Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tokyo Pride

Highlights from the Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Parade 2006, set to the song "Boy Seventeen" by Delphinium Blue, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network (

Around 3000 people participated in the parade, divided into 12 floats of around 250-300 people in each block, with many more spectators on the streets of Harajuku and Shibuya.

It rained on the day, but cleared up just in time, and everyone was very happy. It was fun.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ishigaki & Okinawa Honto

Watch some footage taken by my Japanese friend on a recent trip to Okinawa, set to the song "Surf Goddess" by This Spy Surfs, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network (

Okinawa, part of the Ryukyu island chain south of the Japanese archipelago, has 49 inhabited and many uninhabited islands, surrounded by beautiful coral reefs. In the north, the Yanbaru forest fans out, home to a rich biodiversity including many protected and endangered species.

Tourists can enjoy diving and snorkeling at the beautiful beaches or watch the amazing whale sharks and manta rays at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Honbucho on Okinawa Honto (the main island).

Different cultures and customs are deeply rooted in the Okinawa area as it was once a separate country called the Ryukyu Kingdom until it became part of Japan in the Meiji Era, and these unique customs and traditions can be experienced at places such as Ryukyu Mura.




Thursday, May 18, 2006

Maori Welcome in Tokyo

Watch clips from a Maori performance welcoming Tokyo residents to the screening of River Queen at the New Zealand Film Festival 2006, held in Roppongi on May 11-14.

River Queen by Vincent Ward stars Samantha Morton, Kiefer Sutherland, Cliff Curtis and Temuera Morrison and is one of my favourite movies so I was excited that it could be viewed by a Japanese audience.

I grew up in Wanganui, near where the movie was shot in New Zealand, and was so happy to be able to show my friends places I love, like Kai Iwi Beach and the Whanganui River (which stole the show). Its well worth the journey. I go every year!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Kamakura Squirrel

A cheeky squirrel looks for food from visitors to the Great Buddha at Kamakura, set to the song "Anymore" by Sonny Combs and Kitty Kat Rodeo, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network (

The squirrel showed no fear, even when a nearby pigeon was being chased away by some girls, and tried to climb a guy looking for food.

To see or feed the squirrels, head towards the back of the Great Buddha complex at Kamakura.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Great Buddha at Kamakura

We take a look at the Great Buddha at Kamakura, set to the song "Dancefloor Lover" by Electrobuddha, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network (

Kamakura is a very popular tourist area about one hour south of Tokyo and just over the hill from where I live in Yokohama.

According to Wikipedia, Kamakura was the capital of Japan from the 12th through 14th centuries during the Kamakura Shogunate. The Great Buddha was constructed in 1252 and used to be inside a temple, but a tsunami in 1498 destoyed the temple, so it has been out in the open ever since.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Kumar Lewis

I met Kumar Lewis at a Parties for Peace event at the Pink Cow in Shibuya on February 18. I thought he was a really cool guy.

Then while I was in New Zealand last month I heard that he had been killed in Africa. Check out all the awesome things he did during his life at

This kind of thing makes me realize the importance of "capturing the moment" and the power of being able to share such moments with others.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Audrey's Favorite Poem

Audrey Howatson works for Peaceboat Japan and does some amazing things in both Japan and around the world.

In this video taken at a Bee Japan party she spontaneously recited a poem she had learned by heart. The poem is called "My IQ" by Ani DiFranco.

Check out Peaceboat at and Ani's poems and music at

Monday, January 09, 2006

Nihon Minka-En

Visit the Nihon Minka-En, or "Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum".

Set to the song "For You I Do" by Dave McDaid, used with permission.

The Minka-En is a park featuring old Japanese villages and traditional houses and buildings, which have been relocated from all over Japan in an effort to preserve and protect Japan's cultural heritage.

It is in Tama Ward in Kawasaki City, 12 minutes walk from Mukogaoka-yuen station on the Odakyu Line.

Check out Dave's music at

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Yokohama New Year

Happy New Year from Yokohama, Japan!

Watch the lights and fireworks as we countdown to the new year in the "City of Creative Experimentation" Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 (Future Port City).

And check out the song "Anne Bancroft Is Dead" by the Blue Vagrants, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

Have a great 2006!


Thursday, December 08, 2005

First Winter Snow

Explore the mountains, rivers and caves of Okutama, set to one of my first favorite podsafe songs "Forget The Girl" by Hollow Horse, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

I first heard this song on the tartanpodcast about six months ago and really loved it.

Last weekend my caving club had an end of year party at Hatonosu, a two hour train ride from Tokyo out in the mountains bordering Saitama.

We went to an onsen and it started to snow. We then went to a nearby tourist cave at Nippara and had dinner at a restaurant beside an emerald green river. It was great.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Japanese Hawaiian Folk

"Hiki No!" an Hawaiian-themed Japanese band and "Unchaka" a popular Japanese folk/pop duo performed live last night at Kaneyo Shokudo, a bar built right on the beach in Yokosuka.

Kaneyo is open all through the year and often has live groups playing. Last night was called "Accoustic Friday vol.3".

To get there, take the bus or a taxi from Mabori Kaigan Station on the Keikyu Line south of Yokosuka Chuo. Takes about an hour from Shinagawa on the express train.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tokyo Bay on the Coral Princess

See Tokyo from the water and enjoy the song "Storm Warning" by Whitney Steele, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

The parents of a Japanese friend of mine invited me to take a ride on their boat, the Coral Princess, on Sunday afternoon.

The boat was handmade out of wood 23 years ago and seemed to be in amazing condition. I want to go again!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chinese Orchestra in Kawasaki

A Chinese orchestra did a performance the other day in an underground shopping mall in Kawasaki, between Yokohama and Tokyo.

I heard the sound and saw the crowd, and so recorded a few minutes. Sorry I couldn't get any closer.

It was cool to be listening to a traditional Chinese tune in the midst of a happy Japanese crowd, which seemed hooked on the performance. Good China-Japan relations.

They had been on different TV programs that morning and for most of them it was their first trip across to Japan. I hope they come back again soon.

UPDATE: The band is called 12 Girl Band. Thanks Jessica! Looks like you can buy their CD - Romantic Energy from this site:

Friday, November 04, 2005

Radiant City Yokohama

It's Culture Day in Japan. Take time for a walk through the new Radiant City housing estate in Yokohama. Set to "Sound Scientist" by bill, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

Radiant City is a large complex with about 3000 three to four bedroom European-style apartments being built near where I live.

I like it, but it is so big and has basically wiped out half of the hill it is built on. They should have kept more of the vegetation. And it's strange that there is no way to get directly from there to the city area below. It's all fenced in.

Still, the pizza I bought there was really good and only cost 500 yen (around $5), which is cheap for Japan. The people seemed pretty happy too.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Shibuya Apple & Bear

We visit the Apple Store in Shibuya, Tokyo and meet a friendly bear. Set to a looped sample from "Kyrie Eleison" by Fumitaka Anzai, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

Shibuya is a youth city in Western Tokyo that is always packed with people and fun to visit.

An Apple Store opened there recently and that's where I bought my iPod video.

See tech related videos for the iPod on the TechToys Video Podcast!

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Uchimagido is a cave in Iwate Prefecture in the north of Japan, popular with Japanese cavers. We went in Golden Week in May and there was still snow in the caves. Some of the bats looked like they were frozen. Being so cold in the caves, tt was great to be able to go to hot springs nearby to relax in the evenings. One day we also took some measurements from the surrounding hills as data to generate 3D maps. Apparently the people in the local villages all have the same last name - glad I'm not the postman.

This video is set to the song "Upside Down" by Bob Gentry, courtesy of the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Fireworks at Kanazawa Hakkei

Every weekend during the summer in Japan fireworks displays are put on for free at beaches and bays throughout the country. Girls dress in yukata (summer kimono), and families in the tens of thousands come to eat, drink and enjoy the sights.

This video features "In a Long Time" by 46bliss, courtesy of the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Akiyoshido is a large tourist cave in Akiyoshidai, an area with hundreds of limestone caves in central Yamaguchi Prefecture, in the south of Japan. The tourist caves were nice, but the caves hidden away in the hills were amazing! One took us ages to find, but it was worth it. Too dark for good mobile phone video though!

This video features the song "Sick of Chicks" by Brother Love, provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.