Welcome back to Day 2 of the Tokyo Inter-School Hackathon! Today’s Bonus Challenge was for teams to submit a brief description of the problem they want to solve and their team’s solution to the problem. In line with this, Riku and I asked a few teams to go into more detail about their projects.

First up is high school team if funniest_name != us: cry()(henceforth referred to as cry()), from St. Maur International School. cry() surprised us with a unique project aimed towards helping the aging population of Japan during the pandemic, while simultaneously supporting struggling local shopping districts. Inspired by the increased popularity of Uber Eats during the months of quarantine, cry() has decided to create their own app to do something similar within Japan for daily necessities for elderly citizens who can’t risk going out to shop anymore.

Next, we spoke to high school team Codicts, from India International School in Japan and Sacred Heart. The Codicts chose to focus on the mental health issues that arise during the pandemic when people often end up separated from their families. They plan to create a website with games, inspirational quotes, and a social network to interact with others in a similar position. Their hope is that all of these would help people stay connected, even during the pandemic.

The final high school team we spoke to was team Alphabyte, from St. Mary’s International School and Seisen. This team is focused on helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced across the world, a quantity that skyrocketed once quarantine began. Inspired by a project one member did in middle school about sustainability and plastic usage, the members of Alphabyte were further encouraged by the realization that no major projects exist to combat and actively reduce plastic waste. They are currently working on image recognition, but report that the free libraries online are often inaccurate, so their major challenge thus far has been trying to make the source they are using less buggy.

Of course, the middle school teams are hard at work as well! We first spoke to Codeslayers, from India International School in Japan. This team, indubitably inspired by many months of riveting online classes last year, has decided to make an online platform to help both students and teachers connect more effectively. It would also serve the dual purpose of having resources to make classes more interesting and interactive, which I will be the first to say would be much appreciated. After a semester and a half of online classes, I can confidently say that the process could use improvement. A lot of it.

Last but not least, we spoke to team the hackkkers, from St. Mary’s International School. Without a doubt, this interview definitely takes the cake for “most entertaining.” Approximately thirty seconds of awkward silence into our first question(about what problem the team chose to solve), one of the members asked us if there was “a theme or something” that they had to follow. Despite this small setback, we still had a very productive discussion. the hackkkers initially aimed to make a role-playing game, or RPG. Armed with their newfound knowledge of the Hackathon’s theme, they will be adjusting their game plan going forward. Riku and I look forward to seeing their project, be it a game or anything else!

Across the board, we saw working on these projects is by no means smooth sailing. Although there will definitely be many bumps in the road ahead, don’t give up! Part of being a programmer is persevering through the error messages, as endless as they may seem. Good luck to all the teams, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

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