Early this year, Ahmad Haris asked me If I wanted to visit Japan for LibreOffice Kaigi. My family and I had traveled to Japan several years ago and we had a great time there.
My paper was accepted and I was so happy because not only my company (Fans shoes manufacture) supported me to visit the Conference,but my company also sponsored the event.
I bought Singapore Airline tickets from Jakarta to Haneda via Singapore. I also booked a hostel near Kamata station which it was closer to the airport.
Arriving In Japan
Ahmad Haris and I arrived at Haneda airport on May 23, 2019. We took the bus from the airport to a bus stop near our hostel. We were blessed because we met a nice Philippine lady who had guided us on how to ride Japan bus for the first time. The bus is excellent and the schedule is on time. Bus direction is really helpful (There was a big LCD TV in front that was informing the bus trip). We had to walk about 10 minutes from the bus stop to our hostel. Google Maps is the best tool for travelling in Japan. From the hostel, we walked out to get some meal. We were quite hungry. Luckily, we found Sakuya Japanese Fast Food nearby that was still open. The restaurant has an English menu so we could order some food without a problem.
The Day Before The Conference
Seven Eleven sandwiches were becoming my daily breakfast in Japan. Japanese bread is very good and really soft. Our first trip was to the post office. I had a package that I was going to send to my best friend in Japan. I thought it was going to be an easy process. Unfortunately, it was really difficult because I could not speak Japanese. After trying to communicate to mail lady for 15 minutes with the help of Google translate, I still could not send the package. I have no idea how to fill the required form.
Haris and I went to Shibuya to find a guitar. Haris could not find a guitar that suite his taste.
We went to Ochanomizu. This place has a lot more guitar stores compare to Shibuya. Haris was really excited because he found so many interesting Japan exclusive guitars. We had a lunch here. In order to get the meal, we need to use some kind of vending machine (unfortunately it was all written in Japanese). We made a mistake ordering a wrong food, fortunately it was eatable. After the meal, Haris continued looking for guitar. He purchased a guitar that was perfect for him. We were impressed with the service from the store clerk. He packed the guitar perfectly almost like factory packing.
In the evening, we were going to the dinner with other TDF members. I met Franklin, Italo and his wife, Lothar and his wife,and several other new friends. Thanks to the Japanese teams (Shinji-san, Naruhiko-san,and others) who made the reservation. It was really crowded but It is very interesting. The food was pretty good for me, but unfortunately me and other Indonesian friends could not drink Alcohol so we drank something else. The meals were rather expensive compared to the meals we had at Sakuya.
First Day of The Conference
It took us about 45 minutes from our hostel to the Conference location. The conference was located at Nihonbashi Tower, at Cybozu Office in floor 27. We needed to print the guess entrance ticket in order to get into the location. We were grateful to Cybozu for providing a beautiful location and also sponsoring the event.
I was asked to give a little speech during the opening. I was so happy because I could learn many things from different countries experiences. I learned some complexity of CKJ (Chinese, Korean, Japanese) characters in LibreOffice which had been improved greatly.
It was also my first time to listen to Sophia’s presentation about the LibreOffice adoption in Nigeria. I learn many things about LibreOffice community from different countries like Japan,China,South Korea,Taiwan, India,German, and Italy. I had also shared our company experience migrating to LibreOffice since seven years ago.
During the lunch break, I went out with Hatori-san to get my lunch at Lawson. We were having difficulty to find the location using Google map. Hatori-san needed to ask several people for the location. Eventually we discovered that the store was located in our building at six floor. No wonder it was difficult to find.
I was amazed with the Japanese friends during the Lighting Talk. Time management is their marvel. It was fast but very informative.
In the Afternoon, Italo Vignoli and Lothar had a presentation. I like Italo’s presentation which have a lot of nice Info graphics that made it easy for everyone to understand.
In the evening we had a dinner. The Japanese team provided both Halal and non Halal food. I tried both of them, and they were really good. I drank many kinds of beverages that were provided (tea, juice, and cola) but no alcohol for me
Second Day Of The Conference
It was Sunday morning, I went to the church before coming to the Conference. The Kamata Catholic church is around 1 km from my hostel. The church was build in 1961. The mass was in Japanese, but I could follow it because the ritual was universally similar to the Catholic church in Indonesia.
After the church, I went to Keikyu Kamata Station to take the train to the Conference. In the middle of my walk to the station, I stopped by near a railroad crossing. I recorded a video of passing train for my son. He really likes to watch this kind of video.
When I arrived at the Conference, I was in the middle of a Business Workshop by Lothar and Italo. I learned some guidelines regarding LibreOffice migration. LibreOffice migration can be as complicated as ERP migration and that is why we might need some professionals for business migration. Fans shoes LibreOffice migration was really easy because we didn’t have any macro or any complex linked MS Office files.
After lunch break, there was Certification Interview. Andik, Haris, and I skiped this session to visit Ginza. We just went there for a very short trip.
While waiting for the interview to end, I had a nice discussion with Sophia about Nigeria. I discovered that Nigeria had similar problems like Indonesia regarding software piracy. After the interview ended, I congratulated Eric for his certification for both LibreOffice migration and training. There are some others who got certified. I heard the interview was nice and not intense.
Later on Italo had another presentation about the different standard between ODF and OOXML. He explained it really well so we knew why ODF is so much more superior than OOXML.
Frankin continued the discussion with “ODF Certification” proposal for the Asian members. This could be really helpful for the Asian community to understand more about ODF standard.
After the Conference, Andik , Haris, and I went to visit Tokyo Jamii Mosque. Unfortunately, they failed to pray there because of a long line Iftar meal. We continued to Ouka Ramen Restaurant. The restaurant was crowded and we had to wait for some time before entering it. Some of the waiters were Indonesian. Many of the customers were also from Indonesia.
They served Halal ramen and vegetarian ramen. I tried the vegetarian ramen. The food were a lot and I was really full. Haris and I bought the halal mochi. They are really delicious.
One Day Tour
After the Conference was over, the Japanese team prepared one day tour for all of us. Naruhiko-san became our tour leader. He knows the history of each place we visited pretty well.
From Nihonbashi bridge we went to Hamarikyu garden. The weather was really fantastic to get nice pictures.
On our way to Asakusa Temple with water bus, I had a nice discussion with Wen QiXiang and Kuan-Ting Lin. I explained the word “Tionghoa” which is used in our country to describe Indonesian people like me who are descended from various Chinese ethnic group. It is interesting because three of us may look a like but we have different nationality.
At Asakusa temple, I had to leave the group to meet my other Japanese friend. Jun was from the same college as me when when we studied at Monterey Peninsula College in United States. We haven’t met each other for more than twenty years.
Jun took me to Akihabara to complete my shopping list for my family.
We went back to my hostel to drop all of my shopping items. I asked her help for sending my friend’s package that I previously failed to deliver at the post office. She made it so easy to send the package. I guess learning Japanese is not such a bad idea. We went to a coffee shop at Shinagawa station. We had a nice talk about our life. On my way back to the hostel, I had tempura dish which is my favorite. I also purchased sashimi from the supermarket. I ate every Japanese food that I was hoping to eat before returning back to Indonesia.
Haris and I went to Haneda airport for our flight to Indonesia. We used all of our last remaining Japanese coins to buy gifts for our family and friends. We had so much fun in Japan. Special thanks to Shinji-san, Naruhiko-san,Hatori-san and all the Japanese teams who have prepared this conference and tour so well. I also want to thank Italo,Lothar,Franklin, and the rest of TDF committee who have made this conference possible in Japan. And thank you to Ahmad Haris, Kukuh, Andik,and Fadlun who have accompanied me through out the whole trip in Japan.
I have submitted my application for TDF membership before writing this blog as I promised to Italo at the Conference. 🙂