I broke my record for the most travel in one year!
- Travel with Shirei
- Hiroshima, Miyajima, Naoshima - good food, beautiful sights, funky art on Naoshima.
- Karuizawa - nice, quiet, beautiful place with lots of French food. Also it was Pokemon Go launch weekend in Japan !!!!!!! !!!
- Maldives - the most amazing snorkeling everrrrr... accessible by walking out my bedroom straight into the water...surrounded by a billion colorful fishies..
- Busan - Shirei's father's hometown... but it was actually my 2nd time, and her first. Food food food food food... and Spa Land was nice too.
- Stanford / San Jose - I was MC / translator at my childhood friend Gordon's wedding, at a winery. Also, first time showing Shirei where I used to live and the Stanford campus. Randomly bumped into an old friend. She and I were co-chairs of the Japan student club at Stanford in 2003.
- I actually visited 5 airports in 20 hours! because of this trip and the following China trip and flight availability issues. Another record.
- Taipei - celebrating my mom's 60th birthday. Thanks mom for raising me!
- Taipei (again) - Supercell spouse offsite! Really great hot springs hotel.
- Tallinn, Estonia - 2-hour ferry from Helsinki. Smallest country (1.3mn population) we've ever been to, not counting the Maldives and Vatican City. Nice medieval feeling in Old Town area of Tallinn. It actually feels medieval, unlike Stockholm's Old Town. Also we ate the best ribs we ever had in our lives..in a place we randomly found, and got maybe the best Thai massage we ever had.
- Stockholm - wow. Amazing, beautiful architecture. Lots of history around royal families, military conquest, etc. The ship in the Vasa museum is by far the largest indoor object I've every seen.
- Work travel
- San Fran - Game Developers Conference
- Seoul (twice) - unfortunately nothing kpop-related but they were nice business trips! No I'm not referring to Twice, unfortunately.
- Shanghai - Chinajoy (world's largest game expo)
- Bumped into a college friend who was in my Japanese class in 2003.
- Beijing - discovered a new great, yummy, healthy restaurant chain called Youmian 莜面 which serves pipe-shaped tomato noodles among other things
- Hong Kong - bumped into 2 unrelated friends, neither of whom live in Hong Kong, in the same 10-minute span during my hotel breakfast.
- Shenzhen - visited Tencent (in addition to being an internet giant, it's also the biggest gaming company in the world, now owns Supercell) to chat about analytics. Also saw my dad :)
- stayed at a Spain-themed hotel... in Asia
- Spain - company offsite in Alcantara, Spain... at an Asia-themed resort.... in Spain
- Finland - company offsite in beautiful Lahti, an hour away from Helsinki.
- Finland - started working in Helsinki in November for a few months as an analyst / data scientist for the game Clash Royale.. which won Game of the Year from Google, Apple, and Facebook! Pretty lucky to get to work in this amazing team.
- London - still remembered some things from my 2-month stay in 2006. Visited Space Ape Games for this event. Great to see old Googler friends too :)
Other happenings in 2016:
- Summer Sonic in Tokyo - huge, awesome music festival. My 4th time attending :) We saw Sakanaction and Zico.
- Slush Asia - maybe the biggest startup-focused event in Japan ever, and even more amazing that it's all in English. I watched the on-stage chat between 2 Artificial Intelligence experts and finally asked myself.. how can I get involved? I went to talk to one of the the experts afterwards and he was very encouraging.
- My sister got pregnant with her second baby!! Shirei and I need to catch up.
- Shirei started a new job (in Jan 2016), sales operations at Criteo, the French ad tech company, covering Japan and Korea
- Shirei's sister decided she'll be working at Google Tokyo! Yay! I'm sure she'll have lots of fun. Hope she invites me for Google lunch!
- Watched Westworld and the sci-fi cartoon Rick and Morty. Probably the 2 best TV series I have ever watched, in any language.
- My vote for best movie of the year: Your Name. It's not the typical corny stuff.
- I break-danced (poorly) in front of the whole company...twice...
- Bought a PS4. Beat Fat Princess 2 with the help of my bros :). Didn't use the PS4 much though because of all the studying and travel..
- I lost faith in democracy
- 2016 was the year I decided that I really want to become much better at coding (with a focus on data science). At the age of 32 (the same age as Mark Zuckerberg), it's pretty late to realize you want to learn to code well, although many would argue otherwise. But still, not too late.
- When I took Artificial Intelligence at Stanford in 2001 (yes, before I enrolled in college), it was not a very sexy field. It seemed that big progress hadn't been made in a long time. In retrospect, maybe I should have stayed more interested in the field back then..
- In March, graduated from the 6-month Startup Leadership Program, Tokyo Chapter. Very interesting / crazy group of participants. One participant attributed his success to posting the word "p*nis" on Facebook in Japanese repeatedly. By the end, about 7 people out of 22 or so had quit their regular jobs to work on startups.
- I presented a business plan for a smart language education app that uses machine learning for optimization and focuses language pairs using combinations of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English. Of course I never built the app..
- Enrolled part-time in a coding bootcamp, Dive Into Code, in Shibuya, which mostly focuses on Ruby on Rails. I was >50% done before I moved to Helsinki. Decent materials and lessons at a very low cost (about $1500 for everything). All in Japanese, but actually it wasn't any harder than learning in English.
- Coded my first (and last?) iPhone app in 80 minutes, an omikuji app, at TECH::CHAMP in Shibuya. Bumped into an old Googler friend.
- Attended various data science-related meetups/events, ranging from demonstrating applications of HiveMall (machine learning using just SQL), to a Microsoft Azure Machine Learning tutorial, to a group of random people sitting mostly in silence for hours trying to figure out TensorFlow together. PyData meetup, with the lightning talks, was pretty cool too. Also, the Data Science Symposium was interesting. Looking to attend even more events in 2017!
- Various books. Fluent Python is quite good for intermediate Python. Data Smart is very good and accessible book for Data Science even if you don't know Python/R. Also, Chaos Monkeys is a great book for a no-holds-barred story from a key Facebook insider, even if it's just for the entertainment.
- Online stuff
- Various online lectures. MIT's Introduction to Algorithms is good and on Youtube.
- Completed a bunch of interactive coding data science courses on DataCamp and DataQuest. Great for learning to manipulate data in R and Python. There's a bit of intro material for machine learning too.
- Completed the online University of Washington course, Machine Learning foundations. They do a really good job of explaining things in an easy-to-understand way for a broad audience. I'll probably do more courses from the same professors.
- Clicked on >1000 links from Hacker News, probably
- Subscribed to several data-related podcasts. O'Reilly Data Podcast, Linear Digressions, and Data Skeptic are good.
- I actually started thinking about this part-time online master's of computer science program. People say it's very good.
- I've actually learned a ton on the job as well, at Supercell. I got much better at R, Python, Spark, machine learning, the Linux command line, etc. It's also great just discussing with other analysts and data scientists about interesting analytical and technical problems. Of course I had that opportunity at Google too, and I appreciate that, but it was to a lesser extent because most people in my organization (Finance) were more businessy people and I had fewer opportunities to interact with very deeply analytical/technical people. It's too bad that at both companies, most of the analytical people were located in a different time zone.
Also, thanks to Shirei for always supporting me in my crazy endeavors <3 div="">3>
Not ready for changing the world yet...
How about 2017 resolutions? Pretty simple:
- Get better at coding, data science, and machine learning
- Help slow down the decrease in the population of Japan
- Stay fit
Not ready for changing the world yet...