This will be an extended version of the talk owing to the fact that my timeslot is 45 minutes long, so expect some new, interesting analysis never before presented! I'll be giving an overview of the advent of mobile internet and its development into an everday medium in Japan, and how it influences our front-end decision making today.
I'm excited and thankful to have another event through which to make Japanese design and development more accessible to even more people.
Hope to see you in Hamburg!07.08.15
It's almost July, and with that brings the annual kickoff of the Rails Girls Summer of Code! I'm extra hyped up for it this year because I'll be helping to mentor Team Fanxhe, a dynamic duo based in Colima, Mexico who will be working on my and Nico Hagenburger's open-source project, livingstyleguide.org. Helping out with RGSoC this year has some special meaning, too, because I'm really proud to be supporting Latinas in tech.
Keep up to date with Fanxhe and LSG's Summer of Code by following them on Twitter at @fanxhe.
Congratulations to Team Fanxhe and can't wait for us to get started!23.06.15
I'll be giving a revised version of my talk Perfectly Portable: Japanese Mobile Culture Influencing the Front-End, which I gave back at the beginning of May at Berlin's Up.front.ug front-end design meetup.
I'll be tracing the advent of the "mobile first" paradigm from its roots in the Japanese mobile revolution, through to the power within the country's changing topography of market end-users. Japan's early mobile connectivity and mobile business models set the pace and priorities for not only burgeoning technology, but still effect us and our mobile lives today. I'll also be highlighting some of the current issues that face mobile development and design in both Japan and the West. Through the lens of cultural psychology, technological history, and market analytics we'll take a closer look at how and why our mobile web is inextricably linked to Japan.
Presenting at OTSConf is an especially happy occasion for me as not only will it be my first conference talk in Germany, but also because Open Tech School (along with Rails Girls, but more on them later) has been a huge part of my experience of coming back to coding after years relegating it to the backseat.
So, grab your tickets for OTSConf now, and join us for some kick-ass speakers and awesome workshops to help get you started exploring a new area of tech!12.06.15
Join us this coming Tuesday, May 12 for Upfront 57, run by Upfront.ug where I'll be talking about how our "mobile first" culture would not be what it is without Japan's early mobile web connectivity and mobile business models.
This talk is a companion piece to the talk I gave last year (also at Upfront) on Japanese websites and the cultural and technological factors that make them so unique.
Hope to see you there!8.05.15
It's been long overdue, and now it's official: I'll be giving a talk in the very near future!I gave my debut talk at Berlin's Up.front.ug front-end design meetup last year, giving a crash-course in Japanese Web and Front-end 101. Everyone responded with fantastic input, questions and feedback and it really motivated me to find another topic to build on what I had presented. Thing is, everyone kind of did it for me. One area of my talk that got a huge response was the section on Japanese mobile culture (keitaibunka) and its influence on front-end. Garakei (ガラケイ or Galapagos keitai), the domestically produced mobile phones with unique features was another topic that received a lot of interest, too. After all the response, it was a no-brainer what to present at my next talk!
Watch this space or my Twitter feed for more info on the date and time as they're confirmed. In the meantime, get up to speed by checking out my first talk in the series on Speakerdeck.27.01.15
One of my bigger collaborative projects for 2013-2014 has been editing for Berlin-based author Kurt Erkan. We got connected through Twitter (of all places) and the creative partnership that came out of it was such an enriching experience. The final result, a volume of poetry entitled AND FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT! is finally available on Amazon and Smashwords. Also available is the Erkan's lastest novel, Heaven Must Be Like This, available here and here.24.05.14
Earlier this month, I gave a talk at Up.front.ug on why Japanese websites and frontend are the way they are and a little bit about why they haven't changed a whole lot in the last years. The talk was the culmination of an ongoing conversation I've had with friends, colleagues, peers and clients alike over the years. It's changed tack a bit with the advent of the smartphone, the shift to CSS on the frontend and people's general approach to using websites overall. I'll be refining, adding and parsing out the talk, it's topics and the slides in upcoming versions, so if you missed this first one, make sure to catch it in its next presentation in the near future. Check out the slides now on Speakerdeck.31.03.14
Oceans of text, long load times; Japanese websites are hardly minimal and often not user-friendly. But why are Japanese websites, so, well... Japanese? The answer is very much cultural and only a little bit technical. Come join frontend designers, developers and associated acts for Up.front 45, the March 11, 2014 meeting of Up.front.ug, where I'll be giving a talk about websites done Japanese-style. This talk will provide a foot in the sliding shoji door of the sometimes frustrating, but fascinating world of Japanese websites and frontend. Also speaking are Jeanny Wang and my good friend and colleague Bastian Albers.Interesting talks, a great chance to meet new people and discover new projects... and of course drinks and mingling at Lugosi afterwards. 06.03.14
The topic of identity is one that I try to address regularly in my work. Whether it's creating one's identity, exploring and blurring the lines of gender or how our identities can be created and recreated as we choose. Today marks the culmination of a month-long collaboration with friend and painter Sven Ballenthin, a catalogue for his special exhibition entitled "Identity is a choice". It was a pleasure to work so closely with Sven on texting his work; it's only the first of many coming projects!
Pieces from the exhibition are available for purchase. For further inquiries, contact Sven directly via his Instagram account, or me.23.02.14
At the moment I'm working on a accountability project with Jake Adelstein and going on in the background is another story that he's covering involving Ikumi Yoshimatsu, the winner of the Japan-based Miss International 2013 beauty pageant title. Her story is a groundbreaking one simply because she refuses to be silent about it like virtually all women in her position are forced to be in a society where the female victims of stalking, intimidation, blackmail and assault are almost always to blame. I won't get into the details in this post, but you can read the full story here and here. This story hits a nerve with me in so many ways, having been agressively stalked twice during my near-decade in Tokyo. The victim-blaming and dismissiveness thrown at the average Japanese woman – let alone a foreigner or even a high-profile media figure such as Ms Yoshimatsu – in the name of trying to protect herself and her family from anyone who clearly does not have her best interests in mind is a violation of human rights, in my eyes. Everyone has the right to feel the authorities who are theoretically (at best) vested with ensuring their basic rights as citizens are doing so equally.Unfortunately, in Japan that is not the case. Women who come forward to report assault, stalking and worse are almost categorically met with condescension and simpering, fauxpolegetic responses of "We can't do anything about that." and glossed with an effecient veneer of suggestions that she needs to shoulder the burden of her own protection alone. "You should move." "You should stay home, then." "Maybe you shouldn't talk to people in public." "Are you sure you didn't do anything to encourage him?" These are all suggestions that both myself and likely Ms Yoshimatsu received from those who we are suppoed to turn to when our civic and human rights are violated. For anyone out there in Japan, or elsewhere, male or female, who has felt the panic that comes with knowing that even the police won't have your back if you end up faced with the one person (or group of people) who are making you a hostage of your own life, or rankled at the suggestion that an unwanted, self-imposed exile from society is the only clear and responsible solution to one's self-caused problem: Let's hope Ms Yoshimatsu's refusal to be dismissed like so many before her who have met horrifying ends will make even a small dent in the heretofore ironclad problem that is misogyny, sexism, victim-blaming and abuser-enabling that has been instrinsic to Japanese society for so long. 17.12.13
Things seem to be happening fast these days. I had planned to spend this week catching up with friends and working on some projects of my own, but instead a mad rush to tie up all my loose ends for the year in 48 hours. Result: I'm finally back home, in the city in which I spent a third of my life and where I got my start in everything that I do now. It's been three years since I swapped homebases, exchanging the Tokyo⇋Berlin commute for the Berlin⇋Tokyo telecommute. There are so many reasons that I didn't come back sooner: time, money, not wanting to come back alone. I was concerned that things would be irredeemably different after the earthquake that I should have been there for. My old flat, my little nest five stories up in Koenji with a view clear to Shinjuku was totaled in it, a testament to the fact that the roof was not all that strong and most definitely a disaster waiting to happen. I have a constantly open conduit into the life in Japan that I participate in from afar, but it's hard to see the little differences. Things like not drinking tap water, sweeping tangles of overpasses that are now empty space waiting to be rebuilt, giving the vegetables at the market that extra few seconds of scrutiny. Things are the same, but still one can find remnants of those months after the quake when rolling blackouts and power cuts interrupted the insistent incandescense of Tokyo life. I know I won't have enough time to do everything I want and to see everyone I would like to. But, still, just getting off the plane and being here, doing the normal I would have done anyway is enough for me.12.12.13
Are you in Japan, but want to throw around some idea for a collaboration or project? Located in Tokyo but want to meet me in person before you hire me? This coming week is your lucky week! As of last night, I'll be in Tokyo from Dec 12 - Dec 20.Yeah, that's quick; but, like many other incredible things, it all happened so fast. Yesterday was one of those Saturdays. It's cloudy, rainy and the sun only deigns to show itself as a sort of sky glaucoma that is visible for just under six and half hours. I'd resigned myself to laying in bed all day; maybe coding a little, defintely reading or watching something and without question unrequitedly cuddling my hot water bottle trying to fight off whatever virus was blushing through my throat like an evil little frost-bloom. So, I'm taking a nap and I have a dream that I get a messsge on my mobile. The glassy ping of it pierced the air, but I kept sleeping. I finally woke up a few hours later feeling even worse and knowing I'd have to miss a friend's birthday party. I pick up my mobile to send my regrets and see a message. A message from a journalist colleague back in Tokyo that says something along the lines of "Can you be in Tokyo this week?"
My friend and colleague Jake Adelstein is, to use an oft repeated but precisely true phrase, "a veteran Tokyo reporter" who writes about organised crime, politics, corruption and transparency. He is the author of the memoir Tokyo Vice, which was optioned in 2012 and slated to start shooting starring Daniel Radcliffe in mid-2014. Needless to say, I'm jumping at the chance to have an excuse to work with Jake and to go back home.
It's been three years since I've been back to the place in which I became a real grownup, as it were. A good number of my closest friends left in the Tohoku earthquake's wake of the chaos and uncertainty, if not before I swapped homebases in December 2010. Now just one day short of the three-year mark and I'm back where I started.08.12.13
If you missed the Berlin launch of my summer collaboration with Alfredo Albanesi at OUKAN71 on November 15, then this is the perfect excuse to go to Miami to get your copy at Art Basel Miami. While you're there, check out the large-scale fine art prints of some of the photos in the book and start sizing them up for your living room wall.06.12.13
Since I was small, unisex dressing was something that felt comfortable for me. I spent my high school years onstensibly dressing as a boy most days. I didn't find it inherently unfeminine, it was simply another side of me. I really enjoy exploring this idea of people getting in touch with whatever might be opposite, especially when it comes to their styling. Putting men in dresses and skirts, women becoming something in between gender aesthetics; it's part of my fundamental sartorial outlook.
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to meet Alfredo Albanesi, a photographer who until recently worked almost exclusively in the realm of menswear and masculine art photography. I was able to share my love of men's clothing with him, and together we decided that I would help him cross over to the other side by collaborating with him on his first full-scale womenswear shoot. Luckily, we also shared some key philosophies when it comes to taste, so the proverbial headbutting that many fashion directors and stylists may experience when making the foray into new territory with a collaborator was absent. I reveled in the freedom to make absolute choices in the clothing. The look was edgy, avant garde but not necessarily universally obvious.
As much of my work is very research-based and often contextual, this project presented a special challenge as we didn't secure a location until late the morning of, so I was prepared to potentially have a story that would be decided on the spot. And, oh, was the spot glorious. I was totally blindsided by the choice to leave Berlin proper to go to Beelitz, a lovely area I had been to just a few weeks before to enjoy asparagus season. What I didn't know then is that there is also a beautiful and beautifully decaying grouping of buildings that used to comprise a sanatorium campus. I now know that the property is well-known by urban explorers, but the sense of entering another era upon setting foot in the crumbling former tuberculosis hospital held a special brand of gothic magic for me. Coupled with the exquisite avant garde garments kindly on loan to us from xXx Berlin and OUKAN71 , and our fantastically friendly and refreshingly professional model Agnes, our team ended up with a result that left me feeling inspired in a way I hadn't been in a while. Dreamy and nostalgic, laced with equal parts of the dark and the sensual, the final result was more than I could have hoped for.
The shoot can be found in Alfredo Albanesi's latest book, launched on November 15. It's stocked at - among other places - Armani-branded bookseller, Armani Libri in Milan, located on Via Manzoni 31 at the entrance to the Armani building. For further inquiries, contact me.28.11.13
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