Archive for July, 2009

Video blog: End of a week, end of a year

A video I shot this morning whilst sorting the washing

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Photos of the solar eclipse taken on Mount Fuji

(This is a repost of what I’ve just posted on Japan Podshow but should interest Mumbler’s too!)

Just a very brief update to bring you a couple of photos of the solar eclipse as seen from Mount Fuji.

The full adventure story will be included in the next episode of Japan Podshow [iTunes] [RSS] – in which you’ll also hear about George’s trip to China to see the eclipse.

As most of our energy went into live streaming the event, we didn’t have much time to take photos. To be honest, it was the communal atmosphere up there that was the most memorable thing – we were united by the sun and moon (how cute). But still, here’s a couple. We were fortunate it was cloudy as we’d taken the wrong filter with us, and thus had to shoot the sun ‘raw’!


Solar Eclipse - as seen from Mt. Fuji

Solar Eclipse - as seen from Mt. Fuji

It was an amazing adventure. It had all the making of a great movie
– extreme hardship on the night climb
– despair and dissapointment as we are advised to get off the mountain before the storm worsens
– an amazing final triumph as having climbed down the most difficult section of the mountain we look back and see blue sky: despite total exhaustion we once again scale the heights to finally see the solar eclipse!

There are about 8 videos shot live on Mount Fuji available here
Here’s the main video taken during the eclipse. It’s 40 mins long. Sorry about the wind noise! It cuts off at the end when I try to go down to Mt/ Fuji’s crater

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Japan Podshow – Climbing Mount Fuji Pre-departure special

As you probably gathered from the title of this post, this is a re-post from the Japan Podshow blog.

I’m now in the process of charging batteries, getting plasters together, and trying not to think about the torrential rain that is forecast!

With us luck!

Japan Podshow PrEclipse Special

In this special short (relaxed) episode of Japan Podshow (which is not episode 8!) we find George and Joseph sitting in a park in Ikebukuro talking about the Total Solar Eclipse on the 22nd July 2009.

Listen to the show here 12mb, 13 mins, MP3

Download it direct here, Subscribe and listen in iTunes or Listen via our RSS feed

George will be heading to China to witness the eclipse in its full glory, whilst Joseph will be scaling the heights of Mount Fuji to attempt to set several world records including:

– The first live broadcast from the top of Japan’s 3,776 metre Mount Fuji utilising the just-launched DoCoMo 3G network

– The first podcast to have been recorded on top of a live volcano under a solar eclipse

– The first time that The Sound of Music has been performed in the crater of a volcano causing it to errupt

Japan podshow has created a special page where you can follow all the action as it happens:

Special live feed page for the FujEclipse hike:

We’ll be using Twitter (@japanpodshow @tamegoeswild) Flickr YouTube AudioBoo and possibly (network allowing) uStream.

The live feed

In the event that we are able to use uStream to stream live video (it all depends on the speed of the network on the summit) that will be available here:

Online video chat by Ustream

The weather looks set to be terrible, so it should be a lot of fun!

You can participate by sending twitter tweets containing the tag #fujeclipse

George and Joseph also talked about their new mini-podcasts, Japan Podshorts – read about that and subscribe here.

Look forward to seeing you there! (in a figurative sense).

Normal Japan Podshow service will resume when George is back from China at the end of July.

Boat trip around Tokyo bay and Gundam’s bum

If you follow other Japan blogs you’ll be only too aware that there is a life-size Gundam in Odaiba. It’s part of a ‘Green Festival’ in a lovely little park on one of the manmade islands down there. A green park that is now packed with people – and somewhat brown.

One way to see Gundam that enables you to avoid the crowds is to join your friends on a birthday boat trip organised by and in celebration of Stu.

That way, you get to eat, drink, be merry, and see a side of Gundam that most people will only be able to take in up close.

Incidentally, taking a boat trip around Tokyo Bay is a lovely way to spend a summer evening, and I thoroughly recommend it. The boat we went on was a very special one, taking us wherever we wanted – and even allowing the birthday boy to spin us around in circles! You can hire a boat for 70,000 yen. Thank you Stu for a wonderful time!

Here’s some photos and videos, in a special order designed to stimulate your mind.

Intro video

Gundam from behind
Gundam from the Water

Gundam from the Water

Gundam by night

Video: Gundam from the boat

Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge

Night lights (illuminated sign and residential flats)
Night lights from the boat

People working at the container port wave to us as we sail by

The container port from afar


One of my favourites from the evening
Odaiba reflections

The Fuji TV building
Fuji TV

Stu, whose birthday it was

Don’t know him


and for Gundam freaks, here he is up close… (for the best photos, see these taken by Shibuya246)

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Tokyo Photo Run: Setagaya

This morning I did my second random photo-run, this time heading north of home. As with my last run, I stopped along the way to take photos – many at a Buddhist shrine.

You can view this trip in 3D, with embedded photos, by opening this file in Google Earth. This is very cool!

Photo jog Setagaya

Widget powered by EveryTrail: Share GPS Tracks

Photo run over, I decided to make a little video in our local park.

I laughed when I saw the name of this place: “Total Housing” – and they still seem to be in business!
total housing_0282

Japanese coca-cola sign
japanese cocacola sign_0307

A Tanuki

Memorial for the kamikaze pilots, covered in paper cranesx
setagaya buddhist temple_0289

setagaya buddhist temple_0286

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Running again

Got off to a great start today, up at 6am and out on the road.

For my early morning runs I’ve decided to just run wherever I want, without planning beforehand, and try and go places I’ve never been before. With the compass-enabled Google map on my iPhone it’s pretty difficult to get lost now. Mind you, if it packed up on me, I’d be stuffed.

I’m using the GPS route tracker Everytrail to document my trips. I’ll be using that to document our Mt. Fuji climb too.

The video below was also shot by the iPhone. Not exactly riveting stuff, but the first 10 seconds should give you a feel for what happens in many parks around Tokyo ever morning.


Setagaya mini-exploration

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Tokyu toyoko line training run

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Sorry, sex toys, Fuji, fingers, and good habits


Photo: The pigeon which is a frequent visitor to my bird feeders

A big SORRY …to all of those of you who are subscribed to my rss feed … and just got spammed by a duck pond. I don’t know what’s happened there, but I’m working on fixing it. You might want to try resubscribing to which I can guarantee is free of duck ponds, in Tokyo or otherwise.

It seems that Feedburner has mysteriously changed my feed address slightly, and I’ve made some kind of mistake with Yahoo Pipes and AudioBoo, resulting in some infinite loop fun. For the time being then I’m going back to keeping the AudioBoo stuff seperate from the Daily Mumble feed.

My AudioBoo podcast feed is here

Today I uploaded my section for last week’s Metpod podcast (see my sidebar on The Daily Mumble) in which I talked about my experience in an Akihabara sex shop. I tell you, I was pretty surprised by some of those devices. It had never even occurred to me that such things might exist. Really elaborate instruments for men to play with themselves. I tried to keep it light-hearted and humorous.

I was shocked though by some of the DVDs. Seriously sick stuff. I can’t believe they make those kinds of videos. Way beyond anything I’ve ever seen before (not that I generally go looking for sites like that!).

Gradually gearing up for the Mt Fuji climb. As you may have seen from my twitter feed, I’ve been getting advice from others who’ve done it before, and generally, it sounds pretty horrendous. 5 hours of what is essentially non-stop step climbing, and then another few hours of skidding down loose rocks. Hurray! There had better bloomin be a pretty good view from up there!

I’ve paid for the bus tickets now, we’ll be dropped off at the fifth stage at about 10pm.

Had our new 1 gigabyte-per-second internet installed today. But as the chap said when he was installing it, “I doubt you’ll notice much difference from your 100mbps connection” – and he’s right. The only reason we got it though was because it was cheaper than keeping the old slower connection, so we’re not fussed. It’s not as if we’re trying to send pet dinosaurs down the line.

It’s really hotting up now, and today’s the first day I feel I need two showers, just dripping with sweat. The humidity is on the up, and the cockroaches are moving in – yay Japanese summers!

In good finger news, on the recommendation of my dad I’ve started applying tea-tree oil to my finger (mixed with Wheatgerm oil). It does seem to be doing something, so fingers crossed (!) I won’t need any more steroids. Thanks to Melinda our neighbour for the Tea Tree all – direct from Oz!

I’ve decided this week to stick to all my good habits, for one week. That includes

  • Learning 5 new Japanese words everyday
  • Exercising every day (running once every two days, stretching ever day)
  • Eating healthily
  • Bed early up early

One week might not seem like much, but it’s a realistic goal for me, and that’s what’s important. No more coffee late at night either – what an idiot!

My week off is gradually becoming booked up with appointments (for podcasting stuff) – very much looking forward to it.

Oh, and we heard that the reason the patch of land next to our house was stripped of its greenery was NOT because they are going to start to build, it’s because two local people who have nothing to do with the plot “thought it looked messy”. Crazy!

Anyway, I’m off out now to Tokyo 2.0, the biggest monthly geekup in town!


Conquering Mt. Fuji to view the Solar Eclipse – Intro Video

On the evening of the 21st July, I and several of my intrepid friends will set out on a gruelling trek up the vast slopes of Mt. Fuji, the legendary volcano that gave birth to the first Samurai.

Once at the top, we will witness the sun rise, and then, 5 hours later in a dramatic scene straight out of legends, we will see the Earth turning black – well, 70% dark, as the moon moves across the face of the sun.

We will be tweeting, blogging, photographing and videoing as much as possible – just so that you can feel that it is you that is climbing this 3,376m monster – from the comfort of your armchair.

In this video Joseph Tame shows how far they have got with their preparation so far.

Follow the action over on Twitter

(This video is available in a larger format at

Video Mumble: Time, nature, and my little finger

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Umbrella drier

Umbrella drier

Originally uploaded by Joseph Tame

Mini Meets Mighty in Odaiba

Mini Meets Mighty in Odaiba

Originally uploaded by Joseph Tame

The living onigiri


Originally uploaded by Joseph Tame

Joseph the riceball.

I’m just using this picture to test Flickr’s ability to publish direct to my blog.

Metropolis Podcast Akiba Update – Week 4

In the fourth of my Akiba updates for Metropolis Magazine‘s Podcast, the Metpod I talked about the new augmented reality phone application from AU (via

I also talked about the mini-eggshell cracker Walter and flexible transistors courtesy of DigInfoNews on Youtube.

Subscribe to The Daily Mumble podcast in iTunes here.

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Metropolis Podcast Akiba Update – Week 3

In the third of my Akiba updates for Metropolis Magazine‘s Podcast, the Metpod I talked about the new W-Series walkman from Sony.

I also talked about the incredible Pomegranate phone/camera/pda/coffee maker/shaver.

Subscribe in iTunes here.

Metropolis Podcast Akiba Update – Week 2

In the second of my Akiba updates for Metropolis Magazine‘s Podcast, the Metpod I featured an extract from my interview with Patrick Galbraith (author of the Otaku Encyclopedia) that featured on Japan Podshow episode 6.

I also talked about the new iPhone 3G 3.0 software (when I wasn’t planning on upgrading to the 3GS!)

Subscribe in iTunes here.

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Metropolis Podcast Akiba Update – Week 1

I remembered tonight that I’d registered The Daily Mumble in iTunes – meaning it easier to subscribe to it as a podcast. It’s an experiment.

As you know, I’m doing weekly technology / Akiba sections for the Metropolis Magazine Podcast – the Metpod, but I know that some people are not big fans of podcasts …so I thought I’d repost my sections here after they’ve gone out in the Metpod.

I’ve got a bit of a backlog, so I’ll be posting 4 episodes tonight.

This first one was a pilot. In it I talked about the USB spy cameras that featured in a Japan Podshow video.

Subscribe in iTunes here

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Japan Podshow Episode 7 – Wwoof Wwoof! The iPhone Giveaway

This is a re-post originally published on

Japan Podshow Episode 7 - wwoof wwoof the iPhone GIveaway

Episode 7 sees the launch of the Japan Podshow iPhone 3G competition – win yourself an iPhone and feel that your life is complete. More on that below.

Listen to the show here 40mb, 43 mins, MP3

Download it direct here, Subscribe and listen in iTunes or Listen via our RSS feed

Note about the Japan Podshow livestream on uStream: In this episode Joseph and George make numerous references to live-streaming. Unfortunately, due to technical issues this video is not available. However, we did film the competition section on a second camera, and those videos are available on our Facebook Page.

In this episode:

Japanese weddings:

We kick of with some news from George about a wedding that he attended last week – an extraordinarily extravagent affair which at the end of the day saw him being given a catalogue of expensive gifts from which he was to choose a present – for himself!


Wwoof Japan

As the title of this week’s episode suggests, we’re going to be taking a look at Wwoofing.

It was almost a decade ago that Joseph first joinded WWOOF Japan – Willing Workers on Organic Farms In this episode Joseph talks to Glenn in Sapporo – founder of Wwoof Japan.

Members of this fantastic organisation are able to stay with any of hundreds of families across Japan who are engaged in organic farming, or who otherwise have organic lifestyles/businesses. Wwoofing is not only a great way to travel a country over an extended period of time on a small budget, but is also a fantastic way to see more than the shiney-touristy surface that is promoted in the guide books. You get to learn about the culture, learn the language, make friends and a create a wealth of precious memories. Thoroughly recommended!

What brought George and Joseph to Japan?

Following listener requests, George and Joseph decide to reveal a little information about their dark pasts. This week Joseph tells us what path it was that led him to Japan.

Week 6 Otaku Encyclopedia Competition results!

We announce the winner of the Otaku Encyclopedia competition – our most-entered competition to date! Following accusations of competition-rigging, Joseph and George decide to film the drawing of the winner from the hat of doom

Win an iPhone with Japan Podshow


Yes, you can win an iPhone 3G with Japan Podshow – and it’s easy to enter! Just listen to this episode for further instructions!

The photo we talk about in this epsisode is here

Terms and conditions below.

Listener Feedback!

WOW! We had a tonne of feedback this week – thanks to everyone who contacted us – listen to the show for our comments on what you had to say.

Join Us on Facebook!Check out our Facebook page at


Finally: music this week is provided by Her Space Holiday, with the Japanese Gum Dental Mix. Find them at

Thanks for listening – and we look forward to hearing from you!

iPhone competition info:

If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can enter by leaving a comment on this post – just tell us why YOU should win the iPhone 3G.

The iPhone being given away is a 16GB black iPhone 3G. It is contract free, and will work on the Softbank network in Japan. It may work on networks in other countries but we are unable to guarantee this.

The iPhone will come with new headphones, USB cable, mains adapter and box.

If the winner wishes to use this as a phone in Japan they will need to sign up with Softbank. They will not need a 2-year contract, thus this competition is ideally suited to students who will not be in Japan for more than a year or so.

What will it cost to use it:

Softbank will charge a one-off 2835 yen registration fee. The following are then payable on a monthly basis:

– White Plan (980 yen)
– S Basic (350 yen)
– Data plan (unlimited plan is recommended at 5985 yen)

You will need the following at the time of registration:
– Alien registration
– Passport
– Japanese bank account or credit card