8/29/13

Evening Walk



Osaki, Tokyo

8/28/13

Togoshi Upside-Down




Togoshi, Tokyo

8/25/13

The Keihin-Tohoku Line

Tokyo, Japan

Cyberpunk Tomorrow



Ginza, Japan

8/20/13

A Day at the (Boat) Races

Heiwajima, is located just outside of Toyko and is home to large shopping center, an onsen, and Boat Racing. Entrance to the boat racing park costs 100 yen (about $1).  
The boats go around the man-made seawater lake in an oval. Each race has 6 boats and only lasts for a few laps.  
People are able to gamble on the outcome of the race much like horse racing. However I am not sure of the exact rules.
The boats are very small and do not have a seat. Rather the driver kneels on a floor of the boat and uses the position of his body to help turn the boat in the corners.
If you look in the picture below, you can see each driver in a different position. One is way down in his boat for speed. The other is sitting up trying to keep it stable.
I of course did not go to the races to see who was going to win, I wanted to see an accident. My wish was granted when a driver overcooked the corner and capsized his boat. No one was injured and the rescue boat was able to pull the nearly sunken boat back to the docks
Heiwajima, Japan

8/18/13

Ueno Station

How do you celebrate the 130th anniversary of a Japanese train station? By creating a life-sized model of a Giant Squid that Japanese scientists captured video of back in January of this year. 
The awesome thing about this model being hung in the station is that it shows you how huge this animal truely is. Being a nerd for this kind of thing, I stood looking at this model imagining that it was alive and able to swim through the air. With single swipe of its barb filled tentacle it could catch a human and swim off at breath taking speed. 

We may be the foremost predator on land when we have a gun in hand. However an animal like this reminds you what a true killing machine really is. 

Tokyo, Japan 

8/17/13

The Kurumada Masami Musuem

Kurumada Masami, best known worldwide for this work Saint Seiya, has a very nice private museum located in his house and studio. Unfortunately the museum is rarely open to the public.   
The collection contains some of his earliest works, like the manga below that he created at age 10 along with Mr. Kurumada's judo uniform.

These nunchaku's were used to draw one of his original characters weapon of choice.


A complete collection of the Saint Seiya toy line.
Yokohama, Japan

8/16/13

Honda Collection Hall

The Motocompo has always been one of my favorite Japanese creations. Built as a "trunk bike" in the 1980's, the trunk of the Honda City (pictured below) was actually designed to fit the Motocompo. 
This bike was one of the first Honda motorcycles ever produced. I found the inverted brake and clutch handles funny, but visually beautiful.
Tochigi, Japan

8/14/13

Evolution

The Honda Collection Hall is quite a ways from Tokyo, but its assembly of classic cars, motorcycles, race cars, and robots made the trip worth it.

On the first floor of the museum there is a complete collection of robots that Honda has created for research purposes over the years. Its easy to look Honda's most recent robot, Asimo and be disappointed. Its not the robot we were all promised. While it can walk around, it really cannot interact with and serve us. 
However looking at the complete collection of Honda's robots allows you to see what it took to get to Asimo. 

The project began with a the creation of a simple pair of legs (below and left) in the 1980's. In order for the legs to walk, they had to be plugged into an huge computer. As you can see Honda then began to work their way up to a self contained unit.   
Each time the unit began to get smaller, new functions were added and the unit would increase in size again.
Finally Honda worked to incorporate arms and hands into the robot. While it is hard to see in the picture below, the first set of hands were really more like claws.
Finally Honda was able to decrease the size again. From there they worked their down to Asimo. Seeing this collection, its amazing to think that it took 30 years just to design, test, and produce a robot that could actually fit and function safely alongside humans.

Today Honda seems to be perfecting the software that runs Asimo; getting the little robot better at recognizing the world around it. While it may be another 30 year before Asimo is actually able to perform in the real world, someday a robot and its kid are going to come here to see where they came from.

Maybe in 10,000 years after all the humans are gone, the robots will wondering what the great programmer in the sky looks like. Something tells me they will never figure out it was a succession of sweaty young nerds intent on making science fiction reality.
 Tochigi, Japan

8/13/13

When It All Comes Together

A failure and a success. A win and a loss. Each the opposite of the other. Each a concentrated moment and emotion. 

In the spring that became this summer, this was the place I drempt to be. 
 Among maturing rice fields; the air thick with humidity and the songs of cicadas
 Back among mysterious forests. 
 With the animals of summer.
 Ridding motorcycles. 
And eating wonderful food in picturesque surroundings.
Yokohama, Japan

8/12/13

The Rooftop Experiment: Prelude to Toyropolis

The metropolis, a never ending sea of concrete and steel. The pinnacle of human civilization. Built to withstand powerful earthquakes, typhoon force winds, pouring rain, freezing cold, blistering heat, and intense UV rays. Each building houses bacteria, bugs, animals, people, families, and business. Every building is its own world, but connected to the every other one via electric, phone, internet, and sewage lines.  

When you stand above the metropolis simply imagining the water and sewage moving throughout it is mind boggling. Wait, really think about that. Look out at the picture below. How many toilets, sinks, gutters, drains, and pipes are out there. How about electrical lines? 

Do you see it? Arteries and veins. Stomach and digestive track. Lungs and noise. God built us in his image and now we build our cities in ours.  


 Do you see the silver Lamborghini Diablo in the intersection below?

I am not sure what it is about the picture below, but it actually makes me sick to my stomach to look at. Something about the angle of the shot makes my stomach turn. 
 Hamamatsucho, Toyko