Ojika Workaway 2019

This year I made the decision to leave my full-time engineering career in order to go travelling. I would like to discuss this decision in a future detailed blog post. For the next 10 months I will be travelling the length of Japan, visiting places I missed on my previous trip.

One of the opportunities I had already planned was a 4-week workaway on the small remote island of Ojika. Workaway is a service that connects travellers with hosts around the world, in which they often work for 5 hours a day in exchange for accommodation and food. Based on Ojika is Shimayado Goen, run by Taiyo-san, his family and an international team of workawayers. The guesthouse has a range of accomodation options, as well as a kitchen, bar and karaoke rooms. All of the workawayers and staff live together nearby in a sharehouse.

When deciding on this particular location for a workaway experience I had read the host description and feedback left by previous workawayers. Through discussion with Taiyo-san we agreed that I would make a promotional video for the island and guesthouse during my stay.

During my first week I was a little surprised by being asked to help with day jobs such as making beds, cleaning bathrooms and general cleaning instead of focusing on making a video. I had misunderstood that these jobs take priority especially during busy times. Although workawayers can spend time on creative projects during work during that will benefit the guesthouse or island.

There I continued to record videos of my free time on Ojika using my phone and GoPro. This was usually spent with the other workawayers exploring the island by bike or frequently visiting the beaches. Occassionally there were group activities suggested by someone in the group or organised by our host Taiyo-san.

Ojika Summer Festival

I began producing this video during my free time and the numerous days-off work we were given when a typhoon was approaching. Filming and editing at the same time was difficult, but made possible by the rough plan of activities and events I had made. Towards the end of my stay I edited the video during work hours and started thinking about the story and transition between each section. For the first time I tried whip-pan transitions using Youtube tutorials, these were attempted post-processing. I am happy with the effect but they would have benefited from planned camera movement. The other transitions I attempted were using movement and keyframes, such as the change from selfie to underwater. I think these are particularly effective, relying mostly on in frame motion and some speed ramping. Spending time on Ojika allowed me to record many videos and learn tools necessary to tell an interesting story.

Although at times I did not enjoy some aspects of the workaway, overall I believe that it was worthwhile experience and an opportunity I truly appreciated. This workaway was a great way to meet like minded people and enjoy the laid back island mentality.

My leaving day

I hope to return again in the near future.

Japan Travel 2017

Last year I was given the opportunity to live in Japan for 8 months on a work assignment, completing my overall two year training programme. Initially I was hesitant in being away from home for such a long time, as this was the first time for me to live abroad and to visit Asia. But this hesitation quickly turned to joy on arriving as I realised how great of a opportunity this could be.

Many times I have repeated my same opinion when asked about living in Japan; it is similar enough not to be overwhelming yet still different enough to feel new and interesting. On a daily basis I was either grateful, impressed or surprised. In no way do I believe that the video I have created truly captures my experience there, it was simply not possible to film every activity or every small but meaningful experience. But  instead it is a snapshot of some of the places and activities I was fortunate to see and do.

It is now a place that I look forward to visiting again, so much so that I’m writing this as I wait for my plane to take off. Destination Nagoya, Japan.

Japan 2017 – Takasu Snow Park

This year I have been extremely fortunate to visit Japan on an 8 month assignment as part of my graduate training programme with DENSO. For the first 3 months I was joined by colleagues from Europe and America.

When first arriving in Nagoya, Japan we were surprised and delighted to see snow in the city centre. After that it took only two weeks before we decided to make the most of the perfect winter conditions and go skiing nearby.

One of the closest resorts was Takasu in Gifu Prefecture. This was easily accessible from Nagoya by car and took around 2 hours each way. It was a small resort by European standards and consisted of short quick pisted runs with some opportunity to cut between though the trees (although this is frowned upon in Japan). The resort and conditions were well suited to beginner to intermediate skiers and snowboarders.

This was a single day of skiing so yet again I was only able to record a limited amount of footage (also due to GoPro battery). Throughout the day I practiced keeping a moving target in shot with varying degrees of success. To keep the video interesting I have tried to film from a variety of angles including my ski boot.

The use of video for story telling is compelling. In this instance I filmed without much of an idea of what I wanted the final story and video to look. In the future I would like to make a short plan beforehand and capture more varied footage.

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