"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Creativity
January 17, 2017

Number 2 – A Cold Week In Tokyo

I realise that some of you live in places that are really cold, and compared to what you might experience, Tokyo isn’t really a cold city, but bear with me, because for us, it’s been a cold week. We’ve barely seen the temperature rise above 6C and at night it’s regularly got down to -3C, […]

I realise that some of you live in places that are really cold, and compared to what you might experience, Tokyo isn’t really a cold city, but bear with me, because for us, it’s been a cold week. We’ve barely seen the temperature rise above 6C and at night it’s regularly got down to -3C, but that’s only part of the story, because the wind has been harsh. There’s a phrase in Japanese, the wind that withers the trees and that’s what it’s been like. Not quite freeze you eyeballs cold, but certainly cold enough to test your clothes and if you are ready for it, to wither you like a tree in a field.

making This Week’s Short Film

This meant that this week I was indoors a lot. As my first week back at work for the year, which wasn’t really unusual. But, having started a YouTube weekly video series this presented me with a problem, because I got to the end of the week and didn’t have a lot of cool Tokyo scenes to share. I had wanted to fit in more DIY in the garage, but the temperature in there was, well, pick a number between 6 & -3! So I had to scrap the ideas I wanted to chase for this week and instead, make the short film that was possible given how much of my time was spent trying to stay warm.

Everything Is Awesome

Making these short films is like a hard grinding turn away from the way things were last year. I’m making more with less. This week I found myself thinking about one of my themes for 2017 – what you can do is awesome.

So often, I beat myself up because I always believe I can do better. It’s a classic fault of all creatives; worshipping at the altar of perfection. The tragedy isn’t just the emotional turmoil we put ourselves under, it’s also the risk of forgetting how good our best work can be.

So, while I have plenty of things I want to improve in upcoming videos, plenty to learn, I’m also just enjoying what I’m able to deliver to you, putting to work the skills I already have.

Give Your Strengths Room To Fly

The downside of our moment in history is that with so much amazing stuff out there in the world, we’re always only a click away from seeing examples of people who are brilliant at something we struggle with. In small doses such comparisons can be inspiring. But, when they become a relentless reminder of our inadequacies, that can easily make us forget the ways in which we are awesome!

And pretty soon, we are caught looking down at the mud encrusted on our weaknesses rather than giving our strengths the freedom to fly.

This Week’s Goodness

I was glad to include some DIY and woodwork in this week’s video. That’s a part of my life I’ve struggled to share online. There was also some straight to camera on the street, which I’ve never done before. Add in some brush graphics, which is becoming a big part of my life, and the video really started to feel like a whole bunch of stuff regular readers might be surprised to see.

And, then there was also the EWI. Last Week’s mail brought me an Akai EWI-USB, the newest version of Akai’s acclaimed saxophone synthesiser. This is a breath-controlled MIDI synth, that allows you play any computer soft-synth or sample library with a soprano sax-like controller (the keys can be configured for other instruments, like recorder). The original EWIs cost as much as a small car, but this one is more like the cost of a high end mouse or computer keyboard.

Where To From Here

Last week I got some comments about the sound mixing and I hope this week is better on that front. Premiere Pro feels clunky to me when it comes to mixing and perhaps this will be something that makes me switch apps in the future. I also put more time into the titles and colour grading (what video editors call colour correction).

I realise neither of these two videos have any photography in them! This reflects what the last two weeks have been like for me, but that will change, so please be patient.

Beyond this I don’t really have a plan or format. I’m trying to avoid thinking too much about that right now. My only hope is that you’ll watch the short films and if you like them, then please leave a comment or subscribe. Right now the videos still felt like a chore, but I’m excited by what can be shared this way and I hope you feel the same.

Toni 7 years ago

Audio was good this week.

Just a quick tip on the plane – always work with the grain, rather than against it unless you don’t mind it tearing the wood. The blade was obviously very sharp for you to get away with it this time, but sometimes even that isn’t enough, and the job will be spoiled. Interesting lid though. I almost never cover a pan because I’m often driving off moisture, but for some things such a low, close fitting lid could be very useful.

fernando 7 years ago

Toni – thank you. The blades on Japanese planes are crazy sharp. It’s all a learning experience for me so thank you for something more to feel for when doing this. I did a lot of woodwork growing up, but I never learnt how to use a plane and the limited experience I had with them in school woodworking classes was confusing and put me off. I did buy a spokeshave, because I saw one in a guitar making book, but I took the blade out then couldn’t figure out how to put it back in properly and it didn’t work. Think it’s still in my dad’s garage somewhere.

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