Hello friends! My name is Lauran Ando and this is my personal website.

Here you’ll find a staggering number of my selfies fashion photos, and a far more modest number of tech projects.

That is because this website started as a travel blog in 2003 when I was just 21 years old and embarking on my first adventures in Japan.

It started out as a humble appreciation for traditional Japanese history and culture, but once I got to Japan, this blog became a documentary of my chaotic downward spiral as I bulldozed my way into Tokyo youth culture and Gothic and Lolita Fashion (and a little bit of Visual Kei cosplay).

So it is not surprising that in 2006 I graduated from the University of California, San Diego, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese Studies with a focus on Japanese street fashion (rather than a far more normal focus on history or language). I was, at the time, considered an expert on all things Harajuku (or so I was labelled when one of my professors at Tsukuba University decided to make a surprise class trip visiting the famous Harajuku Meijijingu bridge on a Sunday to see me mingle with my friends in the wild, unbeknownst to me).

Of course, time flows, life happens, and personal interests change. After a few years of living in Japan as first a university student and then as an English teacher, I ultimately returned to my native Southern California in 2007.

You see, before moving to Japan, I was just your normal nerdy quiet gamer. Growing up, I had more interests in computers and technology than anything related to beauty or fashion. My dream was to go into localization, which is why I picked up learning Japanese in the first place. But I wasn’t able to get that localization job. My only option to work in Japan after graduation was to teach English, and quite frankly, I hated it.

After moving back to Los Angeles, I began working for Riot Games. Without a tech background, I found myself stuck in a role filing official papers and chasing signatures. I enjoyed the job, but I wanted to do more, push myself farther, and it was with the help and guidance of those wonderful people at Riot Games, that I got the courage to go back to school and start over. In 2014, I quit my job and became a full time student once more. In 2019 I graduated with my Master of Science in Computer Science degree from Georgia Tech.

Moving forward, this blog will primarily be a home for my tech portfolio and personal projects, but will also continue to be a home to my old fashion blog and photos as well. All of my posts, past and present, tech and fashion, encompass my entire journey as a human being. It’ll be interesting to see what changes in another 15 years. Will I be back in Japan as an AI localization lead? In Paris designing AI runway shows? Who knows! The future is exciting again, but for right now I just want to learn how to make some GANs that will produce an infinite supply of cute cat photos.