Interview with Atsushi Yamanaka (ATC 2011)

26 October 2011, 14:13
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Interview on Automated Trading Championship 2011 from 26.10.2011.

What is common between skydiving, Futures, Hawaii, translations and spies? We didn't know it until we've managed to communicate with disqualified participant Atsushi Yamanaka (alohafx). His has a creed "Life is Good!", and one can hardly doubt that. It was interesting to know that distances between the continents are not an obstacle for communication among our Championship's participants.

Please, tell us about yourself. We know that you have participated in ATC 2008. How long have you been in trading and programming in MQL4/5?

I started trading in 2006 as an extra income, as my work is little related to Yena vs. Dollar oscillations. I met MetaTrader 4 soon after that. Although my programming skill were basic from university education, I started learning MQL4 in 2007. The result of this struggle was 480th place in Automated Trading Championship 2008.

Trading is my hobby along with robots (many Japanese people like this), radio controlled airplanes and helicopters. I also like to potter with computer hardware.

Interesting that back in 2008 you have attended from USA, and now from Japan. Where are you from actually?

Half in Japan and Half in here, of course paying tax for both. Currently, I'm in Hawaii state. By the way my nickname consists of word aloha and fx. First is a Hawaiian salutation, the second is a well known acronym.

I'm working here in Hawaii as a skydiving instructor. Jumped almost 14 000 times. Truly, this excites no less than currency movements. Life is Good!

Atsushi Yamanaka: "Life is Good!"

Cool! Generally, how popular is Forex in Japan?

Since the leverage limitation got harder from the past summer, one boom was gone. Japan is still a developing country for automated trading. I did trade metal Futures in the past, but most likely I prefer to play on currency rates.

It is notable that you have translated MetaTrader 5 and MetaEditor 5 user interface into Japanese. How comfortable for you to use client terminal and editor? Is there something in your opinion for us to improve?

MetaTrader 5 - is very good and handy terminal, much better than MetaTrader 4 in terms of user interface, trade, design, etc. MetaEditor 5 and its MQL5 Wizard is the magic! But to tell you the truth, MQL5 language with its OOP concept is a nut too hard for me to crack.

Have you read articles on this subject at What helped you most while learning MQL5: Documentation, Articles, Code Base or Forum?

I'm sure all these resources are helpful, especially Articles and Forum. I can spend whole my weekend drown in them.

What is your trading experience? What do you prefer most: manual or automated trading?

Mostly I'm trading in semiautomatic mode. I see long term chart and find trend or range, and then I start the Expers Advisor in Bull, Bear or range mode. They find the scalping to day term trade chance to the direction I told. Something like that.

How do you detect a trend? What indicators do you use?

SMA, Fractals, manual trend lines and fundamental analysis. All these are based on time-proven moving average. Sometimes I use Stochastic Oscillator, RSI and volume indicators.

Are there any good books on trading in Japanese? Where do you get knowledge from?

I enjoyed the book of Hisamichi Toyoshima. It name can be translated into English as ForEx trading: Introduction to MetaTrader. The book was "bible" for me when I knew nothing about MQL4. By the way, the author of this book participated in Automated Trading Championship 2008 known as tsignal.

As for the coding, Norimitsu Mizuno is helping me sometimes (he is also participating in the Championship known as bighope). And there is one famous guy in Japan, considered as a trading mentor. His blog is the biggest MetaTrader community so far in Japan.

Atsushi Yamanaka: "I know one never lose method - stay away from market!"

You have created your EA in MQL5 Wizard. What do you think about it?

Fantastic toy! Perfect for the people like me who wants to make automatic trading robot but not very good at writing the code. The coding skill and strategy idea is totally different story. I believe there are lots of people who knows trading but not coding.

I want anyone to use my EA (if it works) as a MQL5 Wizard template to prepare for the next Championship.

Why have you decided to switch to MQL5? What language do you prefer: MQL4 or MQL5? Was it difficult to program your trading strategy?

I learned MQL5 only three months while preparing for the ATC 2010. It's a pity, I could not participate then. And back to my lovely MQL4 after that. As I said, OOP is hard for me to read and trace. I can still write MQL5 from scratch, but I wanted to play with the Wizard.

Then I was afraid if somebody in the world got same idea, same signal class to make EA with the Wizard. It could be almost the same EA. The question was how can the Juries find out this is not a multiple registration? For that reason I made my trading robot multi-strategy and multi-symbol to get less chance of disqualification. But now I realize that 12 pairs were too many maybe.

Please, tell about your strategy

I made my EA based on the concept of 2008 one. Then my EA tried to identify a clear trend on three pairs during the week. Now it is kind of EA of EAs.

It starts 12 experts, but only 3 of them can trade with big lots, other - only with minimal 0.1. The top three pairs strategy is calculated from Profit Factor and Win Ratio. If the profit grows, the volume of opened position is increased according to equity.

How do you close positions? By stop orders or EA closes positions by market?

All 12 pairs use the Parabolic SAR indicator as a Trailing Stop. Unfortunately I've got a mistake when setting up the timeframe for each symbol.

What results have you got on 8 months of the current year? How many parameters are there in your EA? Have you made any optimization?

1086 trades, 1956 deals, profit $100,794.89. A whole lot of parameters as the Wizard makes at least 10 of them for each pair. I combined 4 strategies together, and this is 4 to 5 parameters for each signal. But actually most of these parameters doesn't have any weight, because I put optimized them in the OnInit function for each symbol.

Strategy Tester is fantastic! We got visual mode this year, remote agents and the "highlight of the show" - MQL5 Cloud Network. It's the best so far.

The 15min time limit was the biggest hurdle for me, when preparing for the Championship. If I'd put more strategies, I will need more time to test. At least 30 minutes or more.

You have been admitted for the ATC 2011 in the last moment after manual check by Stanislaw Starikov (stringo). What do you think about it?

I couldn't believe it, because the last year I got cut off on the day start.

You've been disqualified due to excessive CPU resources (10-15%) and computer memory (2.5 GB) consumption by the participant's terminal. Did you find out what's the matter?

No, I hadn't reproduced this behavior on my machine.

Seems like you've taken the idea of Konstantin Gruzdev (Lizar). According to it, the EA gets events from indicator-spies. Don't you think that overload was caused by too many indicators on so much timeframes?

Yes, that's what I'm thinking about. And this explains why it was not happened to Andrei Moraru (enivid) who is using almost same indicators but with 2 symbols.

By the way, Andrei helped you in creating your EA for the ATC 2011. What do you think of his EA?

I'm proud of that he is using the class I've made. He and me are good friends since we have the same kind of blog about ATC (mine and his). I hope Andrei will him keep going and will win!

What do you think about services: Jobs, Market, Signals, MQL5 Cloud Network?

Jobs and Market are nice for both traders and coders. I've earned some money for the translation job. I don't use Signals yet, but MQL5 Cloud Network is a must have for any real optimization.

Do you think that Holy Grail of trading exists?

A trading robot making constant income - is the forever dream of human being, like philosopher's stone in alchemy. A program that works day and night, while I'm sleeping or on the beach. I know one never lose method - stay away from market! Of course, if the Grail exists - it is certainly a trade robot!

You know, trading Forex is not price to something worth of goods. It just prices and so that is is just numbers. For this reason, in my vision, charts should be "vertical", not going sideways. For example, left for EUR and right for USD, and there is no "High" neither "Low". So I believe that this price representation would be easier for technical analysis, in the other words more suitable for EAs. Something like that:

Atsushi Yamanaka: "My vision of price charts"

I understand that most of traders in the market believe only UPs and DOWNs. And also correlations of those Gold or Dow. Maybe someday I'll make the chart going upwards with MQL5's fine graphical techniques.

What do you think of Renko charts? Do you proud that candlesticks were invented in Japan?

Yes, and not only them but also Heikin-Ashi and Ichimoku, as well as Futures. I respect all those studies.

Have you tried out our MetaTrader mobile platforms?

Of course, I've tried all except for the new MetaTrader 5 Android. But as I prefer automatic trading, this approach doesn't suit me a lot.

Do you have any wish list for MetaTrader 5 developers?

You know if someday you got all Internet connection out, I was worry about the future of entire trading system because MetaTrader is the one of the most popular ones. What I want is more brokers to use MetaTrader for real trade, and the terminal will get the feature of rotating chart that I talked about earlier.

Are you planning to engage in the next Championships? What do you want to wish to the current Championship participants?

I want more people to join this Championship. That's why I tried to participate with the EA "genuine generated" by MQL5 Wizard. So I already made a decision to participate in ATC 2012, if you will arrange it.

I wish all the people on the competition to get the fantastic and exciting show for Santa Claus waiting for you with $80,000!

Thank you for the interview, Atsushi! We will be happy to see you among the contestants the next year!

With a kind permission of Atsushi, we are publishing a small video that he shot while jumping along with other skydivers.

Translated from Russian by MetaQuotes Software Corp.
Original article:

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