The little guys pictured about are Jizo, the Japanese patron saint of children and travelers, and as all the people who made the 2007 WBC such a success head home, we wish them all safe journeys.
Of course the fact that this WBC was such resounding success was no accident. It was dependent on the tireless work of dozens and dozens of people. Far too many to name them all here, but without whom none of this could have happened. The judges who came from all across the planet, days earlier than the competition to go through training and calibration. The runners and station maintenance people, without whom, the competition would have ground to a halt. And so on and so on. Thank you so much to everyone who gave so much of their time and their spirit and themselves for the benefit of this WBC!
That said, I would like to take a moment to give special attention to a few non-competitor people here in Tokyo that I can single out for a shout out.
WBC Chair for this year, Doug Zell, did an exemplary job overseeing the effort and deserves some major kudos for his chairmanship. Great job, Doug! And Nick Cho, the event master of ceremonies, was there for every single competitor and kept the audience informed and entertained throughout the three days. And I don’t think his mispronounced any of the 45 competitors names, though I’m not sure about his Japanese. Nice work, Nick!
I’m not sure if anyone who wasn’t here as a competitor had as much of an impact on this WBC than the two people pictured above, Zachary Carlsen and Katie Carguilo, the zacharyzachary team. Frustrated by the lack of information coming out of the USBC in a timely manner, they decided to do something to change it, to improve it for everyone, really carrying over the spirit of specialty coffee. Their live blogging of the competition truly turned the WBC into a worldwide event. How cool is it that James Hoffmann’s mother in England was able to know almost immediately that her son was the new world barsita champion thanks to them? She even posted to their site her congratulations to James.
Without a doubt if there was one thing that happened off the stage here in Tokyo that will change all WBCs to come, it was from Katie and Zachary’s tireless work behind the camera and keyboard.
And if there’s one person who we all know as tireless, as indefatigable, as amazing and dedicated and of course ever lovely, it’s Michelle Campbell.
She’s a woman who never seems to run of strength, compassion or smiles. She’s often the first one at the site and the last to leave, and even when she does leave, she ends up working in her hotel room until all hours to prepare for the next day and wrap up the one that just happened. I have no idea how she does it, but I am so glad that she does. The entire barista community owes her our deepest thanks. Great job once again, Michelle!
Update – I would of course be remiss to not give a very special shout out and thank you to Noboru Ueno, Director Secretary General of the Specialty Coffee Association of Japan. He did a super job of logistics, support and generally making sure everything here was as well done as it could be. Great job, Noboru-san! Thank you for your generosity and hospitality. You were the very model of a host. And major kudos to all of the Japanese volunteers and workers who made the 2007 WBC the bitchin’ great time that it was.
Later Update – In an earlier post I suggested that convention centers around the world were all the same and none of them were the site of rock shows. Turns out that I was wrong. The Tokyo Big Sight is actually also the site of at least one rock show, as my father and I were returning to our hotel tonight, there were thousands of young Japanese rock fans streaming out of the convention center, having just spent the evening getting their rocks off. Way to go, Japanese rock fans! I salute you.