Due to some regrettable issues in India last year, i didn’t attend the conference at the very last minute. In fact, i was already in Japan, on my way to India via Singapore, when i was told it’s not advisable to do so.
An aborted first attempt at going to Japan this year gave me some worries. On the way from Seattle, as the plane went near midway, it turned back due to, according to the pilot, hydraulics problem. That was the third conference trip in a row with travel issues. I scared the heck out of Sharon when i came home knocking on the door, and made Kim laughed so much as she cannot believe my luck!
The next day, same ground crew, same flight crew, same co-travelers and lots of humor on the flight as we all joked about the aborted trip.
Travelling separately on different airlines was always something that i recommend when my team travel, and Ian luckily went through on the first attempt, though me being missing-in-action at the Narita airport gave him some first-visit challenges that he addressed admirably.
After reaching Kyoto, Ian and i did some touring around the city and i thought that it was a beautiful city indeed. Some of the food we tried was so exquisite and tasty, and I'm sure my second trip there together with Sharon will be full of such visits to restaurants that make variations of tofu, one of Sharon’s favorite food.
The conference report by the last year’s hosts indicated that they did the best efforts and the board appreciated that.
For this year’s conference, i was honored to be assigned a few activities to assist the AVAR organization with. A session chair, a informal panel discussion with ISVs as one of the directors for AVAR, and a joint paper presentation about the service that I'm handling.
Papers-wise, there was an abundance of top quality papers and it was the first time ever we had two tracks in this conference. It resulted in some tight time management challenges, and made Randy missed Ian and my presentation on the service. We had to do a separate 10-minute version just for him, which Nick Fitzgerald came by and commented something like “you reminiscing a bit about this”.
The presentation on reverse engineering on paper (really!) was one of the most unique presentation on the subject, while the various cloud presentations gave me a lot of things to think about. The translation services were top-notch too and even the humor came through.
The gala dinner showcased Kyoto’s culture. Some geizhas sang and danced, while i think the highlight of the dinner was the traditional drumming performed by a guy with his back towards us. His back went from a healthy tan to a back flushed with redness! Later on, his second act highlighted his left biceps, and fellow gala attendees indicated that they were too focused on his muscles.
As part of the tradition, there was a series of award presentations for the sponsors and three individual awards. Another colleague won his second award and i was honored to get an award for best AVAR member for the year. Ian and Kim forced me to bring the awards into office. A photo of the trophy and award is on flickr too.
At the end of the conference, it was also decided that the 2010 conference will be hosted in Bali, Indonesia. Looks like it’s already going to be one of the most anticipated conferences for most of this year’s attendees already! I wonder if i’ll be attending that!
Edit: added some links to a fellow delegate’s photos.