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.

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