Nagoya, Japan (10 nights)

RoboCup competitions always fly by – this one in Nagoya was no different. Our 10 nights in Nagoya were over before we knew it!

We had a chance to try a variety of restaurants around our hotel before and after the competition – but during the competition we ate all of our meals at the venue’s food trucks (about 6 on set up days but about 30 on competition days), at the Maker’s Pier by LegoLand or near/in Nagoya Station after leaving the venue.

Pizza and a burger at an international bar and cafe in Nagoya.
McDonalds at the Nagoya Train station was dinner one night.
Denny’s – which strangely had none of the expected Slams – by the Nagoya Train Station was dinner another night.

RoboCup this year was located at the far end of the Aonami subway line where there were absolutely no hotels nearby. It required us to spend at least 90 minutes each day commuting to and from the venue, which directly cut into our sleeping time.

Transporting the robots to the venue.

To make our long commute worse, the trains running around when the venue closed each night were standing room only and packed.

Crowded subways each night back from RoboCup.

The venue had a variety of issues – unstable flooring, low lighting, and limited seating. The local organizer for the Standard Platform League (SPL) was always available though, and did the best he could to fix our issues – the only issue that couldn’t eventually be fixed was the lighting.

Katie’s team, UT Austin Villa, finished 4th place out of 24 teams in the SPL despite having persistent issues throughout the competition with bugs and seeing false balls in other robots (likely as a result of the low lighting). We won big games when it counted though – at least until the last competition day.

After serving as the SPL technical committee chair for the last four competitions, Katie was finally nominated to be an executive member of the SPL’s technical committee. This is a three year position. JT was re-elected to the SPL organizing committee after serving as the SPL organizing committee chair for RoboCup 2017.

Other UT Austin Villa teams also performed well. Patrick won his sixth 3D simulation championship and our new Domestic @Home team finished 3rd of 9 teams.

The RoboCup banquet was pretty epic this year with samurai performances, cultural booths, plenty of beer and food, and lots of entertainment. After the banquet, there was a mini SPL party at an all-you-can-eat/drink restaurant. The cost of 3000 yen/person ($27.22/person) was a bit steep, but it was a fun night. Some of us went to a second bar after the restaurant closed. We left after a few drinks though because we were falling asleep after a long week of RoboCup.

Josiah and Aimee at the afterparty.

The RoboCup Symposium event was held at a university in Nagoya the next day.  Needless to say, we all struggled to get to the symposium for Josh’s talk before noon.  We celebrated the good talk by going out to lunch at a ramen place next to the university – which ended up being excellent.

Great ramen near the symposium.

After the symposium, we went for more ramen at a highly-rated ramen restaurant.  The rating was well deserved – we strongly recommend going to Ichiran Nagoya Sakae.

Ramen at Ichiran Nagoya Sakae.

It’s always fun to see all of our friends at RoboCup. Leaving RoboCup this year is easy though, since we know we’ll be going to RoboCup next summer in Montreal!

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