Technology

A Robot That Sells Food

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Robots that sell food are all over Japan. This is a vending machine that sells meals. At many small, cheap restaurants (especially curry and ramen shops) you select and purchase your food using a vending machine which dispenses meal tickets. Simply give your meal tickets to the staff, and you’re all set! The restaurant staff [...]

Pokemon Plane

Monday, June 4th, 2007

ANA’s pokemon-themed planes are fairly well-known these days, but just in case you haven’t seen them I’ve posted some pics below. As you can see, there are several with different designs. The interior sports pokemon decor as well, but not as intense as the exterior. Flight attendants (called “cabin attendants” in Japan but that’s a [...]

Japanese Toilet Technology

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

No Japan-focused blog would be complete without a post about Japan’s toilets. It’s true that you can still find old-style Japanese squat toilets in many places alongside newer Western-style toilets. (If you’re curious, there’s some at Tokyo Disneyland in the restrooms opposite the “Pooh’s Hunny Hunt” attraction.) Certainly, the squat toilets provide the cleanest experience [...]

Japanese ATMs Need Their Beauty Sleep?

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

When ATMs first showed up in the US, I thought they were great because you could conduct bank transactions even when the bank was closed. Particularly, this was useful when you needed cash after hours. Oddly enough, here in Japan the ATMs close at night. They also charge service fees that vary depending on the [...]

High-Tech Talking Machines

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Of course I’ve been trying to learn Japanese while living in Japan. One thing that has helped me is that Tokyo is full of machines, and for some reason, all of them seem to talk! This is very different from what I’m used to in America, where machines generally just beep, ring or produce prompting tones. [...]

Japan’s Miraculous Massage Chairs

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Before I lived in Japan, whenever I came to Tokyo on a trip I always set aside a day to visit Akihabara, the electronics super district of the world. You can get anything here, though recently prices aren’t necessarily a bargain. You will definitely see gadgets and gizmos found nowhere else in the world. One [...]

Vertical Parking – The Car Jukebox

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

In the US, parking lots are barren seas of black pavement and white lines. Thoughts of Costco and the Disney theme parks come to mind. In Japan, there’s no space for that, so vertical parking towers are used. Basically, you drive into a building housing a ferris-wheel-like apparatus that carries cars. Drive onto an open [...]

The Mysterious Sound Princess In Japanese Women’s Restrooms

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

Take a look at the photos below. Have you ever seen these devices? All Japanese women have. This device is called the "sound princess" and comes in various models. What does it do? That takes some explanation. Japanese women are well-known for their modesty. Despite the fact that Japan often has restroom stalls with floor-to-ceiling [...]