Rocking the Yahoo! Japan Bonenkai

Uggh…backlog of bloggage to do. Yahoo! party, very fun date in Harajuku/Omote-Sando, can-coffee reviews, the banal TV here, and a cool language learning site. I’ll probably be hitting them in that order-ish.

From a contact I made at the Six Apart Japan anniversary party, I got invited to Yahoo! Japan’s bounenkai, or end-of-the-year party. It was a ton of fun- they had a presentation on what demographics searched what, the newest and most useful web services of the year, and a presentation by the author of “*yume o kaeru zou,” *which seems to be some sort of best-selling novel about the Hindu God ganesh. I didn’t take too many or particularly great photos; I was trying to catch all the rapidfire Japanese.

The meeting hall, at Midtown Tower in Roppongi. You get a little barcode card when you check in, which lets you in to and out of all the random automated security gates and elevators to your event, exactly once.

Yahoo! Japan's 忘年会会議

Presenting Yahoo!s most-searched keywods for the year. YouTube just overtook Mixi across all demographics, which is huge.

Group work! We were instructed to think of a current problem facing Japan, and an internet-related way to solve it. Our solution: 「クラウド育て」, or “Cloud child-rearing” (Cloud refers to an application in which your data is stored in the internet ether, on some remote server, accessible from anywhere). Essentially, this would connect people looking to raise a child, but deterred by the lack of a partner, and provide internet-enabled tools like videoconferencing, scheduling, and collaborative notes to let them bring one up together.

Schwag! I got the grey t-shirt. The woman reaching for the Yahoo! branded duct tape runs an awesome site called jibunya (“myself-store”), where she provides a rolling feed of everywhere she is and everything she does, as well as rents out her jack-of-all-trades web-hipster abilities to companies at events like this one. I saw her taking video at Six Apart’s anniversary party, but didn’t get to talk to her until the Yahoo! party.

Trading business cards and drinking at the requisite afterparty. I was both the only white guy, and the youngest guy in the room, which seemed to enhance my novelty factor to the point that I ran across two blog posts about my being there.

I had a great time there, and am super-lucky to get to see Japanese business from the inside. I got a ton of business cards from all sorts of wonderful people, and I’m in the last stage of what’s been a week-long project of sending “nice to meet you” notes to everyone before it gets awkwardly late to do so.

See you on the other side of winter break!