Motion DesignMotion Design

At the moment, being a Masters student, much of my time is involved in the somewhat dry world of academia ( Playing with video editing helps keep me sane and the creative juices flowing. The following is an example of that; a short 1.5 minute ‘study’ using slow motion and some motion design. Footage is from a back country ski trip from a few weeks back. Direct video link to the video is here:


Back-country skiing only 30mins out of town

Let it be known that Sapporo City, a city of around 1.3 million people in Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan, must be one of the best cities in the world. Amazing food, chilled out locals, easy to get around by bicycle (very important), and so close to the outdoors it is ridiculous. Haruka-yama (春香山) is a prime example of what is sitting on Sapporo locals’ doorsteps. Just a half hour drive out of the city to the trail-head, a three to four hour snowshoe hike, and you’re at a one-man-staffed mountain hut in the middle of nowhere.

Leon Roode navigating the way to Haruka-yama, Hokkaido, Japan

The foothills around Sapporo. Their danger lies in their accessibility. The winds blow straight from Siberia here, so it would be easy for the uninitiated to get thoroughly, dangerously lots in a white-out. Lucky for us we had Leon Roode (aka The Hokkaido Push Pig) to guide us to the hut (although the day we went, it didn’t snow enough for the trail to disappear). From the hut it is a short 40 minute hike to the top of Haruka-yama mountain, followed by a 10 minute ski down to the hut again. Just perfect for a quick weekend overnighter.

Below is a mash-up of footage I took on the overnighter. Perfect conditions, great companions, a very nice weekend away from the grind.


Howies Micro Adventure Competition – Winner Four

From the first ever ‘micro-adventure’ that Alastair Humphreys posted online – a lap around the M25 motorway near London* - I knew that he was onto something. Putting a name to something so simple and yet so rewarding*. The Howies-Alastair micro adventure competition* was a great way to bring the concept to a broader audience. Here is the fourth winner of the competition. A film by Luke Clark of an overnight adventure on a tandem bicycle from London back to London.

Howies Microadventure: London to Lewes from Luke Clark on Vimeo.

Howies Micro Adventure Competition – Winner Three

Howies* and Alastair Humphreys* did really well to promote the concept of micro-adventure*, when they joined forces* and opened a ‘Micro-Adventure Competition’. One of the winners of the competition was duo Emma and Ariel in Norther Ireland. On bikes, they hoofed it off from home to coast and back again, as an overnight trip, with plenty of adventure thrown in. Fun.

Emma and Ariel’s Micro-Adventure – Embedded Youtube video

Howies Micro Adventure Competition – Winner Two

Continuing this series of posts on micro-adventure*, here is another winner of the Howies Micro Adventure Competition. From what I can gather, Simon Edwards is a bloke from West Sussex in the UK, a “devon boy in exile in the south east of england, making the journey from wide eye art student to battle hardened freelancer, doer and would-be media mogul*“. From home, away, and back again, this is his wee adventure.

A Micro Adventure (#1) Southdowns/West Sussex from Simon Edwards on Vimeo.

Cycling in northwestern China – Urumqi to KhorgosCycling in northwestern China – Urumqi to Khorgos

Mike Chernishov is a friend from New Zealand. Mike Chernishov’s dad is ethnically Russian. But Mike’s dad was born in China. In a small, closed-to-foreigners town called Narat, across the Tian Shan mountain range from Urumqi. When I started cycling in Urumqi, instead of taking the shortest route from Urumqi to the Kazakhstan border, I missioned it over the 4,200m high pass connecting Urumqi to the road leading to Yining. Which is a convoluted way to say that I wanted to check out Mike’s dad’s birthplace, and take some photos and footage for him.

One arrest, and a lot of shaky footage later (which never made it to the light of day), I made it to the Kazakh border. That was around September 2006. Now, almost 6 years on, Mike has worked some magic with the footage and photos, and created the video below. Originally intended for his dad and relatives, I post it here for posterity’s sake. The footage is still as shaky as ever, and at 33 minutes long it is a bit of a marathon, and my lack of rapport towards the camera is cringe-worthy, but here goes.

Howies Micro Adventure Competition – Winner One

Further to my previous post*, here is the first of the four winning Howies micro-adventure story entries. Filmed and edited by Tom Allen*. Tom is well known for his ‘bike trips’ to far-flung places of the earth. Just now he’s in the throes of premiere-ing his first feature-length film about his journey of life through travel*. So here’s his micro-adventure short film, Zone One Micro-adventure. A great urban adventure. Brilliant.

Zone One Micro-adventure from Tom Allen on Vimeo.

A Winning Story – Micro Adventure

My last post was about a wee micro adventure story that some of us here at school (Hokkaido University Graduate School of Media, Communication and Tourism Studies*) made a few weeks ago. The post was all in a bit of a rush. What I didn’t mention in that post is that the film was for a micro-adventure ‘competition’ run by UK clothing brand Howies* and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Nominee Alastair Humphreys*.

A Micro-Adventure Story | マイクロアドベンチャー物語 from Rob Thomson on Vimeo.

The concept of doing a random adventurous mission outside of the every-day grind is nothing new, at the very least for New Zealanders. Friday night or weekend ‘random missions’ are the norm; driving to the foot of a mountain and climbing it*, hiking up a hill and camping on top before coming home for the start of the next working day*, or even floating down an inner-city river on a makeshift raft.

It’s only now that someone – Alastair Humphreys – has put a name to it, and promoted these ‘micro-adventures’ as a way to rejuvenate and re-inspire oneself. The concept is catching on; Alastair’s efforts in spending a year micro-adventuring* is what got him that nomination as Adventurer of the Year this year.

That aside, the great news is that our film got an honorable mention in the competition*. That scored us not only great pride, but a great Howies organic cotton t-shirt each, and a copy of Alastair’s awesome wee book 10 Lessons from the Road*. So a great big thank you to Howies and Alastair Humphreys!

Howies T-shirts as runner up micro-adventure prize (Sapporo, Japan)

Sapporo to the Sea – A Micro Adventureミクロアドベンチャー:札幌から海へ

A few weeks ago, two fellow students here at Hokkaido University and I walked from the uni to the closest coast. That’s 15km in one direction. We stayed the night on the beach, and then walked back the next day. I never knew walking could be so painful…

Location: Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Date: Mid-September
Route: From Hokkaido University to Ishikari Bay, following Shin-kawa river on the way there, and Yasuharu River on the way back.






大まかなルート: Google Maps


  • 行き道と帰り道は違っていなければならないこと。
  • 以前にいったことがないところで、外で寝ること(できれば、テントなしで)。
  • 必ず海に入ること。
  • 各自でなんらかな形で、その体験を記録すること。
  • リュック
  • 寝袋
  • 寝袋カバー(プラスチックシートなど)
  • マット
  • 懐中電灯
  • 雨具
  • あったかい帽子
  • 夜のための暖かい服
  • 調理しなくてもいい食べ物・飲み物
  • 水筒
  • 歯ブラッシュと歯磨き粉
  • 焚き火のためのライター
  • ノート(日記を書くため)
  • カメラ(携帯電話でもOK)

In English – What is adventure?
When we were children, every day was an adventure. Every day there was something new. Something to explore. Something unknown. Something to expand our horizons. As we grew older and our surroundings became familiar, our immediate horizons becoming clearly defined, many of us accepted these surroundings. We settled on a comfortable reality. Gone was the need for adventure. This version of reality, we came to believe, was universal and safe and calm. But with this belief came a lie. A lie that said there is nothing new yet to see. A lie that said that adventure was either impractical or impossible. And as the lie seeped into our bones, creativity, life, and zest cowered within the depths of our souls, afraid to bathe in the light of a more fulfilling take on reality. A reality in which curiosity and creativity shines. A reality where risk is beautiful, and horizons are boundless. Humanity is embraced in this reality. Suffering, joy, fatigue, life. All colors of existence are experienced and drawn upon, with the grand effect of empowering the individual and communities to recreate visions of humanity with open-mindedness as the norm.

Japan needs this. Japan needs a generation of young people who are adventurous. Who re-discover a thirst for the unknown. Who are not adverse to embracing the fear of leaving the comfortable confines of their known reality. When there is a generation of Japanese who are willing to settle not for the status-quo but for change, that is when Japan will shine.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Our first step towards this vision is the concept of micro-adventures. Pick a nice day, pack what you need into a rucksack, go somewhere you’ve never been before. By human power. Challenge yourself. Rediscover the fact that ‘you can’.

The soul of long distance skateboard touring

Sometimes it is really difficult to really get at the depth of experience that a person feels when traveling by longboard. It is hard to express the joy, pain, frustration, challenge, problem solving, tiredness, cold, hot, sweat, freedom, constraint…

But the Long Treks on Skate Decks guys have done an awesome job at documenting all of that and more. Paul Kent, Aaron Enevoldsen, and Adam Colton have previously skated in South America (in 2009) and Morocco (in 2010). Their videos of their experiences of skating through Peru and Bolivia are, in my opinion, the best long distance touring videos that have ever been produced. Their latest is right here:

The full list of their episode updates are right here on Youtube.

I am very much looking forward to their updates from their Morocco trip.