It all started in late 1994 when I had just got my internet connection and made myself familiar with the Web. To make an own site attracted me, but about what? Then one Sunday afternoon I was lazily watching a tennis game on TV.
I thought that the Japanese player with a head-band showed a lot of guts, and was also "kind-a-cute". So, after the game I went to my compter and thought I check if she had a web site.
And, as I could not find any, I thought "Why not, I make one!"
That was the start of a three year, very platonic, relationship with Kimiko Date. For those of you who don't know her; the most successful Japanese tennis player in recent history, rising up to 4th on the WTA ranking.
The beginning was very modest, just one page with some statistical information and links. Whenever I tried to put up a picture, I soon got "threats" from the copyright holders (like ITJ-0061), that if I do not remove their image immediately, they sue me...
The break-through came when I got in touch with a free-lance photographer who had taken a lot of pictures of Kimiko. Now I had all the pictures I needed and could develope the site.
Soon afterwards I started to receive a lot of feedback, most of it very positive, and as the number of visitors increased dramatically, I got pressure to improve the site, and decided to learn more about web site authoring. Like Java and Pearl, image processing, animations, morphs (like the on on the left), etc.. etc.
During the last summer (1996) she played I had over 10,000 visitors per week.
Unfortunately she retired from tennis at the end of 1996 and the site became static. But then I was contacted by a few Finnish companies based in Japan and asked if I would be interested to make a web site for them. That's how I made my first "professional" site for Vaisala K.K., Honka Japan Inc. and the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo. But these were still more or less on a hobby basis.
When Nokia Japan contacted me in Spring 1998 about making their Japan site this became more serious and web site productions became the "second leg" in my businesses in Japan.
Have I ever met Kimiko? No, never, and probably she does not even know about me, or my site. On several occasions I tried to contact her agent, KD Planning, to find some kind of cooperation, but they refused to talk to me. Why, is still a mystery to me, because I thought I made a lot of good, and for them totally free, publicity for their client.
But I am very greatful to her in any case, she made it possible for me to make my hobby into a "half-profession", and I still like it!