Rick Cogley has been sticking out like a sore thumb in Japan since 1987! 日本語もOK.
CEO & Founder, eSolia. I coding & scripting, calisthenics, cycling, running & yoga, our Shiba "Maru", photography. Yokohama <> Tokyo

Last Modified: 2021 Sept 30

Now Professionally

eSolia, 22 years old as of July 2021 also had 10 years in our location in Toranomon Tokyo. We took the difficult decision to move, after watching the office remain largely unused for months on end. It is simply too expensive to maintain something that people are not using, and, we have discovered we don't need it to be successful. Instead, we have moved into a shared facility run by Mitsui Fudosan (also our client) called "Work Styling". It's a cool modern facility that suits us, albeit, a lot smaller. The difference is, staff can reserve space at locations around Tokyo, which is convenient and flexible. Apparently, a lot of companies are shuttering their expensive fixed offices. As of fall 2021, it's only getting worse.

As a professional services company, we need to increase our process maturity so our success depends less upon individual quality, rather having that quality built in by default. It's truly a sea change to move from a regular office situation where there are fixed assets, to an all-virtual one, but we are adjusting. We have rolled out several relevant policies, and are working on documentation. There's just no continuity with file servers full of docs that are not really searchable, so remote work really makes a good wiki app indispensable.

We have been seeing how we can manage work in as friction-free a way as possible. Our ERP system is capable, but it's record-centric, so you need to open, edit, save each record; that's quite different from something like Excel. We are now using Wrike as a work management system. It is not the do all and be all, but, it works for us so far. We have been using the truly excellent webhook.site to seamlessly integrate between Wrike and our ERP system, and another truly convenient app suite from https://apex.sh (n.b. "up" and "ping") to get our sites and apps up to amazon AWS without too much rigamarole. Both save a lot of time and reduce friction for us.

Some superior services I'm working with newly are Postmark for sending transactional and broadcast emails, ImprovMX for flexibly receiving and forwarding email, and Vercel for efficiently hosting websites.

Now Personally

Just saw "Dune" on HBO. Man, it's so good; truly everything I had hoped for with little loving details that skillfully reflect the wonderful books. People are grousing that it's "incomplete", but the Dune universe is massive and the movie opening did say "part 1". Be happy and just soak it in, Denis Villeneuve and his team are obviously huge fans. 😻

In May, we welcomed our family dog "Maru" into our home. He's a male Shiba, and will be 1 on Nov 25, 2021. It's been a massive lifestyle change and kind of all encompassing. Shiba are famously stubborn, and Maru has shown some of this, but with training, he is developing into a truly good & obedient boy. He loves to wrestle, and fortunately there are some like minded dogs in the 'hood who understand he's not trying to attack them, and accommodate his style of play which is pretty in your face. 😅

The whole family is finally vaccinated, and while it's not a panacea with "breakthrough" variants, at least it is a start. Japan was rather slow to get things going, being preoccupied with the fairly disasterous Olympics (nothing against the athletes!). We all can't believe those vaccine denier / anti-vax idiots. Don't go to the hospital if you get sick, then!

The new house we have lived in for a year now has been a godsend. Really fantastic and livable. It's such a blessing to have such a nice place to be, to work remotely. Our young neighbors who rented out our previous place, which we refurbished, are a polite and industrious couple. The young couple who is moving into a to-be-built house on the plot we sold across the street, is also stand-up as well. It's great to meet these wonderful young couples. We still have a shit-ton of bamboo in the backyard, though!

I'd been doing serious exercise every day, and had seen my fitness improve leaps and bounds, but now all I do is walk the dog. As he changes from a puppy to an adult dog over the next year, we can pick up the pace a bit. I'm able to at least jog a bit with him. It's a different situation from the freedom that characterized my life before, but is still workable, in terms of fitness.

I continue to be impressed with my Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, a split design where one's wrists can be kept straight. It has helped with my wrist pain.

Wise Words

“Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.” ― Joni Mitchell, "Big Yellow Taxi"

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ― Frank Herbert, Dune, "Litany Against Fear"

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.” ― Coco Chanel

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid people are full of confidence.” ― Charles Bukowski

Our Shiba "Maru" at 9 Months
Snake Eye Sushi near the office in Toranomon Tokyo
Sweet "Sweet King Mikan" tangerines
Extra Slow Bikes on the Kashio River in Totsuka Yokohama
Kushi Katsu joint next to the office in Toranomon Tokyo
Cats sizing each other up in Yokohama
A very yellow building but you can't know that...
Uh oh, the rent will go up now in Toranomon
A very interesting pudding that comes in a latex sheath
Cute cable bite from my daughter