behind us all.
The afternoon was given over to drafting meeting notes, further readings of the JTC 1 Directives, and preparations for the WG meetings tomorrow. The coming-together of a number of people interested in both OOXML and ODF has led to some interesting lobby discussions over future directions for these standards. The groovy (but as yet unimplemented) new feature of RDF in ODF for metadata capture has certainly caught the imagination: might an NB propose that this feature is added to OOXML via an amendment? Conversely, the fact that a whole bunch of spreadsheet functions have been standardised in ISO/IEC 29500 (OOXML) potentially saves ODF a lot of work/pages. Certainly any new International Standard version of ODF would need a cast-iron reason to eschew borrowing any of these existing function definitions. Harmonious times may lie ahead …
In the evening Murata Makoto (who seems determined to test our Western sensibilities) took us for a meal of sea snake: a rare Okinawan delicacy. The charming old lady proprietor of the restaurant had been cooking our snake all day (we had had to place our orders yesterday). She explained that traditionally the sea snake was the food of kings, not because of rarity but because of the difficulty of preparation. Once the snake is caught it is smoked, turning it black. The snake is then boiled for one or two days (before domestic ovens this was a real chore) and at some point the many tiny bones in it have to be removed by hand.
And the taste? Well, it was certainly not like chicken. Quite chewy (so much muscle!), and a little like a gamier version of smoked mackerel. Yumsk.