Learning to Fly (A Drone)

by | Sep 18, 2020

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

Terasaka Rice Terrace in Saitama Japan

Against my better judgement, I am learning to pilot a drone. The fact that I am all thumbs when operating remote controlled objects or even jumping over barrels to rescue a princess from a giant monkey be damned. When I first watched those high definition Youtube videos soaring over broccoli shaped forests and emerald seas, I saw a glimpse of my future, and it had propellers and a tiny camera.

Although one cannot legally fly a drone over most urban areas in Japan (a fact I only learned after buying the drone), there are no such limitations over most of the Japanese countryside, which is of course more than 90% of the nation. Because my job takes me all over the less-populated places of Japan, perhaps it wasn’t such a terrible impulse investment after all. But I would need to learn to fly it, a task which turned out not to be as simple as I hoped.

One of the interesting things I found out from flying a drone is that my irrational fear of heights somehow translates to flying a drone. Although my feet are firmly planted on the ground, something about the view from 75 meters in the air looking down still causes my stomach to churn. If drone flying isn’t therapy for my fear of heights, perhaps I’m going to have to see a real therapist.

The other issue I am dealing with is that left and right, forward and backward don’t translate very well to my brain when I am in the air. Add up and down to the equation and my flights become a sitcom of navigational errors. Thankfully, modern drones are equipped with all sorts of features that make it difficult to turn your drone into a flaming wreckage. Difficult, but not impossible.

My 4th adventure with my new drone took me over the Terasaka Rice Terraces in Saitama, about an hour’s train ride outside of Tokyo. The rice is in the process of being harvested, making interesting patterns in the organically shaped paddies. I had the skies above the terrace to myself, and I took full advantage, flying for about 30 minutes and practicing simple maneuvers.

The following short video is the fruit of my labor. Enjoy.

 

Like what you're seeing?

Let’s talk about how I can help your business in creating custom content promoting your products and services!

Kadokawa Musashino Museum – The Rock Floating On Water

Information about the Kadokawa Musashino Museum, designed by architect Kengo Kuma. This building opened in Tokorozawa, Saitama in 2020.

The Green Mile – A Long Road of Practicing Tea Ceremony

What the world’s worst tea ceremony student has learned through practicing tea in Japan, and it isn’t about tea at all.

A Dance of Grace and Fools

The dancers are fools, everyone is a fool, so why not dance? A glimpse at Japan’s Awa Odori festival.

How To Fail At Workation

The time I tried to do “workation” in Nagano in Japan and failed miserably. But perhaps it wasn’t misery I found, but a chance to truly relax.

A Time To Grow

I’ve wished my life wouldn’t pass me by so quickly, that I would have time for myself. And now that my wish in some twisted way has come true, why am I not doing the things that I always said I would?

Why You May Never Go To Kochi (Even Though You Should)

Ask many city-dwelling Japanese if they have ever visited Kochi Prefecture in the southern part of Japan's Shikoku Island, and the reaction might include a bit of teeth-sucking. 行くにのちょっと不便だねー Iku ni no chotto fuben da ne? "It's a little...

Disappearing In Japan

Preserving a slice of history in my own neighborhood – photos of Showa era buildings that are being torn down in the name of progress.

Workation – The Key to the Recovery of Japanese Tourism

What is workation in Japan and how will it help the Japanese tourism economy recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19 on foreign tourism to Japan?

4 Personalities That Can Thrive in Tokyo

Many people in the world dream of living in Tokyo. Do you have the personality type that can thrive in Tokyo?

Tea Ceremony, Rebooted

This past weekend, I finally exhaled. Well, that was the feeling anyway, as my tea ceremony teacher along with another group of teachers and students hosted a tea ceremony event at a lovely venue in Nihonbashi. When COVID struck Japan...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This