The Yamanote Line is the most famous and well-travelled train line in Tokyo. Each station on the Yamanote plays a song (eki-melo, "train melody", 発車メロディ or "hassha melody") when trains are about to depart, differing by platform, direction and station. Click any post to listen to that station's eki-melo! (Links to sound clips can be tricky to discern - begin with the station list, find a station you like and then click on the title of song which follows the platform & station names.) [more inside]
How long does it take to get from Tokyo to Hakata riding the Nozomi #11 on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen line? About 5 hours and 14 minutes.
The funicular railway is a kind of cable-based railway that gives me great joy because of its peculiar shape and its uselessness for doing anything other than what it does. A funicular carriage is generally stairstepped or terraced, so you can't repurpose these cars for other uses. They generally work in a particular way, too, as pairs: one goes up the mountain, one comes down the mountain! Maybe this kind of glee is why they seem to be especially popular in Japan today, where they can be taken to many popular sightseeing areas--but a fair number of funicular railway riders are probably there for the journey, not the destination. [more inside]
Alright! Let's go on a journey — through time and space! There are 95 Pokemon stamps! Let's get all of them!
"And much like Christmas, originally about the birth of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about buying things for people and hoping that they buy more things for you, much how Easter, originally about the death of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about receiving rabbit- or egg-shaped chocolates, now and forever Obon is about collecting all of the Pokemon." Japan, trains, marketing, pachinko, hordes of stamp-seeking children.
Ping Pong Pang Pong ... (MIDI file). Archives of public transport departure chimes and announcements. From Japan, MIDI files [+] [+] (via Boingboing) and live recordings [+] [+] of various elaborate tunes (no I don't speak Japanese, just keep clicking the blue links until you hit an MP3!). European recordings [+]. The very excellent Shonen Knife used a sample of the Osaka subway chimes in their rockin' cover version of the Carpenter's 'Top of the World.' (WFMU archive here, click "Hear the show", song starts with Osaka chimes at approximately 15:23)
Kazumi Namiki uses a slit camera to capture panoramic pictures onto a whole roll of film. He uses his slit camera to take photographs of Japanese railway trains; lots and lots of trains. [via boingboing]
In Japan, a grope-free ride. Female commuters get a break from men's feelings. With the massive Japan Railways system now taking its first tentative step toward women-only cars, many anticipate segregation of the sexes could become widespread.