Late again with this weeks A Week in Tokyo so this one covers the past few weeks.
First up is my talk at Pecha Kucha Night where I talked over 20 slides (each slide 20 seconds) about the Tokyo Stormtrooper to a room of about 300.
So what is Pecha Kucha Night then? Following description taken from the Pecha Kucha Night site. Pecha Kucha Night, devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham (Klein Dytham architecture), was conceived in 2003 as a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.
But as we all know, give a mike to a designer (especially an architect) and you’ll be trapped for hours. The key to Pecha Kucha Night is its patented system for avoiding this fate. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.
Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for the sound of conversation) has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown, without having to rent a gallery or chat up a magazine editor. Had a great time and would like to thank Astrid and Mark for having me and Tokyo charisma blogger Jean Snow for arranging everything - t'was an honor!
Many university students recently graduated. While folks in the west wear square hats, folks in Japan traditionally wear something called Hakama .
My mum was sorely disappointed that I didn't go to rent a graduation cloak n hat to take pics. I passed with first class honors - only a couple of us managed to pass out of a group of 30-ish and I was over the moon.
However, graduation was just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle that I was collecting in order to get me closer to Japan and wearing graduation gear didn't seem important nor desired. Did you or do you plan to wear graduation kit when the time comes?
Some lovely girls in Hakama graduation kit below.
Its times like this when I say to myself "I love Japan!"
Japan Post has a service called Shuka where they come to your house/office and collect any packages that you want to send to either domestic or international destinations. All I do is make one call and a man comes along in his van with a set of scales. He then weighs the packages and you pay him there and then.
Even if you are sending one shoebox sized package that costs the minimum of 600 yen, they will still come and don't charge extra on top. This saves me from going to the post office to queue up and waste time. Thanks to Tokyo Hunter for telling me about this incredible service. Any services like this in your neck of the woods?
The Gateway had a huge facelift which I needed to do to increase conversion of new visitors to regular users - and hopefully make it more user friendly for current readers too.
If you hover over links in the header/footer and various places around the site, you will notice a #ref_catfish at the end of the link. This enables me to know whether people clicked on the catfish menu, header menu etc to get to /profile/eng/ for example.
Without the ref tags (which we used at Amazon), I would have no idea how users got to that profile page which means that I don't have an understanding of what parts of the UI need to change/be removed in order improve the user experience and thus increase conversion.
Am really pleased with the changes and have been able to increase the conversion rate over the past few weeks. Welcome to all new readers!
And it looks like we have quite a few Korean readers have joined us too. I used to write dannychoo.com in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English but scaled down to JP and EN due to time constraints. While I don't write articles in Korean at dannychoo.com, I do tweet at my Twitter and reply to comments in Korean occasionally.
I still cant touch type but do type relatively fast while looking at the keyboard - which means I need a Korean keyboard too. Apple make Japanese but not Korean keyboards so I need to use these Korean stickers. I usually pick up a bunch of these at the huge book store in Seoul called Kyobo Mungo.
Korean and Chinese content will start to appear over time at dannychoo.com.
There are a great variety of vending machines in Japan - most of them fully functional and due to Japan being relatively low in terms of crime, the machines don't have to be like the ones back in the UK.
When I was in the UK last, the vending machines had no windows, were huge and looked like they weighed 20 tonnes - presumably to prevent people taking the whole machine home or vandalizing it. Did come across many out-of-order ones. When I stick money in a UK vending machine, its like a gamble not knowing whether something is going to come out.
Vending machine tampering does occasionally happen over here however and this sign on the machine is says the owner wont tolerate it and that this machine is being monitored by a camera.
A visitor from Canada brought some maple tea for us and I got hooked. I was thinking "So this is what Canadians drink every day!"
Tastes lovely. Ran out and managed to find some at Kaldi - cost 800 yen for twenty packs. Didn't taste as good as the ones I was originally given though. Will pick up a load during my Canada trip later this year.
In the lounge at 10pm. Gaia no Yoake is probably my most fave program on Japanese TV. Its a business documentary program which talks about things like new business trends, how business survive in tough climates etc.
This week they talked about foreign capital luxury hotels and how local hotels are competing with them.
Crackle.com has a whole episode which I watched last year about how consumers are not buying but instead sharing. Sharing is an idea that I would like to explore. So for example, the Classifieds section mainly lists things for sale but could also be used for folks who want to swap their figures too.
At the monthly blog dinner in Gotanda. This dinner meeting for bloggers and IT folks has been going on for years and I owe a lot to it and thank the organizer Drikin for having me. Also thank top marketing man at Mozilla Japan Gen kanai for introducing me as a member. T'was through Blog Dinner that I first met Good Smile Company too.
The folks from Skype Japan were there too giving out 1GB USB memory sticks to everybody.
The Bomberman tin was the container for the Gameboy version back in 1996. I always use this tin during networking events as it holds well over 100 business cards.
Cant find a clip of Bomberman 3 but it was probably something like this...
Was on the top page of Hatena which is like a digg.com. Brought in a ton of traffic from Japanese users all over - many who are bloggers and became regular readers too. Of late they have been picking up on my other posts in Japanese too which is why I've been putting a lot of effort in to the Japanese version of dannychoo.com.
If you are learning Japanese, I recommend that you consider writing your blog in Japanese too as it will do wonders for your learning.
Speaking of blogs - been wondering how many of you have one?
Will write an article soon about what dannychoo.com has done for my life and how it can help to enhance and support yours too. I would not be where I am without its existence. It helps me communicate with others, learn new technologies, share my life, meet new comrades online, bring in new clients, travel the world to give talks, makes a modest amount of money and even helped me get jobs at Amazon and Microsoft. And most importantly - free figures and other merchandise ^^;
At Bic Camera browsing around. Need to get more HDDs for backups. I saw a few members on DC who recently had HDD crashes. Do consider backing up your content. There is obviously an initial cost involved but imagine this - you lost your precious data (family photos/healthcare material/eroge) etc - you probably could not put a price on getting back that stuff - especially the family photos I mean. If only you paid 100 USD to back up your stuff in the beginning.
All HDDs will die - its just a matter of when - just like us humans.
Most of the folks in black suits in this photo are a years away from graduating. Its recruitment season in Japan where university students go out looking for jobs. A few interesting facts:-
-Most students look for a job a year before graduating.
-Students who are interviewing or joining a company on the first day have to wear something called Recruit Suits - usually a black suit and at this time of year you will often see hoards of students like this (photo source).
-Because there are so many students applying to get into any one company, entrance examinations are usually held where the main purpose is to filter the numbers down.
The lovely Aibu Saki (Zettai Kareshi) does a commercial below for Aoyama who do a load of recruit suits. Anybody out n about job hunting too?
I have two optic fiber connections coming into the house. I changed one of the providers to LiveDoor who are charging only 1500 yen per month - they also give you a fixed IP for that price. For my other optic line, I'm paying over 3000 yen just for the fixed IP! Going to use Livedoor for a bit longer before I completely switch over to them.
This screenshot is a measure of my actual speeds with Livedoor. 58.71Mbps down and 51.16Mbps up.
For those who missed it, you can see how my latest optic fibre installation went.
For busy or elderly folks, getting groceries delivered to your doorstep is most convenient. Coop provide a service where you can order groceries online or by phone and they will deliver to you. Everything from veggies, fresh fish, milk and what have you. You need to order over a certain amount for the truck to come to your house so we share an account with our neighbor. Do you have similar services in your neck of the woods?
Pizza lunch with the Dell Mini 9 running OSX Leopard connected to the Internets with the 7.2Mbps E mobile data card. Rather happy about this ^^; Now I can get away the house more often on the weekends. You may find me blogging from the mountains or by the beach very soon ^^;