JR: Japan Railways and Guidance

13 06 2010

In everywhere it happens that sometimes trains or flight are delayed, including Japan, even though Japan Railway is very very organized !

In a country this organized, a small delay could make many people worried and change/disturb their schedule. That’s when JR comes up with an idea to publicly display where the trains are, or why they are delayed.

Two different types of display were designed:

  1. 3Dimensional View
  2. 2Dimensional View

According to JR Surveys, older generation were more happy with the 2D type, and the new generation votes for the 3D view.

In order to have them both satisfied, JR redesigns the display structure, and adapts both 3D and 2D in one form.

Also, there is an other device designed, to give passengers directions. Simply, you ask were you want to go, and a 360˚ pointer will turn to an angle and show you the direction to your destination (almost exactly like a person.)

We also visited their experimental station, in which they test their new technologies and systems.

And, a group shot is always required to finish the visit…

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.

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…

Fuji Q Highland

11 06 2010

If not the best, I wouldn’t rate it anything else than second best day of my trip to Japan

Carly and I left the hotel at 8:00 to start a beautiful 3-hour journey to one of the best Amusement parks in the word: Fuji-Q Highland, Next to the Mount Fuji.

We took some subway, and JR trains, and reached a place that only a privet train would go farther. This is a picture of that train:

Fuji Q Highland is famous for it’s Roller Coasters, and attracts many people, including me, and fulfills them with fear and joy…

Eejanaika Mega Coaster

Truth be told, this park was something that pushed me to visit Japan! Look at this place… Here you see Eejanaika Mega Coaster (Hyper Coaster) which is a 4th dimensional roller coaster, since the seats also rotate 360˚ ! Pretty amazing, this was by far the best thrilling coster I had ever experienced.


It says:

“The Roller Coaster with greatest number of inversions is the 4th Dimension Coaster at Fujikyu Highland in Japan. Riders turn upside down a total of 14 times during each 1153 m run…”

This picture was taken when we were waiting in the line for 1 hour and 50 minutes !! I prefer not to upload the picture that was taken after the ride…

It was really interesting that in this ride, riders start UPSIDE DOWN ! you almost see nothing from the ground, until you reach the drop point, and suddenly your seat spins around and shows you how high you are … that’s when you understand what you have got yourself into … Exactly up there…

I took this one while it was operating. Thrilling, isn’t it ?

Fujiyama Mega Coaster

Next Roller coaster was Fujiyama, which at the time of launch, was the tallest in its kind, and had the largest drop – from 259 feet above the ground equal to a 30-store building

and, the next roller coaster was:

Dodonpa !

In this coaster, riders experience a pretty unique accelerations force : 4.25 G !! The car accelerates to 172 KM/H ≈ 110 Mile/H in just 1.8 seconds ! It also has a drop angle of 90˚ !

This picture was taken in the run time…

Thinking of the pleasure of these rides is one thing, but also thinking of the technology behind them is interesting. Accelerating to that REALY high speed in just 1.8 seconds does blow my mind ! This thrilling technology is interesting to me… I honestly don’t mind working in this field!

Sony Building

10 06 2010

When almost everyone in the group was gone back come, Bryce, Nicholas, and me where staying at hotel for four extra days. Bryce in his last Study Abroad to Japan, had seen the Sony Building, and suggested us to take a look in our free time. After all we had seen in Japanese technology, this visit was not that big of a surprise. But after all, I love technology and it was one of my important reasons to visit Japan.

In this building, you see new upcoming devices built by Sony, and have the chance to work with them personally. One of my favorites: CAMERAS SECTION! I can’t say enough how good the cameras were in that Building. Not only the camera bodies, but also the lens for them. In a price range that could ensure I wouldn’t buy them, the lens were incredibly amazing (I would lie I say they didn’t seduce me!)

The new generation of TVs that were on display, had improved the frames per second on LCDs, in order to have a much more clear quality. Camcorders could take videos in the quality you see in advertising movies in electronic stores. And finally, when we walked out, the stairs made a melody as we stepped on them. Yes, this is a new trick to make you work out instead of using escalators. Each stair is relevant to a note in piano, and when you step on them you make your own beat.

So, which one will you choose next time ? Are you one these lazy people waiting in a line to get on the escalator, or prefer going on the stairs ?

D3 Publisher and Video Games in Japan

3 06 2010

Before my visit to Japan, the first thought in my head about this country was “Comics” ! Though after I visited the country I found out more about them, still comics stays No.1 ! We all know about Japanese Comics and their special gestures, styles, and actions. Many of them have been produced as a movie, and have had huge success in international market. The other face of the comics and their stories has influenced the “Game Culture”.

Video games are now a part of Japanese lifestyle. That’s when D3 Publisher steps in the business, to provide what the region is seeking. Established in 1992, D3 Publisher is an organization that aimed to produce Music, Books, and Video Games, however now it is specialized in video games only. With over 100 published games, in a low to mid range price, D3 Publisher has taken a good share in the market. Games are categorized in different themes, in which girls and boys follow their interests. Our visit to D3 Publisher was interesting in many aspects. Unique work-style and new features in their games give variety of choice to customers.

A new game is coming up, which we saw a preview of. In this game, boys grow up their fancy girl and live with her. This concept of having a girl is quite different from other countries: excursive to Japan !

Keio University Visit: Tech

3 06 2010

Keio University: Ranked 11th in the world in 2009 – According to a study by École des Mines de Paris.

A good day including an academic experience, on 15 th of May we visited the Keio University : An old university, with a good ranking among Japan and world universities. A student from japan presented her research about growth of use of twitter in Japan. Nicolas Henry and Fatima Abdelwahd from Michigan State University’s both campuses presented their research about E-publishing and Education. The friendly atmosphere in the university was adorable. By the end of the meeting, Dr. Coursari asked students in university to fill out a few surveys. I was wondering how they would write down complicated URLs correctly, from the screen. I almost didn’t notice a small barcode-like icon next to each link. Every student took a photo of the screen with their cellphones. I thought the phones would recognize the text links, and convert them to an internet link (that’s the state-of-art technology I had seen before in my cellphone). It turned out that cellphones in Japan are able to read barcodes. Since then I noticed the small barcodes all over the city. On a McDonald’s fries box, a Coke can, and vending machines, QR codes -quick respond codes- are taking over traditional linking styles. Wonderful, isn’t it ?

A sample of QR Codes: