Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Today’s J-blip: Virtual Japanese trainspotting

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Obsessed with watching Japanese trains go by? Now you can indulge your hobby regardless of bad weather or friends who just don’t get your hobby — whether you’re in Japan or not.

The website Tetsudonow (“railroads now”) has elevated trainspotting to a new level by allowing viewers to watch virtual trains zip around the major cities of Japan on a Google map mash-up.  Twitter users in Japan were bubbling with excitement yesterday, with some tweeting that the illustrated trains move in real-time. If only. The site’s explanation says that the trains actually move in accordance with their weekday timetables, so the map doesn’t reflect delays, stoppages or weekend schedules.

The navigation tools do, however, let you see the routes of most major railways in Japan at any time of day. To hobbyists’ delight, the trains are all labeled with their actual line colors and approximate shapes, so you can tell a green Yamanote train from a snub-nosed shinkansen at a glance. Click on any moving train to see where it’s coming from and where it’s headed.

Now you can trainspot with a bag of popcorn in one hand and a Coke in the other from the comfort of your swivel chair with no one jostling or judging you. Us? We wouldn’t judge you.

The right platform for selling to women on the go

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Even though Tokyo Metro tried to stop women putting on makeup while riding trains with an ad campaign, it seems that everywhere else on Tokyo’s public transport system, women are being encouraged to indulge in a little personal care. Stores that have popped up in stations include: Ranking-Ranqueen, which, among other things, offers a wide range of best-selling toiletries, cosmetics and skincare products;  Fancl, a preservative-free skincare range; and, more recently, Plazastyle’s cosmetics-focused Beautilicious in the Echika shopping complex inside Ikebukero Station.

Continue reading about station shopping →

Electric bicycles take charge

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

A supercharged ride

As America’s Cash for Clunkers program replaces old cars with new ones, some are discovering electric bicycles as an interesting alternative to gas stations, traffic jams and parking fees.

In Japan, battery-powered bikes sold more than scooters and motorcycles in 2008, with a 24% increase in sales since January. The most common explanation for this spike is environmental awareness – less gas equals more green – but I believe the housewives, senior citizens and businesses buying the lion’s share of these vehicles are doing so for reasons more practical than altruistic.

Continue reading about electric bicycles

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