2011: My year in review

This might not be of interest to many, but thought I'd write down some highlights of my year 2011. Maybe for posterity, maybe because I feel a lot of stuff happened this year.


  • Decided to spend Christmas and New Year's in Japan, which is the second time I have ever done so (for Christmas). Went to Senso-ji in Inage, Chiba, and had a much better New Years than last time I was there for the occasion. Lots more people, too: hundreds of people waiting to pray at the shrine once 2011 came in.
  • Finally, really decided that 2011 was the year I would return to Canada, for real. Date: end of March. A very tough decision to make, but promised to keep ties with Japan, which I am still doing now.


  • February 14th, in a small, quiet park under beautiful snowfall (very rare in the Tokyo area), I proposed.


  • 3/11. Anyone who was in Japan at the time will remember this date. On a cool, sunny day returning from a store launch event, the Great Tohoku Earthquake struck while I was on the Sobu line at Ochanomizu station.
  • What followed was a different world, full of worries, uncertainty, a hightened sensitivity to ground movement (which lasted for months), and odd calm and order. In contrast, I felt a hard-to-describe sense of crisis I have rarely, if ever, felt, which led to my return to Canada (while somewhat forcibly dragging my fiancée with me) in late March. Although planned in any case, it was a heartbreaking goodbye to a country I love so much.
  • AC Japan commercials collectively burned in everyone's minds. I still get a chill down my back when seeing these.


  • Can't remember the details as I write this, but those months were all about adjusting back to life in Canada, and work on sites/Zenbu and compatibility with other add-ons.
  • Father has and successfully recovers from open-heart surgery after months waiting in cardiac insufficiency. 
  • I was hired by Solspace on the Technical Support Team, a position I am still holding now and is good fun! The Solspace team is great.
  • Bought an Android phone. Realized cell phone plans are a bit more expensive than Japan and you get much less for your money, including no Caller ID, a no brainer to have anywhere else in the world.
  • Looking for a house/condo, then realized I'm moving too fast and should settle for an appartment instead for now.
  • Found an appartment, which is like 3x the size and cheaper (!) then my already "fairly large" appartment in Japan. Now that's a perk to living in Canada! ^^
  • Painting my appartment, and realized I don't like painting appartments.


  • Return to Japan with fiancée, for about a month for work and visiting friends and family. Tokyo slowly returning to normal, but with markedly less lights.
  • Japanese government still trying to promote nuclear power. Please, get a clue.
  • Trip to Hokkaido. Lots of fun and good food!
  • Appeared on the EE Podcast, second part on talking about building Multilingual sites in EE. Thanks @lealea and @emilylewis!


  • CICON 2011 in New York! CodeIgniter conference with good food and Wi-Fi. About 90 people attended. Traveled by bus, which I hope I'll never do again.
  • EECI Conference 2011 in New Tork! Expressionengine/CodeIgniter conference with food (Dev Day only? I forget), no Wi-Fi. Great and useful talks. About 300 people attended. Traveled by air, which is much more (read: too) expensive but almost worth it not to travel by bus.
  • Made many friends and met online friends in the flesh in both conferences, which is awesome!


  • Zenbu is really shaping up!
  • Bought my first vehicle (in Canada) - Toyota Matrix! Much bigger than my Subaru Vivio in Japan ^^;


  • Zenbu is nominated for Module of the Year on Devot:ee (on a smaller note, I was nominated for Dev of the Year). Zenbu was second-runner up for Module of the Year! Yay! ...and congratualtions to the winners!
    (Zenbu is compatible with Module of the Year, Assets, and first runner-up, Better Workflow, by the way ^
  • Registered a few domains and a few other things. More to come in 2012! ^_-
  • Decided on wedding date (paperwork version). Great start to 2012!
  • Writing this review. ^o^

Other highlights:

  • My first sister's ups and downs with her ulcerous colitis. Hope she gets much better in 2012
  • My thrid sister's one-day operation. (3/6 family members... man, lots of hospital time this year!)
  • Nadeshiko Japan Women's Soccer Team wins World Championship.
  • Steve Jobs... Thank you, for so much!