A Week in Tokyo 59

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Tue 2010/10/26 16:28 JST in A Week in Tokyo

Yikes. Looks like I left it another month since the last installment of A Week in Tokyo. Have completely lost track of time and find myself regularly looking up the current day of week/date/month ^^; What century is this?

Anyway, been constantly thinking about time management. One of the things I constantly try to do is, not to figure out how to do more with my time but how to do less and achieve more impact with what I decide to do - again its the quality of output over quantity of output. Doing more means that everything else gets less attention but being selective about what one does by choosing things that achieve more impact is the key to help free up more time to enjoy the good things in life like breathing in a breeze on an Autumn evening.

By trying out principles like the Pareto Law, you can try to figure out what 20% of your time produces 80% of the impacting results. Then you can try to figure out what noise and tasks are taking up the remaining 80% of your time leaving you with the decision to drop or continue the task or maybe automate it.

Still analyzing my current situation but it seems that the remaining 80% of my time follows the Long Tail where everything else that I do eventually ends up contributing to the big picture albeit in very small amounts. Am constantly (but need to be doing more of) sacrificing the small contributions to life so that I can take a break more often.

I also try to use technology as much as possible to automate workflows and have introduced many time saving techniques to the TV production process that my team currently use - their time saved also means my time saved. Will talk about and share my leanings more in the future.

Company income is barely covering operating costs and has been like that for a while now. This period of continuous low cashflow however has also helped me learn to focus our time/cash and efforts on the big important stuff that build up to significant changes.

First photo taken yesterday in East Tokyo somewhere between Asakusa and Kappa Bashi - will post photos of the area separately.

Book Off - the place where you can come to offload your unwanted books, games and magazines. They have a store called Hard Off for folks who want to offload their unwanted hardware and dolphins.

Kotone Ousaka was bored of constantly eating a banana but now she constantly drinks coffee. She seems to be hot all the time though.

The new shopping center that I mentioned last time is now open at our local train station and includes Muji, Tullys, Tokyu Store and more.
If you arrive early at the station then wait in Tullys and I'll come to get you.

Checking out to see what the new Tokyu Store has in their food section. Some bento's up for grabs for 530 yen.

The trolleys over here have magnifying glasses to enable folks with poor eye sight (like me) to read the food labels.

Tis the Autumn season were many supermarkets will have on display Autumn leaves.

Our catch for the evening from Tokyu Store. Some Thai green curry and salad for dindins. Weetabix tastes much better than it did when I was a wee lad back in the UK.

Yes even doll clothes need to be washed. Apologies to Saber who I made wear this maid costume for over a year without washing ^^;
Clothes are stuck into a net and plonked into the washing machine. Unlike our washing machine in the UK or US, most Japanese washing machines wash clothes with cold water. Whats the norm in your neck of the woods?

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Mmmmm. The smell of fresh laundry. Wonder if pantsu thieves steal doll pantsu too.

On Saturday afternoon we usually get some side dishes from the local market for lunch.

After living in Japan, many will find that they have a thick wallet - not with money but with point cards. Many stores will have a "double the points when it rains" to encourage folks to go and shop when its wet outside.

Working on the second floor from time to time. Now that its cooler, will be working on the third floor too.

Love looking at the rain blobs though the car window.

Evening at Lazona Kawasaki for some food and shopping.

My producer picked up a new 13" MacBookPro to replace my MacBook Air. My MBA is first generation meaning it starts to choke when I start to dabble around with photos. Usually take the MBA on business trips but I found that the machine became unusable for all the photo processing that I needed to do. The new MBP now also enables me to do video editing on Final Cut Pro while abroad too.

This photo taken at the checkout. All the staff are made aware that its raining outside and so proceed to wrap items with a plastic covering...

I love the service level in Japan - its something that you usually dont have to worry about.
Which reminds me of a comrade who used to live in Tokyo for a few years. He recently relocated to the London branch of his company and has been telling me about the nightmares he's been having with the service back there.
Whats the service level back in your neck of the woods?

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Japan completely switches to digital broadcasts next year on July the 24th. Our plasma TV which we picked up back in 2003 is analog. Its still in good shape so I'm going to pick up a tuner to enable the digital broadcasts - probably go for a Buffalo.

Lots of 3D machinery are popping up all over the gaff.

Some cool looking Vaio with built in WiMax. Remember owning 2 different models of Vaio when I first came to Japan. Also remembering spending most of my time haggling with drivers and resources as the default installation of Windows came with 50 different types of virus software and other useless utilities - the recovery disk would just install Windows + the same stuff.
Have the Vaio series improved over the years or no change?

More Autumness at another supermarket in Lazona.

Today's dindins is Ox tongue ramen.

Wifey's dindins - oishii desu.

The girls at Cold Stone give us a cute tune while preparing our dessert. Video below taken when they sung for us at Grandberry Mall.

One of the sweeties that sung for us.

Gorgeous. We need a Cold Stone in our local shopping mall.

Yes we do eat at home and wifey makes some lovely noms. I can only cook instant noodles and hot milk. I remember when living back in the UK, I wanted to fry some bacon, eggs and mushroom effectively - so I mixed it all up before frying it with disastrous results. How many of you are a dab hand at cooking?

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The quality of the dishes level up to restaurant quality when guests come over ^^;

Need to pick up some more spices from Singapore when we are over there in a few weeks.

Light ceiling sockets are very different to the ones we had back in the UK. Our one came loose after attaching all sorts of lighting fixtures.

This is the replacement that I picked up for about 600 yen.

All that's left is to screw it into the ceiling.

Folks are generally well mannered when it comes to lining up for the train or bus. Folks who ignore the queues are generally very young or very old.

At one of the TV production studios in Azabu Juban . Used to live in this area for a while after coming back from Seattle.

Time to prepare the MacBookPro 13" Need it to be an exact copy of my MacBookPro 17". All my project and resource files are stored on a 1TB external portable drive which is backed up regularly to another external drive using Chronosync. This means that if my main machine has an outage due to disk failure or wot not, I can just plug in the USB drive into another machine and start working.
Before I used to have *everything* stored on the main machine HD - experienced outages which affected work for a day waiting for a Time Machine restore.

Make sure you have at least 2 copies of your precious data and maybe keep one copy of something that you can download anyway.

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To make a clone of my main machine, I need a Firewire 800 cable which is used to connect the two machines together.

The source machine (17" MBP) is then turned on with the "T" key pressed. This boots up the machine in Firewire mode - it can be plugged into any other mac and will behave as an external HD.

Next up is to boot up the destination mac (13" MBP) with the Snow Leopard DVD with the "option" key pressed. This will bring up a boot menu. Once the Snow Leopard installer is up n running, I choose "Disk Utility" from the menu. From here I can just drag and drop the source and destination HD's and hit "Restore." The cloning process is complete after about 40 mins.

Making a clone of my Windows partitions was a painful process many moons ago which involved booting up the machine with a floppy disk. Is the process much easier now?

Up until now, my producer has been working with folks who have been using Mac Pro's whenever using Final Cut Pro. We needed a machine but didn't fancy having a huge Mac Pro in the office so decided to get something a wee bit more slimline instead and went for the iMac. Recently picked it up from Akihabara the other eventing and learned something new.

When new models of Macs come out, most of the stores just sell the new models - the older models are removed from the shelves completely.
The Softmap Apple retailer in Akihabara however tries to get rid of the old models by placing a generous discount on the previous model . Picked up the 27" iMac for 168800 yen instead of 190600 yen and they threw in a 3 year Apple Care pack.

Beefed up the default 4GB memory to 16GB's. The iMac currently renders a 50GB full HD movie for broadcast in about 30 mins.

Memory change was pretty painless.

Usually throw out the big boxes for recycle - take up too much space.

Whenever new hardware comes into the office a mess comes along with it.

Knight and Day now showing in Japan. How did you like it? Japanese trailer below.

Culture Japan and Mirai-chan gets her own theme song called "Mirai Mechanism." Produced by vividblaze and myself. Mastered by Tom Coyne - the same guy who has mastered tracks for Michael Jackson, Brittney, Beyoncé, Utada Hikaru and more. I was asked to sing the chorus ^^;

Currently working on the PV for Mirai Mechanism. The track can currently be heard on Culture Japan Episodes 3 and 4 and during the show too.
Never thought I would end up being a music producer ^^;
The track sounds a lot like vividblaze's other tune "Tight Rope" below.

Trying to make a DIY Steadicam for the iPhone by using the weight of a tripod. Why on earth do Steadicams cost an arm and a leg?

Ramen for dindins at Seiya.

The girls tuck into some melon-pan and strawberry milk.

The very sweet Sharon from Quiz Magic Academy. See some of her in action in the OP below.

Trying out a burger at the French place in the local shopping arcade.

Turn yourself into a walking WiFi spot with Emobile's Pocket WiFi - 0 yen with a two year contract. Contract costs are about 5000 yen per month.

Dinner at Yoshinoya for 450 yen.

50 yen Yoshinoya discount coupons to get an even cheaper meal.

There is always interesting stuff to see when picking up stuff form the pharmacy ^^;

Today they got some Konyaku Batake for cheap - limited to two packs per customer.

The latest menu from KFC is citrus pepper chicken - tastes rather yummy indeed.

What used to be Yumean is no more and now replaced by a new Shabu Shabu restaurant. Have not checked it out yet.

Footwear collection for the girls is growing.

The Christmas stuff is starting to popup here n there. My fave time of the year. Never ever get bored of listening to Last Christmas on loop ^^;

We've got 3 HDD cradles between some of the Final Cut Operators now - helps reduce cost buy buying the HDD alone. 2TB's fits about 3 episodes worth of Culture Japan which includes all the media and rendered files.
Average cost of a 2TB 5400rpm drive is about 6000 yen. A 2TB 7200rpm Hitachi costs about 10000 yen but they seem to be like a Maxtor - high failure rate. We went for Western Digital 2TB 7200rpm for about 15000 yen. What are the average costs of a 2TB drive in your neck of the woods and what brand do you prefer? The below list taken from the most popular in Japan.

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Name that sushi.

Our local sushi place has discounts depending on the day of the week - some of the discounts are 50% off.

Full Metal Panic gets the pachinko treatment.

At the offices of Production IG - behind the scenes coming soon.

Now that I'm a certified Ninja, I need to upgrade my Baby Blue Ninja gear.
One of the Greater Ninja's comes down to Tokyo from Edo Wonderland in Nikko and brings with her my new spanking Ninja gear that's been soaked in holy stealth water for a week.
Wearing the Ninja outfit is not straight forward and involves a load of ribbons and belts to be tied up.
With my Rollerblades, I can now enjoy some "High Speed Ninja Action."

Culture Japan is now plugged together with all the anime in the TV guide ^o^

New kitchen toy - a Panasonic electric hotplate so that we can enjoy dishes like Shabu Shabu and Yakiniku at the table.

October is the month where the first season of Culture Japan went on air. We've done 4 episodes so far and got 9 to go before the second season. Am meeting Animax Asia this week to finalize the Asia broadcast.

This photo was taken in the studios with Shiori Mikami where we filmed episodes 1 and 2 which featured a tour of the Good Smile Company factory in China.

Back at the Tokyo MX TV studios to film episode 3 of Culture Japan - this weeks guests were Milky Holmes.
All related Culture Japan posts below with the official page at http://culturejapan.jp

Checking out the Chinese version of the site on the iPhone. iPhone versions of the current 3 languages below:-
http://dannychoo.com/iphone/en/ (English)
http://dannychoo.com/iphone/ja/ (Japanese)
http://dannychoo.com/iphone/zh/ (Chinese)

Our trusty Nissan march got an upgrade which you can read more about in the Mirai Itasha post.

Pretty much all of my time over the past few weeks was taken up with all the goings on in the Japan TV Production post.

Japanese houses are built to last an average of 25 years - many are designed so that they can be put up within a few months and torn down within a few days. Will talk more about this when I rewrite the Tokyo Property Purchase post.

ASCII Media Works bring us a load of Anime including Ore no Imouto and they also bring us Tokyo Kawaii magazine which I currently write for - 004 was released this morning.

Playing with BRS Figma during a short break.

Grabbing some dinner from Saboten for the staff back in the office. Saboten is a chain of stores which does some lovely katsu - meat, seafood or veggies deep fried in batter and breadcrumbs.

The office this morning.

Not much change on this side of the room.

If I missed something then its probably in the October archives. Previous episodes of A Week in Tokyo below.