2012/08/19

Do Robot Dream of RoboCon?

**This post has been transferred from my old blog post. It’s really not a fault of Wordpress. It was just me who couldn’t handle their millions of options.**

Have you ever heard of RoboCon? I’m not talking about that cute red robot from the cartoon, but “RoboCon = Robot Contest”. I don’t know the RoboCon situation in other countries but here in Japan it’s quite popular. There are 2 famous RoboCon that are held annually in Japan: RoboCon for technical college students and RoboCon for university students. Both contests have been aired on national TV and I’ve been casually following the program for years.


Photo: Alex Gonzalez


Let me quickly explain what this is for people who never heard of it. RoboCon involves, obviously, robots. Contest’s theme and rules are different every year, and students need to create robots to complete required tasks within the time limit while keeping rules. If we say University RoboCon is a competition of technical knowledge, College RoboCon is more like a competition of ideas, they need to come up with the ideas to make up for the lack of skills and budget.

Then, there is an Asia-Pacific RoboCon called ABU RoboCon. It’s also held annually and the winner of University RoboCon can join as a representative of the country.

For rules and more details, probably you can have better understanding from this rule video:
2011 ABU RoboCon Rules


Recently I discovered that there is a local version of RoboCon held annually in my region (Maebashi RoboCon) and today I went to see it. My first visit to actual RoboCon!




This contest has 3 categories with same rules: Elementary school students or younger (with parents), Junior high school students (Grade 7-9), General (people who don’t fit in other 2 categories). Though it’s open for everyone, main attendees seem to be junior high students. The venue was full of junior high school boys holding their precious machines! Some look really cool, some are… not sure if it can even stand on the floor but they magically do :D




In this contest, there were several tasks to be done by manually-operated robot within 2 minutes. But as far as I’ve seen in the junior high categories, it’s really rare to see student team that can accomplish all tasks. It normally stopped or struggled to finish one task, but they seemed really happy to show what they create and see what others create. I saw them taking notes for improvement, exchanging ideas and having meeting to review what the problem was. It was like an introduction course for RoboCon world… or course for future engineers.

I myself is situated at completely opposite of engineer world (table lamp I made at school blew when I plugged in) but it was really fun to watch their original ideas and efforts happening in front of me…


I know I know... but let me finish this post with this song

2012/08/12

Let your “Like” guide you


**This post has been transferred from my old blog post. It’s really not a fault of Wordpress. It was just me who couldn’t handle their millions of options.**

Back in this spring, I had an occasion to do an interview with Mr.Stefan Schauwecker, a founder and webmaster of Japan-Guide.com. If you’ve been to Japan or planning to visit Japan, I bet you must have heard this website by now. (If not, go check it.)

Cherry Blossoms blooming in our town (2012), it was beautiful as always.


It’s a travel guide site with practical information and beautiful photos. I’m Japanese who lives in Japan but I’ve been using this site whenever guests or friends need some information of our country. Simply because I find this site is far more accurate than my explanation.. (Whoever got a map drawn by me in the past, I’m sorry. And I sincerely hope that you were safe..)

Reading its detailed and widely-covered guide, I imagined this site must be run by a travel agency with regional offices in Japan. So when I read an article and found out that this site is actually run by a Swiss who lives in Gunma (prefecture where I live), I was really surprised and had so many “Why?”.
Then, several years later when the editor asked me in the first meeting if I have anyone related to Gunma I’d like to meet, his name came to my mind instantly.

What I realized through the interview was that this website is a compilation of his “Like”. Building website, Japan, train, travel, photo… he followed his interests and presented his journey on the page. And now, the site counts almost 6 million visitors in a month.

Even after the website became his job, he claims that this is still his hobby and his love for the country and the site has never faded. Probably this strong passion is the reason behind the popularity. It was crystal clear that he knows a lot about Japan. At least 100 times more than I do.. People, I think we are in good hands.

2012/08/10

Hello world


**This post has been transferred from my old blog post. It’s really not a fault of Wordpress. It was just me who couldn’t handle their millions of options.**

Hello and welcome. I’m Setsuko, a translator based in quiet part of Japan (place called ‘Gunma’, have you ever heard about it?).
 
Addition to my translation work around mostly ‘machinery stuff’, lately I started to write for local newspaper. This work allows me to go and see the people/events in town that I’m interested in, which is great, but the paper is written in Japanese and only published in print. What a shame. I need a place to brag about my experience… no no, I mean, need a place to share it with my English speaking people …and so this blog was born.
 
I will post about what I’ve seen or heard, things I’d like to share and probably whatever comes to my mind. Let me figure out along the way… at this point I’m not even sure if I can go on more than 3 posts!
 
Thanks for visiting.

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