by Sebastian Daschner
For three weeks in total Java Community Manager Stephen Chin and I were on a NightHacking tour through whole Japan. We wanted to visit Tokyo for Java Day Tokyo and a JJUG event and, of course, as many Java user groups as possible in all of Japan to present Java-related topics. So the most productive way of traveling was by motorcycle.
Our travel itinerary looked as follows:
- 2016-05-11: Nagoya JUG
- 2016-05-12: Okayama JUG
- 2016-05-14: Fukuoka JUG
- 2016-05-16: Hiroshima JUG
- 2016-05-17: Osaka JUG
- 2016-05-19: Sendai JUG
- 2016-05-20: Sompo Japan Tachikawa
- 2016-05-21: JJUG event
- 2016-05-24: Java Day Tokyo
- 2016-05-26: Java Kueche (Okinawa)
- 2016-05-28: JavaDo (Sapporo)
We arrived in Tokyo on the 9th of May. The next day we visited the Oracle office in Tokyo and rented our motorcycles: two Ducati Multistrada 1200. The whole trip we kept posting updates via Twitter using the #javajapantour hashtag.
On the 11th we drove the first part from Tokyo to Nagoya to speak at the Nagoya JUG. We had a total of six GoPros so we could not only record and live-stream our sessions but also capture some motorcycle footage.
We also started our "good coffee stop" Twitter game. Besides promoting the Java community one goal of ours was also to visit as many good coffee shops as possible.
The next stop was the Okayama JUG.
May 13th was the first day without an event in the evening, which gave us some more time to take nicer road with the bikes. We drove to the city of Fukuoka and visited the Fukuoka JUG the next day.
After Fukuoka the next stop was the city of Hiroshima on the 15th. We also had more time to drive there, so we took a relaxing and windy ferry to Shikoku.
A few meals and a nice coffee stop later we visited the Hiroshima JUG on the 16th. The Obscura coffee shop in Hiroshima was one of the best we visited so far—these guys really know their job.
Later on that day we also had to do some "Sake research" for a surprise challenge we planned for the JJUG event. So we went to a bar that specialized in Japanese Sake and participated in a tasting.
On the 17th we visited the JUG in the city of Osaka.
The next stop for our trip was Toyama—this time without a JUG event, but with nice motorcycle roads in between.
On the 19th we drove even further to the north and visited the Sendai JUG.
On the next day we drove back to Tokyo and held a Java EE event at the Sompo Japan company.
On Saturday the 21st we participated at the JJUG event in Tokyo. It was a whole day of Java content including entertaining, lightning talks, and shows.
After the lightning talks we organized a Sake tasting challenge because we collected several bottles of Sake while driving through Japan. The participants had to guess the region each glass of Sake came from. Steve and I did actually quite poorly in guessing but our Japanese competitors were really good at that game.
The next days until Java Day Tokyo we spent our time preparing everything for the event, visiting a coffee festival, exploring Tokyo, and (at least for me) driving through the Izu peninsula.
On May 24th the whole day was full of Java content at Java Day Tokyo.
We set up a NightHacking interview area—with one motorcycle as decoration, of course—where Community Manager Yolande Poirier interviewed Japanese developers.
Steve and I both held sessions about the RetroPie gaming console and hypermedia-driven REST with JAX-RS, respectively. We both appeared at the keynote and presented the Java Japan Tour. Steve also surprisingly announced that I was to be a new Java Champion—so all attendees heard that news first, even before it was officially announced.
In the evening we had a panel discussion about the Java Community together with JCP Program Director Heather VanCura and Java Evangelist Yoshio Terada.
Thankfully, Java Champion Yuichi Sakuraba took photos of the event.
One day after Java Day we had to return the rental bikes and took a plane to the island of Okinawa. At least for me it was the first time in a tropical climate—a relatively unknown experience. Besides the climate the island also has beautiful areas—and quite slow traffic.
On the 26th we interviewed the developers of Java Kueche—"Kuche" happens to be the German word for "kitchen."
[// interview video]
Before we left Okinawa one day later we had a chance to visit another good coffee stop.
After the tropical climate on Okinawa we went back to a more relaxed, European-like climate, namely to the island of Hokkaido. We landed in Sapporo and made our way to an onsen—a traditional Japanese hot spring—this time, unfortunately, without motorbikes. Hokkaido has a beautiful, quite green landscape and I bet it's terrific to ride a bike there.
On the 28th we visited JavaDo—the Hokkaido Java user group. Java Champion Yuichi Sakuraba joined us for a session about Java 9 modules.
We also had a chance to walk around Sapporo—which happens to be the partner city of Munich. That's why you can find an original May tree there, which immediately caught my attention as a Bavarian citizen.
May 28th was the last day for us to be in Japan, unfortunately. We flew back to Tokyo later that day and then back to Munich (for me) and to San Francisco (for Steve). We both enjoyed the time in Japan very much and will definitely come back to the Java user groups as soon as possible.
About the Author
Sebastian Daschner is a Java freelancer working as a consultant, software developer, and architect. He is enthusiastic about programming and Java EE and is participating in the JCP, serving in the JSR 370 Expert Group, and hacking on various open source projects on GitHub. He has been working with Java for more than six years. Besides Java, Daschner is also a heavy user of Linux and container technologies such as Docker. He evangelizes computer science practices on his blog and on Twitter.
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