Amidst talks that strengthened the ties between the two countries comes news that you will soon be able to ride a Shinkansen in India.
Japan is well-known for its packed commuter trains. For decades, smartly dressed men and women have shuffled wordlessly into train cars each morning, all painfully aware that they will soon be getting up-close and personal with total strangers and have nowhere to run, hide, or even breathe freely until their stop. Glove-wearing station staff pack passengers in as tightly as they’ll go without them popping out the other side, each firm shove accompanied by a polite word or phrase thanking passengers for moving all the way inside the car or warning them to keep their various appendages clear of the (just barely) closing doors.
But earlier today, Japan was given a glimpse of a much more civilised, luxuriant commuting experience that may soon put an end to these sardine-can shenanigans. Better yet, this logistical revolution is coming soon: not twelve months from now, commuters will be able to zip into Tokyo in style, lying back in comfortable faux-leather chairs inside sleek, aerodynamic private pods that resemble something out of Minority Report.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the next generation of luxury travel, and its name is Kosoku.
This past year the Tokyo Metro has been brought to life in many different ways, ranging from a spaghetti-alien map to, well, a 3-D spaghetti-alien map. But it’s the latest re-imagining of the Tokyo Metro in the highly versatile SVG format that’s currently causing a lot of commotion online.
Japan has come out with some pretty awesome ideas over the years. Pocket calculators, instant noodles, even CD players were all born here, and while they were developed in response to the needs of the local market, their popularity quickly spread far and wide around the globe.
Now Japan is set to revolutionise the way we travel with a new product called the Walking Bicycle Club. Touted as the first big breakthrough in 200 years of the cycling industry, the new vehicle is powered by stepping, rather than pedalling, and is designed to make walking more fun. But how does it feel to ride a bicycle that looks more like a mobile step machine? We dropped by the store to find out.
On October 20 in Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province, a bus driver on his usual route made a sudden, unscheduled stop. The reason? To purchase some tasty-looking fish from a street vendor. According to passenger and eyewitness reports, the driver suddenly pulled to a stop by the roadside (no bus stop in sight!) and hopped down from his bus to purchase “several” fish, before hopping back into his driver’s seat and resuming his route. But was this a sudden impulse buy, or did the driver just really, really need some fish?
While dealing with the crowds and the creeps on public transportation may get on your nerves, it is usually the best way to save time and money. And last week, a Russian company unveiled a new futuristic streetcar that would make any weary commuter excited to go to work in the morning.
The next-generation streetcar looks like something out of a sci-fi movie with its trapezoidal shape and sleek black exterior. Click below to read more about the so-called “iPhone on rails” and which lucky cities are getting the tram of tomorrow!
In one of the few instances we can think of in which crime actually does pay, a Chinese bus passenger who spent years “ride-and-dashing” to dodge paying the fare repaid her karmic debt by depositing a total of 800RMB (approx. US$130) into the till boxes of two local buses.
Drivers of both buses apparently tried to reject her offering and have her pay the standard 2RMB fare (US$0.30), but the woman reportedly insisted, telling at least one of the drivers, “You’ve always been kind to your passengers. This is to repay the fare I’ve been skipping out on until now.”
A Tokyo court has ruled that a cyclist must pay 47 million yen (US$459,000) to the family of a 75-year-old women he collided with and killed in 2010.
The pensioner, one Mrs. Mitsuhiro Azuma, was struck by the cyclist on a pedestrian crossing in Tokyo’s Ota Ward after he ignored a red light. The court heard that Mrs. Azuma suffered a head wound when she was knocked to the ground, from which she died five days later.
In May 2011, Nissan was selected to create and supply the vehicle that would be the exclusive New York City taxi.
That plan hasn’t worked out so well. A series of court decisions have blocked the City from approving the NV200 as the only taxi model, in part because it’s not a hybrid, according to the New York Times.
But Nissan still has the right to bring its taxi to the streets of New York, and it sold the first one at the end of October.
This week, the automaker invited me to get a closer look at the NV200 and take a spin around Manhattan.
At approximately 3:50 p.m. yesterday, a loud scream was heard as a train pulled up to the JR Yamanote Line platform at Tokyo’s Shibuya Station. Seconds later, crowds of people gathered around one particular train car and station staff in smart jackets and caps could be seen running up and down the platform.
Someone was trapped beneath the train.
In a scene not unlike that of July 22 this year when a woman slipped and became pinned between a train and the platform edge, commuters quickly banded together to push the train away from the platform so that the fallen passenger could be freed, with many Japanese Twitter users uploading snaps of the incident online.
If you’ve ever used the Tokyo Metro, or even browsed maps of the rail network online, you’ll know that it is a positive maze of lines, colours, numbers and names that even locals sometimes have trouble navigating. Compared to the London Underground or even New York’s massive subway system, the Tokyo Metro is absolute chaos on paper, making us wonder how it could possibly all run so smoothly on a daily basis.
Thanks to one Tokyo University graduate’s efforts, however, we now know exactly what is going on beneath our feet, with this three-dimensional model filled with coloured liquids representing every twist, turn, climb and dip the Metro’s tunnels make in real life.
On August 29, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle will become available on PlayStation 3. It’s a fighting game that features all of the major players from the immensely popular manga series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. How popular, you ask? This beat-‘em-up video game is currently the top-ranked game on Amazon, thanks to the huge numbers of pre-orders, it’s so highly anticipated. One might think that a game such as this doesn’t need any more hype, but those who know JoJo know that this particular franchise will stand for nothing less than extremes!
Starting on August 26, one of the trains on Tokyo’s looping central railway, the Yamanote Line, will be plastered both in and out with characters from JoJo’s new fighting game!
Well, in the not-so-distant future, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government may provide a more wallet-friendly third option, buses and trains operating 24 hours a day.
Commuter trains in Japan are known for being among the most punctual in the world. The entire rail system is a well-oil machine. When a train is scheduled to depart its station at 09:42 and arrive at its destination at 10:33, it almost always leaves the station at 9:42 and arrives at 10:33; a mind-boggling concept perhaps in some other parts of the world.
Close to 40 million passengers use the rail system daily in Tokyo alone, so when trouble does occur, it needs to be sorted out quickly. Still, it would shock anyone who has been living in risk-averse, safety-first Japan for any length of time to see their local commuter train run down the tracks with a passenger carriage door wide open.
A couple of days ago this little graph surfaced online displaying some interesting statistics. It’s a bar chart of the busiest train stations in the world, measured by the number of people who pass through them each year.
Perhaps coming as no surprise to those who have experienced its mind-numbingly complex transport complexes, Japan tops the list. What is surprising is the degree to which Japan dominates this list, with all but six stations residing here, and about half of them in the Tokyo area alone.
By now we’ve all either heard stories of their efficiency or ridden them in person, but Japanese trains remain something of a source of amazement to many tourists visiting the country. They’re so clean! People obey the rules (well, usually…)! And the doors open exactly where they’re supposed to!
The following videos are examples of just how precise Japanese train drivers are expected to be, and how the simple process of lining up the doors of their train’s carriages with a couple of arrows painted on the platform is something that can bring great joy to many when they see it happen, and incredible anger and irritation to others when it doesn’t quite work out.