Tokyo x SF 2014

the immersive startup, art and techno conference

Prototype Ideation

Post-ethnography ideation workshop with Luxr and Adaptive Path’s Janice Fraser

The Labyrinth

One of the most special and best sound experiences in the world

What is it?

A project-based tech, music, and arts conference in Tokyo and Labyrinth Music Festival  

What happened?

Creative and humble geeks from Tokyo & SF for ethnography, prototyping and underground art


Why Tokyo and SF?

We brought art and techno people together to burst new work and play energy to improve our home cities

Why now?

Tokyo and SF’s governments and corporations are at tipping points ready to welcome new ways

The Conference

Startup the Party brought a community that already threads music, startups and immersive art in their lives. After the week together we went back to our  lives and jobs with a richer community and new energy about how to make our home cities better.  This event was hosted by Keigo Fukugaki, Alisaun Fukugaki, and Nina Mehta.



We Started the conference by taking participants to a remote Techno Festival in Naeba the Greens Forest Several hours outside Tokyo. It’s Cited as one of the  best sound experiences in the world . This single-Stage, Intimate 2,5000 person attends VENUE WAS the Perfect way for the SFers and Tokyo participants to commune. All our senses were attended to, helping us draw energy from each other for the creative week ahead.



We returned to Tokyo beaming with joy but ready to work. The session began with panel discussions about the tech scenes in Tokyo and San Francisco. The afternoon reintroduced Lean Startup methodologies with the Stanford Design School Wallet activity. Participants were put in pairs, one member from the West and East.

.. They interviewed one another about what’s inside their wallets practicing interviewing and empathy Based on their findings each person they had exactly seven minutes to prototype something new and better What they did here was learn about their users and making fast product decisions: days ahead.


DAY 2 – IMMERSION . We all know real learning by doing and Happens by Being out in the real World  Small teams into the field to Practice ethnography and Breaking Their Assumptions About Tokyo’s Love Hotels, Sex Shops, Maid Cafes, Cat Cafes, Harjuku, one of the busiest train stations in the world, boutiques and one dollar shops.

The groups came back with lots of learnings but not yet findings. Janice Fraser, co-founder of Adaptive Path and Luxr Co-founder ran her ideation and synthesis workshop she’s done for startups and the White House to get the groups down from hundreds of ideas to one ready for prototyping.

Each of these incredible days ended with a private dinner at Tokyo’s best restaurants. We needed this to decompress from each day. Spending time together outside work helped us get to know people in different teams and understand each others as people and representatives of our cities.


On the final day, each team had seven hours to create a prototype and 20×20 PechaKucha presentation. By now each team has partied together, asked hard questions found new ways to think about our own homes and other cities in new ways. On the final day, each team had seven hours to create a prototype and 20 × 20 PechaKucha presentation. Participants created smart travel guides, 3D renderings of shopping rest stations, secret car-services for Love Hotel guests, sex-toy parties appropriate for women in Japan, remote cat cafes and more. These prototypes were inspired by real needs from real people from their research just the day before. The PechaKucha talk brought over 200 people from all over Tokyo in a room packed shoulder-to-shoulder and a line out the door. We created this conference for everyone in that room to meet each other and build the community there together.  


After several days of hard smart work, we took the group into in the underground art scene of Tokyo.

The latest project, Bction (like one step after Action), took over a building that was set to be demolished due to earthquake codes. Before the destruction, the Bction crew brought the best graffiti artists around Tokyo to use the stripped building as a blank canvas. And on the first floor, each of us got to leave our own mark.

The days following included hand-crafted grilled sanma fish and a spaceship boat cruise designed by the same manga artists who did Daft Punk’s Discovery Album.

Watch the 2014 Presentations

Presentation Gallery