Hello, I am Masayoshi Takahashi, the executive director of RubyKaigi 2011 Committee. I would like to share with you the current planning status, especially for overseas rubyists.
Planning and preparing for the Kaigi is well underway. We closed CFP and held a screening meeting. We will release a speaker list soon.
You might be worrying about earthquakes and nuclear power plants disaster in Japan. But we RubyKaigi Comittee think at present that we have no critical problem to hold RubyKaigi and to invite Rubyist, in Japan and overseas.
There are some aftershocks in these days. Some experts say that aftershocks may continue for months. Fortunately, aftershocks in Tokyo are not so big, and Japanese buildings and cities are earthquake-proof.
Your biggest concern is probably the nuclear accident and radiation exposure. We are not radiation experts, so not suitable for promising your safety. But there are many radioactive monitoring systems around Japan. Tokyo is over 200 km (= 124mi) far from the nuclear power station, and current radiation level in Tokyo has "no risk to human health," experts said. Many RubyKaigi staffs and many rubyists, including some Ruby committers, are living in Tokyo now.
(You perhaps see the photos of masked people in Tokyo; It's not for protection against radioactive materials, but against hay fever)
In fact, the biggest problem for RubyKaigi 2011 is power supply. The earthquake on 3.11 damaged many power plants (not only nuclear, but also thermal power plants), so we had some rolling blackouts in March. But TEPCO(Tokyo Electric Power Company) said 'we have decided to cease the implementation of rolling blackouts (...) to achieve "Zero Rolling Blackouts" in principle during the summertime.' We have confirmed to the venue, Nerima Culture Center, to use halls and other facilities yesterday.
I remember the first RubyConf in 2001; when I arrived to US, an immigration officer said "To Florida? You're brave!" Because there was anthrax incidents in Florida.
It's not surprising to have a feeling of insecurity when you visit a foreign country where the accident occurred, even if you hear that you would be safe. I also have had the feeling at that time. But I've enjoyed the conference, thanks to RubyCentral guys and many kindly rubyists. We hope we can decrease your anxiety like them.
Do keep in mind that the plans may change in a flash based on things out of our control. We do appreciate your continued interest. Please refer to this site or our twitter @rubykaigi for the most up-to-date information on the event.
This will be our last RubyKaigi, at least in our current style. We are committed to making it a rousing success. Thank you.