Archive for the 'YAPC::Asia' Category

YAPC::Asia 2010

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

YAPC::Asia is over.  Actually the conference ended over a week ago but for me it only finished when my house guests left.  Miyagawa said, “actually it gets over once you blog it, so if you haven’t, blog it now”.   I’ve been so busy that I haven’t blogged about anything in weeks, but it’s about time I said something about the conference.

YAPC::Asia is still the biggest YAPC in the world, this year with 518 registered attendees.  I don’t believe that they all turned up on the day, but there were still a lot of people there.  Well, a lot of men, as less than 3% of the attendees were female.

For me YAPC::Asia is very different than YAPC::NA or YAPC::EU.  At the other conferences the social aspect is very important but in Asia I have a language problem.  There is some sort of hallway track, though it seemed mostly a outdoor picnic track, but I wouldn’t easily be able to participate.  I also become much too tired to attend the evening social events as hours of listening to Japanese tires me out.  (Since moving to Japan I have nothing but admiration for the conference attendees and speakers I meet who are always dealing with their non-native language).

The conference is very quiet at the opening and becomes fairly noisy by the time the lightning talks begin at the end of the day.  Larry Wall opened the conference and I had to try not to giggle too loudly at some of his dreadful puns and word-plays as most of the audience was listening in respectful silence.  I have been told by speakers that it can be very difficult speaking in Asia as you don’t get a lot of feedback from the audience during your talk.  Jesse Vincent overcame that problem during his keynote.  He managed to get the twitter stream scrolling across his slides during his talk which made it one of the most interactive talks I’ve seen at a YAPC::Asia.

I’m always impressed by how much effort the volunteers put into organising the conference and there is no doubt that this conference was well organised.  This is one thing, however, that I would change.  There was no scheduled lunch break.  This meant that I left the conference at around 1pm and missed the talks that were scheduled at that time.  I don’t think this was really fair on the speakers as I imagine that many people left to eat lunch.  It also lead to a bit of confusion around what was happening at lunch as people tried to work out if there was a mistake in the schedule or not.

It was the last conference I plan to attend this year, and I’m glad it was a good one.

Language Practice

Monday, September 20th, 2010

I spent a couple of hours this morning practising my Japanese accent with my teacher.  I am working on a lightning talk for YAPC::Asia.  I don’t know if this talk will be accepted but even if it isn’t this is an interesting learning experience.  Usually it’s a text book that determines what I learn next and not something that I wrote myself.  This can lead to me learning about things that I never use in day to day life and, as a consequence, things I quickly forget.  The talk contains concepts that I actually want to be able to speak about.  With help from a friend I now know the correct way to say “Perl” and “YAPC” in Japanese.  And I also know how to talk about altering clothing.

I am having quite a few problems with my accent.  It’s not terrible when I am speaking normally but speaking in a loud voice amplifies every imperfection.  I am having problems with pitching and with some sounds.  The length of my vowels isn’t always correct and there are sounds that I find nearly impossible to say in combination.

I’m also having problems finding my voice in Japanese.  At times I sound overly girly.  I end up speaking in a higher pitched voice than usual because many Japanese woman have high pitched voices.  It works, in a Japanese context, but my teacher can’t imagine me sustaining it for 5 minutes.  If my voice becomes too low I apparently sound scary and not friendly enough.  I’m not sure where my real voice is hiding but I need to find it before the middle of October.

YAPC::Asia Lightening Talk Submitted

Monday, August 30th, 2010

I submitted my 10 Things To Do With A Conference T-shirt talk to YAPC::Asia.  I could give this talk in English, but I’ve been in Japan for over three years now and I think it’s time to attempt a Japanese talk.  There is no way that I am ready to give a full-length talk in Japanese but I should be able to manage 5 minutes.

I have written the talk description in Japanese, which I will include in this post, and today I started translating the talk.  There is no way that I can ad lib in Japanese so this is going to be my most prepared talk I have given since I stopped doing public speaking competitions!



YAPC::Asia 2010

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

The tickets for this year’s YAPC::Asia have just gone on sale.  The conference will held in Tokyo on the 15th and 16th of October with pre-conference events on the 14th.  The theme is “Welcome Perl”, and the guests speakers are Larry Wall, Jesse Vincent, and Miyagawa Tatsuhiko.

Most of the Perl grassroots conferences use the ACT system for running their events, but this year YAPC::Asia has decided not to use it.  I don’t know why they made this decision but I am missing the functionality.  I like seeing who else has registered for a conference and even though I don’t think that the ACT wiki is great, it’s certainly better than no wiki.

One of the reasons I’m writing this post it to let a friend know when the conference is running, as he hadn’t been able to work that out from the web-site.  The information is there but you have to scroll down to find it, when you expect the dates to be somewhere near the top of the page.

For the past couple of years YAPC::Asia has been the most attended YAPC and it could sell out, so I know that it’s important to buy tickets as soon as possible.  The ticket for both days costs only 4,000 円 ($47, £30), but speakers don’t have to pay and I don’t know if I will submit a talk or not.  Last night I began to submit a lightning talk but I had problems with translation and decided to give myself a bit more time to to think about it.  The concept of speaking in Japanese fills me with dread, but I’m not sure it’s anymore dread than I usually feel at the thought of speaking, so I may well give it a go.

Conference Swag: YAPC::Asia

Monday, October 5th, 2009

For the past few years I have attended a YAPC in North America, Europe, and Asia.  All three conferences are very enjoyable but also very different.  YAPC::Asia has been held in Tokyo for the past few years.  The Japanese culture obviously impacts the conference but I can’t always find ways to express these differences.  This year they have helped me out by adding a couple of items to the conference bag that I can’t imagine being given in America or Europe.

The first is a plastic bag that I assume is an advert for one of the sponsors.  Other conferences have given attendees plastic bags and advertising material but the image on this bag is typically Japanese.

Advertising Plastic Bag

Advertising Plastic Bag

The second item was a fan.  Paper fans are very common in Japan and I have been given one at a number of different events.  The image on this fan is a cartoon of two Japanese authors, one of these is Yukihiro Matsumoto, sitting in a Japanese bath with their laptops.

Japanese Fan

Japanese Fan

I think the image is strange but not as strange as being given a PHP and Ruby advert at a Perl conference.

Preparing for YAPC::Asia 2009

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

I realised this afternoon that this time next week YAPC::Asia will be under way.   Last year I was much more aware of the conference as I volunteered to help out.  This year I’m not planning to do anything other than attend.  The spare room is ready for the guests we know about and I do have another futon or so just in case some of the other foreign visitors decide they want to stay with us.  (With only a week to go it’s possible to imagine that everyone has sorted out things like accommodation but I know from experience that this isn’t always the case in the Perl community.)

Last year YAPC::Asia had more attendees than any other dedicated Perl conference.  With 524 people it was the biggest YAPC ever.  This year the numbers appear to be down (378 the last time I checked) but this may simply be because the other 100 or so who have registered their interest haven’t gotten round to paying for their tickets yet.

As always I’m looking forward to catching up with friends more than attending the actual talks.  But, since the hallway / bar track might be in Japanese, I’ll probably attend more technical talks at this conference than the number I attended at YAPC::EU and YAPC::NA combined.

Japan Perl Association

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

The Japan Perl Association (JPA) launched today.  This is the latest organization created to promote and support the use of the Perl programming language.

There is no doubt that there is a thriving Perl community in Japan.  YAPC::Asia has been held in Tokyo for the past few years and it has become the largest Perl conference in the world.  It’s actually difficult to get a ticket to attend as it usually sells out in under two weeks.  I believe that the success of this conference is one of the driving factors behind creating JPA.

The local Perl Mongers groups are also very popular.  When holds a technical meeting they expect to have more than 100 attendees.  This contrasts with the technical meeting I attended in Sydney that had 10 people.

There are other organizations that promote Perl, The Perl Foundation (TPF), YAPC Europe Foundation (YEF), Enlighted Perl Organisation (EPO), to name a few.  Since I am involved with TPF and YEF I will be interested in seeing how JPA  progresses and what it does differently than the other organisations.

According to Nob Seki’s twitter stream from the press conference the main activities of the organization will be:

  1. documentation,
  2. education,
  3. YAPC::Asia Tokyo and
  4. endorsement for next generation Perl technologies.

I’m not sure exactly what some of that will entail but their first educational event will take place on the 21st April.  This will feature Jay Shirley who will be speaking on Better Perl Practices (giving advice on the latest development methods) and Catalyst Guts.

Travel Planning

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

It’s nearly 2009 and I’m starting to plan my conference travel.  I need to find a balance between conferences I want to go to and realistic amounts of travel.  I am tempted to attend Frozen Perl at the start of February.  I’ve read the schedule, looked at hotels, the city, and even checked the price of flights.  But I will be travelling in January and the conference is much too close to my return to Tokyo.  It would exhaust me to go.

I really like living in Japan but it’s so far away from most of the conferences I want to attend.  I have actually fallen asleep at conferences because I was suffering from jet-lag.  I didn’t expect it to be so difficult for me to travel when I moved here but I am going to try to be realistic in my future travel plans.

I will attend YAPC::NA and YAPC::Europe.  I will probably attend YAPC::Asia but at the minute I’m not sure when it will be or if it will be in Tokyo this year.

YAPC Signs

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

One thing that often gets neglected at YAPC conferences are signs showing the attendees where the venue is and where the relevant rooms are inside the venue.  This year at YAPC::Asia they had the best signs I have ever seen at any conference.  They were placed at the entrance of the university and in front of each building that was being used.  They were large, full colour, professionally printed, and contained a map of the venue and the conference schedule.

Signs used in YAPC::Asia 2008

Signs used in YAPC::Asia 2008

(Image copyright HisashiToday)

At YAPC::Europe, however, it was difficult to work out what building the conference was being held in.  I did eventually notice the following sign on a piece of A4 paper stuck to the inside of a door.  I really hope it’s the last time I see a hand drawn sign like this at a YAPC conference.

Sign On Door of YAPC::Europe Venue

Sign On Door of YAPC::Europe Venue

(Image copyright Jon Allen)

Miyagawa Wins White Camel Award

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

I’ve just seen Miyagawa announce on Twitter that he has received a White Camel award at this year’s OSCON.  I have not seen the official announcement yet but I imagine that he has been awarded this for his work in being a key organiser of YAPC::Asia and for his work with  Well done!