I went to see Marty give his two talks today at YAPC::Asia. Normally I don’t go to hear him but I was curious to see what sort of reaction he would get from the Japanese. Would they laugh at his jokes, would they understand his accent, would they think he was mad?
The first talk was about using Template::Toolkit for non-web applications. This talk seemed to be liked well enough and he did get some interaction from the audience – although this mainly came from Ingy. The surprising thing was that he was finished early. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Marty finish a talk within his allocated time slot. It confused him. He thought that he had forgotten some examples or was missing some of the slides.
The second talk was the one he was worried about. The talk is called Kongougo and describes the features of Perl 6 that Marty believes Larry got from Ruby and the Japanese language. This is mostly a humorous talk and he was really worried that none of the audience would understand the joke. But he did re-write a lot of slides in Japanese and the audience really seemed to like it. The audience didn’t laugh as much as the European audience who had seen it but they clapped more. The Japanese will clap during a talk if you say something they really like. But, just like the first talk, this was also too short. And again Marty was really surprised.
My theory for this was that Marty wasn’t able to digress as much as he usually does as he was concerned that the audience wouldn’t be able to understand him. Miyagawa believed it was because the Japanese audience is more polite than a European one and that Marty builds lots of time into his talks to cope with the interruptions and heckling he usually gets from the audience.
Whatever the reason for this strange phenomenon Marty wasn’t the only one affected. Damian also finished his talks within his time slots and that is nothing short of a miracle.