Things That Happened in 2020

This post is part of a collection on Life.

Well that sure was a year, wasn't it. Here are some things that happened.

  • made a living as a consultant
  • released 1.0 versions of fugashi and mecab-python3
  • released dictionaries you can install through PyPI
  • regularly updated posuto
  • released cutlet
  • played Gravity Rush 1 & 2
  • finished YU-NO after starting it in 2017
  • played Slime Rancher
  • did my first professional work on a video game
  • rewrote part of deltos in nim
  • had a weekly board game night online
  • published an academic paper about fugashi
  • watched Turn A Gundam
  • released a visidata conll plugin
  • played through Baroque on the Saturn
  • played many Sokpop games, helionaut was a favorite
  • got a new microwave and toaster oven
  • added four bookcases (color boxes) to my house
  • worked on a new boardgame, on hold due to Corona
  • I read several Nero Wolfe novels
  • I had french tarragon for the first time and it was amazing

This year has obviously been dominated by the virus. Since I went independent in 2019 I was lucky to already be working from home, and therefore my routine wasn't drastically affected by staying in, though I missed events where I could make new contacts. The news from America was also at times overwhelming despite the distance.

There were several major changes in life in Japan that had nothing to do with the virus. Anti-smoking laws were successfully introduced, cashless payments are more widely accepted, and plastic bags cost money now. It seemed like they would never happen, but now they're just marginalia, small changes in a strange year. Takanawa Gateway, a new station on the busiest train line in Japan with an awful name, opened within walking distance of my house; I dropped by once but haven't had any occasion to revisit it since.

I managed to stay out of the hospital this year. I was hospitalized in summer 2019 with mysterious viral pneumonia, so it was strange to see that be a more widespread concern this year. After breaking my leg, the followup surgery, the pneumonia, and other issues, I'm thankful I've not had any serious illness all 2020.

2020 is also the first full year I made a living as a consultant. Consulting means many different things, and over the year I figured out how it works for me (which I should write up later). I wasn't overwhelmed by client requests, but I had enough to keep me busy despite almost no outreach on my part, so I'm happy with that. One of my hopes was that taking on contracts would expose me to new problems and that has definitely worked out.

I had 15 posts on Dampfkraft in 2020, which isn't bad. Not all of them took off but I got a lot of reactions to the one about my PR, and the one on how to use fugashi ended up getting adapted into an academic paper, which was a learning experience. The khaki article from 2019 remains my most popular post for reasons I don't entirely understand.

I still use deltos every day. This year I rewrote everything but the website builder in Nim. This wasn't without its frustrations, but the speed and ease of interfacing with C/C++ code in Nim makes it attractive. I'm working on another project in Nim I hope I can announce soon.

One of my goals for last year was to make working with Japanese text easier, and I think I succeeded in that. You can now set up a fast, accurate Japanese tokenizer, including dictionaries, just using pip, and my packages have been integrated into Transformers and other packages. I wasn't able to get away from MeCab, so that's a goal for this year. Outside tokenization, I was able to release cutlet, which I'm confident is the best tool available for romanizing Japanese. My packages also got some recognition on Github, and fugashi, cutlet, and posuto all passed 100 stars this year.

I have no idea what to expect in 2021, so I'll just live through it and see. Ψ