Trips are about the people: my weekend in Japan

All You Can Eat Sushi

On Friday, I met up with Phu Cuong. We went to a sushi restaurant and had all-you-can-eat sushi. Fortunately, he speaks fluent Japanese, so he was able to order for us.. and boy, did he order! It was a fantastic lunch. After eating, we wandered around the Bic Camera store, and I checked out some of their camera bags. My friend Thuy wants one, but there were so many options and colors that I just couldn’t buy one yet.

I started mailing lists for the Saigon Hackspace, which will be Vietnam’s first hackerspace. It is still in the idea stage, so if you’re interested, please join! You’ll have the opportunity to be a Founding Member.

Announcements List

Discussion List

I did some research on the SoftBank prepaid Japanese keitai denwa (mobile phones) that we bought at Donki. Good to finally know the details.

On Saturday, we discovered (and ate) free breakfast at the hotel, thanks to coupons from the Visit Japan Year 2010 Autumn Campaign. In the afternoon, we went to Tokyo Hackerspace, where I attended a soldering and kit-building workshop by Mitch Altman, the creator of the famous TV-B-Gone.

Mitch suggests that, if you want to quit your job, you should. And I agree with him. We’re both making a living doing things we love, and it’s nice to see that this can be done not only in software (as I’m doing), but in hardware as well. It’s neat to see that so many of the hackers on this trip are hardware hackers. At the Hacker Dojo, a majority of members are software hackers.

The soldering workshop was terrific. Mitch explained everything really well, and he was really open to pestering newbie questions. It was Nick Farr’s first time soldering, and I hadn’t soldered in years. We both successfully built our kits during the workshop.

Nick was the auctioneer for a variety of cool donated items, and 100% of the proceeds went to the Tokyo Hackerspace.

On Sunday, I went to Tokyo Baptist Church for the 9:00 service. It was hard to get plugged in, and difficult to get any conversations going. I think that is typical of church service, though, because discussion is not the point of it. I’d need to go to something like Sunday School or BSF for that.

After church, I joined up with the rest of the gang to take the Shinkansen to Shin-Osaka. We then took 2 subway lines to get to our hotel, near Tenmachi 4-Chome (pronounced yon-choe-may).

Today was Monday, and while the rest of the hackers went to Kyoto to either bicycle or walk around the city, I stayed at the hotel to try to get some work done. Mostly I just did research into the Saigon Hackspace. I am really excited about this project. I really wonder how big we could make it. 5 members? 10 members? 100 members? It is not really scalable, but it would be a ridiculous amount of fun.

I then went to Kyoto to join up with the rest of the folks for dinner. We went to Isetan mall (JR Kyoto Isetan), where I remember eating at the Okonomiyaki restaurant with Sherwin, Eli, David, and Kerjun my first time in Japan. This time I decided to go for something different, so I got takoyaki (octopus balls) with cheese. It was packaged in plastic with a rubber band.. and it was delicious.

I’m not really one for sightseeing, unless it’s with interesting people. The sights are cool, but the people make all the difference.

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