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A Japanese book

My book is now available in Japanese (ISBN 4-8399-1897-X), thanks to the great work by our (Debian's) very own Kenshi Muto and Junichi Uekawa! It even comes with its very own Obi -- a ribbon wound around the book with commercial messages designed to draw the attention of the (potential) reader. The word derives from the sash worn with a kimono.

It's weird to hold a text in your hands that has your own name on it, but which you cannot read, especially when you're such a pedantic perfectionist as I am. This dilemma I picked up in the Japanese translation's preface, which I include in full for your reading pleasure. And I'll do so both in Japanese as well as English, just because I don't know when I'll ever get the chance again to post some authentic Japanese on my blog!

日本を訪れる機会はこれまで一度きりでしたが、忘れがたい思い出の残る旅でした。その記憶もあって、こうして自分の著作が日本語版として世に出ることになった喜びはひとしおです。本書で取り上げているオペレーティングシステムDebianは、日本でも急速に支持を集めつつあります。今、本書を手にしているあなたがDebianの発展に貢献してくれることを願ってやみません。

ここで、日本語版の実現に協力してくれたKenshi MutoとJunichi Uekawaに感謝の気持ちを伝えておきたいと思います。自らもDebianの著書を記しているKenshiと、本書の執筆に不可欠だったpbuilderの生みの親であるJunichiは、共に高名なDebian開発者です。ご両名からは、この日本語版の出版にあたって力強い支援を頂きました。

読み進めるとおわかりになるかもしれませんが、優れた参考書として完成させるために私は途方もない労力を本書に注ぎ込みました。したがって、日本語も含めて、私自身が理解できない言語で書かれた本に自分の名が記されることには非常に強い抵抗がありました。しかし、才気に溢れるKenshiとJunichiの手によって日本語に訳されることを知って、すっかり安心しました。今では、時代の流れに敏感で刷新的な文化を持つ日本の言葉に翻訳されたことを大変誇らしく思っています。

honsho ga minasama no ochikara ni narereba saiwai desu.

And here for all those who cannot understand the signs from the land of the rising sun:

I have only had the chance to visit Japan once to date, but the trip left some unforgettable memories, which make it all the more an honour for me to see a Japanese translation of my book on the market. The Debian operating system is gaining popularity fast in Japan, and it is my hope that the book you are holding in your hands will help to accelerate this growth.

Please allow me at this point to express my gratitude towards Kenshi Muto, a Debian book author himself, and Junichi Uekawa, author of pbuilder, a vital component in the making of my book! Kenshi and Junichi are both renowned Debian developers and have been instrumental in the coordination of this Japanese translation.

As you will notice while reading my book, I invested a lot of energy into making it a quality reference. It was thus very difficult for me to accept a text with my name on it that I could not read, as is the case with the Japanese version you are holding in your hands. However, knowing the translation in the capable hands of Kenshi and Junichi quickly put my mind to rest and I am now incredibly proud to see my work translated into the language of the fast-moving and innovative culture of Japan.

honsho ga minasama no ochikara ni narereba saiwai desu.

That last sentence means "I hope the book will be helpful to you," and was translated by Shuhei, a friend who's working on his Ph.D. at Zurich's AILab. Apparently Kenshi and Junichi thought it was so cute that they simply left it as is and did not translate it.

In other news, my book's also available in German (and has been since late February), the French edition is on the verge of being released by Eyrolles (no link yet), and the Chinese translation is still work in progress (also, no link yet).

The book's website needs a rework to integrate the other languages, and to fix up all the shortcomings I've encountered during one year of uptime with an average of around 200 unique visits per day. It's also still using Plone 2.0.5, but I just have not had the time yet to fix it all up in a migration to Plone 2.5, mainly because I've lost synchronisation with the Plone development team over the past year.

Oh well. That ToDo list just keeps getting longer...