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Who is @makiwi and what am I doing?

How to help Japan

UPDATE, March 26: I've stopped my Twitter flow for the most part - here's why.

UPDATE, March 15: Since Twitter may be experiencing occasional load problems, I am archiving my tweets on this page. It should be polling Twitter to get data in every hour. Warning: There's a lot of stuff in the past few days.

Since a lot of new people have started to follow me on Twitter recently, I thought I'd just explain exactly what I'm doing right now on Twitter, to those who don't know anything about me. (Updated to add "who is 'inhouse engineer aka @pdfguru.)

Marauding mobs! (Japan earthquake)

It's now the night of Day 4 of the earthquake in Japan, and I think we can all need to relieve some tension...especially in Japan. This is being retweeted around in Japanese Twitter circles now; being that Japanese is a more compact language all the links and headlines fit in one tweet, but that doesn't work for English. So here is it as a blog post.

The rough translation of the text is: "Mad rush for food. Fighting over scraps. Devastation after riot. Marauding gangs. Is this the reality of Japan? Do not look! DO NOT LOOK!

A memorable tweet from the Japan Earthquake

I've been tweeting the news from Japan in English for about 13 hours straight. It's the very least I can do.

I've been following some Japanese tweets from ordinary people too, many re-tweeted by my Twitter friend @choytan. And this one by @resaku just struck me straight in the heart.

As I was walking for 4 hours from central Tokyo, I was thinking. The sidewalks were overflowing with people, but everyone was walking stoically, in an orderly manner. The conbini (convenience stores) and other stores were all open for business as if nothing had happened. The internet infrastructure survived all the shaking, and was fully operational. All around, emergency help centers (for people trying to get home) were opened, and the commuter rail lines were soon back in operation and said to run all night. This is a great country. I don't care what our GDP rank is.

都心から4時間かけて歩いて思った。歩道は溢れんばかりの人だったが、皆整然と黙々と歩いていた。コンビニはじめ各店舗も淡々と仕事していた。ネットのインフラは揺れに耐え抜き、各地では帰宅困難者受け入れ施設が開設され、鉄道も復旧して終夜運転するという。凄い国だよ。GDP何位とか関係ない。

偉いよ、日本。皆さん頑張って下さい。

The Social Network and the 'getting it' gap

I finally got to see the movie The Social Network about three weeks ago, on a transatlantic flight. (It's kind of hard for me to catch first-run movies in the original language in theatres.) Since then, I've been quite obsessed about it. I've been checking out all the reviews, analyses, and interviews of the principals that I can find.

The movie itself is really well done, as mainstream movies go. There's nary a dull moment, the acting is generally terrific, the music quite fitting. I have mixed feelings about that snap-crackle-pop dialog style that is the trademark of an Aaron Sorkin script, but it did fit the feel of the subject matter.

(warning: spoilers abound below.)

Awareness and such

Aware of what? You and your awesomeness?

One last Satoshi Kon post: 100 Movies chosen by The Dreaming Machine team

Besides that last blog post, something else that Satoshi Kon posted on his blog - on August 18th, just a few days before he passed away - was a list of the 100 movies that were "chosen by the Yume Miru Kikai team".

Further language and cultural notes regarding Satoshi Kon's last words

There may be some things about Satoshi Kon's last words that may be puzzling to non-Japanese readers, so I'm going to attempt to clarify some of them. Note that this is not based on any kind of personal knowledge of Mr. Kon or his family, but just on general principles that are atari mae, commonly held mores and principles, in Japanese culture.

Satoshi Kon's last words

Satoshi Kon, the director of anime movies Perfect Blue, Tokyo Godfathers, Millenium Actress and Paprika, as well as the TV series Paranoia Agent, died on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at the age of 46. (NY Times obituary.) He left behind a rambling but extraordinary document, which his family has posthumously posted on his blog.

They're the last words of a supremely talented artist who knows he is dying very soon, with work left unfinished. It's been the talk of the Japanese internet, and it struck me deeply.

There is no official translation into English of the text, so I have translated it in its entirety, trying to keep the spirit and tone of the original. It is indeed rather long and rambling - he wrote it like that. I'm sure he didn't sit down to outline it before he wrote it. It's not authorized in any way, and if I receive objections from interested parties or see a formal translation up somewhere I'll take this down. (Note: as of April 2012 this hasn't happened, so chances are this is the only English version you'll ever see.) In any case, these are the words of a dying artist, waiting for his flight to come and transport him away.

Soon after I posted this translation, it was linked to by many sites worldwide. Several people translated it into other languages; you can find a list of the versions I know of at the bottom.

Doing business as a Japanese businessman in the '60s and '70s

The most recent Mad Men episode reminded me of my father's experiences as a Japanese businessman in Europe and the U.S. back in the late '60s to '70s.

some of my flickr photos