Image & Video Update, Plus Rakuten Tech Conference

Today I put a pin down randomly in the middle of Tokyo on Google Maps:


Then I hopped on a train and went there.

It was this building.
It was this building.

I guess they can’t all be winners.

Then I found a cafe nearby called the Bookshelf Cafe. The sign seemed to say they were open on weekends from 10:00 – 18:00, but the closed sign was up. The door had an automatic “wave your hand here” panel, so I tried my luck and it opened. I stepped in and woke up a dude lying on his stomach sleeping in a booth inside.

「Excuse me, what time do you open?」I asked in Japanese.

「Oyasumi desu」he replied. In Japanese, “Oyasumi” can mean a rest, nap, vacation, time off of work, etc. So thanked him awkwardly and left wondering what kind of answer “I’m taking a break,” was to a customer who wanted to come in during normal business hours.

It turns out according to the website they’re not open on Sunday at all. And while I still wonder what led that guy to come into work for a sleep in a booth, I realized what his sentence meant: it’s our day off. We’re closed. Like the sign says, jerk.

My coworkers haven’t been able to give me a good Japanese word to use in place of “oops” yet.

Anyway, the title says “Rakuten Tech Conference,” which I attended yesterday. Had a great time, and most of the talks are on Youtube. I gave a “lightning talk” about successfully implementing process changes on your team. In lightning talks speakers have a strict 4 minutes to talk on their topic, so I had to rush, but it was a good experience.

Afterward I got to hang out and talk with Nathan LeClaire of Docker (super smart guy working on and showing off some really neat things for a cool company) and the accomplished Jim Coplien who’s been in the software biz for decades, is well-read, and has strong and intriguing opinions on many things from scrum, kanban, & agile in general to organizational patterns and international politics, all of which were extremely fun to discuss with him over beer and Japanese food.

Now for some images and videos I’ve made recently.

Walking off the train, I have to take these baby steps and get knocked around by other commuters. Watch and feel my pain.

A kitten at a cat cafe wants to chew my phone cord (of course).

A man fights sleep outside of a McDonalds and loses. I have been this dude so many times.

Thanks to this walk to Doofles, the neighborhood arcade, I’m sort of OK at Tekken Tag Tournament 2 now.

Blogging From a Cat Cafe

It gets hot in Tokyo.


Before you dismiss that picture above as just a screenshot of a weather app, please, read it. Look at that stuff:

  1. There is 62% humidity and no chance at all that it will rain.
  2. It’s 91°F (33°C) and it feels like 99°/37°.
  3. It’s only July.

And I can vouch for that “feels like” bit, too. In the train station (where you don’t feel that 17mph wind), it literally feels like a sauna.

But enough about the weather. Speaking only an idiot’s version of the language and knowing practically no one here, it gets lonely in Tokyo too.  I’m an introvert, and something of a loner too, but I’ve surprised myself by how difficult that level of alienation can be at times.

So today I’m treating myself to 3 hours at 猫の居る休憩所299 (neko no iru kyuukeisho 299, or “Rest Area 299, Where There Are Cats”).

Cat cafes - where being ignored by the other living beings around you is half the fun.
Cat cafes – where being ignored by the other living beings around you is half the fun.

Here’s what things look like as I write this:

Pretty nice. Also, here’s a cat licking my plastic bag. Some cats are into this sort of thing, including my kitty at home in America.


By the way, just outside of Ikebukuro Station, I found a warp pipe:

I figure I could skip straight to Osaka if I got in this thing and crouched down.
I figure I could skip straight to Osaka if I got in this thing and crouched down.