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 Japan 1999

Dan's Japan Adventure

I returned for a second set of meetings regarding some ride design for Disney's Tokyo DisneySea and this time I remembered to bring the digital camera. Here are some of the interesting things I saw.

In Tokyo parking is at a premium so even if you can afford a car and insurance, it's a hassle. Much preferred is the light rail, upon which you can pretty much get anywhere.

The cars are spotless and everyone is polite; most riders read or sit patiently. What a difference from the Metrolink I take here in Los Angeles where rudeness is practically applauded.

From the other side of the railway platform is Akihabara, the "electronic city." Japan is a continuous haze of polite advertisements all the way down to the style of the buildings. (In fact the industrial design of buildings was a fascinating highlight of my trip.)
Department and electronic stores press right up against the train station. The first time I came to this city I was handed a bag of goodies by a Japanese girl in a high pitched voice - the bag had nine Playstation demo CD games in it, posters, etc. It was awesome!
I went into this department store just to ride the bubble escalator to the 5th floor.
Like iron filings drawn to a rare earth magnet, so was I drawn to the Sega game building. Lots of great and yet bizarre games inside that I'd never seen in the USA. I loved it.

And I noted that of all the game consoles set up at the entrances to stores, the preview Deamcasts were vacant while the Playstations were in high demand (Jan 1999.)

And hey, check out that window that reads "DOS/V" - the Japanese also know that Win9x sucks!

After walking through the streets in Akihabara I started playing a game to see just how small of a car I could find. This is the winner - it doubles as a street bakery as well. It's immense lack of size is most evident by looking at the wheels - I think they're about the size we used on Ominous Brick of Havoc.
Japan is an amazingly courteous country; even the taxi drivers wear white gloves. Pictured here is an emergency stop button for the train, right on the platform (for those Sega execs that jump on the tracks when Playstation2 comes out?)

It is inconceivable that some punk youth would press this for kicks. Unlike in Los Angeles where they would probably pour beer on it before pressing it.

Many of the products are smaller as well. Left, a Japanese Coke which costs $4, on the right an American can which is 1/10th the price.
I was less than enchanted by the food of Japan, with one exception: I decided that it was my new goal in life to eat miso soup for breakfast. I know that instant lacks a lot of flavor but it's the best I can do back here in the USA.
I heard from many people that "you can buy everything from a vending machine" in Japan. Wrong. But they do sell beer all over the place, so that was close enough for me.

And yes that is a can of Bud in the middle. (I know, why bother?)

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