Shuhei Kagawa

2017 in review

Dec 25, 2017 - Review


I moved to Berlin from Tokyo at the end of September 2016. 2017 was my almost first year in Berlin.

I like the city so far. It is more relaxed than Tokyo and other big cities in Europe. Summer is especially nice. BBQ makes it even better. After my office moved to a building in front of Spree River, I enjoy my commute crossing Oberbaum Bridge and walking along the river.


I traveled more than ever. The destinations were Germany (Dresden, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Köln), Italy (Venice, Florence, Bologna), France (Paris), UK (London), Portugal (Lisbon) and Japan (Tokyo). I had fun in each of them, but if I have to choose one, I will name Lisbon. The city is full of what I miss in Berlin. Fresh and inexpensive seafood, views from hills, cute ceramic tiles, and beautiful weather. The sky was clear on every single day while I was there, and the highest temperature was 18 degrees in December!


I am glad to have found Fuerst Wiacek. Their German Movies is my No.1 beer so far. Biererei is a gem in Berlin, where I can buy fresh craft beers from Europe with growlers.

British ale was a discovery to me. I liked pubs in London a lot. I also attended the first craft beer hackathon in the world and won 12 crates of craft beer...!


I bought an ergonomic keyboard and a neck support pillow. Both of them lifted up my quality of life. My body is getting older.

Language learning

I learned a bit of German Language. I finished A1 in May and started A2 after a pause of 5 months. While the learning process is prolonged, now German feels less cryptic to me.


I was lucky to join an awesome team. We work together and hang out together. A research at Google shows that psychological safety is a key to team effectiveness. I feel it on my team.

On the technical side, my team joined a relatively large project and completed it on time. I worked mostly in architecture, performance optimization, type checking with Flow, SRE, etc. for apps with React and Node.js. I also helped my colleagues to start building an internal tool with Elm.

Side projects

I enjoyed working with Elm. I wrote a mobile weather app, flew to Paris for Elm Europe 2017, built a mobile-friendly pixel editor and talked about it at Elm Berlin Meetup. I also helped an experiment of its compiler-side in Haskell, although it is still pending.

I didn't do much with JavaScript for side projects but wrote a tiny library for server-side rendering with tagged template literals while hanging out with friends at a cafe. It's used in the choo ecosystem now.

Aside from building things, I learned monad transformers, etc. from Haskell Book and machine learning with neural networks from Deep Learning Specialization on Coursera.


After all, I lived a year in a new country and enjoyed it. I have settled down, and now I feel prepared for new challenges next year. Let's see what is going to happen!