Trip to Yakushima, April 2017

Last week, we went to Yakushima Island, visiting my Mom and Dad. It’s the first time for my daughter Lisa —  we had only met up in Tokyo and Fukuoka (which is my hometown and where my other relatives live) since she was born.

Day 1: April 22

We flew from Haneda to Kagoshima, then Yakushima.

It takes about 2 hrs from Tokyo to Kagoshima, and 35 minutes from Kagoshima to Yakushima. Once we landed, I could smell the difference in the air. Humid and fresh.

My parents picked us up at the airport, and we went to Harutahama Beach (春田浜) to take a walk. It was a little cloudy, but the clear green water made me realize that we are now on the southern island.

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View from Matsumine Ōhashi Bridge (松峯大橋)

Day 2: April 23

The sky cleared up and it was one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen in Yakushima. We decided to go around the entire island (the circumference is about 130km/80 miles) by car.

Dad drove us to all kinds of neat places, Yakushima Shrine, Environment & Culture Center, Issō and Nagatahama Beaches, Ōko-no-taki Falls, Rhododendron Park… We saw some wild deer on the roadside too.

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Ōko-no-taki Falls (大川の滝)

Day 3: April 24

We went to Yakusugi Land, a hiking trail at 1,000-meter altitude. Because we have a 2-year-old with us, we took the shortest route toward the Budda Ceder (仏陀杉) to have lunch at the gazebo nearby.

It’s kind of our tradition to make coffee when we go there. This time we also made miso soup and tea 🙂

Day 4: April 25

We spent the morning at Mom’s garden, having tea and cake on a picnic table. The smell of spring flowers was really nice, so intensive it was almost like perfume.

ハゴロモジャスミン。 #pinkjasmine #momsgarden

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In the afternoon, Keita flew back to Tokyo by himself. Lucky him, he had no delay or cancellation.

Mom made an apron for Lisa because she loves to put it on at her daycare. She now has her own to use at home!

Day 5: April 26

Mom, Lisa, and I were to leave for Fukuoka on the 13:15 flight this day, but the weather didn’t let us go so easy. We waited for about half an hour after the scheduled time, hoping the flight coming from Kagoshima could land so the same plane can take us to Fukuoka. Despite the crew’s effort to attempt landing several times, they didn’t make it and went back to Kagoshima.

We ended up canceling the flight and taking a high-speed craft Toppi and Shinkansen bullet train instead. Which meant the 50-minute single plane ride turned into 4.5-hour trip with a boat, taxi, and train. At least, Lisa was (I think!) excited to ride on Shinkansen for the second time in her life.

We had a short visit at my grandma’s & aunt’s assisted living residence in Fukuoka.


If you are planning to visit Yakushima someday, my one recommendation is to stay as long you possibly can. Because 1) you never know how the weather will turn out to be, and 2) it’s just a great place to spend time at. I hope my next trip is a longer one!

.blog domain logo

New domain: naoko.blog

I’ve changed the primary domain of this blog — en.naoko.cc is now naoko.blog 🙂

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If you also want a short & sweet .blog domain, head out to get.blog, or upgrade to any of WordPress.com paid plans with a free custom domain credit (Automattic, the company I work for, is the registrar of the new .blog extension).

Here’s a video of Matt explaining why you should get own one (with Japanese & Brazilian Portuguese subtitle options, too!).

 

Automattic Grand Meetup 2016 in Whistler

Automattic Grand Meetup is an annual event where the whole company get together and spend a week. This year, we all travelled to Whistler, Canada.

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Writing Class

For an elective project/class, I took the Art of Wiring class taught by Nicole Kohler. She is a content manager for the Woo team and I’ve always enjoyed reading her posts on WooCommerce Blog.

I used to fear English writing assignments at high school & college, but this was nothing like those. I enjoyed feeling like I’m able to improve rather than being pointed out my flaws.

Activities

We were lucky not to get rained too hard during the Whistler Photowalk tour. The clouds & rainbow after a shower were a nice bonus!

I also joined a cooking class, tea tasting, and Asiamattician breakfast with lots of local food everyone brought from home.

Swing dancing and the farewell party were not just fun but good opportunities to see the side of my colleagues that I don’t get to see every day.

Back to Work

The Grand Meetup was an excellent timing for me to catch up with what’s going on after a sabbatical.

The event reminded me how lucky I am to be working at a company that inspires & helps me grow both professionally and personally.

Maine, Summer 2016

I think we picked the perfect timing for visiting my husband’s family this summer, avoiding the heat wave in Tokyo while getting only a couple of cloudy/rainy days.

Two of my favorite Instagram captures: at Sebago Lake and Popham Beach.

夜明け

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#beach

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Our daughter loves playing in water – not just pools but lake and ocean too. She also had fun playing the piano, sitting in a car seat (for most of the time!), pretending to drive a fire truck at Portland Children’s Museum 🙂

WordCamp Europe 2016 Slides & Photos

Last Friday, I presented a talk about the Japanese WordPress community at WordCamp Europe 2016 in Vienna.

The video will be published on WordPress.tv at some point. Meanwhile, here are some points for those who had missed it:

  • Japanese is the most widely used non-English WP locale (12.3% of non-English locales)
  • WordPress is by far the most popular CMS in Japan today (78.5% share – higher number compared to 59.5% for English sites)
  • Meetups are held almost every weekend somewhere in Japan. We make it easy to see events across Japan through the WordBench website and the event calendar. Many of the chapters create unique banners for each event.
  • The online community is also active, with many contributors on translation, documentation, support, bug fix & report, and Wapuu too!
  • Show others how to get involved, recognize their hard work, and help out.
  • Your own contribution can be multiplied if you help others to contribute. It’s necessary to grow the community for WordPress to succeed.

It was a pleasure to have had an opportunity to share what I’ve seen in the local community for the past 13 years. As I said in the talk, my goal is to help others contribute to WordPress so the “small steps” of more people can build up to form a long stride. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Day 0 (WCEU Picnic) Photos

Francesca and I hosted a picnic at Burggarten near the venue on Thursday.

#wceupicnic #wceu #wceu2016

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Day 1 Photos

Day 2 Photos

The childcare support at WCEU this year was really great.

Thanks #wceu organizing team for arranging a visit to the children's museum. It was fun! 💕

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Photos: Contributor Day

Having discussion face-to-face was the best part of the Contributor Day.

Taking a Sabbatical

For the next three month, I’m taking the first sabbatical in my life.

When I first heard that I can take a fully paid sabbatical every five years at Automattic, it was about a half year after coming back from my 3-month maternity leave. My sixth year started a couple month before then, but I didn’t feel like going away for an extended time again – even though the fact is that the company encourages us to take one.

Even when I seriously started thinking about the time off for this summer, I wasn’t 100% sure if this is going to be a good idea for me. 

I like my work, and there are so many things I want to get done!

One of my teammates who shared some of the tasks with me is no longer around, maybe I should wait.

Won’t this create too much extra work for others in my team?

But now that I have passed over my work to Andrew who will be backing me up, I feel both relieved and ready. 

From today, I’m taking a 10-day trip with my husband and daughter to Vienna. I will be speaking & volunteering at WCEU (that may sound like work but I’m doing that as just someone involved in the WordPress community 🙂 )

I plan on taking some more trips, reading books, organizing WordCamp Tokyo, and working on some other projects I have in mind.

WordPress Meetup Tokyo #29: Theme Workshop

At the WordPress Meetup Tokyo yesterday, we held a 2-hour WordPress theme building workshop.

Based on the feedback, sounds like the attendees liked how it went! Thanks to my co-organizers and attendees who helped out each other, everyone was able to learn something new.

I also enjoyed the meetup because it gave me a chance to understand the key elements in learning how to build an original WordPress theme for the first time.

I think these are some of very important (but often overlooked) points:

If this list looks like a no-brainer to you, then you are on the right track.

But if you think WordPress theme building is like a black magic, I highly recommend reading through the Theme Handbook before you head to any other tutorial videos or articles online.

The theme files and instruction text I prepared for the workshop are available here if anyone is interested.

Next WordPress Meetup Tokyo will be on June 12th!

WordPress Meetup Tokyo #30 – June 2016: Plugin Workshop

Sunday, Jun 12, 2016, 3:00 PM

Coworking space kayabacho, co-edo tokyo
Shinkawa 1-3-4, Chuo-ku Tokyo, JP

4 WordPress Users & Developers Attending

In this meetup, we will introduce some basic information on creating WordPress Plugins.If you want to understand how to build your own plugin, come and learn with the meetup group!We highly recommend bringing a laptop with a local development environment.FYI: There will be another WordPress meetup in the afternoon (held in Japanese) at Co-Edo: h…

Check out this Meetup →