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Saturday Morning Mumble

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The making of Japan Podshow

Hello there. Joseph here. In a cafe in Shibuya, opposite Sakuraya and that bright pink real estate agent on Center-gai. I have an hour to spare before meeting *Twinkle*, so thought I’d pen a few notes on all the stuff that’s been going on. In this blog I’ll be talking about podcasting.

First off then, we’ve finally reached the end of Japan Podshow series 1. It’s been a lot of fun. Through the show I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people, reach out to others whom I respect and admire, explore podcast possibilities that I’ve carried for a number of years in my head, learn a lot more about audio editing, and more recently, learn even more about video editing.

Direct download links for Quicktime / iTunes friendly movie files:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

The Japan Podshow experiment was a big success. I achieved what I set out to do, and feel that our total download figure (which doesn’t include YouTube / facebook / embedded media player views&listens) of approximately 20,000 so far (and the listener feedback we’ve received) is proof that we created something of value that gives pleasure to others.

Whilst this show was not (and was never meant to be) monetised, the rewards have been immense, such as enabling me to get my foot in the door with two of Japan’s largest English language media companies, and helping me get my new job (more on that in another post).

By far the biggest benefit has been the network of Tokyo-based people that it’s put me in touch with. It’s been a real lesson in how knowing people can completely change your experience of a place. Prior to starting out with this project, I had lived in Tokyo for a little over two years. In that time I actually made very few friends, choosing to stick with a handful of mates whom I first met during my first year here in Japan. Since then, thanks to the podcast and Twitter, my network has expanded into something I never would have thought possible to achieve in such a short space of time. Having these people around is a key part of my sense of wellbeing. I may not see them on a regular basis (other than on Twitter), but they are all an integral part of my existence here in Tokyo. They help flesh it out, give it more meaning.

The podcast also pushed me to start using Final Cut Express, and then, with episode 12 (which required the blurring of moving faces in public areas of the Ritz-Carlton hotel) Final Cut Pro. I still have a lot to learn, but I feel a lot more confident with video editing now than I did at the beginning of the year. That’s something I always wanted to get my head around, so I’m delighted about that.

Episode 12 was a huge challenge. The arranging for guests to show up, negotiations with the Ritz-Carlton and actual filming were pretty easy – a lot of this was due to the amazing Linda Beltran, marketing manager at the hotel who was so accommodating that we found ourselves able to put most of our ideas intro practice without any problems. She is a star.
It was after than when I came to edit the hours of video from our three HD cameras that the challenge really began. In the end I think it took me about 5 full days. Trial-and-error was the way I proceeded – in hindsight I should have just sat down and watched a bunch of tutorial videos before I began. I’d never done anything like this before, and was still pretty much a novice when it came to Final Cut (as I think shows). Overall I’m pleased with the result – it’s the best I can do with my current limitations (time, editing skill/experience, quality of the original footage).

One disappointment is the sound. I didn’t plan this carefully enough, and it was only when I finally got to the export stage that I really started to appreciate just how dodgy this was in parts. If I was to do this again I’d have everyone wired up with quality radio mics (if someone would lend them to me!). The one radio mic we had was OK, but I should have tested it beforehand in order to appreciate just how it should be used. As it was this was all new to both myself and our fantastic cameraman Steve, and given time constraints on the day we didn’t do any reviews during testing (something else I’d change next time).

Still, given that this project was totally unfunded and done in time remaining outside of a full time job in the space of a couple of weeks, I think it’s OK. I’m proud to have it in my portfolio (daft though the content is).

The timing of the conclusion of this project is perfect – it coincides with the end of the day job that I’ve had for the past 13 months, and thus a big change in all of my routines. Japan Podshow has enabled me to forge ties that will now help me to move on to the next stage of crafting the life in Japan that I want. For that, I’m very grateful.

I don’t know if or when we’ll create a second series. I have an idea that if we do it will be pretty different. I think it was also need to be monetised in some way, as I don’t think I can justify the time a second series would require. We’ll see.

To finish off, I’d just like to say that I’m very thankful that I’ve had the support necessary to make the project a reality. Writing the credits for the final episode I was reminded of just how many people had taken part in it. Musicians, interviewees, advisers, sources of inspiration and emotional support. All played a part. A big thank you to all of them, it’s very much appreciated.

Here’s the youtube versions. The quality is a bit pants compared to the originals downloadable above.

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

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Filming at the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo

Quite a memorable day today.

photo
*Twinkle* and George

photo

*Twinkle* and I

For our final episode of this series of Japan Podshow we knew we had to do something pretty special. We wanted to celebrate. Celebrate in Style.

A mysterious chain of events led us to the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, located on floors 45-up in the Tokyo Midtown complex.

Upon arrival, we were shown to a Carlton Suite on the 49th floor – it was ours for the night.

Over the course of our time there a string of guests turned up to congratulate us on completing series one. Champagne was brought to our room, Bob Cratchit and his wife appeared in our bed, we had live music from Kat McDowell and a Japanese lesson with a very cute teacher.

We relaxed in the jaccuzi, ran 0.08km on the treadmill.

Japan’s First Podcaster, Scott Lockman, presented us with a trophy.

It was all very cool.

The final episode, a video episode, will be released late next week over at www.JapanPodshow.com

In the meantime, here’s a video from my iPhone, and a few pictures all taken by Steve Nagata

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Arrival

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Champagne, kindly provided by the hotel

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Our Japanese lesson

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
At the hotel bar

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
With the Tokyo International Players

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
In the spa

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
On the treadmill

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
With Scott Lockman, Japan’s first podcaster

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
In bed

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Singing

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton

Recording www.japanpodshow.com at the Tokyo Ritz-Carlton
Waking up

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A week of important decisions and output

There is something about the corner of this 50-storey building that thrills me.

It’s so sharp. So determined to cut through the air. So confident. You can’t help but admire an attitude like that.

sexy corner

It’s the corner of a building bordering Hamarikyu Gardens, photos of which you’ll find below.

But before we get into that, I have a favour to ask of any readers connected with the University of Sheffield (my uni) – my kohai (person in class below me) Alice is a lovely girl, and has entered a competition to help promote the university. To win, she needs a decent number of views of a Youtube video she and several other of my kohai made – so please go and watch it – it’s here (don’t be fooled by the black opening) Thank you.

Podcasts

I’ve got podcasts coming out me ears this week.

First off, I’m really enjoying my private podcast (that’s the one that shows up to the right of the Daily Mumble). In particular, this one got some attention this week. It’s about my renewed determination to improve my Japanese.
Listen!

I’ve since restarted my personal Japanese podcast (feed links in sidebar of The Daily Mumble), and am using that to update my long-neglected Japanese blog.

With language study, I firmly believe that if one is meeting repeated failure due to a ‘lack of time’ etc, you have to figure something out that fits in with existing routines. This does for me.

I’ve also finally got the sumo video out, which underwent a major re-write following a private viewing for *Twinkle*!! This is not meant to be taken seriously.

(If you subscribe to Japan Podshow you’ll find this in the feed.

Then accompanying that, we have episode 11.5 of Japan Podshow. I don’t feel this is up to standard, and think this is mainly due to the fact that it was recorded outside of the studio where we were limited in what we could do. Still, that’s OK.

I drew the artwork on the Hibiya and Ginza subway lines, in case you were wondering. I do enjoy drawing elephants!

I just have to finish off the full interview with Nathan of Hear Japan for Making it in Japan – should be able to do that tomorrow.

I’m determined to start running again – and have run for the past two days, and will again tomorrow (GPS route with embedded photos of this morning’s jog here, courtesy of the iPhone).

I was happily surprised by how the iPhone handled this spider (which incidentally I blogged about this morning over on Dannychoo.com).

Japanese Spiders

After the run it was off to Hamarikyu Gardens with *Twinkle* and a friend visiting from Madrid. I blogged this photo too.

Hamarikyu Gardens Tokyo

Here’s a shot of Tokyo Bay from above, with Hamarikyu in the foreground (taken on the iPhone again. In fact all of these were).

Hamarikyu and Tokyo Bay

Also this week I met up with dear friend Paul P back in Japan for a quick visit, with CNet / Japan Times journalist friend Rick to discuss Augmented Reality apps (he might use some of the info I provided in a JT article next week), oh, and continuing to correspond with Ian the documentary maker regarding film-making. Who knows what the future holds.

The day job is going OK.

Eyes are tired though, and the Macbook needs to be seen to – the sound card seems a bit dodgy, i.e. all system audio turns into loud static pops after lengthy editing sessions. Not good. Just need to get to a time when I don’t need it for video editing all the time, like the beginning of November when Japan Podshow is done.

Things are good though. Exhausted, but excitement and motivation levels are high. Gotta make the most of the time we’ve got!

Joseph

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Audioboo – a fun-packed day in Tokyo

nobuki_ueda_5819

Been a great day today. You can hear all about it in the Audioboo embedded below, but I just wanted to share this photo, taken whilst I was interviewing our special guest musician on Japan Podshow earlier today, Nobuki Ueda.

I’m a lot less stressed now. Not entirely sure why, but one reason might be that I’ve given up being grumpy at home (as I had been for a couple of sleep-deprived weeks). Makes such a difference!

Life is bloomin wonderful.

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