Personal Record ahoy…

I forgot to post this…did a little over 23 miles of riding over a whole day on Sunday! I can see 26.2 miles and even a metric Century within reach. Still, one foot in front of the other, baby steps…


Tour pour Tohoku: getting out and riding to benefit Northeast Japan recovery!

Tour pour Tohoku course video

On March 11th, 2011, the world changed for the people of Tohoku. It’s been almost 3 1/2 years, and aside from the clearing away of debris and mud, it hasn’t changed back. While the Japanese Federal Government and Prefectural governments dither over how to rebuild the region, and localities are starved for funds to actually step in and rebuild, non-governmental entities are having to pick up the slack. One of the NGOs that have been on the ground since three days after the tsunami is JEN-NPO. There are many others, but they are doing particularly good work.

In June of 2011, right after I got my Associate of Arts degree from Los Angeles Valley College in Media Arts, I began working with Stu Levy as part of the Post-Production team on the documentary Pray For Japan. I was happy to finally be able to do something concrete to help the people of Tohoku. I remembered when my Twitter blew up about the 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that followed, only the second largest in recorded history next to the Indonesian tsunami. I felt powerless as the news rolled in. I spent a sleepless night watching news feeds online. Pray For Japan attempts to give voice to those whose voices weren’t heard much during the crisis: the people who survived the tragedy, and the volunteers who came to their aid. In my opinion, the attempt was successful.

The intent of Pray For Japan was also to raise money and awareness. Last Friday, we were able to donate the first proceeds of the film over and above expenses. Here’s a pic of Director/Producer/DP Stu Levy giving the check to Keiko Kiyama, the Managing Director of JEN-NPO.


So what does this have to do with the Otagenki Project, and our goal to get Otaku off the couch?


On Sunday, September 14th, 2014, at 5:30pm, a group of cyclists will take a 6.22 (3.11 miles out and back) mile ride along the Los Angeles County coast, from Playa del Rey to Manhattan Beach. The ride will begin and end at world-famous Dockweiler State Beach. The ride is timed so that we can see a glorious Pacific sunset at its end. As there is another event in Japan going on during the same day, Tour de Tohoku, this event is called Tour pour Tohoku. The course is almost completely flat, it is buffered from traffic as it’s part of the Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail, and the distance and pace will be newbie friendly. There is a bike rental facility at Dockweiler, run by Perry’s, which will have bikes available to rent for the event.


There will be a raffle for a Huffy Nel Lusso step-through frame Eurostyle cruiser bike after the ride. All proceeds from the raffle will be able to go to JEN–NPO, because the bike was given to Otagenki Project by Huffy. As you can see, this is a very stylish ride, and is reminiscent of the kind of bikes favored in cycle-friendly towns like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Utrecht. Valley Bikery in Van Nuys, CA will provide assistance in assembling and fitting the bike for the winner.

This ride will be coinciding with an event going on in the Tohoku region of Japan, the Tour de Tohoku. Also occurring on September 14th on the calendar, this is a much longer course and geared more towards experienced riders. Here is a video giving a taste of what the event looked like last year.

It’s not over. Tohoku still needs our help. This way, we can help and have fun at the same time, with a ride that should be friendly for most riders. You can get more details and RSVP for the event here on Facebook. There is no entry fee but we are asking people to give donations to JEN-NPO on the honor system, and to enter the raffle.

Another Otagenki report: Northridge ride!

This was a bike ride that CICLE, Valley Bikery and CSUN Bike Collective put together a few months ago, and I’m just now putting it up. This was a total blast…a group ride is something you have to experience. Lots of fun, lots of support, and this ride was designed for noobs. You should try this in your neighborhood.

Otagenki Report 2: Fit Expo 2014

I really was not expecting to enjoy myself so much at Fit Expo 2014, because Fit Expo 2013 was such a lame experience. I don’t know if the people who run the show read my piece on my personal fitness blog LessFatChick, but this time it was a big difference.

It seems like a new, and very welcome IMHO trend is REAL FOOD. Yes, you now can get a fair choice of nutrition bars and other fitness goodies that have ingredients you know and can pronounce. The only food like that you could find last year was at the Ralphs booth, and from a small company that sends a box of organic produce to your house every month. Yes, the frankenfood peddlers were still there, as were some very questionable supplements, (Ephedra? Oh really?) but there were a lot more items that were labeled organic, and a lot more with identifiable ingredients.

Another difference was a lot more experiential stuff…a lot more exercises to try, and mini-classes. The exhibitions were more interesting too, including some amazing feats of strength by professional athletes and very well trained amateurs.

So yeah, here’s another Otagenki Report. This doesn’t have any commentary…my goal with the Otagenki Reports is to tell the story with footage, not with words. I want to create something universal, that’s understandable in any language. I’ve always loved video essays and photo essays, they’re a real art form, and narration sort of breaks the mood.