The other side of story: Horace Wilson who introduced baseball in Japan

(This blog post also appears in JapaneseBallPlayers.com blog.)

Filling this under interesting and odd/strange story related to Japanese baseball.

Horace Wilson

The name Horace Wilson is well-known in Japan. I can confirm that it is true — I even knew his name. “The one who taught us baseball,” Japanese say. It’s an answer to a trivia question, and in first sentence in the “History of Baseball In Japan“. He has a plaque at Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame at Tokyo Dome. I seem to recall seeing that in person last time I visited there in 2008.

He is originally from Maine, and there was an interesting report on Boston’s WBUR, about his decedents, who didn’t know anything about what he did in Japan. The reporter, Theo Balcomb, is a family member.

Japanese Baseball Began On My Family’s Farm In Maine

After Horace Wilson left the farm in Maine and fought in the Civil War, he traveled to Japan in 1871 and became a teacher. He then taught at what would become Tokyo University. There, he introduced to the students the game of baseball. This is my own opinion, but I think the duel between a pitcher and a batter, even though this is a team game played between teams, had appealed to the Japanese “samurai” style — I think of the duel between Musashi Miyamoto and Kojiro Sasaki on Ganryujima in the early 1600′s. but I digress.

I think it is fascinating that his family was completely unaware until the Japanese historian contacted them. I guess Horace never bothered to tell the family, or perhaps he didn’t think much of it then — who could imagine that the baseball will be cultivated in Japan over hundred years, through World Wars, and produce likes of Ichiro Suzuki and two World Baseball Classic Titles. Whatever the reason, this is a very unique story, and worth a read/listen.


“The Guest House” by the 13th-century poet Rumi

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Poem by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks


Vagrant+Puppet is AMAZING!

vagrant-up

At my work on my team, we have five main developers. Two of us are on Mac, while the other three are on Windows. I, as a front end guy in the group, am advocating for SASS/Compass be used prominently on the redesign, like in depth use (great book btw). There is one little problem — workflow. To be able to developed locally, SCSS require pre-compiling, and it uses ruby. Mac comes with ruby, but Windows does not. Grunt could do it, but then you need node.js/npm. If I want everyone on my team to have it, I need to install all of those (ruby/sass/compass/node/npm/grunt)… that would be just way too much customization/potential places to break.

Enter Vagrant and puppet. It is just amazingly awesome. You can create a linux machine on VirtualBox – which is an open source VM. I am running latest puppet-enabled ubuntu box available from puppetlab, which is Ubuntu 13.10 (saucy Salamander).

Dealing with Vagrant really tickled my inner linux nerd-ness. Once upon a time, I was involved with running a group called BJLUG, Boston Japanese Linux Users Group — this was way back when, when you still had to pay for Apple’s CJK Language Pack to have Japanese installed on your machine, and I figured out that if you use linux, it was FREE to write email back to Japan etc. There were certainly a lot of LUGs back then. Not sure if they are around any more.

I learned how to install puppets, thanks to my colleague Kevin D. who patiently walked me through it, and was able to create box with apache and the likes.

Now we all need to download, and then just run vagrant up and vagrant provision. And your local scss changes, on your filesystem, using your favorite text editor on your OS, will be watched and css is compiled without any additional work. This is beautiful.

The Vagrant CLI documentation was useful for me, who have not used Vagrant before.

Some useful command:

  • vagrant up – Start the VM
  • vagrant provision – Provisions the VM
  • vagrant ssh – Logs into the VM with ssh
  • vagrant reload --provision – Restarts and provisions the VM
  • vagrant suspend and vagrat resume – If you don’t want fully shut the VM down
  • vagrant halt – Stops the VM
  • vagrant destroy – Deletes the VM

Actually, first time I saw use of vagrant was WordPress VIP team’s quick start. It includes all their server hosting environment. They do good work there over at VIP. And also there are ways to have local WordPress environment in vagrant such as Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV) environment. I am still using MAMP for my local wordpress theme/plugin development (when I have “free time”) but perhaps I should reconsider it. For new version of Daigo.org theme?
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Slashathon! My third hackathons in 10 days.

slashathon

SXSW was pretty awesome. Total geek out. I have to go though all my notes, but it was very good. Meeting Brian Holt from Reddit was definitely the highlight, and went to two hackathons, first the Hackathon For Social Good, and then Slashathon! It was pretty cool. Event was held at Capital Factory in Austin, and the place was gorgeous. We had a plane to catch, but I kept coding in the airport… final product looked like this: Groupieology. SeatGeek’s API is pretty amazing: it requires no API Key, unlimited and very eimple to use. Including the Baseball Hack Day the Saturday before, it was my third hackathon in 10 days. My buddy Kevin Davis was a good sport and attended all three with me. Pretty crazy stuff.

Have not had a chance to use it, but this service, import.io sounds really cool. I need to check it out and see if I can use it for some hacks in the future.

I’ve been posting links that I liked at Posterous (RIP) and then my tumblr blog. Here are the week worth of links:

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In Austin TX for SXSW! Hackathon for Social Good and more.

SXSW2014

Arrived last Wednesday at Austin, Texas. Pretty pumped. I am looking forward to meeting smart, motivated people and get inspired. If you are baseball enthusiasts, front end dev, or just good citizen of earth who are also in Austin for SXSW, shout out at @DaigoFuji and let’s meet up!

On Thursday, I attended Hackathon for Social Good at Adaptive Path, organized by Web Visions. It was very cool. It was the first hackathon where you already had a project and there is an assigned project manager. We created a js-Google Doc driven time line for history of Jewish Music for a non-profit, Idelsohn Society. Pretty random but came out pretty cool.

Off to SXSW!


2014 Boston Baseball Hack Day was awesome

I had an awesome time last weekend at Boston Baseball Hack Day! 33 people. 8 project. More to coem later, but it was great time, met tons of very inspiring smart people. Technology and Baseball, two of my passion combined. Awesome.

baseballhackday-logo-2014

I’m going to write up about it little more later.

Following is links that I liked. Some unrelated to BBHD.
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