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Thursday, April 14, 2016

2016 JAPAN SAKURA ADVENTURE: I'm back in Tokyo

This has been an enjoyable and educational trip for me.  Here are just a few bits of interesting info:
  • Mirrorless cars will be legal in Japan from June.  Mirrorless?  Yes, no mirrors, rear or sides.  A camera is used.  Your car today has dead spots, especially that crucial point when you are attempting to make a left turn on a freeway.  Unless you turn your head and look back, you will miss that car in your dead spot.  You will in the future have a monitor to show everything behind and to the side of you.  These are photos from BMW.
  • DNA can store information.  Remember how your VHS tapes degraded over time?  While the visual below (good luck trying to read it, though, so go to the original source) compares current technology, it seems that millions of films will someday be stored in a few droplets of water.  Technicolor, that company that brought to the screen technicolor, is in the process of dominating this field.  Harvard geneticist George Church (shown here) with 70 billion copies of his latest 53,000 word book in one drop.  Here are the technologies in decline:
  • Karaoke establishments in Japan now offer baby care services so mothers can sing during daytime in security.  Now, there is a growing slate of karaoke shops only for individuals, so they can be as stupid as they want, or record their favorites in any media you wish to take home.  The #1 karaoke song in Japan is Heavy Rotation by AKB48 (shown to the right).  #1 English song?  Let it Go by Idina Menzel, from Frozen.  #3, My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, and #20 Dancing Queen by Abba.
  • Don't travel in Japan during Golden Week, this year from April 25 to May 5.  Only 2% actually travel overseas.  Most clog all the trains and attractions at home.  Himeji Castle, incidentally, is the most popular castle.  This is the one you can see from the bullet train.  I reported on Osaka Castle earlier in this trip, the 7th most visited site in Japan, not to be confused with Himeji.  Surprisingly enough, Mount Fuji is only #2.  #1?  Kinkaku-ji or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto.

The Azusa from Matsumoto to Shinjuku was my final long train ride on this trip.  Got my final view of snow:

I'm back in the Tokyo Westin, and got my standard Mount Fuji view room on the 17th floor where the Executive Lounge is located.  I had my dinner here tonight:

I think I've had a hot bath every night I've been in Japan.  Tonight was no exception:

Note the Bose blue tooth speaker playing music from my iPod.

Tomorrow I'm off to the campus of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology...and who knows what else.

Wow, an hour after I published this post, I felt a jolt in my room, and thought, EARTHQUAKE!.  I was in Tokyo five years ago, and reported in the Huffington Post of a 7.1 earthquake I experienced:

It took me five trains and 15 hours to get from Sapporo to Tokyo, checked into the Four Seasons at Tokyo Station, ordered an in room dinner, began eating at 11:34PM, and the whole room began to shake, for a couple of minutes. A lot of creaking, and five minutes later, there continued to be vibrations. An hour later I still feel tremors, but that could just be me. It was frightening.
My idiocy was that instead of hurrying into the bathroom, I with some difficulty headed straight for the window to see if anything significant was happening outside, and, as I recall, the whole wall was glass.  This was Day 28 of The Great Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Calamity.  This was an extremely long posting, for they allowed me to keep adding developments until Day 13.  Note that one of my recent stops was Sendai.

Well that Tokyo jolt turned out to be a 6.5 earthquake near Kumamoto in Kyushu, and Tokyo is 551 miles away.  At this writing, there have been 9 deaths, several hundred are missing and nearly a thousand were injured.  The Shinkansen was suspended.

Tropical Cyclone Fantala is now up to 120 MPH, but will not impact Madagascar.


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