Why you should come to RubyKaigi in 2024

If you're a Ruby developer and you've never been to RubyKaigi, the 2024 edition from May 15-17 in Okinawa would be a fantastic place to start. Despite being nearly thirty years old, Ruby is still ascendant in Japan—inspiring a diverse and enthusiastic community of Rubyists who are passionate about pushing the language further. Kaigi has played an important role in that success, gradually picking up steam over the last ten years as it travels between many of the best cities in Japan (owed largely to the organizers' impeccable taste in food and drink).

If you've ever considered coming to Kaigi but hesitated out of concern about Japanese language ability, transportation complexity, unfamiliar customs, or whether you'll like the food, Okinawa offers a uniquely comfortable on-ramp to first-time visitors:

  • Okinawa's nature and beaches make it one of the most beautiful places in Japan, with the best weather in the nation in May—tropical and sunny, interspersed with brief heat-breaking rain showers
  • Despite the laid-back island atmosphere, English is as widely understood and spoken in Okinawa as anywhere else in Japan (one silver lining of the continuous presence of the American military). Additionally, RubyKaigi's organizers try to schedule at least one English-language talk for every time slot and pay for live translation services into English for all Japanese-langauge talks
  • While all of Japan is incredibly welcoming to foreigners, Okinawa is one of the few places in Japan designed to be a tourist destination—easy to get around and with the amenities people expect to see on vacation, while refreshingly free of the congestion and strain tourists' presence has placed on other cities like Osaka and Kyoto
  • It's always been my perspective that to experience the full range of Japanese culture, one needs to escape the urban sprawl of Tokyo and visit more rural areas. Okinawa is unique in that it's every bit as accommodating to people unfamiliar with Japanese customs as Tokyo is, while still offering a broad and authentic view into Japanese culture and tradition
  • If you're not sure whether you'll like Japanese food, Okinawa is such a melting pot that it's become home to a fusion of American and Asian cuisine that should satisfy any palate. When in doubt, there's always taco rice

For more information on what it's like to attend Kaigi, check out the field report I filed for Test Double last year in Matsumoto. It was easily the most educational and fun conference I've attended since the pandemic, with genuinely useful information about still-in-development Ruby features I wouldn't have found anywhere else and absolutely fantastic official and unofficial activities and parties. I'm sure this year will be no different! Tickets aren't on sale yet, but you can sign up to be notified when they go live.

I'm not planning to speak this year, but you should consider submitting to the CFP before it closes at the end of January. RubyKaigi's program is geared for giving open source Ruby programmers a platform to share their work along with their experiences and insights. In addition to straightforward presentations of new gems and language features, the conference also celebrates the joy of programming by highlighting creative and quirky talks like Shioi-san's Ruby fork to add a oft-requested i++ operator and @tompng's increasingly fantastical quines. If you write open source Ruby, I hope you'll consider submitting a talk! (And if you'd like some free advice on responding to CFPs, I published a video about speaking last month you might enjoy.)

Anyway, if you're thinking of going, drop me a line if you have any questions or concerns and I'll be happy to help. Hope to see you in Okinawa this May! 🏝️

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