My Tokyo Commute
My office moved from Roppongi to Marunochi this week. I will no longer have these beautiful views of Mt Fuji from the 39th Floor of Roppongi Hills. What I will have is a great new location in Tokyo to explore. Marunochi is located right next to Ginza so I will be very close to some of my favorite places; Lemon Camera, Leica Ginza, Tokyo International Forum and the very cool out door eating area of Yurakucho. I worked for so many years in Shinjuku and only a year in Roppongi that I haven't explored as much of Tokyo as I hoped especially my new office area. I am looking forward to really getting to know this part of town. Now on to coning: It is important to cone off the door so people know how to get in. How else are people suppose to know how to enter?
Today's configuration: Leica M Monochrom with a Summilux 21mm f/1.4
I try to get on the train before 7AM as I just can't stand the jam packed trains in Tokyo sometimes. I have no intention of being stuffed into the train. To do this I have gotten very disciplined in how I approach my morning is very structured. My clothes are laid out in advance the night before. My brief case is packed with my MacBook, iPhone and iPad mini and anything else I need. My camera is chosen as well. I don't check email, Facebook, Google+ or Twitter until I am out of the house. You can easily waste a half hour in the morning doing this. This structure lets me get up at 6AM and be out the door by 6:25 or so heading for the train. Who would have guess I am such a structured person? Seems unlikely...
I quickly check my VIP tab in my iPhone's email and do a quick scan of my inbox during my walk to the train to see if anyone needs an immediate call from over night. Aside from that I let my email wait until get to my office. I actually find it really unproductive to read email on the go. You end up reading but not actioning a lot of the emails and end up reading the emails twice as many can't be filed or it might be a topic that is too long to respond to on my iPhone. I find it much more productive to hit all of the emails from my MacBook where I can really focus on them and get through them. I like to keep my inbox empty.
My new commute is about 50 minutes or so door to door including picking up my morning coffee at Starbucks. My Tokyo commute is very reason compared to many others. I actually enjoy that it is a bit longer as I am able to do some reading. I used to read a lot but it started to trail off in recent years as I haven't had time. My previous commute was 10 minutes walk, 7 minutes on one train, 10 on another, 5 minute walk now my commute is 10 minute walk, 15 minutes on the first train, 20 minutes on the second train and 10 minute walk.
This little bit of extra time gives me just enough time to settle into a few pages of a book. This week I was able to read Michael Woodford's Exposure. If you don't know who Michael is he was the President and CEO of the Japanese icon Olympus who shortly into his role uncovered a massive accounting fraud. Shortly after raising it to the board he was fired for 'differences in management styles'. There is a lot more to the story and it is a fascinating read about Japan Inc and some of the complexities working across cultures.
"The next book in the queue is Jake Adelstien's Tokyo Vice. Jake was the first ever non-Japanese staff writer for the Yomuyuri Shinbun the nation's largest newspaper covering the Police Beat. He wrote about crime and the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia). He wrote about it so much that he captured their attention.
Here is a bit from the book's prelude:
'Either erase the story, or we'll erase you. And maybe your family. But we'll do them first so you learn your lesson before you die.' The well-dressed enforcer spoke very slowly, the way people speak to idiots, or children or the way Japanese sometimes speak to clueless foreigners."
It is being made into a movie as we speak. I can't wait to see it. Michael Woodford referred to Jake several times in his book which is what reminded me about it. I tend to either buy a book in iTunes or at least download the preview to remind myself to read it later.
Currently in the queue:
- IQ84 by Haruki Murakami - I am actually about 25% of the way through it. I have been reading it for a year.
- Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
- Shogun by James Clavell
- Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni
- The Boston Consulting Group on Strategy
- My Share of the Task by General Stanley McCrystal
- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore (re-read)
- Escape Velocity by Geoffrey Moore
- Reimaging Japan by McKinsey
Any other recommendations that I should be adding to the queue?
My new train lines are not consistently jam packed like the Toyoko Line was at least at the hours I am commuting...
That's my old neighbor Kimutaku from SMAP (a very famous boy band in Japan). His wife Kudo Shizuka is also super famous. We used to see her a lot on the street and I even spoke to her a few times at the grocery store. I used to joke with my wife and say she was hitting on me.
My new office building Japan Post Tower in Marunochi right in front of Tokyo Station.
There is a massive underground maze connecting many of the buildings together and to Tokyo Station. I have gotten lost a few times already. I have also found two Starbucks...one of them by mistake. I think it will take me a while to learn my way around this place.
The maze in front of Tokyo Station. This would be a neat place for a time lapse video.
Tokyo Station has been undergoing major renovations in the past few years and is really becoming a beautiful station.
More underground mazes...
Look at the length of this platform!
She just looks too young to be loving whisky.
Home after a long day...
I try to cram an amazing amount of things in my life and I have been really focused on removing 'wasted time' from my life and getting more productive. I think I have worked it out for my morning and train commute. I have also applied a few approaches in my personal and professional life that really help.
I use Feedly for reading websites, news and blogs. It makes it really easy to see what has been updated and quickly consume it. It helps me stay on top of my favorite websites, business news, world news technology news or my favorite photo blog. I probably subscribe to a few hundred blogs and sites but can scan them in about 20 minutes and see if there is anything I want to read. I am constantly adding and deleting things from my Feedly. If you have any favorite sites or blogs you read feel free to leave a comment.
Another great feature of Feedly is it integrates with Buffer which is a great tool for sharing on social media sites. I tend to read my news all at once and I might find 5 articles I want to share on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter during a reading session. It would be really annoying to my friends or followers if I dropped 5 links out on one of my networks within a few minutes. Buffer allows me to add articles to my 'buffer' and releases them out on a predetermined scheduled. Whenever I read a blog post from a friend's blog I try to share it out. This is a pretty cool way to keep sharing and being active on social networks even when you are a bit busy at work. In Feedly I simply click the Buffer button and choose the platform I want it shared on and Buffer handles the rest. I try to top off my buffer for the week on Sunday nights.
I also slice my time I spend on ShootTokyo into focused blocks of time. It is really easy to get distracted and spend a tremendous amount of time and really get much done. I tend to work in block of time on tasks and I can really get a lot done. For example for this post I blocked 20 minutes last night to process the images in Lightroom. During this time I added my copyright information and meta tagged the images and export them for the blog. I block 10 minutes to load the images and tag them all and then another 1 hour to write the post and finally a final proof read.
During these times I don't do other things like watch TV or stop to surf the web. I stay focused on the task at hand and this helps me focus and progress. This allows me to achieve a lot in a reasonably short amount of time without constantly distracting myself. I am able to get this out in 1.5 hours but it easily could have been 3-4 hours if I constantly allow distractions in. This is one of the reasons I am able to maintain a pretty active blog along with a pretty active work and family schedule.
As I mentioned I focus on tasks. Whenever I think of something else I need to get done or I stumble upon something else I add it to a notebook in Evernote where I keep a running list of things I want to do to ShootTokyo. I recently started reading 31 days to build a better blog and it has given me a million little ideas of things I work on for ShootTokyo. As I am going through each 'Day' I am reading supporting materials and I keep finding additional projects to add to my list. Lots of plugins to test, tools to try, tweaks I should make to the front or back end and new services to try.
One of the changes I made was to bring back ShootTokyo T-Shirts. I'll give you an example of how I broke this into chucks and treated it like mini projects.
ShootTokyo T-Shirt Project:
- Analyze previous sales to determine quantity and sizes to order
- Analyze pricing and shipping approach
- Research and purchase shipping materials
- Place order with vendor
- Prepare ShootTokyo Web Store and pages for selling
- Create a Newsletter to announce
- Announce on Social Media channels
Some of these are easier than others. Some take only a few minutes and some take an hour or two. If I tried to sit down all at once and it them it would never happen but breaking them into chunks it turns them into manageable mini projects that I can know off quickly. Approaching it this way ensures forward progression for me which is something I like.
Thank you to everyone who I ordered shirts already. I have been very happy with the volume of orders so far. If you like what you see on ShootTokyo or are just a fan of photography or Japan pick one up!
A lot of the changes I am making to ShootTokyo might not be visible to you as a reader such as some work on Search Engine Optimization or change to my permalink structure.
I signed ShootTokyo up for a Content Delivery Network service that has distributed servers all over the world and will server all of my static content from the service closer to you. My pages where taking from 6-8 seconds up to 12 seconds to load. My average page loading time is now 2.2 seconds. Hopefully you are seeing and enjoying a faster ShootTokyo.
I keep thing it might make sense to write up an article on blogging as I know many of my readers blog but a lot of the tools and ways to accomplish things can be very confusing as you get started. I have build up a lot of knowledge through my few years of blogging so perhaps I'll come out with another eBook in future on blogging for photographers. Let me know in the comments if that is interesting to you to help me gauge interest.
Thanks for stopping by today...