Thursday, April 5, 2007

Day 4 (March 14th) - Opening Ceremony and Practice Session

Day 4 starts with an usual breakfast in the hotel, after which we moved into the competition room set for the practice sessions (which was in the Crystal Ballroom of Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel). We were assigned the computer number 06, and our neighbors was Caltech, Carnegie-Mellon, Fudan, and others. (if I remembered correctly)

(Photo taken by Mr. Raymondus Kosala)

The opening ceremony starts with an interesting Japanese dance performance.

Representatives from IBM, ACM, UPE, etc. was seated on the front part of the room (the stage). The host for the whole practice session was Mr. Shingo Takada (the contest director).

There was also a performance by two musicians playing some sort of Japanese guitar (I forgot about the actual names of the instruments). The music as highly rythmical and complex in tones even though there was only two players. We were told not to touch anything on the table before the practice sessions started. On the desk was some souvenirs (LED keyrings), posters, an IBM Thinkpad (closed), an IBM LCD monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse, and probably some other things I did not remember.

The practice sessions went quite well. Probably we was lacking hand-on experience of the actual contest desktop arrangement (it was posted for download from the ICPC's website sometimes back, though). There was two teams (?) asked to leave their computers, and an announcement was made short after it, which mainly tells us not to try to do anything with the network or anything that might interfere with the contest execution. Some teams also had their names in the practice standings magically removed by submitting more than one problem number (which violates the practice session guidelines).

We had some lunch before the second practice session starts with a question-answering session. Basically the committee does not answer most of the substantial question about the contest environment (use whatever available in the menu, the environment was available long before the contest that they do not want to care answering questions about it). I believe there was a question about the timelimit as well, which was answered more or less "the judges has several reference solutions, and we set the timelimit far higher than the runtime of these solutions" (no timelimit is ever posted for individual problems). We was also told that the problem set had undergone several months of evaluation, revision, and checking so that it does not contain any ambiguity, therefore we were told NOT to bother asking about it in the actual contest.

After the second practice sessions, we left the Crystal ballroom heading to the rooms for the cultural activities. The first one we entered was about Aikido. We were taught how to escape from the grip of an enemy in a couple of positions. We arrived in the room a little bit late that we missed the story about the history and basics of Aikido.

(Photo taken by Mr. Raymondus Kosala)

We then moved to the Matsukaze (CyberCafe) room for the Zen meditation session. Our mentor was a Buddhist (Zen) monk, teaching us about how to meditate. It was not so different with other meditation methods I learned sometimes in the past. We were suggested to do the meditation for about ten minutes a day for a refreshment of mind.

The next room we went into was showing Japanese animes. The animes have gone quite sophisticated, some with 3D animations and high details. No wonder, because we all know about the Final Fantasy games and movies by Square Enix which was made in Japan (as many successful games titles are).

The last one was the Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) lesson. I was able to write several Chinese characters, and I found that Japanese writing was quite similar. It was interesting though, as I never tried to write with a brush and ink. The characters in Japanese Kanji have approximately the same meaning in Chinese, and the stroke-order was the same as well. I asked about the meaning of my Chinese name in Japanese, and found that the meaning is exactly the same in Japanese.

(Photo taken by Mr. Raymondus Kosala)

Mr. Raymondus Kosala and Ms. Yenlina went to the Origami lesson as well, and took some pictures of these ladies in kimono.

Our day was closed with a dinner and a visit to the CyberCafe.

I had a chess game with Felix which ended with a draw (even though he had a queen and several other pieces and I had only a king). I went to sleep earlier hoping for the best condition on the next day.

Continue to Day 5


(All photos are copyrighted, please ask for permission before reproducing)


Andy K said...

waw.. nice posts (day 1 - 5)..
it's been a long time (well, not so long), how are you ?

don't have much to say really..

good luck with the next competitions :D

ps. i'm pretty sure the instruments shown (which you forgot the name) are called shamisen. :D

mahli said...

三線 (さんしん - sanshin). itu nama "gitar"nya.

mahli said...

setelah dicari2 more info, 三味線 (しゃみせん-shamisen) lebih tepat.

Fiona said...

aaaaaa. shamiseeeeeen.... hiks...