Happy New Year

Its been quite a while since I wrote my last blog post back in October. Some of you may be wondering whats been up on my plate and so I would like to do a lil recap of the past few months to get up to speed.

Taking a Dive into the Deep End

Every year has its ups and downs, but 2010 was by far the toughest year for me. There were a few major f***d up incidents that went down in 2010, some I can’t mention since its a bit personal but one of them was my mother being diagnosed with stage 4b breast cancer. Just when I thought things can’t get any worse, the news of my mom really drilled me to the ground. There were many complications, we were unsure of how far the cancer had grown, many calls with multiple doctors, waiting for results, thinking about survival rates, etc it was an incredibly stressful time (and still is). Dealing with multiple issues from various angles, I had a really rough time balancing everything in my life. The obvious thing was to back off from work, and really attend to what was important. My mom is now on her second treatment of chemo (the first type was not very effective), and will be going through radiation in a couple of months.

Since then I’ve come to a realization of how much family really means to me. I often get lost in my personal life, work, friends, and sometimes I start to take things for granted. My goal now is to enjoy family and spend quality time with people that I love. I feel most of us designers/developers are so involved in our work lifestyle, that we forget we are still humans. Work hard but never let it become your life, this is something that I’ve been working hard to balance. One of my new years resolution is to slow it down and really find the right balance with work, family, and take some time for my self.

Here is a photo of my mom and dad, please keep her in your prayers.


Now that the bad news is out of the bag, here are some good news.

The Transition

After graduating college, my first professional design job was at 4 Wheel Parts (a large e-Commerce retailer specializing in off road products). 4 Wheel Parts had been my training ground, I learned everything from Design to SEO, and even writing my first line of CSS there. After serving them for about 4 years, I was ready to move forward to my next big challenge. The thought of going full force with freelance did cross my mind, but I’ve always loved working in a team environment and surrounding myself with people that are smarter.

I’ve taught myself for the past 5 years and was incredibly hungry to be surrounded and schooled by the top designers and developers in my area. I’ve realized that to get the schooling and creative environment that I was seeking, I had to join a creative agency. I applied to many agencies in Los Angeles, denied by some, interviewed with some, and even turned down some. It was a truly humbling experience and I got to meet and interview with some very talented people on the way. After a long and patient journey, I finally found myself at Soap Creative.

Soap Creative

Soap Creative
Soap Creative is originally based in Sydney Australia but has a Los Angeles team here in Culver City. The talent here is very diverse, the team is well balanced with concept artists, 3-D motion graphic designers, developers, vector illustrators, Flash devs and more. Although Soap is well known for its online arcades and interactive flash sites, the clients are seeking more accessible sites these days so I feel I jumped on board at the right time to contribute my design and CSS skills. I am proud to be here and look forward to learning tons from the creatives here at soap!

Exploring Other Creative Exercises

To get through the stressful times, I don’t know what I would do without my trusty skateboard and good music to dance to. Skateboarding and popping has been my way to release the stress and it has helped me in many ways both physically and mentally. After quitting skateboarding for about 8 years, I picked it up again this year and I’ve been enjoying relearning old tricks and learning new ones as well. Here is a quick video of me skating at a local high school.

On the dance tip, my good buddy Madd Chadd from Step up 3D had recruited me to take part in a street dance webisode called “The LXD” which showcases some of the best bboys and poppers in the states. I was in the last episode of the second season called “The Good, the Bad and the Ra, Part 2“. Enjoy my butt tight jeans and bandit outfit lol.


Lastly, here is a short segment I did with some local dancers for Myka9′s latest music video “I Must Cross”.

and Finally… I Quit Smoking

I picked up my first cigarette back when I was about 15 or so. I was a social smoker up to about end of highschool, then started smoking regularly. I finally put an end to it last month and hope to never return to it again!

Thanks for All of the Support

I’m very blessed to have all my friends and readers support me during tough times. There were many who kept in touch and checked on how I was doing, I really appreciate it and it really did make a big difference. To all my readers who still stuck around after 3 months of dead silence, I apologize for that and I am looking forward to writing some new tutorials very soon.

Thank you always, I hope you all have a great year ahead of you. Goodbye 2010, hello 2011 🙂

About the Author

Soh Tanaka
My name is Soh Tanaka and I am a Los Angeles based designer/front-end developer specializing in CSS driven web design with an emphasis on usability and search engine optimization. I also run a CSS Gallery which is updated daily with the best CSS websites from around the world. Come check it out!

Be the first to comment on "Happy New Year"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.