Episode 15 – Biking Through Tokyo

Bike bike bike

Yeeeesssssssss. Here it is. The episode you’ve all been waiting for, “Biking Through Tokyo”. I hope I didn’t talk it up too much prior to this. I edited this over the weekend. The footage had been sitting on my drive for about 2 weeks, just dying to be put to good use.

I had to be a little creative with the editing since alot of it was bumping. It’s alot like drinking too much coffee the way it runs now. Please don’t eat anything while watching this. Hopefully you will enjoy some of the sights of Tokyo as I did on that day. Oh, and instead of shownotes, here are delicious time-code notes where I’ve marked points of interest that I don’t mention in audio.

Show Notes

  • 0:00 – Fancy-schmancy intro as always
  • 1:00 – The dreaded Nissan’s Business Japanese makes a guest appearance
  • 1:06 – Note the super-secure bike lock
  • 1:37 – じてんしゃ is Japanese for Bicycle (pronounced “ji-tenn-sha”)
  • 1:47 – That is a highway on/off ramp
  • 2:18-2:25 – If you look closely, you can almost see the kitty-cat sticker on the bell. LOL
  • 2:58 – Ferrari
  • 3:40 – Notice how many different types of sidewalks there are yet??
  • 3:47 – I pedal through people in Asakusa-bashi w/o touching my feet on the ground – You have no idea how hard it was to navigate that with one hand and film at the same time. ^_^
  • 4:22 – The Asahi Beer building

Special thanks to Gustav Young from Oddioblender for letting me use the track “Frantic Footsteps” for this video. Please check out the site for more great glitchy nerdcore music. I listen to this album constantly!

Alternative video link (Google Video)

PlayPlay

Episode 14 – Riding the Tokyo Monorail

Tokyo Monorail

(Photo used with Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 License – Original)

A few days ago, I had to head down to the Tokyo Regional Immigration bureau. What fun!! However, there was one redeeming result of the trip: I was able to ride the Tokyo Monorail. I’m fairly familiar with most of Tokyo’s transportation systems, but I had never ridden this particular line. It was a great experience. If you visit Tokyo, I recommend you make it a point to ride this line, second to the Shinkansen of course.

What is different about the Tokyo Monorail from other lines is it is completely above ground. Sure, most of the JR lines are as well, but the Monorail soars above neighborhoods and between buildings – a feat that the JR lines do not accomplish. When you ride JR, you see track and rocks as you ride in an area specifically laid out for train travel. When you ride the Tokyo Monorail, you literally fly past buildings and over people as they tend to their daily lives.

I hope you enjoy this short video. I had to use a little different method to put it together since it came primarily off my cell phone.

PlayPlay

Episode 10 – Cell Phone Code Reader

Picture 4.jpg

Ok well, maybe not a full episode, but a short one minute clip I put together before heading out for the night. Earlier today, Alex and I tore up Tokyo by bike. Stopping at Akihabara to get an Ebi-Filet, I began playing with my cell phone’s bar code reader. I was amazed at how fast it read the bar code.

The bar codes (also known as QR codes) are in a square format and contain text information, usually a URL. In this case, McDonald’s publishes all of their nutritional information this way. Want to know how many pounds that Choco-Pie is going to add on? Just whip out your keitai and check it out. Man, I do love Japan! Enjoy!

Upcoming episodes for those who cannot wait to hear, I’ve got some great material coming up: Getting stopped by the cops on bike in Japan, making elephant characters out of hotdogs (video), and my first full week in a Japanese office. Stay tuned.

Alternative video link (Google Video)

PlayPlay

Episode 8 – Hanami Video

Juice Box Sake Kids!

(Sorry for the late posting, was on the run to my first day of work this morning!) ^_^

Yes yes, another video episode. I have finally nailed down my video episode creation workflow so this isn’t all that time-consuming to put together anymore. Hopefully I will have time to do more in the future, however with work starting I have a feeling we’ll be getting quite a few more commute-casts in the near future. Anyway, onto the video…

This video contains some various clips of Sakura blossoms I have taken over the past week. Tokyo has had a fairly long (at least from my perspective) cherry blossom viewing season. I believe it peaked early last week, but even this weekend there was some cherry blossoms still out for the viewing. Some of these clips were taken as late as last Friday, when I did the podcast from the park.

As a bonus, I’ve also put in Alex trying a little bit of we dubbed “juice-box sake” (photo above). These are available in almost all convenience stores. I haven’t had any sort of liquid in this type of container since I was a child and I had them put in my lunch box. Drinking sake out of these was quite a weird trip back in time. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video. Cheers!

Alternative video link (Google Video)

PlayPlay

Episode 5 – Meiji-jingu Video

66849982_ac69976a04_b.jpg

I’m constantly posting from the past it seems. This weekend was busy with hanami activities (and subsequent recovery). I will be posting some video and audio from that as well. However, as promised, here is the Meiji-jingu video from last week.

I shot most of this footage from that day. Meiji-jingu is my favorite place to visit when I need some peace and quiet. Right in the heart of Yoyogi park, it never ceases to have a calming and quieting effect on me. Enjoy!

Alternative video link (Google Video)

PlayPlay

Finding an Apartment in Japan

Today’s post comes in video podcast form. I explore making finding an apartment in Tokyo easier with Google Earth and Rikaichan. I take a look at the logistical aspect of looking in an unfamiliar area and explore the use of a Firefox plug-in that makes life easier when reading Japanese.

Picture 6.jpg

Picture 7.jpg

Picture 8.jpg

Show Notes:

Happy 2007 From Amsterdam

It’s taken me a while to post anything from my recent trip to Europe, but I hope the wait was worth it. I apologize whole-heartedly but blame KLM completely for throwing me off a day. I think the day delay coming back from Europe threw off my entire schedule – the downfall of being organized is that any kinks make you a helpless quivering blob of inactivity. But alas, I digress.

IMG_0189.JPG

IMG_0188.JPG

My first impressions of Amsterdam where a bit unnerving. Just the rawness of the city can be a little unsettling. Being an American in Europe doesn’t put me completely at ease given recent events in the world. In addition, Europe in general seems to have a lack of explicit safety precautions. The trams and bikes will run you over if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is your own responsibility as a human to keep yourself alive. If you get crushed, your fault. I somewhat like that. Europe seems to enact a sort of species selection this way – evolution in action.

New Years Eve in Dam Square was incredible. (see video). I’ve experienced the human cattle herding of New York City’s Times Square event and, unlike this event, Amsterdam is completely different. Dam Square is blocked off from traffic and pedestrian traffic is completely unrestricted. You can drink, shoot off fireworks, or just generally cruise around the entire area. People are shooting off fireworks nearly constantly for the 24 preceeding hours up to the countdown. At the countdown, this amount nearly quadruples into explosions of light directly above your head.

After checking out most of the museums, taking a canal tour, and eating way more than I should have we finished our touring of the city after nearly 6 complete days. Though I think that such an extended period of time in this city is a bit overkill, I enjoyed every minute of it and had a great time. Photos are available here.

Bottom line: Amsterdam for the New Year, highly recommended. Enjoy the brief video.