Categories
Events Games Personal

Friday Fluke

Pretty much ever since I’ve worked at Ubisoft Montréal, I’ve sent out an email at 16:oo on Fridays to invite everyone on the team to take it easy as we head into the weekend. It started out as a pretty typical “beer mail” — as Production Coordinator on For Honor, one of the things I did was order and stock up the beer fridge (along with soft drinks) — and over time I started having a bit of fun with the email. When I changed teams (the Game Operations Online team), I kept doing it, even though it wasn’t really a habit the team had — I remember the first one I sent, grabbing a beer and then standing alone, with no one else drinking. Eventually they caught on, and on top of sharing a drink and chatting, it turned into playing games and the like.

Last year I decided I didn’t want to call it the “beer time” anymore — because of the alcohol connotation that could make non-beer drinkers feel uninvited (even if we stock up on other things, like sodas, juices, kombuchas, etc.) — and decided to brand it as the “Friday Fluke.” I’m part of a team called Harbour (offering online solutions for all of Ubisoft), and the “fluke” is a part of an anchor, and so I saw this as an “anchor” for the week — and I also liked the other connotation that the word has (an unexpected piece of good luck).

With that change, I’ve been turning that end-of-week time into more of an event, and the latest thing I’ve introduced (as of a few weeks ago) is that we kick it off with someone doing a presentation about something personal using the PechaKucha format (20 images/slides x 20 seconds), in order to get to know each other a bit better. It’s been great so far, with everyone doing a fantastic job with what they shared, even if they were a bit nervous about trying out the format. I myself did a couple (to get people used to it), first a rundown of my 10 favorite anime series, and then for the second one I broke the format a bit, giving my 20-second thoughts on all 25 James Bond movies (I included Bond 25).

After that we usually end up playing games in a large group, usually of the social deduction variety, things like Werewolf, Secret Hitler, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, The Resistance, Coup, etc. For Werewolf, after playing through two copies of Werewolf Legacy, I’ve now started creating my own scenarios, but that’s for another post.

I’m sharing this just to put it out there that the end-of-week “beer time” that is not uncommon in game studios (we used to do it during my time at Eidos Montréal, in the Square Enix Montréal studio, as well) doesn’t have to be just that, and can be turned into more of a social event, in which everyone can feel like they can be part of it, and contribute.

Categories
Anime

My Ten Favorite Anime Series

At work I like to organize some fun times at the end of every week — I even have a name for it, the “Friday Fluke.” Part of it is getting a drink, relaxing a bit with colleagues, and playing some games (our go-to tends to be various forms of Werewolf). Last week I introduced a new part to it, and that’s to encourage everyone to do a presentation about something they’re passionate about using the PechaKucha format. The idea is to have fun and get to know each other better, so it can be about anything, like your favorite albums, a trip you took, etc. I kicked it off with a round-up of my 10 favorite anime series (not including movies), and so here’s what I came up with, in alphabetical order.

Captain Harlock
Or to me, Albator, as he is known in French, which is the language I watched it as a kid. I believe it was the 1978 series, and it’s my favorite cartoon from my childhood. It’s a bit surprising in a way, because I’m sure so much of it went over my head, but I was obsessed with Harlock’s ship, and my go-to building project with my LEGO blocks was to create giant ships that looked like it.

Cowboy Bebop
I always consider this as one of my very favorite series, and I think it’s as close to perfect as a series gets for me. Great characters, an awesome soundtrack, and fun space adventures. What else do you need?

Future Boy Conan
Another series from the 70s (and in fact, 1978 as well), I only watched it a couple of years ago, and found it to be hugely enjoyable. Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, you do get a lot of proto-Ghibli feels, despite the admittedly crude animation (standard for the time).

Junji Ito Collection
I’m a huge fan of Junji Ito’s horror manga — favorites include Tomie and Uzumaki — and this is a fantastic adaptation of his short stories (each episode is made up of a few shorts). It was produced last year, but I already consider it a favorite.

Lupin III
I’m a longtime Lupin fan, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything I’ve seen, which includes various TV series, TV movies, and movies (Miyazaki’s Castle of Cagliostro is a fave). Most recently we got the Part V series, and it’s just as fun as any other Lupin series.

Monster
Based on the manga by Naoki Urasawa — one of my favorite mangaka — this anime adaptation is massive (over 70 episodes), and riveting. I absolutely loved watching it as it was airing, anxious to see where it would end up going (I had never read the manga, strangely).

Neon Genesis Evangelion
Well, it is a classic, and not for being a giant mech show, but rather for everything it did to deconstruct the mech genre, and mess with everyone’s expectations. I haven’t re-watched it since back in the day, but I am excited to revisit it when it shows up on Netflix this summer.

Paranoia Agent
I’m a huge fan of Satoshi Kon’s films, and loved this series — the only one he created — just as much. Psychologically daring and visually aggressive, same as with his movies.

Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter
Goro Miyazaki — Hayao Miyazaki’s son — doesn’t get a lot of love, but I quite enjoyed this series he directed a few years ago, the only Ghibli TV production. The use of CG was criticized, but I thought he managed to create a lovely series, with a lot of fun character moments.

Samurai Champloo
I usually consider my top 3 series to be this, Cowboy Bebop, and Monster. Just like Bebop, you get the fantastic soundtrack (here hip-hop instead of jazz), the great characters, and the fun adventure. Even better is how the hip-hop influences the aesthetics and pacing of the show.

Categories
Art

The Complete Guide to Drawing

My buddy Adrian Hogan (co-organizer of the monthly PauseDraw series) did a presentation at the latest PechaKucha Night in Tokyo (Vol. 148) about the setup he currently uses (pictured) to sketch when he’s out and about.

Categories
Design Magazines

Redesigning the Times

As I mentioned a few times earlier this year, I was incredibly excited to see my buddy Andrew Lee redesign the Japan Times. At the most recent PechaKucha Night in Tokyo (Vol. 147, held on my birthday no less) he did a presentation on how the whole redesign came about, and it’s now available online. It’s a great watch.

Categories
Art Design

PechaKucha of the Day

I’m so happy to see this come out, a PechaKucha app! It’s a super simple idea, to have an app that shares a new PechaKucha presentation each day, and having played with it for a bit, it does just as advertised, with minimum fuss. I especially like the portrait images used for that day’s presentation (you can also scroll down to watch previous presentations). Give it a download, it’s free! And here are more details form the latest PechaKucha global newsletter.

Categories
Design Events

10 Years of 21_21

I have lots of fond memories of the 21_21 Design Sight, from the excitement when it was first announced — I mean, a building designed by Tadao Ando, and led by Issey Miyake, Taku Satoh, and Naoto Fukasawa, holy shit — to getting to work with them a couple of times through PechaKucha, by way of a kids workshop and event as part of the “Design Ah!” exhibition and Roppongi Art Night 2013, and then another event the following year. Not only are they celebrating 10 years — time sure flies — but they’re also converting the restaurant space that was on the left side of the main entrance to a new gallery space. Via Spoon & Tamago.

Categories
Events Society

20 PechaKucha Achievements from 2016

It’s become a tradition that at the start of every year, PechaKucha HQ sends out a massive newsletter looking back at the previous year and highlighting 20 achievements — I used to put these together along with the rest of the team. This year’s edition — which you can read online here — is a fantastic list of 20 things that PechaKucha was involved in, that helped make the world a better place. Very proud of my old PechaKucha family on this one.

Categories
Architecture Art Design Events Photography

PKN at TDW 2016

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I’m sure we’ll soon get a full album of photos, but here’s the big traditional crowd shot that was taken at last week’s annual Tokyo Design Week edition of PechaKucha Night. Since leaving Tokyo, it’s always bittersweet for me to see these, as our TDW event was always one of the big highlights of the year, and I have quite a few memories of dealing with all of the extra work that goes into producing an event like this — compared to the monthly events at SuperDeluxe that are a cakewalk in comparison — as well as being in the back and running the slides on a laptop, with presenters coming in last minute to request changes or to fix something. Good times.

Categories
Design Events Technology

Google Span 2016

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Today (October 6, in Japan) in Tokyo is Google Span 2016, a conference featuring “conversations about design and technology,” and I’m blown away by the fantastic lineup, that not only includes a lot of smart people I know, but also a PechaKucha session. The space looks beautiful too. The entire thing is being livestreamed here (from 11:00 JST).

Categories
Art Events

PechaKucha + Aichi Triennale 2016

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It’s good to see that my PechaKucha family is still going strong, and I loved seeing in the latest Japan newsletter that they’re going to produce a special PechaKucha Night as part of the Aichi Triennale 2016 (on September 22 in Nagoya). Pictured, an image from the presentation by performance arts curator Akiko Fujii.