2015-12-29 11.57.48

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!

2015-07-25 15.53.11

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 Meetup.com, Still Active

When I say “meetups,” I’m not always referring to events that are on the website Meetup.com. 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 Meetup.com’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

A photo posted by Naoko Takano (@naokomc) on

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!