Sunday, February 19, 2012

A brief life story of mine

In 1970, I was born in Koga, Ibaraki, Japan, which is 60 km north of Tokyo. After I graduated from an elementary school in Ibaraki, I entered a prestigious private junior high school, Kaisei Junior High School in Tokyo. I didn't adapt to the school life there so I quit after 2 years. After I graduated from a public junior high school in Kawasaki, I went back to Ibaraki to enter a public high school.

In 1989, I was accepted into Japan's most prestigious university, the University of Tokyo. I studied economics.

My dream then was to become an academic economist. Although I passed the entrance exam for the graduate school of economics in the University of Tokyo, I declined the acceptance. I thought that just studying the economic theories seemed boring and I would rather look at the real economy. That's why I got a job at the Bank of Tokyo (currently, the Bank of Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ). However, I didn't like its conservative atmosphere and quit 6 months later.

I was a part-time worker for a year and experienced different kinds of jobs as such an office clerk at a community center, an assembly worker at a bus manufacturing factory, a salesperson for photocopiers and a security guard at a roadwork site. It was fun and each experience broadened my views.

In 1996, I found a job at a small software company in Kichijoji, Tokyo. This was the time when I became a professional software engineer. It was easy for me to master the technologies because I did a lot of programming when I was a junior high school student. I worked for cutting-edge companies including Rimnet and Tenartni.

In 1999, I moved to Canada. After I attended ESL schools in Toronto for 4 months, I became a regular student at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. I took computer science courses, which turned out to be uninteresting. Although I got straight As, I felt bored so quit the college. I went back to Toronto.

Once I got permanent residency in Canada, I started working in a small software company run by Canadians. It was most thrilling when I worked with the media company Sound Source.

In 2003 , I went to Korea and studied Korean, and in 2004, Mandarin in China. I got the level 5 certificate(National Korean Proficiency Exam) for Korean and level 7(HSK) for Chinese. These grades are good enough to enable the holder to be accepted to universities in the respective countries.

In 2004, I worked as a bridge engineer for an Indian software company, Patni Computer. I was based in Tokyo to help Indian engineers working in Japan.

In 2005, I became a full-time stock trader. I didn't work for a company; I stayed home and traded online. Although I made one million yen at the beginning, I lost it all when the stock market crashed at the beginning of 2006.

In 2006, I started my own software company, Softculture. I worked for a lot of projects including and

In 2008, I moved to Vietnam. I studied Vietnamese in college language schools. Although I tried to set up a software company for offshore development, I could not make it due to some problems.

In 2010, I braved US CPA exam. After studying 6 months, I passed all the 4 sections of the exam. Although I tried hard to find a job at big 4 accounting firms in Vietnam, I was unsuccessful.

In 2011, I had a job interview with Twitter at its San Francisco headquarters. Unfortunately, I was not accepted. I started Its tag line is "A book review site that lets you know how attractive the reviewers are".

I was married for 2 years between 2006 and 2008. I have no children.

My IT skills include programming, web development and server administration. When it comes to programming skills, I am the best at Ruby. I am also good at PHP / C / C++ / Java. Currently, I am also studying web design.

Language skills include English, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese. My TOEIC(an English proficiency test) score is 965.

I am very active in social media. My Japanese blog( has attracted about 4 million page views in the past 5 years. I have more than 11500 followers at Twitter(@elm200) as of Feb 2012.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Life is an intriguing multidimensional object

I used to think in a simpler way; advanced countries should be the future of developing countries. Developing countries should follow suit and should catch up with advanced countries.

It was easy for me to think this way when I lived in advanced countries such as Japan and Canada. But my thoughts are started to change after I actually began to experience life in developing country such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

There are many social problems in developing countries. Social infrastructures are poor. Governments are corrupt. Many destitute people have no access to basic necessities such as medicine and education.

Yet I have also found positive sides in developing countries. People are more relaxed and enjoy their lives. Family bonds are strong. Friendships are more appreciated.

Even though advanced countries boast their power and wealth, their people are not at all euphoric. People in advanced countries have a set of problems that is different from that of developing countries. People are forced to work hard under pressure. They have no time to enjoy their lives despite their wealth. Family bonds are week and almost disappearing. Friendships are sacrificed over their individualistic goals.

I slowly started to realize a simple fact. Probably, the comparison of an advanced country and a developing country is not a matter of which one is better. Instead, all we can say is that they are just different. None is more advanced nor lags behind. Each has its own pros and cons.

We can apply this way of thinking to another field, life. Some people are very smart and others are not. Some graduate from the best universities and others lack even basic education. Are university graduates are making more money than others? Maybe. Then are university graduates happier than others? This is a tricky question. I have no clear-cut answer to this.

After all, life is not something that you can grasp easily and get bored with quickly. Life are full of wonder and it stems from life's inherent self-contradictory nature. Life is an intriguing multidimensional object.