Blogmatcher and Career changing
, which looks suspiciously like Google (the author, Ryo Chijiiwa, writes, "Okay, the truth is, I dream of working for Google, and I wanted to work on my data mining skillz," in the Why? section of the FAQ
) is rather nice--you stick in a blog that you like (say, mine) and it gives you a list of similar blogs based on the links. It's written by a college student, so I think it hasn't had adaquate resources to crawl and index as it ought, but the idea is cool and it's already supplied me with an immense list of blogs to check . . .some time near the end of May.
More notably than finding a new little webtool, however, I was struck by Chijiiwa's "My Life (or lack there of)
" page. It's really quite fascinating. Born in Cerritos, CA and raised around the world because of an oft-transferred father, Chijiiwa says he was sent back to Japan to attend cram school, scraped his way into Keio law school, and was promptly utterly miserable there:
"Thrown in was a horrible living condition (no hot water, worms in kitchen, 40 minute commute time, smack in the middle of one of the world's most cramped and crowded cities) and what resulted was one very unhappy Ryo.
As unpleasant as it was, it wasn't a completely negative experience for me either. On the plus side, I lost 60lb of weight, had a great cultural lesson, I learned (eventually) that true happiness can only result from misery, and had the wonderful chance to find out where I didn't want to be, which is, in all seriousness, a start towards figuring out where you do want to be.
A summary of the kind of fairly cliche and standard "follow your bliss" and "no experience is a bad experience" dicta that abound and which are easy to toss off. But the tale he tells concretely proves the possibilities---from a miserable law student in Japan, to a community college in southern California, to a state collge in Northern California, Chijiiwa is now a programming whiz and student at the University of Chicago and well on his way to getting himself one prestigious if unconventional college degree
. His story should be an inspiration to career changers and Renaissance folks everywhere.