Australian Citizenship

June 8th, 2021

Not every day you become a citizen of a country! In fact for most folks this is once in a lifetime event. But for me, after spending 11 years in Australia living, studying, working, Australian citizenship was finally no longer a dream, but a completed life goal.

Latvia allow’s its citizen to have dual citizenship, so naturally I opted for that.

But there was more thing I wanted to do before I got my Australian passport: change my legal name. My name is Russian language is: Vadim Brodsky, but in Latvia its Vadims Brodskis, because thats how the Latvian language works, all masculine words must have an –s at the end of them. And that has been the reality of my life since I was born. I can not change it in Latvia. But I can change it in Australia!

So I applied for a name change with the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages and it got approved. So my name legally in Australia is now Vadim Brodsky. No ‘s’s at the end anymore. And that is what it says on my Australian passport. However I can not change my Latvian passport. Thus I am stuck in a reality where I have 2 passports with 2 different names. I’m sure that wont cause any problems to me whatsoever, right?…

Wedding Planning

January 23rd, 2021

There are so many parts to planning a wedding, we were quick to realise that. But that didn’t deter us, as we decided to do 2 weddings: 1 in Sydney and 1 in Nagoya. This way we can have my friends attend the Sydney one, and have us legally be married in Australia first, and then have a reception in Nagoya for Kotone’s family and friends to attend there.

We decided early on that the wedding ceremony and receptions we wanted to focus on our family. The priority was to get our family to both of them, as we are so far from both our families for long periods of time. Also since we are doing 2 receptions, we figured the one in Sydney would be the western style one and for the one in Nagoya we would go full out traditional Japanese style.

We through about when to have these 2 celebrations, and thought that spacing them out would be inconvenient for my parents who need to fly from Europe, so we went with both being on the same week. But then which week, we needed to pick one. Summer and Winter seasons were ruled out quite quickly, as going from a winter Latvia to a summer Sydney then to a winter Nagoya would not be pleasant at all (same for the inverse). So it was spring or autumn. Since we started planning in Summer 2020, doing it in autumn was impossible, and spring was quite hard, so we went with Autumn 2020. And the day we chose for the ceremony was 4/4/22 (yes I love my repeating dates). Which was a Monday. And the Japanese reception would be the same week on the Saturday, 9th of April 2022.

Focusing on the western | japanese style as a theme, we started looking at the Sydney venue first. The venue needed to be easy to get to for my Sydney friends, but intimate enough that we wouldn’t be on display for the world to see. It needed to be an older style building, more from the 1900s or 1800s with a space for a ceremony, and a large hall to fit our guests. We estimated that we would have around 50-60 guests at the wedding, cause if we went any larger, we wouldn’t have time to spend with everyone on our special day. It also needed to be uniquely Australian, be it with a view of the harbour, a winery, near a beach, something that both my European parents and Kotone’s Japanese parts would love and we could remember forever.

After a bit of research and visiting the place, we settled on the Gunners Barracks in Mosman. It was perfect. It met all of the conditions and the hiring price for the date we chose was very reasonable as well.

Then for Sydney we needed to decide on all the other things: flowers and decorations, photographer, cake, music, transport, etc. But for Japan, it was a little bit more simpler.

In Japan you don’t pick all the things separately from different vendors, you chose the venue and then the venue provides you will all the other vendors based on the package type you chose. There are different packages that suite different budgets, but all filled by folks who work in collaboration with the venue of chose. The venue also designates a wedding planner for our event specifically who would be our contact person for all the matters.

For the Nagoya venue we went with Gajouen Nagoya. It has a great vibe, is very traditional, a high quality venue, does traditional catering, has kimono rental, and is in a rather convenient location only 15 minute train trip from Nagoya Station.

So with the dates and venues decided, it was time to give all of our friends as “Save the Date” card for the date. And we came up with the best idea for that – a floppy disk. Its used as a “save” icon on a lot of modern day apps, and it’s a lot more unique than a simple card. It was a great idea and everyone loved it. We also hid a file on the floppy disk itself, for those of our friends who happen to have a floppy disk reader available to them.


UPDATE Oct 2021: Due to COVID restrictions on flying to Australia and Japan not lifting, and there being no plans in place to lift them by April 2022, Kotone and I have decided to postpone our wedding to 2023, so that our parents can come to celebrate with us. The new dates are 04/04/2023 and 08/04/2023. Hopefully we don’t need to postpone again!

The Proposal

November 11th, 2020

9 months we spent apart, and the whole time we were trying to figure out how to get you back to Sydney. But finally in October 2020 you made it back, and after 2 weeks in quarantine we were finally reunited on the 7th of November 2020.

With so much time spent apart, I knew we had to spend as much time together as possible, so I took 2 weeks off work and booked us a camping trip across the norther coast of NSW. But that was not the only thing I planned.

I was also ready to ask you to spend the rest of your life with them. I bought a ring, and thought of where and how I will propose. It was going to be on the 11th of November 2020 (11/11/2020) at sunrise at the national park we are camping in.

The stage was set the time was right and that is exactly what I did. We woke up at 5am to watch and take photos of the sunrise, but then when we got to the beach to see the sunrise, I started playing our song – Wherever you are by One Ok Rock. It was a special cut down version which plays for 1 minute or so, basically cutting off when the lead singer says: “I promise you forever right now”. So when that line of the song was sung, I bent down on one knee and asked you whether you would marry me.

I was extremely nervous these whole couple of weeks (or months) preparing for this one moment, and in the moment my knees were weak, arms were heavy, but I did it – I asked the question. And the answer you gave me was: “YES”. You said you knew it was coming, but didn’t expect it to happen at that time at that place. But you were overjoyed and crying, and so was I.

Well whats next?

We already told all of our family and friends, getting plenty of congratulations all around. So now it’s time to start planning our wedding!  Where will we have it? what will we do? what will your dress look like? Are all things I’m really looking forward to answering with you during 2021.

The HU

July 7th, 2020

You know it’s that kind of day when you end up listening to a Mongolian rock / metal band.

This is not the first time I stumbled upon some cool Mongolian music, check out the post I made about throat sining:


May 11th, 2020

It is now May 2020 and the whole world has been in shutdown for 2 months now. Who would’ve imagined that our normal lives would come to such an abrupt stop in March 2020.

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc to countries and their health systems, and without a clear solution form anyone, we are all just stuck in our homes – in lockdown.

Some governments acted faster and better than others, and have managed to protect and save more of their people from this deadly virus, but everyone had to implement drastic measures to achieve even the smallest of results.

Australia has surprisingly come out on top in terms of its response and how well we managed to contain the spread and flatten the curve. Other advanced 1st world countries (looking at you USA and UK), were not so fortunate to have leaders who care about their people and their livelihoods.

We are all doing our part – staying home, social distancing, isolating ourselves from the world. Thats what each and every one of us can do, and should do, until there is a clear end in sight. Whether it be a vaccine or total eradication of the virus, either way we all need to just accept that our lives will not be returning to normal anytime soon.

This situation has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives – with events canceled, travel banned, and any kind of future plans postponed. I had some big things planned for 2020 and 2021, but unfortunately they will have to take a step back until life gets back to normal (a new normal).

Stay home, stay safe, stop the spread.


It’s more fun in the Philippines – 2020

March 14th, 2020

Another year, another family holiday. This time, amid the spreading health epidemic, we ended up traveling to the beautiful tropical islands of the Philippines. Like always the Brodsky family focused on 2 things, learning about the land and its the people, and relaxing on beautiful beaches of paradise. However, there was one thing that was very different from all of our past trips. A certain Japanese girl joined us on this trip! Thats right, my beautiful girlfriend Kotone came along for two weeks of fun in the Philippines.

While swimming in pools and the sea was a great way to spend the days, those the were not the only activities we took part in during our holiday. Kotone and I went snorkelling, and I also was able to fly my drone all over the place. The views of islands and the seas were absolutely breathtaking, and the fish in the sea we quite cute too. The people are kind, and the food was delicious. However it seems like the country is very divided between the rich and the poor, we saw brand new modern buildings being constructed next to slums and rubbish. The gab in wealth is very noticeable, so much so, that we occasionally refrained from venturing outside of our hotel, as we were worried about the area surrounding it.

Overall the Philippines was a great experience, and being together with my beloved made it ever more memorable. I hope the situation around the world improves, and we will be able to go to many more together.

As always, photos on my Flickr and Instagram stories

Japan 2019

November 19th, 2019

This trip was the most spontaneous thing trip I’ve ever planned, but it was definitely a very pleasant and memorable experience. I recently started dating a Japanese girl named Kotone, and this November was her brothers wedding party. She was planning on heading to Japan for a couple of days to attend the wedding party, and I decided to tag along. Her parents invited me to the party as well as an honorary guest, and even let me stay at their house for a few nights.

Our trip began by arriving to Central Japan International Airport (near Nagoya) and renting a car. Thats right, no bullet trains this time, just a car. We drove up to the town of Takayama, visited the old town, and bought some sake. Then we reached our first stop of the trip: Hirayuonsen hot-spring town. For 2 nights we stayed in the Sanganoyu Ryokan, where we got to experience the various onsens, and even rent a private one for a period of time. There isn’t much around the area aside from pristine forests and mountains, so it was the perfect place to relax and enjoy everything that mother nature has to show.

The second leg of our journey was spent in the big cities like Osaka and Nagoya. We went to Universal Studios Japan, the first “real” theme park I went to out of my own desire. I even challenged myself to ride one of the more thrilling rides in the park, and while it was terrifying, I can report that I am still alive and well.

Afterwards we headed to back to home base – Nagoya, more specifically Oguchi. Meeting the family was terrifying at first, but after the first dinner, it got a lot more comfortable. The Kamino family were very kind to me and treated me as if I was their own son. It was a pleasant experience, especially when my own home is 15,000km away. At the wedding party I was seated with the groom’s high school friends, so we had a lot of laughs and plenty to drink. The highlight of the wedding for me, aside from the obviously different wedding style in Japan (even though it was somewhat a western style wedding), was that the bride gave the bouquet of flowers to my girlfriend Kotone. Is this is a sign for the future? Who knows, but it was definitely a happy moment for both of us. On the last few days we visited Nagoya Castle, Legoland, and the Nagoya Train museum.

While this was a short trip, it was very eventful, and at the end of it neither of us wanted to head back to Sydney. But we have and now we need to build our future together!

A small number of photos available on my Flickr, the rest are hidden away on my iPhone.

Europe 2019 photo

Eurotrip 2019

September 10th, 2019

This year the Brodsky family decided to drive around Europe and visit 2 new countries: Belgium and Luxembourg. Being part of the family means, that I got to experience this as well and thus raised my country count to 56!

We started our journey in Germany, where after landing from 24 hours of flying, I met up with my parents, who spent the last few days driving / on a ferry. While I have previously been to Germany multiple times, this was my first time driving through the country. That was probably the highlight of the trip overall, the German Autobahns. I got to experience driving at speeds that could not imagine. But of course I made sure to stay safe and drive responsibly.

Next on our list was Belgium, and you know what belgium is famous for? Beer! Thats right, Belgium has hundreds, even thousands of different types of beer. So of course I had to try at least some. Every day for lunch and dinner (when not driving, of course), I tried a different type of Belgian beer. One special type of beer that my mom and I got really fond of is called Kriek, which means cherry. Cherry flavoured beers. Quite sweet, a bit sour, but not bitter. After trying one, we couldn’t resist to buy at least 18 more. The cities of Brugge, Ghent and Dinant were beautiful examples of old Europe. To be honest every city we visited during the whole trip was beautiful, that’s why the majority of the photos are of buildings and not landscapes this time around.

During our travels, we love ticking off new countries of our list, and so we just couldn’t resist not stopping in Luxembourg for an afternoon. The country itself is tiny, and the old city was just like the others, it was still an interesting place to visit for a day.

And then last, but not least, was France. France was a bit harder to travel through than I originally expected, but thanks to Google Translate and its live camera translation features, we managed to overcome all the struggles in restaurants and shops. We had plenty of whine and Champagne in France, and I even got to try the famous french snails – Escargots (they were really good). We stopped by the city of Djon, yes the one with all the mustard, and we bought some mustard there. Finally at the end of our trip, we went to this small town of Requewhir, which looks just like it came out of a fairy tale. The buildings are all colourful and the structures themselves are from medieval times. They looked absolutely stunning from the ground (unfortunately not as well from drone height).

The last stop on our trip was the town of Baden-Baden in Germany, where we visited the famous hot spring baths, and had some great German food at a beer garden.

All the photos from both my camera and drone can be found on my Flickr.

GUTS code

G.U.T.S. – The future of SMASH! ticketing.

August 1st, 2019

SMASH!, the largest anime convention in Australia, with over 22,000 people coming annually. And to support this convention we have a range of systems: website, recruitment, and ticketing. And now, in 2019, we have to rewrite the ticketing system from scratch. As a bit of backstory, let me tell you how we ended up in this situation.

The backstory of SMASH! ticketing systems

SMASH! is purely volunteer run, and because of that, it simply lacks the necessary funding to pay for expensive systems like Ticketek or Eventbrite. However SMASH! is run on passion, passion of people from all sorts of backgrounds. And who would have thought that the majority a lot of people who want to dedicate their free time to help grow such convention are IT professionals working in the field. And what do IT guys and girls like doing more than hacking systems? – that’s right, building new systems! So at some point, the IT team of SMASH! built it own ticketing system (frontend and backend), and payment link system, and pass issuing system, and local redemption system and infrastructure. One might ask why build so many systems? The answer is always simple: cause there was a need for it.

With 5 systems, maintaining them became quite the challenge, and all of 2018 was spent to just support the existing systems and add 2 minor features. However it became clear that something needed to change when the 2 tech leads, who built the ticketing system and payment link system, retired from SMASH! after 8 years of service, each.

So even before SMASH! 2018 weekend happened, Yaakov and I started taking about the future of SMASH! ticketing.

The decision

We had 4 options and we had to make a choice… Read More

Cliff side photo from drone

Photography, from a different angle

July 29th, 2019

For the longest time I have been taking photos with a DSLR camera, and sometimes with my iPhone. Recently however, I’ve been tempted by the beautiful photos from all these photobloggers and instagrammers, who capture absolutely stunning shots from angles that are near impossible, unless you have a device that can fly.

So after some consideration, I decided to spend a bit of cash and buy myself a drone – named Senkuu. I went for the DJI Mavic Air with the fly more combo (for the extra batteries), and so far its been performing absolutely amazingly. When flying it, I feel like I am a kid again, playing with a radio controlled toy, only this time its not a toy but a really amazing piece of technology that can help me capture the wonders of the world from an angle that I could not before.

I’ve taken quite a few shots with the drone and I am sure I will be taking plenty more.

You can find all the photos on my Flickr.