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.


Video: Koenji Awaodori 2009


been a great day today. Very productive. Voluntary work this morning at the city hall, editing a video I shot yesterday at Tokyo Hacker Space this afternoon, then edited almost an entire episode of Making it in Japan on the Hibiya subway line before meeting Christine and Steve (both of whom have appeared in Japan Techshow) to help Christine choose an eeeeeepc at Akiba Yodobashi.

Started to shoot some stock footage around Akiba – sell on iStock photo perhaps? Good way to at least start making an income from it!

Back to Meguro for an English lesson, then back home.

One issue I have with the Canon HF S11 is that the lens isn’t wide enough. But this is deliberate – they sell wide angle attachments separately, and I’ll think I’ll get one, as I’m so impressed with what this consumer model can do. Cost a pretty 25,000 yen though!

Looking forward to tomorrow too as I have the afternoon off for a meeting – and more editing. Really enjoying being creative and productive.

Things are moving in the right direction – it’s all good!

Below – my video from Koenji Awaodori, one of the three biggest annual festivals in Tokyo with over 12,000 performers. You can watch it in HD (big) mode here.

As you can see I stuffed up the aspect ratio as I’m a newbie at Final Cut (video editing software), and there’s a significant loss in quality due to it being on YouTube. You can download the original from Japan Podshow.

Nighty night!

Shinjuku’s Cocoon building, and speaking Japanese

cocoon building shinjuku_5631

This is my favourite building in Tokyo at the moment. It’s the IMode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, winner of the prestigious ‘Skyscraper of the Year Award 2008’. I wonder if it attended the awards ceremony or just sent a video message explaining it was a bit tied up that night.

cocoon building shinjuku_5632

On Saturday George and I recorded episode 9 of Japan Podshow on the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building – from there we had a great view of the cocoon – and the reflection of another skyscraper in it’s multi-story eye near the top.

I liked that.

cocoon building shinjuku_5642

cocoon building shinjuku_5640

Today’s been quite a productive day. Following my voluntary work updating a section of the local city hall English website this morning, I returned home and set about editing the podcast. I’m quite happy with it.

At 5pm I went to meet Kat McDowell whose first album is out on the 28th August. The interview (for Japan Podshow) was recorded at Sony Music, and she was accompanied by her management team of 3. It was a little intimidating, as they all sat across from me like an interview panel might – could I please explain what the podcast was and why I wanted to interview Kat?

I thought afterwards just how grateful I am that I put all that effort into learning Japanese. Had I not been able to explain myself, I feel it all would have been extremely awkward, and I would have felt like a right idiot. But as it was, it was cool. I could do it almost without thinking. (Although I realised afterwards that during a quick conversation about American Idol I inadvertently referred to her management team as ‘things’ instead of people!)

Kat, incidentally, is incredibly talented, and I reckon her album will be a big success when it’s out (I’ve had it on repeat play). We’ll be doing a Japan Podshow special on her.

Anyways, the next stage of production awaits – best get on.


There’s bean some progress

Elephant flies to the moon

I’ve been enjoying drawing lately. It started out when I tried to create some original art to illustrate episodes of Japan Podshow. As the series has progressed so I’ve spent a little more time on the pictures. It was inevitable in a way that I would find myself drawing elephants again – something I’ve done for many years when doodling.

I’m now in the process of creating a whole series of pictures which may or may not then have little messages added in Japanese and English, before being printed as postcards. Most of the drawing takes place on the Hibiya Subway line – my creative space. This means it doesn’t eat into the time I need for podcasting, allowing me to do it without stress.

Also, later today I’l be going out with Pepe and my friend / Japanese teacher / ideas guru @naminamy. We’ll be taking photos with Pepe for a book that I’m going to publish. Whether this means self-publishing or pro-publishing, at this stage I don’t know.

I’m also working on a more ‘professional’ podcast aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs / artists etc in Japan. The website’s nearly complete, and I hope to launch in the next few days. Initially, it’ll just feature the interviews I record for Japan Podshow (without all the bumph). It’ll be interesting to see where it heads.

One thing I’m enjoying is seeing that a lot of what I read in literature on achieving dreams is ‘correct’. Life has a truly uncanny way of working out for the best. It’s just a case of making a decision, acting on that decision, and having faith that those actions will lead to the goal (which of course may be somewhat different from that initially outlined). Whilst all these elements are vital, if I was to write a ‘keys to success’ book it would only contain two words:

“Just act”.

Books such as The Secret are all very well and good, and I agree that it’s important to align thinking with desired outcome, but at the end of the day, the single biggest factor that will determine if you reach a goal is whether you act on your ideas.

(Wow Joseph. What groundbreaking stuff!!!)

I have to laugh at myself for having put up all these imaginary barriers that ‘prevented’ me from doing what I wanted to do, whether it was a lack of time / lack of contacts / lack of money. It’s nothing that can’t be changed through action.

Life’s generally pretty cool at the moment. I’ve applied for a renewal of my spouse visa, which should be a three-year visa this time. I’m eating banana-and weetabix or banana-and-muesli milkshakes most mornings – it’s incredible how much easier 5 bananas slip down when drunk as opposed to being eaten. We’ve entered two teams for the next ekiden (relay race) in November, and Tom and I have submitted our entries for the Tokyo Marathon – being oversubscribed we get put into a lottery for places (result October).

Work is going OK. Now I know the basics of most things I’m not having such a hard time. I’m extremely busy most days, which is a good thing (no overtime so I just do what I do).

I grew a magic bean this week. It really was magic. This is what happened in 4 days.
Bean Progress

With so much to do for the podcast I don’t have a social life as such, but that’s OK for now. I do of course meet people in the process of gathering material, and am always making new contacts.

Anyway, I’m feeling quite hungry now. Time for breakkie, then editing – we recorded episode 9 at the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building this week. It was a lot of fun but there’s a fair bit of material to wade through!


Uchimizu in Akiba and Eclipse-climb summary

I’m reposting my last two contributions for the Metpod, as I know most mumblers don’t listen to it what with it being made for people living in Tokyo and all.

We’ll start with my most recent contribution, talking about the Uchimizu performance that went on last weekend in Akiba (to play it without leaving this page see the little grey player below)

Uchimizu in Akiba 3.5mb MP3

Next up, my summary of the Mt Fuji hike which went out last week.

I’m enjoying creating these. I like the time limit, and the necessity for a script. I feel it’s good practice.


Catching up on a backlog of minor editing / blogging jobs this evening. It’s neverending!