anime, life

The Summer Triangle (夏の大三角)

Last weekend, I went camping in the Korean DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). The camping site is a renovation from a shut-down school, which is just one mile from the border of South/North Korea. Of course, the place is in the area where a civilian cannot enter, but the Korean government and army established a camping site there, and we can use it with prior approval and a process at the military checkpoint.

The facility at the site is excellent, and the recent mood of reconciliation between South/North Korea makes me comfortable there. But the most exciting thing to me was a different one. That day, there was no moon, and the site should be one of the darkest areas in Korea. That means that it is the perfect point of astronomical observation.

And the feature image is my best shot – the Summer Triangle. The Summer Triangle is famous for many anime fans from the ending theme of Bakemonogatari (化物語 / Monster Story) – “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” (君の知らない物語 / The story you don’t know. The three stars – Denev (left in the picture), Altair (right), and Vega (top) – from the start of the TV version of the song form a shape of a triangle in the sky, and this is the Summer Triangle.

The photo is taken by Sony α7R III / Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15mm. The lens is a manual lens, but it was the correct answer because the full-open aperture and the infinite distance is perfect for astronomical photography. Sony α7R was notorious as a Star-Eraser with its too sensitive noise reduction logic, but I think the new α7R III presented a reasonable result.

I always curious about the Summer Triangle after I listened to the song. It is too hard to watch stars in the urban area in these days. But when I see the sky this time, I could say that “That is the Summer Triangle!” It deeply moved me, and it – to be in falling starlight – must be one of my happiest hours.

life, tech

F8 2018

Weeks ago, I attended F8 2008. F8 is the tech conference of Facebook. In the tech world, it is usual to say a long word with the number of characters: F8 = Facebook. I remember the days F8 was pronounced as [feit], but everyone now calls it just [F-eight].

It is my third time of F8; I have been there 2010, 2011, which was a long time ago. Comparing to other developer conferences of other tech giants (e.g., WWDC, Google I/O and so on), F8 has been a small conference. It has been only one or two days event and space was limited. However, from the last year, it has been held at a proper place of the host’s power: San Jose Convention Center.

No over-night line for F8.

For a long time, the sanctuary of developer conferences has been Moscone Center, San Francisco. My last tech conference at San Jose Convention Center was GDC 2002. However, San Jose Convention center regains its glory days with coming back of WWDC. I’m not sure why they are returning. I prefer Moscone. Everything is convenient to access. Everywhere is within minutes of walks. However, it is true that the area is too expensive in these days for both attendees and the host.

The food was excellent with a lot of hot food selections. It is hard to prepare warm food for thousands of attendees, but the choice was excellent. Not only always-filled quality caffeine (I hate the ‘only decaf available’ time) in tank dispensers, but there were also many experienced baristas, and I can enjoy lovely lattes. The official after party was excellent (as usual for any tech-giant conference) with the Grammy-nominated artist Logic.

demo booths, short sessions, AR scavenger, flooding food
The after party

Several weeks already past and I don’t want to repeat all announcements here. I expected the mood of the event somewhat gloomy due to the Cambridge Analytica issue, but it was a happy event. I want to mention two things.

VR in Facebook is serious

Against other companies, I always feel that there is a kind of ‘grit’ in Facebook. My favorite was Occuls Go. Not because I had my free one, but I was impressed with their milestones and their intention to realize the dream. While many investors get pessimistic in these days, I felt that they have a clear goal to achieve, a detailed plan to get there, and the potential (and budget) to realize it.

The other thing was that they never talked about the money, their earning. Facebook has a robust business model: ad. Although there were some booths about Facebook ads, it was constrained and only for platform developers. They were trying to say just about how they can make more value to their users: the new features. To me, it was their confidence that they can make more money only if they can satisfy their users. And this is also the mission of my company; to let people concentrate on the value of their service without worrying about the monetization.

P.S.: To Apple. Although I couldn’t be selected for WWDC this year, please get back toasters for breakfast. The hard and cold bagel is too miserable and not proper to the name of the Apple conference.


In the City

Leaving Seattle with my best memories, I decided to spend this weekend in my spiritual hometown – the City, San Francisco.

I worked in San Francisco 2008-2009 at Cyworld USA. My office was on the Market St. in the area of Financial District. I remember both the energetic moment of the street in my early days and the scary scenery when the Lehman broke.


I met an old friend who is now working for Uber, and his office is the next building of my old office, and those two buildings are a kind of twin building. For a reason, the system and floor plan are very familiar with me. However, the Uber office is excellent just as other tech-giants offices in Bay area nowadays; our office was also good but honestly not this grade.


In my old days, I loved to walk down to the Ferry Building through the Market St at lunchtime or in the early morning. It helped me organize my thoughts. There is a local fair around the Ferry Building area on weekends. You can find a great deal sometimes.


My best place in the City is AT&T Park – the home of San Francisco Giants. As a long-time Giants fan, I bought tickets for three days in a row this time. The first two days, I took the Lower Box seat of the 3rd base side, which was my seat of the old days. Usually, the Lower Box seat is for season ticket owners. The guy next to me was also season ticket owner of this year. It is the best spot to watch the pitcher of the away team.

The starting pitcher of LA (oh.. LA… ) of the first game was Hyun-jin Ryu, the famous Korean Major leaguer and maybe the best pitcher of Dodgers this year so far. I like him. He is a really good pitcher, and he has a same first-name with my wife; it is a neutral name in Korea. But to Giants? No way. It is a privilege and obligation of season ticket owners to welcome the opposing pitchers with warming sounds.


The food of the City is marvelous. Chicken Tender with Garlic Fries of Derby Grill is the best of the Ballpark. I loved to grab a pizza from Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria in front of the AT&T Park to the ball game. As a steak zealot, Lark is my best steakhouse in the City, and Tad’s Steakhouse is always a reasonable option. But my favorite is the breakfast of Pinecrest Diner in Union Square. This 24hr restaurant never closes it door since its open – 1969. My best is Pinecrest Omelette, but every dish is excellent.


I love this City. I remember almost every corner of the downtown San Francisco. Many places in my memory are still there. But sometimes, there are some figures that I have never known. There are many new skyscrapers in the City. No Borders, No Barnes & Novel, No Stacey’s Bookstore anymore. The most gloomy scenery for me this time is that my old temple turned to an ordinary T-mobile store. Living in the City is too expensive these days. Rent is doubled or tripled compared with ten years ago. Driving in the City is always a nightmare with traffics and many one-way roads, but I think it is getting worse now.

Time goes by; we have to admit it. With different people, status, and time, the City cannot be the same as my good old days. Nevertheless, the reason this City still has my most affection is this view. The view from the View Reserved seats of the ballpark.
This scenery always makes me at peace. I cannot have found any other place like this except for home.



Visiting Seattle Office

Currently, I’m working in my Seattle office. Although I have written about animes, and also I’m working on an anime/game related job as a hobby (rather than a side-job), my primary responsibility is a software engineer, and I’m working in a company named Moloco Inc. My company provides online/mobile advertisement platform. We play as a DSP(Demand Side Platform). We present 100% programmatic and real-time bidding for every impression level, and We optimize it with AI/machine-learning. In these days everyone says about AI and ML, but we indeed do that. We have offices in Palo Alto (HQ), Seattle, New York, San Francisco and Seoul. Usually, I’m working on Seoul office, but this time I have a collaboration with engineers in Seattle.

It is my first time of visiting Seattle. When I got to SeaTac (Seattle Tacoma International Airport), ten flights were landed at the same time. I had to wait for one hour in a narrow corridor (and one more hour at the passport control floor). However, while I was waiting, the music flew with apology mentions and the airport staffs provided fresh water bottles to us. I couldn’t imagine this in the US before (10 years ago). Although it took more than 2 hours to get out of the gate, it was not so uncomfortable with their warm hospitality.


My Seattle office is near from Univ. of Washington. Two small working rooms and one meeting room which are filled with scattered goods and snacks – as the typical startup offices. The Cafe Allegro is in two minutes walk where Howard Schultz got an insight about Starbucks.


The weather of Seattle now is marvelous. The sky is crystal blue, and it’s warm, not so hot as the Bay area. The air is fresh, and the breeze is pleasant. Every my colleague said that it is unusual at this time. But they said that the weather of summer (July-Sep) in Seattle is just like this.


The local food is terrific. The stake sandwich of Jak’s Grill must be my favorite. I’ve never had Jimmy John’s in Bay area. You should try the clam pizza at Mioposto.

Although this time will be a short visit (about a week), I must get to love this city. But, I also want to experience the rainy day in Seattle. Which make me know the real aspect of this city. If I can enjoy the rain, this city could be my favorite.

anime, life

Two Movies

Last Friday was the coldest day of this winter in Seoul; it was -15 Celsius (5 in Fahrenheit). Luckily I had a dinner appointment in Tokyo that day and could fly out from the cold storm. But the real luck was not my escape from being frozen to death: it was that I had a great chance to watch two anime movies that I dearly wanted to: “Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Take on Me” and “Mazinger Z Infinity.”

1. 中二病でも恋がしたい!Take on Me (Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Take on Me)

I’m a huge fan of this show. Expressing my affection to characters of this series is a real challenge to me with my poor English: especially to Rikka(六花). They always made me happy with reminding me of my old Chunibyo-days. The battle of Rikka and Shichimiya made my eyes weepy. The ending of the second season of the TV show was a great deal. It was a bright, lovely and happy ending. And three years have passed, and the entirely new sequel story has come as a theater movie.


‘Three years’ is a long time, and it is enough time to make our memories fade. Even for me, it was hard to grasp the character of Nibutani. But when I heard the call “Mori-sama,” a sparkling was sprout out from deep inside of my brain, and everything of her got settled down inside me. (same with Kumin-senpai) Believe me, it won’t take more than 10 minutes for everything is in order if you watched the previous seasons.

Although Kyoto Animation might want to make all around of Japan as holy places, it does not matter to us. The story was 6 months later from the end of 2nd cour (Ren – 戀 / Heart Throb). It engraves lovely characters – that love came out through 26 episodes – on us again, and it gives us the finale that we all wanted. It should be the right way to end a most beloved series.


One thing interesting to me was that there is a ‘photo time.’ Right after the movie begins, there is a time that we can take a picture of a scene and post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on. It was my first time to take a picture in a movie theater freely, and it is Japan! (I’ve heard that there was the same photo time in the Euphonium movie. It might be a genius move of Kyoto Animation to motivate virals.)

As usual, the theme songs are created/performed by ZAQ. Yes, she is also one of my favorite artist and songs of Chunibyo was always the best. Sparkling Daydream is still one of my best numbers.

I think this is the last of the Chunibyo series with considering other Kyoto Animation’s history. And I think this is the real and true happy ending ever after for original fans. I strongly recommend that this is a must watch, especially if you are a fan of the original series. And if possible, the movie theater is the best place to watch; because you can watch it with your comrades who can share their loves with you.


2. Mazinger Z Infinity

I was (maybe) nine year old when I first watched the show. The show was on-air 1972 in Japan and 1975 in Korea. In 1975, I was one year old and that must not the time I watched it. It should be sometime in the 1980s.

Mazinger Z Infinity is planned for the 50th anniversary of the debut of Nagai, Go (the original author) and the 45th anniversary of the show. There were some tries to make a sequel to Mazinger Z. But I don’t like those until now because I couldn’t feel any connection from the original series in them. I thought they were something of parallel universe that just borrowed the name and shape of the original. Considering positively, I think they were entirely new interpretations of the theme of the original: “You can be either God or Daemon with Mazinger.”

However, this is the real sequel to the Mazinger Z: precisely, Great Mazinger. The story is a 10 years after the final of Great Mazinger. The stage and characters are from the original series as they were. Although those figures are attractive ones, Mazinger Z was more a story-oriented anime than character-oriented anime; and the story of only one hero and one villain – Kabuto, Kouji (even there is Tetsuya – the hero of Great Mazinga) and Dr. Hell. And this Mazinger Z Infinity is the right period of the original story and the story of them.

IMG_0895The action sequence is marvelous. With contemporary 3D technology, the battles with Mechanical Beasts cannot be better. You can see all (indeed!) weapons and skills of Mazinger Z and Great Mazinger in this one movie. The completion of the 2D part is also excellent. The character design is glittering but still has the scent of the original.

The original character – Lisa, might be a little short. But we must understand that it is tough to set up a wholly new character just in a short 2-hour movie among long-time beloved characters. And we can now understand the real objective of Dr. Hell – why he has been bothering to conquer the world.

Someone might not like the last word of Sayaka (now she is the director of New Photonic Energy Lab). Yes, a great power always brings a risk also. Sometimes we fail. But we will get used to it and overcome it. That is the way we make the future. I will be on her side.


Happy Holiday 2017

I’m a lapsed Catholic since the time I cannot remember. I received infant baptism and took my first communion when I was in the military training camp. It only took just four times lectures from a sister, and it was fortunate for me (because the ordinary course of communion takes several weeks), but I couldn’t find any meaning of religion at that time, and I haven’t been to the cathedral from some time.

But, there is only one lesson that I still remember; the meaning of Catholic. It is ‘universal’ or ‘general.’ Although the religion hasn’t always been with the spirit of its name, that meaning has impressed me a lot until now. I want to be a person who doesn’t enforce only one idea and embrace many different thoughts.

It is the only one time in a year that I go to the cathedral: the Eve. There is always Christmas Eve Mass in a cathedral near from my home (10 min. walk). Although I cannot participate in the communion, it is the perfect time to retrospect this year and think about the next. Last year, I was in trouble and getting out of the pain is my only desire. But this year, I have a lot of new experience and opportunities, and it makes me hard to decide what to pray last night; it was a little awkward but an ironically happy moment.

In Korea, there is a tradition that having tteoks (a kind of rice cake) in someone’s birthday. My cathedral gives away tteoks on the night of Eve, and I’m sure that this is my best tteoks. I wish everyone has the happy holiday and peaceful new year.