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Undokai Timelapse

September 11th, 2009

We had the seasonal fall undokai (運動会, or Sports Day) at school on Wednesday, and I grabbed a golden opportunity. I asked for permission to shoot a timelapse video from the 3rd floor of the school building nearest the athletic grounds. When I had secured permission, I asked if I could borrow a tripod from the school and they found one. (Mine is currently living elsewhere and I’m attempting to purchase a Gorilla pod to replace it anyway.)

On the morning of the event I placed the camera and started recording just after the morning staff meeting. I locked the classroom door and left the camera to slowly capture one frame every ten seconds. After we finished cleaning up and before the post-event celebratory drinking party, I went back to stop the recording and retrieve the camera. I was more than pleased with the results. What do you think? Cool, right?

Customary Drivel, Media, Video

Okinawa Video Roundup

September 7th, 2009

Ok, continuing on my attempt to catch up with all of the events of this summer, here’s a quick video roundup from my trip to Okinawa. These are my first vacation videos every shot using an HD camera – and although these videos are not uploaded in HD (thanks iMovie), they still look pretty darn sweet if you ask me – and some of the comment section folks on YouTube. :-) They are pretty long actually – 2 of them come within seconds of the 10 minute cutoff, in fact. But I think they’re fun.

This first video shows a bunch of stuff in Naha and the southern parts of Okinawa’s main island. You’ll see clips from the Peace Memorial Park & Museum, Himeyuri Monument, the Naha Harbor Diner, Shuri Castle, and a bus trip northward to the Nago and Motobu area.

The second video features our visit to the Churaumi Aquarium, famous for having the largest single viewing window in any aquarium on earth (yes – bigger than Atlanta’s) and three whale sharks in the same tank. You’ll also see Cape Hedo, a lovely secluded beach where we snorkeled an afternoon away, a restaurant where we tried raw goat meat (yes…goat sashimi…with skin still attached, even…), and random good times in the area.

The final video is basically a ton of scuba diving. Why? Well, that’s kind of what we did in Okinawa. A ton of scuba diving. I went there hoping for 3 or 4 dives, but we pulled off 7 killer dives in the lovely tropical waters. Lots of seriously old reefs (they are freaking huge, mature architectural structures – amazing, really) to visit, fish to see, and nooks and crannies to explore. We did three dives at the Sunabe Sea Wall, one dive out at Okuma Beach Resort, and three more dives out in the Kerama Islands. Gorgeous. I hope to return and dive in the Ishigaki and Yonaguni areas someday. Perhaps with manta rays or hammerhead sharks.

Which Okinawa video did you like best?

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Culinary, Media, Trips, Video

Not Dead!

September 2nd, 2009

Wow, it’s September already. If you’ve been following my YouTube Channel, you’d know I’m not totally dead. (And hey – if you’re not subscribed, go subscribe!) This has, without a doubt, been the single wackiest summer to date. You’d probably also know I’m not dead if you checked my Facebook profile. If you were looking for me in any of my other regular haunts, though – Twitter, JapanSoc, my own blog, then you were plumb out of luck. And don’t feel bad about it either – my own mother sent me three separate “are you alive” emails at different points during this long silent period. I assure you that I’m healthy and in good spirits – it’s just that I was away from home more than not. This summer has been laughably busy.

Here’s my game plan for the next week or so. First, I’ll post the videos that I’ve uploaded to YouTube over the break here as well. I’ve got a contest in the works, too. Then I’ll start to get back to my semi-regular posting. I’ll start off with these two videos


Timelapses during the rainy season.

The solar eclipse as seen from the mountains in Ozu.

Coming soon: the NHK coverage of this year’s Nametoko English Camp and how I made English and Japanese subtitles for it to include on the YouTube version on my iMac. :-) That’s right, I’m back. And yes – I will also continue the Japanese Tongue Twisters project.

Customary Drivel, Media, Video

Salt Softserve, Shrines, and Scenic Art

July 7th, 2009

Whoo hoo! The last video from the daytrip – the first stage of the Imabari City Foreign Tourism Project – has now been uploaded! Actually, I uploaded it ages ago and simply ran out of time to post it here, too, so many of you have already seen it. Anyhoo, as I hinted in the annotations on an earlier video, it contains a brief glimpse of a naked lady on a towel. Stay classy, Omishima. Ha ha.

In the video, you can see us enjoy some primo Hakata Salt Ice Cream. There’s a recipe available for it on the official Hakata Salt website – check it out if you’d like to give it a go. You can see the Japanese Wikipedia entry for the uber-impressive Oyamazumi Shrine on Omishima here. If you don’t read Japanese, you can just know that it houses a seriously astounding collection of Japanese National Treasures – in the form of oldschool armor. It’s great. The video finishes off with a few shots from the Tokoro Art Museum. My favorite part (other than the self-serve coffee and astounding view) was the wooden vending machine. I’d love it if it did give me change in toothpicks. ;-)

Customary Drivel, Media, Trips, Video

Towel Museum & Ocean Rapids

June 23rd, 2009

In this video you can see the inside of one of Imabari’s novelty attractions – the towel art museum located in Asakura. In Japanese it’s called タオル美術館ICHIRO. It’s a pretty trippy place, but I give the museum props for taking a local industry and making a fun outing out of it. Imabari City makes 60% or more of the domestically produced towels in Japan, so it’s common to hear about the towels – but you don’t often get to see animals made from towels, or watch the row of mechanical looms create them at high speed. Unfortunately, all of the cute stuff (the art part) is in exhibits where photography is prohibited, so I can’t share any of it with you. But I can recommend that you go there once for yourself just to see what it’s like. :-)

Wow! Twofer Tuesday! This video shows us arriving in front of the Murakami Pirate Museum (which I’ve visited previously with my students). The restaurant operates a touring boat that takes you through the rapids (another thing I’ve done previously). And yes, this is totally where they hold the annual Pirate Race – so glad you asked! The Japanese name of the place is 村上水軍博物館. We tried on armor and goofed off a bunch. But we didn’t have much time, so we had to keep moving.

[Yup, these are both from the Imabari City Foreign Tourism Project daytrip. How ever did you guess? :-P Last video from the daytrip will go up tomorrow, guys!]

Customary Drivel, Media, Trips, Video

Imabari Castle

June 22nd, 2009

Hello, hello! I know, I keep making it harder and harder for everyone to believe I’m not dead. But I’m not, please rest assured. Allow me to break the radio silence I’ve had going for…almost all of June, and post a quick video I’ve uploaded. Last weekend (yesterday, actually), I went on the first chunk of the Imabari City Foreign Tourism Project’s Monitor Tour, or as I affectionately refer to it, ICFTPMT. (No, I really don’t call it that. Ha ha.) This was the daytrip portion of the project, so I jumped onto a charter bus with my fellow monitors, our ICIEA colleagues, and a few folks from the local government’s tourism board. We then bounced around all over Imabari – in both the city proper and out on the islands. This is the first video of a few, hopefully. Enjoy!

(Going to Tokyo for the upcoming weekend, if anyone fancies a meet-up. Anyone in Tokyo, obviously. :-P Shoot me an email or give me a call.)

Customary Drivel, Media, Trips, Video