Hanami

We held a little hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) today. It was a quiet affair (so please don’t be offended if you weren’t invited!). Partly as a joke, I set up our HD video camera on the veranda and connected it to the TV – bringing the cherry blossom into the house: “These days things are only real if you see them on a screen”.

The thing was, the cherry blossom on the TV seemed even more beautiful than the real thing that we could see just the other side of the glass doors! That was a little worrying.

The photo above shows how I had the camera at one point – zoomed in on our hanami spot by the pond before everyone had arrrived and we’d got properly set up. We later moved inside when it started to rain.

Tonight, I set up our spotlights to illuminate the cherry tree. Beautiful!

English

日本語

himonya pond_8015

It was lovely to have a few friends round, eat, drink and be very merry.

This was our second hanami this weekend, the first having been yesterday at Invisible Gaijin & Doramimy‘s – the #YouGuys BBQ party. Everyone there knew each other through Twitter – it’s funny how normal it feels to meet a big group of people you’ve never met in the flesh before – and feel like you’ve already met many, many times [photo of us all]. Thanks to everyone there for your friendship 🙂

We have a new toy in the house – a massage cushion! Its surprisingly strong. You can lie on it, put it behind your neck, sit on it, or probably do other things with it… It’s our first non-essential household luxury.

Last night saw a bit of a turning point for me this year – the realisation that I need to start using Omnifocus again. I’m now involved in 6 fairly big projects outside of my day job. Until now I’ve been holding everything in my head – but that doesn’t work for me really. I tend to feel the weight of all these to-dos, forget what I need to do next, and then fail to reach my goals. Omnifocus allows me to dump all of these thoughts and lists in a database, which is then auto-synced to or from my iPhone / Macbook (depending on which one I’m using at the time) – I can then deal with them in order and quickly get a clear idea of where I am. I thoroughly recommend omnifocus for single-users. For teams, I’d recommend Basecamp (although the free version is pretty limited).

Anyway, a busy week ahead. I have that interview with IT Media News tomorrow, and meetings scheduled for most week nights. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Twitter warps my world

Photo: Roppongi Art Night

Howdy hoolie. Quick catch-up time.

Before I start, I’d just like to explain to any new readers that unlike many blogs, The Daily Mumble doesn’t tend to deal with anything other than ME! This is intentional. It’s not an ego thing. It’s more that there’s thousands of people who are far better writers than me (thus you’d be better off learning about ‘stuff’ from them), and also, the intention of this blog from the start about 10 years ago was to help me document my life. If other’s find it interesting too then that’s a bonus side-effect.

The videos in this post were made for Mobile in Japan – read what they’re all about here

Ripples from the Tokyo Marathon continue to be felt. I’ve been staggered by the recognition I’ve received when out and about. There’s been talk of sponsorship for future events by sportswear companies (nothing may come of that, we’ll see). The media continue to be interested it seems – yesterday I received a request for an interview by one of Japan’s top IT news sites – I’ll be meeting them on Monday for that. I’m not entirely sure what the deal is, but I think it’ll be a story on my reflections on the marathon project.

I’ll also be on NTV on Saturday morning. That was the 15 minute interview – I’m intrigued to see what they’ll do with that, how many milliseconds it’ll be hacked down to. They’ll probably remove the bit where I tried to persuade the interviewer to go straight to the Apple store after filming to buy an iPhone. I’m pretty happy that I managed to get them to cover the audio tour I’ve been marketing at White Rabbit too – although that segment will probably only last a minute in total.

Having attempted to sort of give up Twitter, it’s come back at me with a savagery that’s caught me completely off-guard. As I wrote in my marathon round-up post, I gained a lot of new Japanese followers – this caused me to rethink of my gaijin-centred media strategy, and to work on overcoming my fear of using my Japanese out there online. I’ve made an effort to actually read the tweets of the Japanese people I was already following, to follow more Japanese Tweeters – and then tweet in Japanese myself. (I’ve also delinked my Facebook and Twitter accounts, as the auto Twitter-to-FB function was kinda spammy, and I didn’t feel free to use Japanese).

You might think that that means nothing outside of Twitter land, but you’d be wrong. It’s kind of warping the walls of my up-until-now-fairly-comfortable lifestyle. The mental representation I have of my real-life world has been completely shaken up. It’s kind of floating around at the moment, like one of those coconut-flake water-filled Christmas scenes. The pieces can’t yet settle as I’ve still got all these new influences coming in.

One recent event that turned out to mean far more to me than I would have expected was the Softbank Open Day (I wrote up the story for Mobile in Japan). That really blew my socks off. I was inspired by how they pulled off such a great PR stunt, making me feel that I wanted to somehow be connected with this company, wanting to support them in their growth, and also leaving me feeling that they would support me if I needed them to. Incredible what a cute little dog and a free lunch can do.

Softbank’s partnering with USTREAM excites me. A conversation I had at Tuesday’s Tokyo 2.0 / Mobile in Japan ‘Tokyo’s Next Mobile App Star‘ left me thinking that perhaps a regular show would work, utilising the free studios provided by Softbank and collaborating with some industry insiders – and a lot of talented contributors. I need to act on this idea this weekend. If this idea becomes a reality, I can see it becoming really big. It’s one of those situations where there have been too many coincidences to be a coincidence – it’s synchronicity at work, ignore at your peril!

One thing I didn’t mention in my write-up of the open day there, was that I was contacted the day before (via Twitter) by a Softbank staff member who had seen my marathon coverage, and was interested in including an interview with me in an article for one of Japan’s most popular running magazines, and possibly, some kind of collaboration with Softbank / the publishers. We met up on the day and discussed the project – just waiting to see how that one goes.

Saturday night I didn’t sleep a wink – instead I spent the night with @stevenagata out and out for Roppongi Art Night. That was pretty interesting. We weren’t there just to observe – our mutual friend @kurisuteen had put us in touch with the 53rd floor Mori Art Museum to provide consulting / support for the live-streaming of their 11pm and 1am performances. Things didn’t quite go according to plan (a lack of non-3G internet being one issue), but nonetheless, it showed that there is increasing interest in live-streaming by mainstream organisations/companies, and there is a need for people to advise / demonstrate how it can be done. We may work with them in the future.

Things are also coming along nicely with a film project another friend and I are working on. It’s always a good sign when the current owner of a domain you want is happy to sell for a price you can afford!

And I’m still learning a lot in my day job, and doing my best to promote the good stuff we do at White Rabbit Press.


As things progress, it’s important I remember why any of this matters. Personally, I believe that it’s important to do what you love, to do something where you can operate ‘in the flow’. For me, it seems increasingly apparent that that’s when I’m up in front of a crowd (or camera), teaching, entertaining, connecting. So that’s what I think I should pursue. Not for fame or ego-licking luxury, but because that’s where I can be most fulfilled, most happy, and most importantly most effective in helping other people.