Japan Tech Friends
Posted on Jul 14, 2008
A couple weeks ago, I was in japan for some family events. It was a great trip. Hanging out with Hiromi’s family and friends was awesome. Since we were going to be spending some free time in Tokyo, i decided to reach out to the Tokyo tech community and meet some people.Â I emailed my friend, Kristin, who had just been to Japan and asked her to hook me up with some cool cats in the tech scene.
She obliged and I was able to meet with an awesome group of people for a barcamp like event, and then hang out with another awesome guy who should be the tech tour guide of tokyo. I sadly missed some people from ibm, who were out of town on business - but there is always next time.
The barcamp like event was called AA-Camp. It was hosted by Akky AKIMOTO who is from Cybozu Labs. Cybozu labs is a really neat incubator ran by the Cubozu company. It seems that the goal of the lab is to create the next big thing in japanese technology. They give a lot of autonomy to their engineers and really allow them to flouish. The idea of incubators always seem so fun. Akky had two other technologists at the event besides myself. We worked on our own projects, then we presented about ourselves. A
The presentations were pretty biographical, covering what we were up to, currently working on and our employers. The first to present was Shin Ohno. He is a developer working with Akky to create a neat site for creating comparison tables called Narabe. Shin has an awesome plan. He travels and does development from his travels. Since all he needs is internet and a laptop, he is well connected no matter where he finds himself.
The next presenter was Akky. He ran through his work, cybozu, cybozu labs and some of their applications they have created. They have launched a number of neat applications - my favorite is mylingual - which is a firefox script that translates site from one language to another. sweet stuff. The other applications were PathTraq (alexa like site ranking) and Japanize (translating sites into japanese), doukaku (coding challenges) and S6 (a presentation framework). You can seem a summary of Akky’s presentation here. Its a bit different - but basically the same.
The next presenter was ARAI Shunichi. He was working in Ruby doing some neat things related to a startup in stealth mode. He showed us a Ruby framework he had written called Egalite which is supposed to be even simpler than rails.
It was awesome to hang out with technologists who were doing neat things and interested in talking about their projects. I hope i get another chance to go to an AA-Camp.
A couple days later, I met up with Tsutomu Kodama. He works for Japan Hopper, a site for backpackers and travelers in japan. it looks to be a google maps wiki mashup allow for people to annotate places and add cool traveler info. Neat. He took us to the small streets behind Omotesando and Harajuku. I was able to find some awesome shoes, check out amazing eyeglasses and eat at a really neat small resturant. I think that any technology person who is in Tokyo and wants to see neat things should attempt to contact Kodama. He is full of awesome places and good tips. He is also quite similar to myself (in a eeire way) and we got along quite well. A great afternoon.
Its exciting to have friends in Japan that are technologists. Now i know that next time i am there i will have the opportunity to network more and meet others.