From Taiyo Fujii’s “Hello, World!”

『ハロー・ワールド』藤井太洋 

OG, Dazai, Oda, Sakaguchi English Translation at Bar Lupin in Ginza
Taiyo Fujii, Hello World Book Cover

Hello, World!

By Fujii Taiyo

“Yasuhiro, that T-shirt. I’ve got one too,” says Atsushi Kuruwaze, calling me by my first name as he looks up from his plate of organic vegetable curry. His ellipse-shaped, metal-framed glasses look very good on him, resting effortlessly on the ridge of his perfectly straight nose that extends from his broad brow. He looks sharp, and very much owns this intelligent look he’s got about him—it fits his character. He works at Google, and is the real deal—a talented computer engineer flourishing at the epicenter of global technology.

“That slogan is cool,” he says, pointing in the direction of my chest. Jin Yin Wang, sitting next to him cranes in.

“Yasuhiro, let me see it too.”

At the office, Wang calls me by my last name, Fuzui. But when it’s only the three of us, she calls me by my first name. My heart flutters when she addresses me in that slightly-accented and courteous tone of hers. I could end up misinterpreting her intention if I didn’t know she was already engaged to someone from back home.

I lift the comfy black fabric off my chest, pulling it taught, as Wang reads aloud the green lettering.

“Keeper of the Code,” she says…then, mutters its translation in Chinese. “Hmm, how do you say that in Japanese?”

“Translated literally, コードの守護者, (Guardian of the Code). Or, I’ll protect the program. Something like that.”

Wang tilts her neck, places her fingers on her upper arm and looks at me with those light green eyeliner-ed eyes of hers. Her pastel pink fingernails reflect the light bulbs of the shop.

“What about the Hello, world! on your sleeve?” I’ve seen it often enough. Does that mean anything?”

“It’s an incantation, a charm we use to pray that everything will go well.”

Kuruwaze reacts to my curt response, and bursts out laughing. “Yasuhiro, that’s funny, but you can do better. Wang, Hello, world! is a character string written at the outset of programming. Software development begins with the display of those two words. It was a sample used in the first textbook on the C programming language…”

“So, it’s a charm. Right?” I interrupt.

If I let him go amok, he’s likely to go on about the code that writes Hello, world! in C++, Java, and even minor languages like LISP, and explain the differences between them.
I ask something I’ve been curious about. “Since you have the same T-shirt, Kurawaze, that means you went to WWDC?”

“Yep, on my company’s dime.”

“You’re lucky. Mine’s a souvenir from someone.”

Wang also gazes at Kuruwaze with envious eyes.

WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) is a keynote lecture hosted by Apple. Since the latest model of the iPhone and a host of other things are introduced at the conference, journalists stream in from various countries, including Japan. It’s an event to forecast Apple’s prospects for the year, but the reality is it’s more or less a bunch of seminars for software developers. There are more than a hundred technology sessions for Mac and iPhone developers over the course of five days, and that’s just counting the official ones. The admission fee is $1,599 (a little shy of 200,000 yen), and if traveling from Japan, it’ll cost over 500,000 yen altogether including the plane tickets and hotel. Hotels are expensive in San Francisco.

Five thousand engineers from all over the world aren’t satisfied with just those official seminars though, so, they hold unofficial events here and there in San Francisco and chat while clacking away at their keyboards even using up their valuable sleeping time. This event is a celebration for technology geeks.

Kuruwaze adds just a casual “Yeah, it was fun,” and once again glances at the slogan on my chest.

“I like Guardian of the Code better than protect. I want to say that at work.”

“You?”

 

Want to read Taiyo Fujii’s Hello, World!『ハロー・ワールド』藤井太洋 in Japanese? Grab this book in Japanese at Amazon.com!

ハロー・ワールド

藤井太洋

「泰洋さん、そのTシャツ、俺も持ってるよ」
僕を名前の方で呼ぶ郭瀬敦が、有機野菜カレーの皿から顔を上げて言った。広い額からまっすぐ伸びる鼻筋にちょんと載せた楕円のメタルフレーム眼鏡がよく似合う。いかにも知的といった風体で、中身もそれにふさわしい。グーグルに勤務する彼は、世界的なサービスの真ん中で活躍する掛け値なしに優秀なエンジニアだ。

「スローガンがいいよね」
郭瀬が言いながら指さした胸元を、隣に座っていた汪静英が覗き込む。

「泰洋さん、私にも見せて」

オフィスでは僕を名字の「文椎」で呼ぶ汪だが、郭瀬と三人のときは下の名前で呼んでくれる。かすかな訛りのある丁寧な言い方でそう呼びかけられると胸がざわついてしまう。彼女に結婚を約束した同郷の男性がいることを知っていなければ、勘違いしてしまいかねない。

ふかっとした黒い生地をつまんで印刷されたスローガンを平たくすると、汪は緑の文字を読み上げた。

「Keeper of the Code——门将的程序か。日本語だとなんていうの?」

「直訳だと『コードの守護者』。プログラムは僕が守る、って感じかな」

汪は首を傾げて自分の二の腕に指をあて、薄い緑のアイラインを引いた目で僕を見た。淡いピンク色の爪がの電球を映し出す。

「袖のHello, world!(ハロー・ワールド)は?よく見るんだけど何か意味あるの?」

「うまくいきますように、っていうおまじない」

僕のそっけない答え方に郭瀬が吹き出した。

「泰洋さん、面白いけど、ひどいよ。汪さん、ハロー・ワールドってのは一番初めにプログラムで書かせる文字列なんだ。これを表示するところからソフトウェア開発は始まる。C言語の初めての教科書で使われたサンプルで——」

「だからおまじないだろ」

僕は郭瀬の言葉を遮った。彼を放っておけばC言語からC++にJava、果てはLISPのようにマイナーな開発言語でハロー・ワールドを書くコードと、その違いまで説明しかねない。
僕は気になっていたことを聞いた。

「そのTシャツ持ってるってことは、郭瀬さん、WWDCに行ったの?」

「うん。会社のお金でだけどね」

「いいなあ。僕のはお土産なんだよ」

汪も羨望の眼差しで郭瀬を見る。

アップルが主催するWWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference)は基調講演でiPhoneの新機種などが発表されるため、日本からも大勢の記者が押しかけてアップル社の今年を占うイベントだが、その実態は開発者向けのセミナーだ。MacやiPhone用のソフトを開発しているエンジニアたちのために五日間かけて行われる技術セッションは公式なものだけでも百を超える。参加費は千五百九十九ドル(二十万円弱)で、日本から参加するには航空券とホテル代まであわせると五十万円を超える。サンフランシスコのホテルは高い。

世界中から集まる五千名のエンジニアたちは公式のセミナーに飽き足らず、サンフランシスコのそこかしこで非公式のイベントを開き、寝る間も惜しんでキーボードを叩きながら語らう。技術オタクの祭典だ。

郭瀬は「ああ、楽しかったよ」とだけ言って、もう一度僕の胸に目をやった。

「守る、よりも『コードの守護者』のほうが好きだな。僕も会社で言ってみたい」

「郭瀬さんが?」

藤井太洋(2018)『ハロー・ワールド』講談社 pp. 8-10

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