Events where people of different backgrounds and cultures can come together under a common interest and feel a genuine connection is to say the least—inspiring.
The Japanese character, 縁 (えん), pronounced as “en”, was the theme of this event. The character has many meanings but in the context of this event, it took on the meaning of “connection” or “connect to” as the official catch phrase is written.
Honestly, I can’t think of any other way to summarize my first WordCamp experience than with this single word, connection.
Friday. So my journey began in Sapporo. After going home early from work, I went to pick up my one-year-old son from daycare. I spent some time to play and read some books to him before I had to say goodbye and leave him with my wife before I made my way to the airport.
Known for their low fares, Jetstar proved to be the best airline of choice for me this time around. And with only a backpack, laptop, phone, camera, and a change of clothes—I was all about keeping things minimal. 出発！
Arrival in Osaka
I got to Osaka International Airport (国際空港) at around 10:40pm-ish, hopped on the next train, got off two stops later at Izumisano Station located conveniently near the airport, and went to my First Hotel (no pun intended).
If you’re in town for only a night but are looking for something more than a hostel, First Hotel is where it’s at. I’ll admit some of the facilities were old and looked a little janky but they still functioned and served their purpose, which is all that matters in my book. Thank you, fan. Thank you, shower. Thank you, bed. And “toilet-in-shower-area”… after five years of not seeing each other, fate it seems, has brought us together again…
Saturday. Hopped on the early train bound for Kyoto at 6:30am. Just a little over two hours, I arrived at Kyoto University at 9:00am.
Kyoto University is part of Japan’s “National Seven Universities” with Kyoto Uni. being the second to oldest of the group. These universities are basically Japan’s cream of the crop institutions where only the smartest of students can attend. So I was quite excited to explore a little bit before I headed to the main building I needed to go to.
WordCamp Kyoto 2017
10:00am. Let’s go!
It’s been a while since I’ve gone to an event with the sheer purpose of meet-and-mingling. So it was somewhat refreshing to just dive into a completely new environment with knowing absolutely no one.
I’ve only read so many great things about the community WordCamps seem to bring together, so I knew it was something I had to experience for myself.
10:30am. Speaker. 講堂: WordPress の今とこれから (Kaito)
11:00-12:00ish. Had a look around at the sponsor booths and even met some Automatticians—Naoko, Klymentiy & George. Really great people and gained their unique insights on the mission of WordPress 🙂
1:00. Speaker. 会議室5a: 開発者・ブロガー・Web 担さんの悩みを解決！WordPress.com の活かし方 (Naoko Takano)
1:50. Speaker. 講堂: 誰でも使えるプラグインを作りたい – WordPress プラグイン開発者の視点で考えるアクセシビリティ (Takayuki Miyoshi)
3:50. Speaker. 講堂: WordPress in Asia: Growth & Future (Jon Ang)
4:40. Speaker. 講堂: WordPress of Things: Connecting your digital presence to your physical footprint (George Stephanis)
5:25. 講堂: Lightening Talk
That’s a wrap
After the afterparty, I headed to my next hotel — Heian No Mori Kyoto. And hit them ZZZs.
Sunday. Woke up at around 7am. Got some breakfast in the lobby and right after, I decided to pay my respects to the shrine located right outside.
10:00. Arrived in time for Contributor Day and joined up with the Polyglots team to do some translating. It was really fun and I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but I was at least able to meet a few more contacts during my time there, got added to the slack channel and also learned the kind of basic workflow of how contributing translations work.
Well it looks like I’ll be hanging around here in addition to the WordPress.org & WordPress.com support forums I occasionally lend a hand in.
What makes this interesting is that I’ll have a chance to actively practice my Japanese, since pretty much all the conversations in the Slack channel happens in Japanese. Also the majority of projects involve English-to-Japanese translations. While I’m used to do doing Japanese-to-English translations, Eng-Jpn is something totally new.
I was initially a little bit worried that I couldn’t contribute much, since my Japanese is embarrassingly not up to par as it should be, but actually there are some projects that are doable. Some only need single word translations, and those I can do!
I am really excited to be in this new community, and although I can’t really say that I feel I’m a part of it just yet, I know that I do want to contribute what I can and get more involved.
I feel the growth of WordPress has a lot of potential in Japan because the community is strong. It is the community that binds traditions and customs—both old and new.
Individuals connect to one another when we share a common cause, and when we do, remarkable things happen.