Team English “Maccha Latte”

What do you get when you mix tea and hackathons? You get a Chackathon. The Chackathon is a portmanteau of Cha, the Japanese word for tea and Hackathon, a competition in which teams compete to make a software application. This hackathon didn’t involve hacking but the atmosphere was just as innovative as an actual Hackathon.


The Chackathon


The discussion topic was “how to get 50,000 Japanese living in Seattle”. Most of the teams at the Chackathon were Japanese but I joined the only English team because I felt more comfortable speaking English than Japanese. Our team name was “Matcha Latte,” to reflect the Japanese community in Seattle, a city famous for coffee. As the hackathon started, a representative of Ito-En handed all the participants four of their green tea products. One of them was the standard “Oi~ Ocha” green tea that is seen all over Japan, but the other three were products I have never seen before. As I was carried away by my team’s fervent discussion during the Chackathon, I realized that I had consumed all four of my drinks 30 minutes into the Chackathon while my teammates were still sipping at their first bottle. It was a decision I would regret later on.

Chackathon 2

Sip slowly, but don’t drink all four at once! (Photo credit of Mari Kuster but we should use our own photo if we have one…)


The timer stopped and the teams began to present. The Chackathon had three judges and we were judged on “creativity”, “realistic”, “scalability”, “presentation” and “teamwork”. All 6 teams that presented came up with incredible ideas. I remember one team proposed a Japanese drama set in Seattle while another proposed building a bathhouse to attract more Japanese to Seattle.


Our team first, determined that 50,000 population growth to be unrealistic and instead proposed a more realistic goal of 27,000. We realized that Seattle needed a platform for Japanese to live in aspects of business, education, sports/entertainment, media/local organization and retirement. Our team wanted to encourage WA state to increase import/export and lobby state to have similar incentives such as “Start up New York”. There was also a need to redevelop an area where the Japanese can live together like Spring District. We then came up with idea’s like  bringing J-league to play against Sounders FC and Sumo exhibitions to Seattle like Vegas for entertainment. Our team noticed that all the current Japanese organizations were working too much on their own and felt the need to bring together all the organizations. Which we came up with an idea called “Meet me at the J” community center. We also proposed to promote Seattle’s beauty and use a Panama Hotel model to make more welcome.


After all presentations and all of our brilliant ideas, “Maccha Latte” team did not win 1st or even 2nd place (They only announced to 2nd place). We thought we had the most logical and realistic idea to help Seattle and the Japanese community. But our presentation did go over time and it did feel like we lacked creativity. We learned that next time we will try to go more creative and bring a brilliant innovative idea to help the Japanese community. I would personally like to keep all these ideas going and help grow the Japanese community in Seattle.

Mochitsuki: Pounding Rice

 Chackathon 3

After the presentations were finished, we moved into Mochi-tsuki, a Japanese New Year custom where participants help make mochi ricecakes by pounding at rice with two-handed wooden hammers. At this point, my body felt a bit weird. It felt like the exact opposite of being drunk. My muscles were twitching and I had a subtle headache. I think I overdosed on caffeine during the Chackathon so I couldn’t participate in the Mochi-tsuki due to safety reasons. But I had a great time watching everyone make mochi and eating the mochi.

Overall, I believe it was a successful Chackathon. I was happy to see ~30 participants of all ages and professions come together to innovate at the Chackathon. I certainly hope that this Chackathon can provide the Japanese community in Seattle with new ideas on growing the Japanese community in Seattle.

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つきたての餅のTOPPINGおよび料理方法を募集しています。斬新なアイデアをだしてください。また、好きな方法に一票を投じてください。 (すいませんが、投票するにはGoogle Accountが必要です。ただ、無記名で投票できます)




  • President & CEO , Five Senses Inc 佐川明美
  • ベルビュー・チルドレンズ・アカデミー、ディレクター 清水楡華
  • 在シアトル日本国総領事館領事 小西隆太郎



是非、 から申し込みをお願いします。






Invitation to a First Ever “Happy New Year” Chackathon in Seattle 1/24 (Sat)


SIJP is a networking community mainly for Japanese professionals working in the IT industry. We are pleased to announce that many have joined our events throughout 2014 and are a community that gathers 40 to 100 people each of our guest speaker events. SIJP have also started a programming class towards children because the Japanese community has many family and small children. The programming class was held throughout one day with 2 sessions and both sessions were sold out with children learning how to code. We would like to continue to grow the Japanese IT professional community in 2015 also.

That is why we like to start off with our first ever SIJP “Happy New Year Chackathon in Seattle” at 1/24 (Sat).

“Chackathon” is a created word between “cha” (means tea in Japanese), “hack” and “marathon”. “Hackathon” is a place for people with different backgrounds to discuss different topics, innovate and create ground-breaking ideas. At “Chackathon”, we will discuss and communicate open-minded with a nice cup of Japanese tea. The event has been held at Silicon Valley and Tokyo total of 3 times but has never been held in Seattle. This will be first ever “Chackathon” in Seattle!

At this event, we will gather about 30 people and split them into 5-6 people teams. The teams will discuss ideas, present and compete against each other. We will choose the best presented idea and take action back to the community but we would like to set the first event’s goal as settling the “Hachkathon” culture. We are planning to have one or two English teams where they carry out discussion and present the idea in English while other teams will be using Japanese. We will have onsite translators. We would like to have people with many different professional backgrounds in order to have a diverse discussion. Homemakers are also very welcomed. Please note that we will have selection process if there are many applications.

After everyone discussed all their ideas over a delicious cup of tea, we are also holding a traditional Japanese Mochi Festival. We would like to give every participant at the festival of all ages a chance to pound the mochi rice with a traditional Japanese pestle. There is no other best tasting mochi in the world than the ones you have pounded yourself. Everyone is invited to the festival!

We plan to have a $5-$15 fee for all the ingredients and costs for holding the event. Please see the “Event Participant Fee” page for more information.

“Chackathon”Event Information

The first topic for Seattle’s 1st Hackathon is…

“What can we do to increase the Japanese community population in Seattle to 50,000 people (current population is 6,300)?  

The Pacific Northwest is one of the first places a Japanese set foot in America. The history, weather and region are very suitable for the Japanese but still cannot get rid of the tourist image of Seattle. There are major corporate companies based in Seattle such as Amazon and Microsoft. The IT business is switching over to the cloud computing and the new generation of Japanese IT technicians has many new opportunities in the Puget Sound area. What would the new generation want from the community? How would they continue to connect as the community grows? How would we integrate and utilize the experience of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation? Why do students often go back in just 1 year? Why are there less 30 year old generation? Etc. We would like to discuss these kinds of topics through the “Chackathon”.

Please register at and we are looking forward to seeing you! The deadline for application is 1/9.

If you have any questions please contact:

Event Information


Place:Bellevue Children’s Academy (14640 NE 24th St Bellevue, WA 98007)


  • 1:00 Door Open/Networking
  • 1:30 Program Start/Schedule Information/Team Formation
  • 2:00 Idealization
  • 3:45 Presentation(Each team total of 10 min, 5 min presentation and 5 min Q&A)
  • 5:00 Judge&Mochi Festival
  • 6:00 Winner Announcement
  • 6:30 Clean up/Networking
  • 7:00 Close

Event Fee(Day of Event, Cash Only)

  • Full Participation:$15
  • Visitor:$10
  • Children (Under Age 12, Mochi Festival Only):$5
  • Children (Under Age 5):Free

The fee’s will be for the event and the Mochi Festival ingredients.