Travel light, move fast. Years of living in Japan have conditioned me to always try and get the most out of small spaces, and that's reflected in my choice of baggage. This Porter by Yoshida sling bag goes with me almost everywhere, and while it's fairly tiny, my love of thin technology has given it a Tardis-like ability to fit gadgets in. For times when I really do need more space (or lenses), I double up with an equally small ThinkTank Retrospective 5 camera bag. Most of the time, though, the Porter is all I need. Here's what I had on me when I dropped into the Verge New York office recently.
11-INCH MACBOOK AIR (2011)
It seems like the entire world of tech journalism has transitioned to the 13-inch MacBook Air over the past year, but the 11-inch model is my jam. While I probably wouldn't want it as my only computer — I have a 21-inch iMac at home — it's the perfect portable writing machine, and easily the best laptop I've ever owned.
IPAD 2 3G 64GB
Here's the first ever Verge Good Deal for Japan: I got this for free on contract from SoftBank, and only pay 1,800 yen a month assuming I don't go over the laughable 100MB data limit. Which I never do, thanks to the 42Mbps HSPA+ EMobile Pocket Wi-Fi router that follows me everywhere. The iPad is mostly a reading device for me — I read The Guardian and The Times on this every day to keep in touch with the UK, and always have my Instapaper backlog, a lot of Zinio subscriptions, and RSS feeds via Reeder to keep up with. I also use it with Air Display to turn cafe tables into dual-screened work stations.
SONY NEX-3 & LENSES
Most of the Verge team shoots Nikon or Canon, but I'm a Sony guy. For reasons of minimalism, the NEX-3 is my primary workhorse — I have an A55 too and love it, but I'd have trouble getting it into a bag like this. The NEX's combination of tiny body and APS-C sensor is unbeatable for me, and it's been invaluable for Verge photography work at home and events. It's getting a little beat-up, though, so I'm eyeing a future upgrade to the NEX-5n or even the fabled NEX-7.
The 11-inch MacBook Air and iPad 2 are great, but not exactly overflowing with ports. For that reason I'll always need a USB card reader, and the iPad Camera Connection Kit comes in handy too. The card reader you see here carried a 40 yen premium for the cute face, which I'm sure you'll agree was well worth it. It's still smiling, even after our own Nathan Ingraham somehow managed to break the Compact Flash slot.
IPHONE 4 32GB
I've had three of these die on me, with various buttons breaking and glass panels shattering, and yet I keep coming back for more. This speaks volumes about how much I like the thing, or at least how much the Apple Store in Shinsaibashi is willing to put up with me.
Leisure and luxuries
Lomo LC-A+ & FILM
While I obviously need to use digital cameras for work, I usually shoot film for my personal photography. Along with Fuji's amazing Natura Classica, the Lomo LC-A+ is one of the go-to 35mm cameras in my collection. Hear me out: the lever-driven zone focusing beats any AF system for speed and reliability, and the combination of its automatic exposure and unique 32mm f/2.8 lens gives beautiful results in pretty much any lighting situation. It might not be for everyone, but I don't want to wait until the year 2025 for an affordable full-frame digital compact.
Whether it's the PSP, Game Boy Micro, or now PlayStation Vita, I'll almost always have a handheld console of some sort with me. It's usually the 3DS, though, because I don't even have to take the thing out of my bag to get use from it. I find the in-built pedometer functionality weirdly addictive, and StreetPass is really fun if you live in Japan at least — I get a bunch of new Miis every time I leave my apartment. Of course, being able to play titles like Super Mario 3D Land and Monster Hunter 3 (-tri) G on the go doesn't hurt, either.
AMAZON KINDLE (2011)
Chalk me down as one of those who is not cool with reading books on an LCD — I need E Ink, and I recently upgraded to the new Kindle from an old Sony Reader. It's really light and thin, so it's always worth keeping around for occasional moments of downtime. I buy far more books for this than I'll ever have time to read, but it's nice to know they're there anyway.
Unfortunately Japan is kind of late to the ebook party, and Amazon doesn't seem to have much interest in helping it get there. So, if I want to read books in Japanese, I actually have to carry around a book. It's less of a problem than it might be, though, because Japanese paperbacks are tiny and cheap. This one is Kokuhaku (Confessions) by Kanae Minato, which I'm reading because I liked the film that came out a year or two ago.