Happy New Year
Photo by Joi Ito, Design by Matsuichi

While 2008 was a tough year for everyone, it was full of surprises and interesting connections. The most interesting connection was that Mizuka and I finally got married after living together for ten years. (See joi.ito.com/weblog/2008/12/03/we-got-married.html )

In 2008, I began to explore the Middle East and decided that complete immersion was the only way to do it right. This New Year's card is being sent from Dubai where I will be moving my residence and base from 2009.

I am really looking forward to an exciting and "changeful" 2009 with all of you and hope to continue my journey to find happiness for myself and you, my increasingly global community of friends.

Longer post about Dubai later...

3 Comments

Thank you, Joi! Happy new year to you, too! And have fun living in Dubai!

hi,

Happy new year!! and wish you success for your projects!
it means that you are going to live in dubai ? good luck for immersion and arabic learning!


Hello Joi,

My name is Marvin. I'm one of the folks that plays WOW from time to time as a member of WK. My character is called "Grimhawk." Harpin is my long time real life friend. I actually started playing WOW after reading an interview with you in an article called "Is World of Warcraft the new Golf?"

I read your blog post, "Moving to Dubai" with a great deal of interest. I am fascinated by all things "Dubai." Will you be setting up business in Dubai Internet City?

I am writing concerning your comments on "ignorance." I am wondering if living in Dubai will actually make you significantly less ignorant of Muslim culture? Quite frankly, when I read about Dubai, I get the sense that Dubai is "Muslim Flavored Western Culture" or "Muslim Lite." 40% of the UAE's GDP is oil revenues and they seem terribly open to westernization.

In addition, you operate on a different cultural level than the vast majority of human beings. I don't know much about you personally, but you are apparently tied to substantial wealth. You are a global venture capitalist. I have observed (via WOW) that you pretty much live on airplanes! :-) If there was such a thing as a "citizen of the sky" I'm sure you'd qualify for that also. You move in powerful social circles. I am often amazed by your circle of friends and acquaintances. You have the Japanese Ambassador to the UAE helping to make your transition smooth.

Considering these thoughts, even though living in Dubai, will you not be as insulated from Muslim culture and the Islamic faith as you would be living in Los Angeles or Tokyo for instance?

I know people in Los Angeles who have lived here all their lives and are still oblivious to the vast culture of the city. They are insulated by status and wealth. Yet these same people will tell you in a second how open minded and liberal they are, as they roll the windows up, lock the doors, and speed through "bad" sections of Los Angeles in their Obama stickered Volvos on their way to a Mexican restaurant in Malibu.

You're an important man. You make decisions that affect the lives of others. From what I've observed in WOW, people tend to be on their best behavior when you're around. I suspect this is a small example of what goes on in a larger scale in "RL" for you.

Personally, I believe that combatting ignorance takes effort and a willingness to put yourself at least a bit at risk. Yourself and ideas that you might cherish.

I hope to read more from you about your experiences in Dubai. I am very interested in understanding more about Muslim culture, the Islamic faith, and elements (if any) of radical Islam in Dubai. Does living in Dubai really make a difference in your understanding, etc. I've lived in America all my life, grown up surrounded by the Christian faith, but couldn't tell you much about Christianity without sounding like an idiot.

I would be particularly interested in knowing if their are opportunities for tech oriented individuals who's circle of friends don't include Ambassadors, heh!

Good Luck with your latest endeavor!

M.

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