Video Exclusive: Susan Boyle sings live on a Tokyo commuter train

Having bought the most amazing computer in the whole world ever, I realised I needed to push myself beyond the confines of email and random web surfing, and into production, in order to justify the financial outlay.

This happened to coincide with that gala event at the Tokyo Hilton, at which I was seated on the Freinds-of-fatblueman YouTube table.

Well, sitting with them for several hours couldn’t fail to rub off on me, and so, a couple of weeks later, here we are, making YouTube videos.

The idea for this one came to me last Sunday morning. I had to go to the office to pick up the transformer for my mac that I’d left behind the previous night, and decided to make a brief stop at Kitanomaru park. I wanted to make a tribute video to Susan Boyle, as I’d been really taken with her voice.

It was only later that I decided that it might be fun to take the video outside of the park and onto the trains.

Whilst this video ends in Shibuya, the footage doesn’t. I’ll be posting another video in due course.

I’m using the making and promoting of this video for educational purposes. This is the first time I’ve ever used Final Cut (Apple’s pro-video editing software), and the first time I’ve done anything other than simple uploading with YouTube.

I think the lack of reactions on the train says a lot about Japan, or at least Tokyo. It’s only by isolating yourself in your own little world that you can survive.


Two podcasts down, 1 video to go

Japan TechshowIt’s been a pretty productive day today. As you can see from my new lifestream ( – how about that, my entire life reduced to a single rss feed!), I’ve been pretty busy.

This morning I picked up a pretty decent camcorder from someone in Shimbashi – that was offered to me for free after I put out a request on Tokyo Freecycle. The tape bit is a bit dodgy but I’ll mainly be using it linked up to my macbook pro. Thank you Greg for that.

I did some washing, finally managed to buy some bird food after weeks of trying, got my hair cut, and got the first two episodes of my second new podcast series,, out of the door. I created this podcast in response to complaints that there was too much tech in Japan Podshow.

Episode one features an interview I did with @karamoon, log-time mumbler and organiser of Tokyo Barcamp 2009, which is shaping up to be an amazing event. I’ve been really inspired by how he has pulled it together in such a short space of time.

Episode two is the full version of the short interview we featured in episode two of www, In this longer interview, Nick talks about the history of and, and gives a hint as to where future growth may come from.

Tonight I must get this video I have lying around done. It has to be done today or it will become irrelevant, and I put so much effort into filming it it would be a complete waste!

On with the show!

P.s. want to see an idiot shouting into his mic in Shibuya? Check out this video shot last week at Hachiko.

Listen to Japan Techshow:

Listen to Japan Podshow:

Japan Podshow episode 2: The Jenga Maid – out now

Japan Podshow - episode 2Blimey, I nearly forgot to post here that episode two of Japan Podshow is now out! Initial feedback from our growing audience has been very positive – and it’s shorter than episode 1!

I’m very grateful to everyone who has taken part in the podshow so far – it’s very much appreciated.

Check it out here or subscribe in iTunes.

As with Episode 1, I found producing episode 2 to be a lot of work. Trying to get all the editing done in time for a Sunday night release is really tough, and whilst I did ‘finish’ it on Sunday night I then realised I’d forgotten to include the audio from the maid cafe – so had to do it all again, thus it finally went out at 2.30am Tuesday!

It’s worth the effort though. I really enjoy being creative, and reading the feedback that we’re getting makes my day.

Tomorrow I’ll be working on getting the first two episodes of Japan Tech Show out – that’s an easy one, as it’s just intro-interview-outro with no fancy loops in the middle (Japan Podshow can run to 7 tracks due to all the different effects and stuff).

I’m also aiming to get a very special video out by tomorrow night. Stay tuned for that.

Until now hasn’t really served a purpose, except for the time it spent being owned by a German porn site. However, that’s all changed now – it is now dedicated to documenting my online activity. The engine behind it is I plan to intergrate the storltrl feed into the Daily Mumble for a quick reference of what I’ve been up to. I’ll do that …when I have time!


Hope at the Hilton

Last night I was very fortunate to be able to attend the 10th annual charity gala event in aid of Hope Japan, a non-governmental aid agency that works to provide safe drinking water to families in third world countries. It was held at the Hilton Hotel in Shinjuku – part of Hope at the Hilton Week.

I’d been invited along by John Janzen of FatBlueMan, whom I first met over Skype a couple of weeks back when doing an interview with him for episode one of Japan Podshow. John has been a supporter of the organisation for some time, and recently has written two songs for the charity, used in their fundraising campaigns (one of which we played on the podshow).

As well as providing live music at the event (alongside the excellent Secret Ocean), John had been asked to gather together a team of YouTubers who might be interested in making a trip to Cambodia later this year.

Every year, the charity takes a few top execs out to its projects in South East Asia or Africa to impress upon them just how important their work is, and how much of a difference the support of big business can make. Listening to two of the people who went out last year speak about their experience meeting a family whom we’d just seen in a video was quite moving …and it got me thinking.

This year Hope is going to be doing something different. Instead of sending some execs out there, they’d like to send a team of YouTubers – people with a different perspective on things and the know-how to use the incredible media tools that are now accessible to anyone as leverage to spread the word about their work.

The YouTubers around the table were Hikosaemon, ToLokyo, Claytonian, TokyoStormTrooper and TkyoSam.

Whilst I don’t see myself as a ‘YouTuber’, I am someone who is fascinated and excited by the potential of these tools that we have at our fingertips. I’m particularly interested in audio and video – it’s only now I have a really decent computer that video is actually a possibility (or at least it would be if I had a camera!)

Going back to the charity aspect: this is also something that interests me. And I know that this is one that I have to look into as John introduced Hope to me at exactly the moment that I was thinking deeply about the value and potential of creating an online community (which is my medium-term goal) – synchronicity.

So whilst I don’t yet know if I’ll be heading to Cambodia later this year or not, last night’s event did serve as a reminder that I do need to work charity into the reason for my doing all this.

Whilst geekery is fun, sometimes I do wonder what the point to it all is. If, ultimately, it doesn’t contribute to the overall good of society, then it could be entirely pointless. Just a waste of precious time. But put a valuable cause at the end of the road and suddenly there’s a burning reason to continue to push original material out there, to grow a community, to create a movement of sorts.

I tend to do a lot of my thinking and concluding when either talking with others, or writing, and as I sit here in the bookstore cafe just around the corner from Shibuya station, I can feel the tension rise in me (that’s Japanese-style tension, which unlike the non-Japanese tension is a very good thing). This idea is clearly in accordance with my core values, with what ultimately drives me to act – that is, making a difference.

Watch this space.

I’d like to say a big thank you to John for inviting me along, and I look forward to working together.

I’d just like to finish by briefly writing about a conversation I had with Danny Choo last night.

Danny Choo is most well known for his love of figurines, dancing around Tokyo in a stormtrooper outfit and his love of Apple Macs (he recently installed Mac OSX on a Dell Mini, something I can see myself doing in the future.. He has an which sees over 2 million unique visitors every month, and is usually the centre of attention at events such as Tokyo CGM.

But it wasn’t for any of those things that I first came to hear about Danny. It was rather due to his attitude towards life, as documented in a small corner of his website (which I can’t find at the moment, but I did find his story of why / how he learnt Japanese). I recall reading (following a random google search) what he’d written about self-actualisation, and agreeing wholeheartedly with him. At the time that served as another little prod to get me off my arse-of-fear and into action.

Meeting Danny last night confirmed something else about him that I previously guessed to be the case – he’s a thoroughly nice guy. He knows how to listen, and has a great skill of reading people. He is generous with advice on things that he is well versed in, and humble in learning from others in areas that he is not so familiar with. With all this in mind, it’s only natural that he should be as successful as he is.

We’re fortunate to have him here in Tokyo.

Anyway, I have a tonne of editing to do on episode two of the Podcast, and for some mad reason I’m actually going to start another mini-podcast this week too.

Exciting times. I hope I can sleep tonight.