Turning Japanse, Day One

by David A. Chappell

The first night I arrived in Tokyo, I met up with some of our local guys from Sonic Japan. Being severely jet-lagged, my only aspiration was to get some food and some sleep. We went out for sushi at the hotel and had a fantastic meal. For the first time, I got to see some fresh shrimp that was still wiggling when it was served to me. A true test of mettle to consume that. It was quite tasty.

I met with 3 different journalists yesterday and had a 1 hour interview with each of them while a translator was sitting next to me translating the everything I said. At one point it got to near-simultaneous translation, which got pretty weird because I had two people talking to me at the same time, one in Japanese and one in English. I had to learn to talk more slowly to let the translator keep pace with me when translating in the other direction. At one point I was getting a little carried away with talking slowly and using hand gestures. For some reason all I could think of was "Dances with Wolves" and I started to get distracted by that. I had to catch myself and realize that I didn't need to do that because the translator could keep up with the pace just fine as long as I didn't get too excited and talk too fast.

Last night I presented to a team of architects from a local SI firm on the subject of SOA and ESB. These are two concepts that have not really caught on in Japan just yet. They seemed to like what they heard, although it was kind of hard to tell because their culture is not conducive to asking questions in a public forum. This was kind of expected. Afterward, we had dinner together with some of the senior members and managers from the group and they opened up at that point and started talking about what they heard. It turns out that they have had a need for an ESB architecture for quite some time and are excited to learn more. BTW, the dinner was sushi again, which is great. I love the stuff, even though there was nothing wiggling this time :)

Dave