SAS tourism

How to Become a Top SAS Programmer
Michael Raithel and his new book visit the SAS Tokyo office

How do they spell “SAS” in Japan?  What does the Japanese version of the SAS Display Manager look like?  How is a SAS programming class conducted in Tokyo?  These may sound like pretty random questions, but I found myself wondering about them as I began preparing for my trip to run the 2014 Tokyo Marathon.  Knowing the Japanese SAS headquarters office is located in Tokyo, I decided to find out.

The ever resourceful SAS Press staff was able to introduce me to Ms. Chie Kyo, Manager of Public Relations in the Marketing Division of the SAS Tokyo office.  Chie set up an appointment for me to visit the SAS training facilities the day after the marathon.  With great attention to detail, she created an agenda for the visit and provided excellent instructions on how to find and access the SAS Institute Japan Tokyo office.

The morning after the marathon, I arrived at the impressive Mori Tower building which is in the Roppongi Hills section of Tokyo.  There, I made my way to the SAS offices on the eleventh floor.  I was dazzled by the modern, neat look of the Tokyo office with its tastefully appointed furnishings and artsy framed SAS posters on the walls.  I received a warm, professional greeting from Ms. Yuno Suzuki, the receptionist.  Yuno made a phone call and minutes later Chie arrived to greet me and usher me into a conference room.  We were soon joined by Takae Nozaki Manager, HR &Admin. Group, Human Resources, Administrations & IS Division, and Kaori Kita Manager, Field Marketing Group, Marketing Division.  The three of us had a pleasant conversation about the Tokyo SAS office which houses a SAS training center.

Then, I had an opportunity to meet Motochika Murakami Education Manager, Education Group, Customer Services Division.  Motochika was in an empty classroom filled with laptops that had SAS installed on them.  He allowed me to take SAS for a test drive on the instructor’s laptop.  It was really fun to see Windows Explorer and the SAS Display Manager in Nihongo with the Japanese character set.  I did a PROC PRINT of the SASHELP.CLASS data set just to see what the SAS log would look like in the native character set.

Next, I sat in on the first half-hour of the SAS Macro Language 1; Essentials class taught by Katsumi Yamamoto, Senior Technical Training Consultant in the Education Group.  Katsumi started the class by asking attendees to introduce themselves, stating their name, industry, SAS experience, and purpose of training.  There were nine students in the class, and not surprisingly, most of them were relatively new to SAS.  After introductions and an explanation of the layout of the training facility, Katsumi began lecturing about the SAS macro facility.

Though the class was taught in Japanese, I could follow the basic concepts being presented.  Katsumi first showed an example program that had a number of hard-coded literals such as the current date and operating system.  He was laying the groundwork for students to use SAS automatic macro variables.  Next, he provided an example of SAS code where the year “2009” was hard-coded in several DATA and PROC steps.  It was clear that he was making a case for creating a year macro variable that could be substituted throughout the program.  A third example made the case for the macro facility generating SAS code repetitively while substituting values with each iteration.  I was delighted to see that the SAS data set being used in the macro class was the Orion Star Sports SAS data set; the same one used in my SAS classes in the United States.

Chie and I left the class after half an hour to take a tour of the class-area facilities.  Besides state-of-the-art classrooms, the Tokyo training center has a nice student lounge area.  One wall of the lounge is given over to floor-to-ceiling bookcases containing all manner of SAS publications.  I was pleased to see SAS Press publications by Ron Cody, Michelle Burlew, Art Carpenter, and by Susan Slaughter and Laura Delwiche, to name a few.  There were bound conference proceedings from past SUGI, NESUG, and other US regional SAS conferences.  I was simply delighted to find a copy of the NESUG 1995 conference proceedings since I co-chaired that conference with Frank Fry back in the day.

All too soon, my visit was over.  Chie, Yuno, and I took some pictures in the SAS office lobby area and then it was time for me to go.  Chie was kind enough to walk me out of the Mori tower and provide guidance on sites that I could tour in the Roppongi Hills before heading to the airport.

I want to thank Chie Kyo, Katsumi Yamamoto, Motochika Murakami, Takae Nozaki, Kaori Kita, and Yuno Suzuki for taking time out of their busy schedules to provide me with an interesting and informative tour of the SAS Tokyo office.

How do they spell “SAS” in Japan?  Same as we do in the United States, of course!

Be sure to take a look at Michael Raithel's latest book How to Become a Top SAS Programmer.



About Author

Michael A. Raithel

Senior systems analyst for Westat and SAS Press author

Michael A. Raithel is a senior systems analyst for Westat, an employee-owned contract research organization in the Washington, DC area. An internationally recognized expert in the use of SAS software in mainframe and UNIX environments, he is the author of over 25 SAS technical papers and is a popular lecturer at SAS Global Forum and at regional SAS conferences. He has written four books for SAS; the most recent book is How to Become a Top SAS Programmer. A copy of the first edition Tuning SAS Applications in the MVS Environment, resides in the Smithsonian Institution of American History’s Permanent Research Collection of Information Technology.

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