Rig orb


My last bit of shopping in Japan was a quick trip to Yodobashi to buy a Manfrotto Dado kit, after swapping some emails with Frank Kruse (thanks for sharing Frank!)


Compared with buying tripods the Dado kit is relatively inexpensive: BHPhoto has the orb with 6 rods that I bought listed at US$65 and the 3 rod version listed for US$49 So what use is it? Well thats up to you…

But lets say you want to rig a quad array of mics: that orb will screw into a tripod and then allow you to screw boom arms into it & space the mics however you want them… I haven’t even taken mine out of its box yet, but I enjoyed watching the XRay operator each time my carry on baggage went through screening… ‘OK camera, camera, lens, lens, lens… WTF? Is that an orb? Oh no, have I fallen asleep on the job again? Am I dreaming I am in a video game? Do I get an extra life if I grab the orb? Goddamnit, its real…’

For now, heres a link to the official Manfrotto info on the Dado but a google image search is far more interesting in terms of seeing how people are using this shiny red little orb… try it yourself! or try image search for ‘dado mic rig’


I plan to test mine with the Fat Gecko carbon fibre boom arms & an array of MKH80X0 mics… will post the results later this year, or early next! I literally didn’t know something like this existed, so thanks again Frank!



OK, other than some random photos this is my last post ex Japan… so it just had to be about food!

There is a great saying about travel by James A. Michener: “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home”



two of my favourites: taka wasabi in front (raw octopus with wasabi) and hokke at the back (grilled/baked fish)


yakitori remnants & sake!


cute ball shaped sushi in Kyoto


sake tasting at a great little bar in Tokyo


my favourite sushi: scallops!


pretty sure this is scallop too, cooked in the shell on a little burner brought to your table


I’m prepared to try anything once, but some things I just do not like – natto on the left being one of them (its made from fermented soy beans) The smell puts me off, and after discussing foods with strong smells we found a store in Tokyo that sells Vegemite and I gave my friend Hede a jar to try. His expression when he sniffed it for the first time is classic, but he said when he went home he tried it on toast… & without appreciating how strong it is, he used a few table spoons! He said even his cigarettes tasted of vegemite for a while afterwards!

On my last day in Japan, Satoko took me to a fantastic sushi restaurant in ‘deep Osaka’ – there was quite a queue outside, waiting despite it being mid Sunday afternoon. From outside the place looked small – we sat at the counter in front of the seven sushi chefs who were all working flat out, as there was a big room at the rear and an upstairs rooms too…


The sushi here was delicious – in many ways more subtle & slightly less hyped than some of the more common sushi places. I often eat at kaiten sushi bars for lunch, as it avoids the whole ‘english menu’ bizo… but this sushi was sublime – no english menus here, I think many of the locals were surprised to see a gaijin in there… I enjoyed a few new forms of sushi I had never eaten before:


This was listed as a shiso roll – I love the flavour of shiso leaves, I think its related to mint but tastes nothing like it. But this roll also had a touch of plum in it – very delicious!!


The tamago/egg and tuna sushi were great, but the ones at the front were sea slug, and they had the strangest texture of any food I have ever eaten. Not a strong flavour but OMG that texture… As I said, I’ll try anything once…


clam miso soup – so great!!

Along with the sea slug sushi here’s a few things I tried, but once & once only!


I had to google a few things on this Yakitori menu to even identify what they were! What exactly is the thymus? Ah, wish I hadnt searched now… And ‘Artery in the vicinity of the heart’? maybe not…


I think this was abalone sushi


fish brains…


Fried whale, all in the name of research… um, really?? This was in a fairly normal restaurant in Kyoto…




There is a weird relationship between regulation and causality. For example in New Zealand you must legally wear a helmet whenever you ride a bicycle and yet here in Japan, a country where cycling is a far more common form of transport, it is not required. It would seem no one wears a helmet & there appear to be very few issues.
EXT bar = a bicycle party?


This is the first Hummer I’ve seen that I actually would like to own! Post peak oil Hummer, maybe?


It would seem the same applies to power – if this was the third world I would expect the power to be fairly erratic, but its not the third world despite the fact some of the wiring looks like it might belong there. But power use here is intensive: a zillion bars, restaurants, izakayas, pachinko parlours & homes all depend on power for their existence (never mind the omnipresent air conditioning required in summer) so there MUST be some kind of reliable avante garde/free form system of expansion in place, because it all works, despite appearances!



I saw what I can only describe as a mondrian power rig the other day, too fleeting to shoot, but it made me think the people who expand these distribution systems are actually artists, and very successful ones at that!





Random Field recording in Japan

A few sounds from my travels – I’ll leave posting the industrial sounds until I have that library ready to release next year, but these are some random sounds I captured during my time in Japan.

1. Jack Hammers at Umeda
This sound I heard in the distance & as it was intermittent I wasn’t sure what was creating it… It sounded heavy & powerful & was echoing around the streets in a way that made me think of Godzilla snoring or something… As I got closer it became apparent, workmen were replacing concrete steps & were using jack hammers to break apart the old steps…


2. Kids in the park
Across the street from my girlfriends apartment is a park which the local kids play in – I recorded a few ambiences, but one day whatever game the kids were playing involved lots of screaming. At first I wondered what the hell was going on, but when I played back the recordings at half speed it made me think of some alien jungle…


3. Distant Sirens
Another day I was recording some ambiences from home and suddenly lots of sirens started going off. When walking to the local train station via a different route than usual I discovered there was a fire station a dozen blocks away, but what intrigued me about these fire engine sirens was the extra tone: after each rise & fall of the siren there was an answering tone, that was almost musical in nature…


4. Electioneering
With upcoming elections in Japan it was quite common to hear cars drive by, with loud hailers blaring out electioneering… One day I came out of Yodobashi in Umeda & along the block was a big political rally from which the speech was echoing around amongst the buildings… And not being able to understand what was being said made it seem slightly sinister, when I am sure it wasn’t!


5. Train passes
I love the sounds of trains in Japan – there are so many different kinds of trains, and of course depending on tracks the same train can also emit very different sounds (eg there is a section on the MidoSuji subway track that gets really loud in the mid frequencies at a certain point between two stations) One day on the way home I stopped by a train crossing and recorded a few local train passes, waiting for the occaisional express train between Umeda, Osaka and Kobe. The first one that went by overloaded my levels so I had to stay & wait for the next one quarter of an hour later…




All recordings made with a Sony PCM D100