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.

[slideshare id=44003929&w=476&h=400&sc=no]





ボランティアの皆さんには、前知識ゼロの幼稚園児にもとても丁寧に楽しく教えて頂けたようで、息子もとても喜んでおりました。 ありがとうございました。






Google Vice President of Engineering Mr. Chee Chew Presentation Report


One of my major goals in life is creating a community where people can express our similar visions of life. I have always thought creating my own projects and potentially turning it into a start-up would be an option, a very challenging option but worth it to show my vision to the world. In order to succeed as much as possible, I have always felt the need to constantly be learning. I like to learn to grow my projects, to become a better person and to be happy on what I value. One of my learning curves is reading. Constantly reading and learning is very important and it was mentioned in Mr. Chee Chew’s presentation. I was able to come across his presentation because I was trying to learn the principles of Google from the book “How Google Works” by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg and Seattle IT Japanese Professional gave me the opportunity to learn directly from Mr. Chew.The major parts that I believed were important in the presentation were East Asian leaders and the culture difference from Westerns, team building, psychology and the priorities matrix.

East Asians have a very distinctive culture than American culture. I personally felt the difference growing up and working in both Japan and the United States. Sarcasm was one huge difference that Mr. Chew has pointed out. Japanese, in my experience also, do not use sarcasm as much and most do not even bother using it at all during work. It is also hard for many Japanese to stand up to their superior even if they think it is right. It comes from a great culture of respecting elders and others. It is for respecting the face of others, never to shame others or to be ashamed. Challenging authority can feel like you are being disrespectful to the Japanese. But it can be done in a very respectful way and is considered very courageous. And to climb up the corporate America ladder, sarcasm and expressing your opinion is very important. It is a key for gaining respect from others and being a leader. You cannot just be in the corner working on your task if you want to climb the corporate ladder. You have to engage with co-workers and communicate well. Know what your co-workers are working on and be able to help them when they need a hand. That is what leaders do well. Know about his or her peers very well and how to communicate with them.

Knowing what each person’s view and what motivates them is very important as a leader. Each person on your team grew up from a different background, has different views in life and has different things they get excited about. In order to maximize your team’s productivity, you must get to know each person and motivate them in different ways. Motivate them in ways that are most appropriate for each person and customize your interactions with each person. Your teammates also has to make different sacrifices in order to be a successful team. The team that knows each other the most and can find a middle-ground of sacrifices will have a better chance of succeeding. It is also better to have a good understanding of yourself to communicate well with others. A person with high EQ will have a better understanding of themselves and others.

Mr. Chew has also mentioned that EQ can be trained through the course of your life. And understanding psychology can play a major role developing ones EQ. Learning triggers through

psychology can really help ones growth. I believe that Japanese need to learn inner psychology the most because most of their action comes from external factors rather than their internal. Japanese society has a very strong way about always fitting in. Fitting in with the society is very important for the Japanese and plays a large role in the external factor. This will make it very hard for the Japanese to turn off their lizard brain and follow their gut. Most Japanese hate to embarrass themselves and hate to fail very strongly especially in public. It is very shameful to them and hard to get over. I can tell you that if there is a mixed culture at a party, the typical Japanese will never be one who starts dancing or who becomes silly and ice breaks the party. Japanese has also had the culture in the Age of Civil War when ones defeat equals ones death. It is over in one try. That is where the term “hara-kiri” comes from. That culture explains some of the reasons why Japan has one of the highest committing suicide rates. Failure is not an option to many people in Japan.

None of us like to fail and we try not to fail as much as possible. But we must be willing to risk failure to grow and learn. Learn from our failures and simply move on. We have to accept failure and keep taking risks to grow. To take risks, we have to learn to control our emotions outside our comfort-zone. When we can control our emotions outside our comfort-zone, we will have an opportunity to grow. It is hard for most people to go out of their zone and we will have to sometimes purposely push ourselves somewhere outside of that zone. Continuing to train outside of your zone and expanding your EQ will have a big impact on your success.

Setting priorities and taking action will also have a big impact on succeeding. But you will have to know which priorities to take care of first. Many leaders tend to focus on priorities that are urgent and high in importance. But the most important priorities that leaders need to focus on lies where it is not as urgent but important. Because when you focus too much on the most urgent and most important problems, you will not be able to sustain growth for your team or yourself. You will always be stuck working on the urgent and important problems. And if it is very urgent, someone in your team can take care of it. We tend to keep pushing back the less urgent but high priority problems. We know we would like to increase our communication skills, personal development issues or invest in team infrastructure but always put it back. When you keep putting off those problems that you know are important but not as urgent later on, it always snow balls and becomes a larger problem in the end.

There are many ways to view your own life or projects and there is never one answer. But to achieve your personal challenges and the higher the challenges are, the more you will need to grow and have a better team. To grow, you will need to be constantly curious, failing and learning. We will have to know well about our priorities and know which ones to work on. Knowing yourself and being able to control yourself is also one of the keys to success. Pushing yourself out of your comfort-zone and understanding about others views can help you achieve your wants in many ways. We can achieve more by constantly learning, thinking and growing with other teammates.

Here is interesting diagram that Mr. Chee mentioned during the talk


GoogleエンジニアリングディレクターChee Chew氏講演会レポート



アメリカに住む日本人としてありがちなジレンマに答えを求め、今回はGoogleエンジニアリグディレクターのChee Chew氏の講演会にやってきました。今回も会場を提供してくださったBellevue Children’s Academy様、ならびにおいしいお茶をたくさん寄付していただいたスポンサーの伊藤園様、ありがとうございました。



















「アジア人気質とアメリカ社会とLizard Brain」






この恐怖心はLizard Brainと呼ばれ、対処法さえ知っていれば恐怖心を打破することができます。

(Lizard Brainについてはこのビデオが詳しく説明しています)

実際に会場でChee氏の指導の下、参加者全員でLizard Brainを打破する練習をしました。まず自分と同じくらいの身長の人と向かい合い目を見つめあいます。そしてChee氏の指示で少しずつ相手との距離を縮めていきます。最後はお互いの鼻頭が5センチくらいのところまで接近するのですが、この前の時点ですでにパーソナルスペースが侵されみんなこれ以上接近するのを躊躇してしまいます。これがLizard Brain。しかしいったん肝を据えて相手の顔のギリギリまでえいっと思い切って接近する。この瞬間がLizard Brainを打破する瞬間なのです。仕事でも同じように何かをすることがとても怖く心地悪い気がしても、思い切って恐怖心を打破しやり遂げることが大切なのだそうです。




Chee氏がマネージャとして一番大切にしているのはEQ(Emotional Intelligence)、つまり心の知能指数です。IQとは違い、EQはサイエンスでなく相手の考えを理解し、自分がどれだけ相手の考えに歩み寄れるかということです。Chee氏も自分のチームを大切にし、IQよりもEQを重んじるからこそすばらしいリーダーシップが取れるのでしょう。実際Googleでも面接するときは応募者のEQを見ることが多いそうです。ただEQ重視で採用できるかと言ったら、まだまだそれは難しい課題のようです。










  • 仮想世界をどうやって計算するか




今までは、Web、スマホ、ウェアラブル、モノのインターネットを通じて、現実世界からコンピュータの中のデジタルな世界に情報が流れ込んでいっていた。しかし、コンピュータの中から情報が染み出し始め、現実に向かって情報が流れていっている。現実に情報が触れ戻ってくる。たとえば90年代にはAR(Augmented Reality:拡張現実)という概念が提案され、 HMDのグラスと現実を重ねて見ながら、実際に操作すると反応するものを研究者達は作ってきた。

  • 鍵は出力系の技術











  • コンピュータが得意なことは、密集して高速で計算すること。その得意なところを生かしたい。













これはコンピュータグラフィクスといえるだろうか? 昔から、グラフィックスというものは昔からあって、例えば画家が絵を描くのは、絵の具というメディアを使って彼らのイマジネーションを描き出すこと。一方LCD(Liquid-Crystal Display)スクリーンで我々が何をやっているかというと、人の考えをやはりLCDを使って描いてこの世界にレンダリングしている。3Dプリンターは何をやっているかというと、樹脂を使ってデータを物体化するが、空間がポテンシャル場によって記述されグラフィックスを「潜在的に」持っているところに、ものが出会ったら、初めてものが並んで絵が描かれる。それは今の描画行為よりも一次元高いレベルで自由な描画行為だ。物体にはなってないし、まだ物理量は変わってはいないが、そこに何かが加わったときに始めてグラフィックスになりうる場があると、それは新しいジャンルになりえると思う。