Category Archives: Japan: Video, TV, Movies

Video Series “Only in Japan”: Part 1 – Bicycle Valet

Bike movers in Japan ready for deploymentLet me introduce for you the first in our series of “Only in Japan” videos, made by two professional screenwriter/directors while they were living in Tokyo.

Simon Adams (who provided a previous article as a guest writer), and Andrew Johnson were pleased to offer us the “exclusive” internet screening rights (yeah right..) to their vids for We will introduce one “Only in Japan” video every week, for the next 4 or 5 weeks, so come back soon..!

For those who have been to Japan (or are stuck here like us), you surely wouldn’t have missed the bicycle parking area attendants (job description: bike mover), who swarm upon weary cyclists who dare to enter their mama-chari domains – there is no escaping them. Bicycle parking attendants took a stronghold in Japan after the「自転車の安全利用の促進及び自転車等の駐車対策の総合的推進に関する法律」(quite a mouthful for a law about bike parking lots!) was introduced in 1981.
Continue reading Video Series “Only in Japan”: Part 1 – Bicycle Valet

Video: Pitagora Suicchi

TV ピタゴラスイッチ (Pitagora Suicchi)The Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) has been running a show called “Pitagora Suicchi” ピタゴラスイッチ, (direct translation: “Pythagorean Switch”) for about 4 years now. It is an educational show overseen by Masahiko Satou (佐藤雅彦), aimed at assisting the development of kids minds, allowing them to think differently.

The program is mainly puppet based and really is only directed at young kids. However, of more interest for us kids at heart, the show is augmented with short sequences of contraptions called “Pitagora Souchi” (ピタゴラ装置). In English these are called “Rube Goldberg machines” (exceedingly complex devices that perform simple tasks in very indirect and convoluted ways). ピタゴラスイッチ (Pitagora Suicchi)These creations, as with most other cool gadgets and technology in the last century, have been perfected by the Japanese. Despite only using simple household items, they are mesmerising to watch, and must take days, or even weeks to perfect. I used to get frustrated with Dominos when I was a kid, but imagine trying to get something like these working!

To watch the video of Pitagora Souchi‘s gathered from many episodes of the show, Continue reading Video: Pitagora Suicchi