This is just a quick update on the Tokyo Marathon – it was a huge success!
I’m not going into details now as I’m pretty tired 🙂 but basically:
I ran with my good friend Tom Kobayashi, without whom I never would have taken up running. He’s been amazing throughout our 16 week training program, and today also for the real thing. We lost each other at one point; I was so happy when we met up again by chance.
Our team, led by the very generous, kind mobile-tech pro Steve Nagata at the UStream controls, pulled off a live-streaming sensation. He was joined in our makeshift studio by Technology trainer Christine. We had 4 teams at various locations around the course (see below), who used the GPS signal that one of my iPhones was broadcasting to locate me. I would then be phoned when I was nearing them so I could look out for them.
I also had my own live video stream, broadcasting non-stop from *Twinkle*s brand new iPhone. Initially attached to my special hat, this fell apart after 1km so I carried it the remaining 41km! This live stream was picked up on Twitter, and by the end I was getting 1000 Twitter replies an hour referring to it, and supporting us …as the pain intensified!
Fuji TV, who’d spotted me the day before when I was recording a video diary, interviewed me before, during and after the race. They even filmed me as I phoned mum and dad having reached the goal! That’ll be broadcast tomorrow morning.
MX Tokyo (TV) will feature the story in their news tomorrow night at 8pm.
There’s an article on the broadcast in the influential IT Media News.
We had a couple of thousand people watching the combined streams by the end. It was all quite overwhelming.
In total, over 13,000 people watched our live videos.
We finished in just over five hours. The rain and cold had taken their toll!
Despite the weather, our mobile live-broadcast teams did a fantastic job of capturing the action.
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since I last posted, and ‘normal life’ has been put on hold. This week in particular has been pretty crazy as we gear up for Sunday’s live-streaming spectacular. We now have 5 teams equipped with iPhone 3GSs who will be positioned around Tokyo to capture the action live and stream it to Broadcast HQ (a hotel room overlooking the final 1km of the course), where the live videos will be interspersed with commentary and analysis from technologist Steve Nagata and Senior Mac Pro Christine.
Then there’ll be me, with my iPhone on my head, running the 42km.
I wanted to make this year’s run interactive, and so will be using TweetTalk, which will read messages posted by viewers on Twitter, into my ear for me. The developer has been extremely kind – I found a little bug connected with Japanese Tweets. When I contacted him he released an update the following day, and it’s just last night been approved by Apple, so we’re all go.
Additionally, the team at Glympse are being very helpful, in fact just since I started typing this blog they have emailed and told me they can fulfill all of my requests, and I’ll be the first one to use the new tools they’re releasing! How kind is that?!
Here’s an intro video.
The only discouraging news is that rain is forecast for the morning, although it will be clearing up later. Fingers crossed!
One thing that we went into our marriage knowing, was that statistically, international marriages are far more likely to fail than marriages involving two people with a similar background.
For me it’s important to not forget this. It helps me to compromise when I need to to, where I might otherwise let pride get in the way.
Today we’re celebrating our 5th St. Valentine’s Day together. It’s hard to believe that over 5 years has passed since we first met. It’s harder to believe that in all this time *Twinkle* has not suffered a nervous breakdown or tried to kill me, given what a pain I can be sometimes. And it’s wonderful to feel that our relationship is stronger than ever, and that we are as much in love now, or more, than we were when we first met.
I look around at my friends and acquaintances in similar happy marriages (i.e. those with Japanese wives) and draw strength from seeing them working so well together (Invisible Gaijin & Doramimy being an outstanding example!). I also look at the many who are in failing / failed international marriages, and try to learn from them too.
It’s funny how when I was younger, I wasn’t a traditionalist and couldn’t give a hoot about marriage, but how now become such an important part of me – it’s something that I feel adds a great deal of value to my life.
In other news, last night I was fortunate to be invited to Danny Choo’s latest CGM (Consumer Generated Media) Night – held in Akihabara’s futuristic blood donation centre! I must say, it was great to catch up with friends, exchange ideas, and be a part of the community. There are some wonderful people around.
Hachiko, Shibuya, where the run started and finished.
Quiet an achievement for me today – I circumnavigated inner Tokyo by running the Yamanote train line, visiting every station along the way. The 41.4km route took me almost 5 hours to run, and was quite painful towards the end – but worth it for the sense of achievement, and for the new perception I have of how the city fits together.
I didn’t actually think it would be that far. Yesterday I did a rough plot with Google maps, and measured it at 34km. Then, when I was running, I thought it was only about 39km ish – but then when I got home and checked the route as uploaded by my iPhone (was using Everytrail, the GPS tracking app) I saw that actually, it was a bit longer. Like 0.3 of a mile off a full marathon (I’d done a bit of twittering along the way – everytrail only adds ground covered when the app isn’t active after you upload to the site) My time was pretty crap, but then I did take a lot of photos along the way, and also, I’m not a ‘runner’ as such.
Here’s the route and slideshow. It looks better in full size on the Everytrail site (flash required).
In other totally dull techy news – I now have my own custom short URL domain (woo!). I can automatically shorten domains system wide on the mac, and in my twitter client on the iPhone to start ‘http://jpta.me’ – how exciting is that (my middle name is ‘Peter’)?! I’ve also bought my own name – http://josephta.me, which I again rather sadly thought was pretty cool. I’m going to use that for my email address domain too, although emails sent to my old addresses will still be delivered.
And, got paid another 120 dollars for linking two words in an 8 year old blog post to someone else’s site. This website thing is actually starting to not be a complete money waster!
The first section of this blog has been gratuitously copied from a post I just wrote a moment ago for Dannychoo.com
Being an Apple fan boy, my initial reaction to the iPad was ‘I want one!’ then ‘I’ll get one!’ I mean, I find *Twinkle*s iPod touch really sexy, so a BIG iPod touch must be Exceedingly sexy – like a giant Apple pie made by Mr. Kipling, drowning in Ambrosia custard.
But then I started thinking about how much time I spend in front of the screen already – I almost always have an iPhone and MacBook Pro on me already – do I really need another screen to look at?
These thoughts came to me whilst I was out running, training for the Tokyo Marathon. I thought about how much I’ve enjoyed exploring the city on these runs – but also how I’ve found it a bit frustrating that I can never explore beyond the distance that my legs can take me within a couple of hours.
It was then that I made the decision – I’d use the money that I’d put aside for the iPad to buy a touring bike, and spend my free time during the spring and summer exploring Japan.
Used to do a lot of cycling when I lived in Switzerland
As a teenager I absolutely loved cycling, and covered some pretty long distances. It was such a great way to see places, to travel far from home for free, to feel the thrill of travelling at high speed (at least when going down steep hills). The summers I worked in Switzerland saw me doing quite a bit of cycling too – it was tough going but boy was the scenery beautiful.
Thinking about this a couple of days ago got me all excited, especially as I can now combine cycling with other passions, such as photography (using my Nikon DSLR) and tracking my trail (with a GPS app on the iPhone). I feel it’s important to know my surroundings. That’s one thing I really take from our runs – the knowledge and feel of how places on a subway map link together, of where I am in relation to other places I know, of how I can get from A to B to C when the earthquake strikes and there’s no public transport system left.
So, although I haven’t even got a suitable bike yet, yesterday I ordered the iCrew – a waterproof iPhone holder to attach to the handlebars. I’d had a look at the other bicycle/iphone holders on offer, but wasn’t all that impressed. They seemed pretty dangerous really, liable to catapult your iPhone onto the road if you stopped too suddenly or jumped off a kerbstone.
Whilst I’ve obviously not tried it out on the road yet, I like it already – it’s very sturdy, and can be rotated so you can easily watch YouTube movies whilst pedalling along (OK, maybe not such a good idea). Although totally sealed, the power and home buttons can be pressed thanks to flexible rubber bits, and the touch screen is as sensitive as it is on a naked iPhone. There’s a rubber stopper in the top that you can pull out if you want to plug your headphones in.
Next on the list is the bike itself (complete with rack and panniers), a helmet, and glasses. That should do the trick. I see myself going on long weekend trips, blogging / live streaming when out and about (phone signal permitting).
It’ll be great to see more of Japan outside of the city. It’s something I’ve missed these past 18 months – about time to put it right. I hope to be able to do some mega-long trip, like Tokyo to Hokkaido, around Hokkaido and back to Tokyo – we’ll see.
Bicycle training will begin once the marathon is out of the way at the end of the month!
Tomorrow I’ll be attempting to set a new distance record – 20 miles – it’ll be the furthest I run before the marathon itself.
Hello. I'm Joseph, Tokyo-based fouder and Creative Director at creative agency/video production house Wild Tame. I'm also known as a runner with an experimental tech streak, father of two, husband of one.
This site documents my personal journey through life.
To learn more about me and my adventures in tech please visit my main site at http://josephta.me