Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week the world is realizing that Japan’s high-speed trains are pretty much what everyone should be doing and maybe let’s all just go ahead and do as they do, Nissan’s autonomous cars just might debut in California before Japan, and the many things we can learn just by torturing Japanese leeches with cold!
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – January 24, 2014 ::
• And The People will Long for High-Speed Rail, and Japan Shall Answer
In what seems like the biggest no-brainer possible in human moving technology, the world, Western Europe aside, is finally getting really hip to the fact that Japan seriously knows high-speed rail - and it might be a good idea to not only heed Japan’s accomplishments, but maybe it’s time to go ahead and have them come on over for the teaching, designing, and maybe even some of the building. Now, to be fair, the JTFF is coming from the perspective of having once taken a painful Amtrak trip across the entirety of the continental U.S. (a 48-hour haul, by the way), and then, a few years later, being able to bask in the technological awesomeness of what is basically the 180mph (298km/h), ground-based version of first-class seats and service from the golden age of air travel. So yeah, it seems obvious to ex-pats living here that, on this technological front, the rest of the world should do what Japan says. The rest of the world is understandably unaware, but rest of the world, trust us - you want this. Even Western Europe probably should get in on it. And really, the only problem the JTFF has with the Shinkansen is the name. Sure, it sounds cool if you don’t speak Japanese, but guess what, “Shinkansen” just means “new main line.” Let’s fix that, let’s call it “Samurai Power Vrooom,” or, you know, something cool like that. Anyway, yeah - Samurai Power Vrooms for all.
[THE WORLD WANTS JAPAN’S TRAIN TECH - GLOBAL RAIL NEWS]
• Autonomous Nissan Leaf to Debut in the U.S.?
Driving in Japan is not easy. See, you have to appreciate the fact that the roads of urbanized Japan are based on paths and trails that predate motorized transportation by hundreds, even a 1000 years or more. So, it’s complicated, and getting a semi-robotic, autonomously driving car hip to the ins and outs of the twists and turns and diabolical polygons of Japanese city streets is no small feat. Spacious, grid-like, much more predictable California, on the other hand, seems like a pretty good place for Nissan’s all-electric economy ride to make its debut. This report says it could be as early as 2020. Well, that’d be cool. By the way, if you were a car dealer, and you sold the Nissan Leaf, and you had a lot of them, what do you like, you know, call them? You know, as a group of things?! That’s funny.
[NISSAN’S AUTONOMOUS LEAVES HITTING THE U.S. FIRST? - AUTOBLOG GREEN]
• Japanese Leech the Key to Freezing Your Brain to be Revived in the Future and/or the Deep-Freeze Hibernation Required for Space Travel?
Setting; scene: a bunch Japanese scientists hanging out freezing leeches. And taking notes. The mind paints a brilliant picture, and sometimes - sometimes - the JTFF just writes itself. Actually, this is some really cool science that just sounds funny. But still.
[J-LEECHES ARE GOOD AT NOT DYING FROM BEING FROZEN - ASAHI SHIMBUN]
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.