Personal Impression on TUG 2013

For me, TUG 2013 had started August 2012, when Yusuke Kuroki, a mastermind behind Japanese TeX users, asked me to describe indexes of Japanese books at the next TUG, which would be held in Tokyo. Having intended to apply for any presentation slot, over whatever topic, I agreed to his request. I didn't think that I'm a sort of authority on this topic, but in the context of TeX, I was sure that I had enough experiences on indexes.

So I undertook a brief tutorial on making back-of-the-book indexes using TeX. What I didn't expect was that the tutorial would be over an hour long. I wasn't sure if indexes in Japanese actually would be much interesting for the most of the attendees. In addition to that, I thought the whole tutorials seemed to be overly focused on the compositions and typesettings of Japanese, rather than TeX. Until the TUG 2013 actually started, I had been a little bit skeptical how much non-Japanese speakers would enjoy the whole tutorials.

My concerns proved to be unfounded. The art of formatting Japanese is likely to be realized by the non-Japanese TeX users, let alone by the developers of the various typesetting systems. It would be nice these tutorials let everyone think about what we need to avoid awful looking documents. To put it bluntly, that is one of the raison d'etre of TeX.

Of course, there's another reason why we use TeX. That is because TeX allows us to take advantage of computers in creating documents, unlike word processors which requires a bunch of hand work. And in this context too, there is some subtle point in regard to Japanese that we wanted to let the attendees know. I can't help but feel partially responsible for that. I think both my talk on arranging index entries and Kuroki-san's additional tutorial on input methods revealed the gimmicky way of handling Japanese in the computer and TeX.

As a matter of fact I'm not good at speeches even in my native tongue. I felt as if my stomach was yanked out of my mouth during my presentation. But finally I found myself enjoying that. It was the great experience to hand on my knowledge to the people, including legendary developers around the world. I was really excited when I was directly questioned by them after the presentation. Again I was upset, this time the other way round.

© Kenshi Muto

Anyway, I reckon TUG 2013 was the great international conference. I'd like to thank the organizers for their energetic effort, and my particular thanks to Kuroki-san for giving me a rare opportunity.