More on Day's 2 and 3 of Java One Japan.
More of Tuesday
I forgot to mention a few other things about Tuesday (day 2 of Josh's asian oddessy).
The first thing is dinner. I missed going out with Scott Violet and Hans Muller because Brian Beck and I had to attend the Peabody BoF. Afterwards Brian and I wandered the streets around the convention center in search of sustenance. Fortunately a key tenent of Tokyo building code appears to be a requirement that all elevated trains are constructed exclusively on top of small, tasty restaurants. I'm serious. We walked three blocks along the train line and saw only small hole in the wall eating establishments. Our final choice was a little place with a window where you could view the cook preparing Yakatori, aka: roasted stuff on a stick. After some confusion with portion size and ingredients lists we ordered some chicken and vegetable sticks and had a filling meal.
The other thing I forgot to mention was Bic Camera. This is the electronics store to end all electronics stores.
Bic Camera vs Fry's. Bic wins... Fatality!
I'm serious. This place is eight stories tall plus two basements. (two!) In addition to every kind of tv, cellphone, and mp3 player you can imagine they also have toys, golf clubs, and, for some strange reason, liquor. And if you you get tired of browsing electronics there's several restaurants and a hair salon. These people know how to shop!
Wednesday at the booth
Wednesday was simply exhausting, but lots of fun. We started with more of the 30$ hotel breakfast (note to self. find cheaper breakfast tomorrow). After a filling meal and a rousing hunt for napkins we left for the convention center. This was the first day that the convention floor would be open and I have two days of booth duty. Yes, it's true. I'm a booth bunny, though I apparently lack the high heel boots and short-skirted sailor suits required by many other nearby booths. I understand the boots, but why the sailor suits, if that's indeed what these were meant to suggest? This can only be topped by the troop of women in dresses that look like nurses uniforms (or maybe white sailor suits). I'll just add that to my list of things I don't understand.
Our booth seems to be doing well. I'd say we had about 30 people come by and ask questions during my timeslot. Being staffed by two non-Japanese speakers we don't get too many people stopping by, but when they do they are very friendly and we try to get past the language barrier. After my spiel about what Mustang is and how you can get it I hand them some printed material and a tshirt. Once great thing about JavaOne Japan is that I can actually get shirts in smalls and mediums. I tire of only receiving larges at most conventions. Variety is nice.
In addition to the Project Mustang booth I helped out with the java.com branding booth next door. I spoke a bit about what you can do with the Java brand, but mainly gave out Java 10th birthday pins and smiled. It's amazing what a smile and a small bow can do. All in all a good day on the floor.
The Swing Layout session
After my four hour shift at the booth I headed for the speaker room to go over my slides for the Layout talk Scott and I were doing later. An hour before hand I met with the translators to go over some possibly confusing terms in my slides. There are a lot of interesting words that don't translate as easily, or are simply confusing because it's an english word that is woven into our API. For example, we might use the word 'justify' in English, as in "left justified" or "right justified". In reality justified text is spread out to make the words fill a line completely. In Japanese, however, you don't group characters into words with spacing, so there isn't an equivalent concept. To solve this I switched to using 'alignment' instead of 'justify'.
The talk itself went well. This session was about Swing Layout, covering all of the built in layout managers and then some third party ones. We kicked it off with a showing of Totally Gridbag, an extremely funny flash cartoon about the frustrations of Swing layout. It's pretty geeky but went over well with the crowd. After that I dove into the basic layout managers and then passed it over to Scott for the FormLayout, TableLayout, and GroupLayout talks. Finally we showed them Matisse, the new visual layout tool in Netbeans 5. This demo always impresses people and I think it was well received here. I think the funniest part is our final slide which basically says "We just spent an hour describing the many code based layout managers out there, and we don't want you to use any of them. Just use Matisse".
Dinner and Tori-no-ichi
After my shift and my last talk one of our Japanese hosts, Yuka, took us out for dinner at a great little hole in the wall restaurant. Now when I say hole in the wall you probably think of a cute little place with atmosphere. No, I mean literally a hole in the wall. We went into the restaurant and up the stairs to a private room with four foot (I'm not kidding) ceilings right underneath the train tracks. It's a grill it yourself kinda place where they just bring us raw fish and vegetables to fry up. When it gets to smokey you open a tiny window that opens to outside just above the entrance. Thus the hole in the wall. As crazy as this place was the food was great, the price was very reasonable, and it really felt like an authentic dining experience.
As packed as this day was there is still more to come. After dinner we piled into the subway to another area of town for the Tori-no-ichi (probably misspelled) festival. This is a yearly rooster harvest festival. This festival is held in a huge lantern-lit shrine where throngs of people (us included) slowly shuffle through the main entrance where they are cleansed by two men holding long sticks with white paper and bells. This keeps out the evils spirits as well, I am told. Once inside we continue down a walk way surrounded by booths selling ceremonial trinkets, and finally arrive at a doorway with a fence where festival-goers throw in a coin, say a short prayer, and then clap their hands to welcome in a new bountiful year (or at least I *think* that's the meaning).
After some more strolling through the booth area, eating some free samples of japanese candies, and taking lots of blurry pictures; we finally drug ourselves back on the train to head home. Many, many thanks to Yuka for an exciting but exhausting day. That's all I can write about Wednesday for now. I slept well but after another long day I'm too tired to write anymore and the story of Thursday will have to wait until tomorrow.
Posted November 10th, 2005