Gemma’s No-Bake Tiramisu Cheesecake

One of our recent favorite cooking (YouTube) shows is Bigger Bolder Baking by Gemma Stafford. Today I made her latest recipe, No-Bake Tiramisu Cheesecake for Valentine’s Day ❤️

Tiramisu with banana on top 🍫🍌 #valentine #tiramisu

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I skipped the Ladyfingers and whipped cream but added slices of bananas instead. I couldn’t find digestives or graham crackers so I used Japanese cookies called Marie. Marie cookies worked great for layering in between the cheese mix too. A packet of Starbucks VIA seems perfect for the whole recipe (which calls for 5-6 tsp of instant coffee granules).

The recipe on her blog: No-Bake Tiramisu Cheesecake for Valentine’s Day

Team Global Meetup 2016: Tokyo Edition

This week, my team at Automattic had a meetup in… Tokyo! 🗼🎌 I was so waiting for this to happen, and finally… my five teammates and the CFO all made it here.

(Last time was in Copenhagen, Denmark – March 2015)

One thing that didn’t go as planned was that I got a cold during the week 😓 But luckily I was able to join back with the team after seeing my doctor.

On Wednesday, we took a stroll around Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya. It was a beautiful sunny day. We could see Mt. Fuji from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory.

We also got to see some plum and early-blossoming cherry flowers in Shinjuku Gyoen Park.


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The last day was a combination of a productive morning clearing out a good number of todos & unresolved issues, 1-on-1 meeting with Alex, then a tasty dinner.

Even though it doesn’t feel like I only meet them (at most) twice a year because we work together every day online, it’s always nice to meet in person and say “Kanpai!” 🍻

Jenia’s series of meetup diary is on her blog.

2015: The Year Of Gratitude

This fall, I wrote that I would pick the word “joy” to describe the past twelve months before my daughter turned one-year-old.

When I look back 2015, I feel very grateful for things that happened to my family and me. Some of them are:

One of my favorite moments this year: working along with other polyglots at WordCamp US Contributor Day.

So, if your life crossed mine (online or offline) this year, I thank you for making my 2015 what it was!

Japanese WordPress Community Events in 2015

This is a translated version of my Japanese blog post.

As I was adding some end-of-year events to the WordPress Japan Official Event Calendar a few weeks ago, I noticed there have been between 1 to 5 WordPress events every week these past two months across the country. I took a closer look at the calendar to see what else I could find about local WordPress communities in Japan.

WordCamp Kansai 2015

Get Involved flyers in Japanese

WordBench Groups

WordBench is a network of Japanese WordPress local groups. 17 existing groups organized more than one meetup this year: Niigata, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, Nagoya, Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Toyama, Fukui, Ehime, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. Also, three new groups got started this year: Hakodate, Akita, and Yamanashi.

Among those, seven groups held more than ten meetups in 2015 (WordBench Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, Osaka, Nara, Toyama, and Kagoshima)!

WordBench Tokyo 2015 August

WordBench Tokyo August 2015

Events at Coworking Spaces

WordBench groups are not the only ones that are building local communities of WordPress users. There are also several regular meetups and self-study groups hosted at coworking spaces.

Not on, Still Active

When I say “meetups,” I’m not always referring to events that are on the website These local WordPress gatherings are usually called 勉強会 (“study meetings“) in Japanese, but their format is very similar to what’s called meetups in English-speaking countries.

Most of the groups use the Japanese event management service called Doorkeeper (EN) to organize attendees, primarily because’s Japanese localization was only recently made available.

WordCamp and Other Events

WordCamp Kansai took place in Osaka in July and WordCamp Tokyo in Oct./Nov. In August, 250 people gathered in Nagoya for “WordFes“. WordBench Fukui group recently organized another unique annual meetup called, “WordCrab,” where people got together to learn WordPress and eat fresh crab (!) from the area at the after-party.

Historically, major WordCamps in the Kansai and Tokyo areas draw hundreds of attendees. I think it would also be nice to see more local WordCamps in Japan with different flavors, on a smaller scale.

WordCamp Kansai! #wordcamp #wck2015 #osaka

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Future Meetups and Events in Japan

It’s great that so many local groups are getting together to talk about WordPress every week somewhere in Japan. I’m looking forward to new ideas and shared knowledge that come out of community events in 2016.

Re: Podcasts I’m Listening To (November 2015 Edition)

Keita just wrote a blog post about the podcasts he is currently listening. I was talking to him about the differences between our lists and realized something — that I love shows that present random and new ideas/topics. So here is my post in reply to his.

Freakonomics Radio on a United flight :)

Freakonomics Radio on a United flight from SF -> Tokyo, 2013.

Current Favorites

Here are my top favorites at the moment in no particular order:

Let me list some of the recent titles: The Landlord’s Game, Fountain Drinks, Butterfly Effects, and War & Pizza (99% Invisible); Adaptation, Quiet, Headspace, and Playing With Perceptions (TED Radio Hour). I love the fact that I have no idea what to expect from these two shows, yet almost every one of the episode has something I find interesting.

Freakonomics Radio is supposed to be about something related to economics, and Exponent is about the tech industry and its influence on the society. But both of them also bring broad-ranging subjects within the segmentation.

I keep going back to each of these four podcasts for new episodes. Give them a try! I hope you get hooked too.

WordPress Podcasts

For WordPress podcasts, I subscribe to these three and listen to about 50-70% of the episodes depending on the topic or guest.

Other Subscriptions

I also subscribe to these, though I skip some of them if my playlist gets filled up (which happens a lot).

I sometimes listen to what Keita is playing on a speaker (= anything Siracusa, space/astronomy, and lots of The Incomparable!). Also, I like downloading individual episodes found in the “Recommendations from Twitter” section on Overcast.

I thought our top lists had more items in common, but they turned out to be very different. We’ll see how our interests shift in the future!

WordCamp Tokyo 2015 Recap

As the saying goes, “WordCamp isn’t over until you blog about it” – so let’s properly wrap up another successful event by the Japanese WordPress community.

WordCamp Tokyo 2015 was a two-day event on October 31 & November 1. The second day was the contributor day — the first in Tokyo! Tickets were sold out, and a total of 750 attendees participated.

For three years since 2012, PHP Conference and WordCamp Tokyo held the events at the same venue, splitting the cost and sharing some logistical tasks. This year they stayed in the same location (I wrote a photo report on PHPCON this year) and we sort of “grew out of our nest.” It no longer made sense to share the venue because of the number of sessions/tracks both events wanted to host, so we decided to try a commercial conference hall, Bellesalle Kanda.


There were 33 sessions (20-30 minutes), 5 workshops, and about a dozen of flash talks (5 minutes). They covered a broad range of topics including security, WordPress as an ePub generator, GPL, CI, REST API, wp-cli, WooCommerce, growing a media site, open data, writing, and marketing business with a WordPress blog. Among 33 of the main sessions, 6 speakers were female.

I presented a session on why you should choose WordPress over other CMS/blogging services/site builders (slides in Japanese).

This year, the organizing team tried something new, an English-only track. Jordan West from Automattic, Noel Tock from HumanMade, and Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) from Dreamhost either presented a session or did a Q&A, and three Japanese speakers gave their talks in English.

You can view (almost all of) the session slides on this WordCamp Tokyo post. Most of them are in Japanese, but glancing over 40+ slides should give you some ideas on the current interests of the Japanese WordPress community!

Jetpack + WooCommerce Booths & Tattoo Station

Nick Hamze, Jordan and I set up and staffed Automattic’s Jetpack and WooCommerce sponsor booths (tables). Nick brought us T-shirts with “We’re hiring” written in Japanese!

We also had great help from Benson (from WordPress Meetup Tokyo) at the Jetpack table, and Shohei Tanaka with the WooCommerce table. Shohei has been localizing WooCommerce for Japanese users, and it was great to get to know him and learn more about the trend of eCommerce websites in Japan.

I think people had fun putting on the gold temporary tattoo 🙂

Swag & Visual Design

Just like the past years, WordCamp Tokyo had cool special Wapuu stickers for everyone, and as different levels of fancy prizes for those who turned in the event feedback survey. The design team is planning to open sourcing their designs again.

Yasushi (he also designed the Wapuu for this year), natsumiine, and Hamano worked on the main visuals and swag. Megumi customized the website.


The team already published the results of the post-event survey, and people seemed to have received the event well. Some interesting facts:

  • The ratio of the men and women who came was about 2:1.
  • The top 3 job titles were 1) web designer, 2) programmer, and 3) web director.
  • The top 3 sessions they want to attend in the future WordCamp were 1) theme development and customization, 2) hardening security, and 3) plugin development and customization.

I was happy to read these write-in answers:

It was an incredible experience to participate in a large event like WordCamp Tokyo. I have been learning WordPress all by myself until now, but I now want to expand my view by meeting/hearing others.

I enjoyed the great community. Looking forward to the next time.

I felt that everyone who put together the event really loves WordPress ♥

The teamwork of the organizing team (main organizer Susumu, co-organizer Yutaro, 11 committee leads, and about 70 other volunteers) was especially good this year, and together they did an awesome job. I look forward to being a part of WordCamp Tokyo again next year!

More photos & Links

I’ll be writing more about the Contributor Day in a separate post.

WordPress Meetup Tokyo: November 2015

Last night, I co-organized the 24th WordPress Meetup Tokyo. This meetup group for English speakers hosts smaller and more intimate get-togethers compared to WordBench Tokyo, which is in Japanese.

Toru did a presentation on the upcoming WordPress version 4.4 with an emphasis on the responsive image feature, based on his talk at WordCamp Tokyo last month. I showed a couple quick demos on how WordPress post embed works and the new Twenty Sixteen theme.

WordPress 4.4 embed test post

A screenshot from my test site, displaying a WordPress post embed on the Twenty Sixteen theme.

Next speaker was Sarah Cada from the Philippines. I met her when I was at WordCamp Philippines 2012 and kept in touch through our mutual friend (now a coworker) Andrew. Sarah came in as a special guest to this meetup while she’s visiting Tokyo as a part of her first trip to Japan. She talked about her involvement in the Philippine Web Designers Organization, the state of local web communities, and painfully slow internet connection there 😛

Jeff Crawford shared his experience building a business site using a theme from Thrive Themes. Jeff had shown me his site Connect-Local with another choice of a theme at a previous meetup, but this time he said he’s really happy with the ease of customization.

He also mentioned other WYSIWYG customizable themes he had tried: OptimizePress and Beaver Builder.

Junko from Kagawa joined us, and Ichi from Japan was also there

At WordPress Meetup Tokyo with Sarah, Mayuko, Junko. なかなかない組み合わせ!

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The next meetup is not yet scheduled, but be sure to join the meetup group if you’re interested in getting a notification about it.