Welcome to Erk Pod episode 519. Erk is midway through his stay in Singapore & is enjoying exploring the city. A good way of exploring a city initially is on foot & Erk has certainly been doing a lot of walking. There's certainly more to see & do than Erk initially thought!
Photo – Erk visited the SLO PD, February 2013. It was closed.
NOTE: Due to Erk’s time out of Australia in early 2014, Erk Pod will not be heard January – March 2014. That said, Erk will be recording content for the show in America (January/February), Japan (February), Singapore (February), UAE (June), Germany (possibly – June) & London (June). The show will return in the first quarter of 2014. If you follow Erk on the social networks, you will see & hear updates no matter where in the world he is in close to real time.
IMPORTANT NOTE – Episodes 25 – 322 will be very gradually being converted to the new format & audio host.
Welcome to Erk Pod – Erk’s longest running podcast. Dating way back to 2007, Erk Pod was Erk’s first podcast. At many stages the show has been news & current affairs based & sometimes is based on Erk’s travels. Currently, the focus is on Erk’s travels with a mixture of soundscapes & travel observations. Erk has had overseas trips to the US (2009 & 2013), Europe & Asia (2011), the Caribbean & Mexico (2013) where listeners have come along for the ride.
Upcoming Major Event
In 2011, Erk visited Europe & the UK for the first time. In mid 2014, Erk is returning for another visit. Traveling via the Middle East for the first time, Erk will be heading into Europe & the UK again. Details to be confirmed but a highlight will surely be repeating a music podcasting pub crawl in London with fellow members of the Association Of Music Podcasting,
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 518. Erk is starting to get into some sort of routine. Get up, go for a walk around, have some lunch, walk around some more, maybe catch a couple of trains. With his hotel not being downtown, there is a train or bus ride that is required should Erk decide to head downtown.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 517. Erk has just arrived in Singapore. Out of all the places that Erk has gone on this trip, Singapore is the place that Erk has least looked forward to. For one reason, it is a step closer to the end of the trip. Second, Singapore has been a country & a city that Erk has had no special reason to visit or no overwhelming desire to visit before now. Thirdly, Erk has to fly via Singapore to/from Japan rather than direct because his airline of choice does not fly there (Australia - Japan) directly. Regardless, Erk has selected to spend a week in Singapore so let's see what happens!
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 516. With everything on Erk's short list of must-do things in Japan ticked & some snow adventures for good measure, Erk is preparing to leave Japan. Rest assured, Erk will be back again in the future after a couple of short visits. Next time, the visit will be longer. One thing that Erk has noticed is that he takes a couple of days to get used to Japan & by the time he starts to feel comfortable, it is time to go. Next time will be longer, promise. Erk's next stop is Singapore - it is also Asian but very different to Japan (or so Erk hears!).
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 515. Erk is visiting The Railway Museum on the outskirts of Tokyo. There is something for all ages ranging from train simulators, train displays, , model trains, tours & a lot more. If you love trains & go to Japan, you must visit the museum. If you want to feel what it is like to be a train driver like Erk, try out the simulators (there is a charge for the steam train simulator but the subway & Shinkansen simulators are free). It is also a good place to buy train related merchandise. Can't speak Japanese? No need to worry - you can get by without it. If you want to go more indepth, there are English guides & maps available.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 514. It is Erk's final day in Japan and he is trying to fit as much into the day as he can. The initial plan was to check out of the hotel, go to the Railway Museum, back to the hotel & pick up the bags & then go to the airport. Instead of that, Erk changed his mind (not for the first time) but it worked out a lot better. Check out of the hotel, catch a couple of trains to Nippori. At Nippori station, there are luggage lockers for Erk to put his bags. From there, he can go to the Railway Museum, return to Nippori, collect his bags & then get the express train to the airport. Good plan, Erk!
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 513. On this episode, Erk takes you to the neighbouring suburbs of Tokyo, Shinjuku & Shibuya. Over the last few days, Erk has been exploring Shinjuku on foot & by subway but today heads to nearby Shibuya. As soon as he gets there & explores, he remembers why he liked the area on his last visit in 2011.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 512. After a short time in Aomori, it is time for Erk to return to Tokyo. It is warmer back at Shin-Aomori station as Erk does a bit of train spotting & warms up after the freezing snowy conditions, conditions he was not dressed for. Most of the return trip was in darkness which did not prevent the train from running at high speed. Erk also took the chance to have a bit of a snooze.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 511. Erk has arrived in Shin-Aomori north of Tokyo. Erk knew he was north of Tokyo but did not know until he asked the local tourist bureau that he in fact 713 rail kilometres north of Tokyo. Unlike the milder weather in Tokyo where snow is no longer falling, it is snowing hard in Shin-Aomori & nearby Aomori which is the downtown area served by the Shinkansens. One thing that Erk soon noticed way north of Tokyo was that English has basically disappeared. Erk explores the small local train system and the downtown area.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 510. Erk has made it to the main Tokyo Shinkansen platforms and has purchased a ticket to Shin-Aomori. He decided which train to ride based on some articles on the interweb which showed that this line is the fastest Shinkansen line in Japan. Erk is mainly going for the train ride rather than the destination.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 509. Erk's original plan for today was to go to The Railway Museum but it was KLOSED. Lucky for Erk, he did his research first & did not go to the museum to find that out. Instead, Erk decides to go ride on a morning peak hour train on the Yamanote line to the main Tokyo station. It is a really interesting experience, especially for someone who does not normally commute to train in the morning peak hour back home.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 508. Erk decides to go for a walk in the local area around his hotel in Shinjuku. Exploring a local area on foot in an overseas country to see things that tourists normally doesn't see is something that Erk enjoys to do.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 507. Erk decides to go for a walk in the local area around his hotel in Shinjuku. Exploring a local area on foot in an overseas country to see things that tourists normally doesn't see is something that Erk enjoys to do.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 506. Erk's snow day continues in Shinjuku & the surrounding areas. Erk is having a great time in a new country after spending over 40 days in the US. The snow has added an extra dimension to Erk's Japanese experience as his previous trip was in the Japanese summer.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 505. Erk explores snowy Tokyo and the subway systems. There are many options on the public transport systems and despite the snow, the trains are mostly running well. Also despite the snow, there are still many people out & about on the streets.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 504. Erk has been in America for over 40 days and this episode sees his first full day in Japan. His first visit to Japan was in 2011 & he stayed in Nippori. This time, Erk stays near Shinjuku. Having seen a lot of snow in recent weeks, Erk is not expecting the snow to disappear & his first full day in Japan sees that there is snow still around. In fact, Tokyo is recovering after the highest amount of snow in Tokyo for around 40 years a few days prior to Erk's arrival. Much like in 2011, Erk is amazed by what is going on around him although he is a little more prepared this time.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 503. Crossing the International Date Line once again, Erk finds that a Tuesday afternoon departure from LAX becomes a Wednesday evening arrival into Tokyo. Rather than forgetting where he was staying & having a border security interview like he did in 2011, Erk remembered where he was staying and manages to navigate his way to his hotel by airport high speed train and a couple of subway trains. He even manages to buy a smartcard & acquire some Japanese money.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 502. The day starts with Erk farewelling Shawno & Jen in San Luis Obispo. A journey on a very small plane follows down to Los Angeles & a quick visit to a frequent flyer tradition - a visit to the nearby In N Out Burger. Returning to LAX & the Tom Bradley International Terminal, Erk boards a very large plane bound for Japan.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 501. On this episode, Erk is in San Luis Obispo. There may be some overlap between this episode & episode 500 due to the two different ways that these episodes were recorded. Last time Erk was with Shawno & Jen in SLO, we had many conversations but many of them weren't recorded because we were out & about somewhere. We ended up telling the stories later but they didn't feel the same compared to when the moments themselves happened. This is Erk's last full day in America.
Welcome to Erk Pod episode 500. It is a milestone episode & 500 doesn't come around very often. Erk Pod started as a podcast in May 2007. Not that he knew how far he would get with his original podcast (ie Erk Pod), who would have thought that in August 2014, you'd be listening to episode 500 (recorded February 2014). It was not planned that Erk Pod episode 500 would be recorded in San Luis Obispo with his good friends Shawno & Jen but that is the way it worked out. The three of us met via the interweb & the Erk Pod Round Tables in mid 2008 & met for the first time in person in 2009. Then there were meetings in 2013 & now 2014. The episode was a long one covering a lot of Erk's time in SLO but it was a great time hanging out and catching the slightly infamous SLO Transit double decker bus, eating (often) at Dennys, occasionally at Applebees & a lot more. There are many people who have played a part in Erk Pod - some of you are still here & some of you have gone. But whatever. Regardless of if you read this or not, thank you.