Today I participated in Tokyo Barcamp 2009. From the Tokyo Barcamp website:
Tokyo BarCamp 2009 will be a day of workshops, presentations and discussions on a wide variety of topics related to technology and how it affects our lives.
I was a little skeptical about how organized barcamp would be when I decided to participate but it became very cool and conductive to discussing ideas. It especially gave people a good opportunity to think about the future of the web and the internet and various other topics such as "music in virtual worlds" and "eco living".
Discussions I participated in were as follows:
Mobile browsers and their history and where they may be headed in the future. Discussion headed up by LonelyBob
Natural Language Parsing
A presentation and discussion about parsing language and getting a data in a unified format regardless of language (English, Japanese etc.) and regardless of language parsing method. The presentation was by Kim Ahlström from Smart.fm. He introduced Cereling which is a language parsing unifier/engine he is working on at Smart.fm and they are planning to Open Source. Unfortunately it's also apparently written in Ruby.
By far the most interesting idea that came out of barcamp was the idea of hacker spaces where folks can get together and share ideas as well as have a space to try new things and experiment. There was a lot of interest in the Hacker Space concept and creating one in Tokyo. We even created a website already at Tokyo Hacker Space.
We also learned that there exists a Hacker Space in Tokyo already called 4ncho5la6 (Anchorlab). Some folks from the barcamp are planning to go out there and check it out. We want to see what they did and what we can learn from them and perhaps collaborate on membership and events. Interestingly, the lab is headed by Daito Manabe who is famous for his "Face Visualizer" video on Youtube.