How to get in touch with me
You can use my contact form to get in touch, or email me at maki dot the name of this site.
Bio: short version
This is the personal web site of me, Makiko Itoh. Until recently I was a developer/designer of web and PDF related technologies, Since late 2009, I've been a full time writer and blogger.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, I've lived in numerous places including the U.S., England, France and Switzerland. I have native level fluency in English and Japanese; my French and German are considerably worse, but I get by (especially in French).
Food is one of my passions, and I write about about my obsession at Just Hungry, a food blog, as well as Just Bento, a site dedicated to the bento meal-in-a-box. The site you're reading now is my little personal blog, where I write about non-food things on occasion.
My interests include: travel, languages, design, art, food, reading, history, and all manner of handcrafts.
Bio: long version
My name is Makiko Itoh (in Japanese 伊藤牧子). Many people call me Maki or Maki-chan for short.
I was born in Tokyo, Japan (in Shinjuku Chuo Byouin, which is as central as you can get) sometime in the 20th century. Both my parents are Japanese. When I was 5, my parents moved to England, and for the next 5 years we lived in London, then Kent, and finally in Wokingham, Berkshire. When I was 10 we moved again to the United States, and spent a year in White Plains, New York.
After that, we moved back to Japan where we lived mostly in Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo. I was what is called a kikoku shijo (帰国子女), though I didn't suffer most of the things that kikoku shijo are subject to, such as bullying or being ostracized. When I was in the second year of senior high school, off we went again - back to New York, this time to Long Island.
I lived, went to school (NYU, then CUNY-Hunter, with a few courses at the School of Visual Arts thrown in there) and worked in and around New York City, and then about 15 years ago I moved to Switzerland. For the past few years I have been going back and forth between Switzerland and the United States, then last year I was floating between Switzerland and France. Now I have a small run-down house in France, and a not even a pied-a-terre but a toe-a-terre in Zürich, Switzerland - plus a lot of possessions in storage.
I used to work for a company called PRODOK Engineering, near Zürich, Switzerland. I think of myself as a designer slash developer. Although my formal education (with the exception of a few computer science/programming courses - Pascal, C++, Assembler and (gulp) dBase) is in fine and liberal arts, I do like the programming bits. Anyone who thinks that programming is non creative just doesn't get it. Let me write that in an impassioned matter some time. However, I am also a designer and I hate to be pigeonholed either way. In terms of credentials...well I have been doing print design since about 1992, and web/online design since about 1995.
(2008 update) Actually, I am starting to define myself as a writer first and other things second these days.
(2009 update) I have now almost fully transitioned to being a full time writer and blogger.
(2010 update) I've made the full transition now to being a writer and fulltime blogger. Gulp.
Hobbies and interests
I have a lot of hobbies and interests. I probably dabble in too many things. The one thing I spend the most money on is travel. Most of my travelling up until now has been in North American and western Europe, and Japan of course. Closely related to travel is a rather obsessive interest in food. I have disturbingly clear memories of food consumed in the deep past of my life. I have a large collection of food-essay type of books (e.g. M.F.K. Fisher) and travelogues. I read a lot of other things too, in a wide variety of genres. Recently though, I have found my ability to concentrate on long texts to be slipping. I'm sure the internet is scrambling my brain.
I like to create things. In an effort to get away from using the computer as my sole 'creative tool', recently I've been doing some things like needlework, sketching and painting, crochet, felting, and messing about with clay. I have dreams of creating a gorgeous garden, but I'm also deathly afraid of getting stung or bitten by insects, so I'm not sure how that's going to work.
I used to take ballroom, latin and swing dance lessons regularly, but have been neglecting that interest of late, much to my regret. I hope to resume the lessons and the weekly dancing eventually.
I am a big Star Trek fan. DS9 was my favorite Trek series. I have autographed photos of all the captains except for Jonathan Archer/Scott Bakula, and the guy who played Kirk in the new movie. My favorite Trek captain is Sisko. My favorite sitcom of all time is The Mary Tyler Moore Show. My favorite currently running TV programs are, in no particular order, most BBC documentaries, most BBC how-to, real estate and antiques shows, Project Runway, Top Chef, The Amazing Race, American Idol, The Apprentice UK (the US/Trump version has now gone down the toilet), Heroes, Lost, Life on Mars, Hotel Babylon and Hustle.
(2010 update) I've lost interest in most of those favorite shows I listed a couple of years ago. I'm just watching way less TV than I used to, and watching more movies, reading more books (or listening to them) and so on. Oh, and that darn internet thing sucks up a lot of time too.
Much to my chagrin, I've realized I am not reading full novels much anymore, even though I probably do more actual reading than ever.
(2011 update) In late August 2011 I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer (or uteran cancer). I'm confident I'll kick it.
my books, and other writings
In 2009, I signed a contract with Kodansha International to write a bento cookbook. It's called The Just Bento Cookbook, and will be out in 2010/2011 worldwide. It's available for preorder on Amazon.com, or available right now from Bento&co if you don't want to wait. (More about the book.)
There are various other web design/web technology related articles I have written, or were written about me, in the past floating around, though most are now out of date. If you are interested in reading my past articles, try Googling me. I've also started writing about food for various publications recently, such as The Japan Times and Cooking Light Magazine.
The primary software tools I use for site creation are:
- BBEdit (user since version 4.x)
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator, and other parts of the CS4 suite
- Transmit (FTP)
The backend is:
- Drupal (since October 2006); Movable Type for old content. Since I didn't take the time to import my MT entries into Drupal, I'm afraid links to older content are rather messed up.
Some posts may be open to comments for a limited time. Most of the time, comments are held for moderation.
If you are being a jerk, or personally attacking someone (not just me), your comment will be deleted. This is a dictatorship, not a democracy. In other words, don't be that guy.
This site does not participate in link exchanges of any kind.
This site does not accept advertising. You can see if my other sites have available advertising space.
The domain is not for sale.
I do not need your help with SEO or ranking high in Google search or whatever. My sites do just fine in that regard, thanks.
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Standard Legal Disclaimer
All opinions expressed in the articles here are those of myself and not of any other organization, including my employer, publisher, or any other individual. Opinions expressed in comments are those of the commenter.