Summary of 2008

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Fri 2009/01/02 06:15 JST in Living in Japan Guide

New years greetings comrades! How is the beginning of 2009 treating you so far?
Wanted to publish the events and highlights of 2008 yesterday but was eager to get pics of the Dollfies up.

First pic recently taken in Odaiba with the Lumix LX3.

Going to look back over 2008 starting with January where I was diagnosed with a herniated disc. My back still hurts from time to time especially after trooping. The armor doesn't feel that heavy as the weight is distributed but is probably a strain on the discs. Been doing regular stretches and have not had the not-able-to-walk-for-few-days pain for a while now. Need to concentrate on strengthening the muscles in the back.
> Living with Illness.

In February, we took a look at how became what it is today and look at the UI since the year 2000 where I was an anti-Mac, pro-IE user *cringes at the text on the page* ^^;
> History of

And this is what the main gateway looked like for most of 2008. Am constantly monitoring user behavior and tweaking the usability based on my observations and your feedback. Thanks for your invaluable feedback up until now. Will be posting a mockup for a new gateway design soon.

In March I managed to recruit the incredibly talented Hector Garcia away from Digital Garage where he mainly worked on the blog search engine Technorati.

For most of 2008, we spent completely rewriting the Mirai Gaia code base and in 2009 we will see many more clients on the platform. I remember the days when it took 12 weeks to build a web solution for a client. Now we got the process down to less than a week. All clients use exactly the same code base - the only thing that differs from client are some settings, CSS, some images, a handful of HTML files and internationalization language strings. The process we have in place means that we can launch hundreds of websites without employing teams of people to maintain them. 2009 will be a big year for our flagship product Mirai Gaia.
> Startups in Japan.

Also in March, after a couple of years working on the 3rd floor, we moved the office down to the 1st floor where there is more space. Do miss the sunset evenings though.

And this is what the office looks like now. As the company grows, we will either rent a new office or make our house into the company building as we plan to get some land outside Tokyo to build our next house.

In April, I announced Mirai-chans very own eroge Miracle Mirai by Nitro Plus - tentative release date is 16th February 2009.
> Miracle Mirai.

In May, we took a first look at my early years which worried a few readers as they thought I had serial killer DNA in me - this was what my bedroom back in the UK looked like in 1988 ^^;
> The Early Years 1.

We also took a look at what I got up to when growing up in the UK as a teenager. Maybe it was a good thing that we didn't have any Internets as being a groupie was quite fun. Here is Kylie Minogue and I near the BBC studios in London.
> Kylie Minogue.

Also in May, I was invited by the Trenburo to Hamburg to present at Trend Day 2008.
Germany is such a beautiful country - cant wait to go back again soon.
> Trend Day.

Had given speeches in the past but was my first time presenting to a hall of about 600 people. Had a great time and learned a lot.

In June, Hector and I filmed the Shibuya Rock Trooper video which eventually got nominated for the YouTube Video Awards Japan 2008.
> Shibuya Rock Trooper

Also in June, Mirai-chans younger sister Haruka was born at the age of an eternal 13. Look forward to more from the Suenaga family in 2009.
> Haruka Suenaga.

It was in July where I started to write more motivational articles. My goal here is to share my life experiences in the hope that it may help or inspire others to seek and spend most of their life doing what they are passionate about - as opposed to spending most of it wondering "what if."
I also started the Tokyo Photo walk series and usually do the motivation lectures while we walk.
> Motivational Category
> Tokyo Photo Walk category

On the same note, there have been and will always be trolls lurking on but I noticed that many suddenly disappeared after the article about haters. Maybe they realized that we know who they are?

In August, was given a huge UI design overhaul to improve whats known as the "First Run Experience" for new visitors to the site. New visitors need a different experience to regular readers and all is explained in the Portal Design article.

Have collected much data since then and the main gateway is due for a new UI tweak very soon.
> Portal Design.

In September,, my work and trooping shenanigans was featured on CNN. Was rather happy about the coverage.
> on CNN

Also in September, my company Mirai Inc launched the Good Smile Company site on the Mirai Gaia platform. A huge milestone for Mirai Inc. More big name Mirai Gaia launches later this year.
> Good Smile Company

September was a busy month for filming. Here with Kevin and Olivia filming for G4TV which was aired in November.
> G4TV

In November, Japans premier Mac magazine Mac Fan published a 4 page feature on, Mirai Inc, my trooping shenanigans and my Mac life. Was rather happy about this coverage too ^^;
> Mac Fan.

Also in November, was invited by Promax BDA Asia to present at their Asia 2008 conference in Singapore. Talked about Otaku subculture, and Mirai Inc.
> Promax BDA Asia

Was also invited by Animax Asia to give a blogging workshop to many Singapore blogger comrades and covered my learning's on Conversion, SEO, Usability and much more. Am thinking of taking some of the slides and covering in a post for all those who couldn't make it.
Thanks to all who came! Still need to blog about the details ^^;

Also in November after the Singapore trip, I was invited to appear at YouTube Live Tokyo where I got to hook up with many other YouTubers such as Magibon and Emily.
> YouTube Live Tokyo.

And in December - a major personal milestone. I acquired what Japanese doll owners call "Musume" ] (daughters) - Dollfie Aoi and Saber. I also managed to acquire them for free ^o^
> Dollfie Dream.

Look forward to seeing more from my newly acquired hobby ^^;

Also in 2008, I started a new series called "7PM in Tokyo" where I would take a snap of what I was doing at around 7PM.
The aim of this series is to give folks a constant look at daily life in Tokyo as the A Week in Tokyo episodes can be late at times.
> 7PM in Tokyo category.

Also started to do more giveaways thanks to my generous sponsors. Expect more in 2009. I'm still trying to get a pair of free tickets to Tokyo for you.
> Giveaway category.

Speaking of giveaways, 2008 was when I started to receive a constant flow of SAFS...


...and more SAFS ^^.

Also want to take a look at my most fave figure releases of 2008 starting off with Char.
> Char Rhouseman.

Freeing Asakura bunny.
> Ryouko Asakura.

Shuraki Nida by Good Smile.
> Nida Schuetlich.

Good Smile Chu Chu Astram.
> Chu Chu Astram.

Queens Blade Nanael who I still haven't reviewed.

> Queens Blade Airi.

Figma Tsuruya-san.
> Tsuruya-san.

And the best figure release of the year in my mind by Alpha Omega - Alice.
> Queens Gate Alice.

And my most fave Figma release was Kagamin.
> Kagami Hiiragi. What was your most fave figure release in 2008?

But none of the releases in 2008 were able to beat my all time fave figure - Max factory Fauna.
> Fauna.

And the plushie of the year goes to the Firefox mascot Foxkeh. I get a load of questions regarding where to get hold of one - unfortunately they are not for sale - you need to either know somebody who works for Mozilla or have the keys to the Mozilla offices. I have the keys ^^;

2008 was when I really started to connect with others in my Twitter, YouTube, FaceBook, Linkedin and Flickr networks - feel free to add me.

2008 was another great year with many advances in life and am really looking forward to what 2009 has in store for us.

And what new years resolutions have I made? I didn't make any.
The reason is that I see a new year resolution as an excuse to put something off. I strongly encourage folks to do something straight away when making a decision. Want to learn Japanese? Do it now - don't wait until next year to make it a new years resolution. Don't make excuses for yourself - do it now.

While I didnt make any resolutions, I do have many todo's on the list for 2009. Starting with web related stuff:-

-embeddable widgets on other sites merchandising
-more giveaways
-friends list
-member to member mail
-chat rooms
-Open APIs
-gmail, yahoo, hotmail contacts import
-house visits
-member blog functionality
-complete Mirai Gaia migration
-complete Amazon EC2 migration

Web other relaunch relaunch
-Japan news portal launch
-Japan ad network launch
-Japan job network launch launch launch


-More local hires for Mirai Inc
-More office space
-Several launches on Mirai Gaia



I would like to thank my partners who I constantly work with to share traffic, my sponsors who financially support the ever increasing running cost of the site, and all readers.
Thank you all and look forward to sharing more otaku subculture life with you from Tokyo!