Cabbages, containers and doggy-do

MyGengo* I just posted my interview with Rob and Matt of over at Making it in Japan. Anyone interested in translation should check it out – they have some great new services on the way – and if you have the skills required (but are lacking in qualifications / years of experience that many companies demand) they might be just the folks you’ve been looking for.

After work last night I headed up to the in-laws’, about an hour from our place, just north of Tokyo. There were two birthday’s in the family to celebrate, a lot of good food to eat and my father-in-law’s travel stories to catch up on.

I found it interesting how the pace of life seemed to be a lot slower there, outside of central Tokyo. There wasn’t the feeling that there was lots that needed to be done (as is the feeling at home). 9pm seemed late, like bed time. I was asleep before midnight for the first time in a long time.

Walking back to the station this morning (*Twinkle* left earlier, taking our niece to Disneyland), I took a few photos of everyday stuff, which I thought I’d share.

First off then, we have the cabbage fields between the apartment blocks. I think of these as the remnants of years gone by, when the kanto plain was more agriculture than housing. You’ll still find quite a lot of them in the outskirts of cities, but every year their number decreases. I think the primary motivation for planting up land these days is not producing crops, but rather to obtain tax breaks.


Next up, the dog poo sign. Isn’t it cute? The woman seems to be really enjoying herself. The text literally reads, “Let’s take dog poo home!”


Storage containers are on the rise, as people accumulate more ‘stuff’ which they really have no need for. You can rent half of one of these containers for as little as 5,250 yen (GBP36) per month. Given the state of the Japanese economy, it won’t be long until we find people living in them, I’m sure.


Next, we’re down by the riverside. Not sure I’d want to eat anything that comes from one of these rivers though.


Finally, we have the mikan – or are they some other kind of orange? I don’t know. I like fruit trees in cities. They’re a good reminder of the natural seasonal cycle that is going on around us, masked by the tarmac.


Anyway, I need to change trains now, so had better pack up.


An interview and a Brain Machine

Whew… very long day today.

Still, very productive. Had a great meeting with Kong of the Metpod, talking about where it could go from here. Interesting ideas for collaboration once japanpodshow is done. Look out for changes in the autumn.

Also published not one but TWO podcasts tonight – the first is an audio interview with Mike Sheetal of the incredibly innovative design agency UltraSuperNew Inc (based in Shibuya).

Check it out over at Making it in Japan. It’s a good interview – hear about some very original marketing campaigns carried out for the likes of Red Bull, Audi and Panasonic. Also, Mike has advice for others wanting to set up in Japan.

The second is the video I shot at Tokyo Hacker Space’s first Open House event on Sunday, uploaded to the neglected Japan Tech Show. The video looks much better in High Definition on our Facebook page or on YouTube.

That brain machine was pretty crazy. I can hardly believe just those two LEDs caused me to see all those patterns etc.

Really enjoying learning video editing. Have a way to go!

Ok, off to bed for me.