JR: Japan Railways and Suicide Attempts

12 06 2010

JR East is one of the major rail companies in Japan. We used JR pass all the time in our trip.

←This is a JR Pass.

It was $325 for a one-week pass, but very useful for us. Our schedule included 8 different destinations all over the Japan. Using it was so convenient. With this pass we could also take some cruise rides as well; for instance: Nara Island.

In our visit to JR East, which was scheduled at the end of trip in order to know the value of this company, we got the chance to see their lab as well.

According to JR representer, JR East itself transports over 16,000,000 passengers daily.

Japan has one the highrest rates of suicide in the world. One of the most common places to attempt to this act is subway. According to JR, at least one person everyday attempts to suicide. Approaching to Christmas time, the number increases to even 100 per day. Each attempt has its effects on the runtime of trains, and also the people who witnessed the situation. In order to reduce this situations, JR is now installing some shelters and gates also next to trains. As shown in the picture below, this gates are closed, until the train has fully stopped in the station. Then the gates will be opened. In some stations the gates are as tall as the ceiling. Moreover, based on a research in UK, using Ultra waves in subway will reduce the chances of depression and suicide attempts.


Mai Dreamin’ Café

12 06 2010

Mai Dreamin Café

I can’t say much, pictures are a worth thousand words…

This café is one of the typical Japanese Maid Café, in which you will be the Boss, as long as you are sitting there.

In these shops, you are not allowed to take a photo !  But, I did it anyway ! 😀

What you see up there, is Bryce’s, Carly’s, Eric’s, and my order. It contained ice cream, fresh and dried fruits, jelly, cereals, and cream on top. It was delicious…

After you’re done, as a part of service they provide, you will have a chance to take a picture with those maid waitresses . We all gathered to take a group shot, but they caught me before I could get everyone in the frame. Though it is not very good framed, it shows around well enough. This place was designed and adorned with colorful walls and frames. The maids or waitresses were dressed up, and had beautiful make up. They were really cute…

When they bring your order to your table, they sing a song, and ask you to sing along with them again. I couldn’t understand what they meant, but from hand gestures I would say, I was about love and friendship.

As a part of service, they also provide a small birthday party. So, I told her that it was my friend’s birthday, Bryce; and we want to make a memorable birthday for him. They brought this birthday dish for him with his name on it, and later asked him to join them on the little stage they had, to sing a “Happy Birthday Song.”

Happy Birthday Bryce !! 😉

Who’s picture should be on money bills ?

12 06 2010


Fukuzawa Yukichi (福澤 諭吉, January 10, 1835 – February 3, 1901) was a Japanese author, writer, teacher, translator, who founded Keio University, a very famous high-ranked university in the world.

Hideyo Noguchi (野口 英世, November 24, 1876 – May 21, 1928), also known as Seisaku Noguchi (野口清作), was a prominent  Japanese bacteriologist, who discovered the agent of syphilis in 1911.

Natsu Higuchi (樋口 奈津, May 2, 1872 – November 23, 1896) was a Japanese author, also know as her pen-name: Ichiyō Higuchi (樋口 一葉)

This is how Japanese are respecting their culture and cultural background.

If we compare it with other countries, all we see on banknotes are politicians, presidents, or supreme leaders.

Authors and artists form cultures, and politicians run it. Besides money, are we really honoring authors good enough ? Countless artists or authors died while starving, and had no money to live. On the other hand, politicians pay unbelievable amount of money to achieve some positions.

After all, who is really appropriate to be printed on money bills ?


12 06 2010

Roppongi, a Mega Place of Entertainment in Tokyo

Photo By Bryce

15 minutes away from Aoyama Ichome Station to south, Roppongi is a district of  Tokyo and famous as home to the rich Roppongi Hills area. Many countries have their embassies located in this area,

Roppongi is full of active nightclubs, bars, restaurants, Karaoke bars, and other forms of entertainment. Therefore, many people, including tourists, like to spend their weekend night at a place like this, with variety of entertainment. From 10 PM to late night Roppongi as really crowded.

Walking through this place requires self-confidence, since often happens that you’ll be disturbed by some Nigerian blacks, appearing on your way and inviting you to their club. Sometimes they offer you free entrance, or free drinks for ladies, but no one really knows if they are trustable or not… (We were advised not to!)

I used to go to a Turkish restaurant in that area, and I was used to see Nigerians all over the place. Thanks to Dr. C, his tips helped us survive these people.

Language Barriers

12 06 2010

When you visit a new country and you don’t know a word of their language, you’d better take some lessons or have someone/thing to help you. We had all three of these:

  1. A phrase book
  2. Someone speaking Japanese
  3. And we took some lessons before going.

But at the end, from our part we did whatever we could. It’s Japanese that somehow are not that comfortable with English.

When we had a conversation, may times we would face just a smile, meaning that they did not understand what we had said. So we used indicate it with simpler words, in order to have a better chance of getting a response.

Generally speaking, their ability of language learning is not that good.

Many times we even saw wrong written statements. For instance, this one was on the bathroom door in our hotel:

This one was on a restaurant menu:

Though we had all these problems in communicating with Japanese, but they always used to come up with something to help us. If you ask a question from someone just on the street, they try their best to help.  Even if they can’t answer, either they do not know the answer or they don’t know English, they will find someone and together they’ll help you.

Headphones ? Who needs them anymore ?

11 06 2010

NTT Docomo is working on 3 new types of listening tools. And all three, are wonderful and fundamentally different than what we are used to.

  1. Did you know your finger could be your ear phone ?
    • In this technology, simply you put on a ring, and put your finger into your ear, and  then you will hear sounds.
  2. Did you know your body can work as a wire for your head phones ?
    • Take your MP3 player or cellphone in your hand, and have you wireless headphones on. You can easily listen to your music. Now if your friend takes your phone, the sound will fade away. But, no worries. Take their hand, and you can both listen the song again. Attention: No Wire Needed !!
  3. Did you know you can listen to something in your HEAD?
    • Put two fingers in your ears, and place a special tool on your forehead. You will hear the sound inside your head, as if the source is in your brain. This will also help deaf/parochially deaf people to get their listening ability.

I’m kinda tired of my old fashion headphones; Docomo, when will you release these in market ?

Shopping Assistant

11 06 2010

NTT Docomo is one of the major telecom companies in Japan, and our visit to this company was a pleasure. As they ended their presentation, we headed to their lab. In that lab, we haw what could be released in the next 10 years from Docomo.

For sure you’ve been in a situation of buying a peace for someone, but not sure that would fit or not. In this new technology, when you go to a shopping center, you do not need to check every other store to see if they have something that you would like to buy. This assisting tool allows you to find the stores you want, and save much time. Imagine you check the suggested stores, and find a nice dress for your kid. Simply you match the dress with her closet to you see the other items in her room that would go with this new one. Next, you can also virtually see her in that dress, as if she had really worn it. We all have seen the fiction movies like STAR WARS, that they could have a video call in 3D. This new technology is pretty much the same.

You can also use this tool for your grocery store shopping, in a whole new level. If you pick a box of milk while you have enough milk in your fridge, instantly it notifies you about it. Every single object in your world will be connected to this service. Though very convenient, scary at the same time, since there will no more privacy…