Pointing and Calling (指差喚呼)

When you are travelling Japan you will observe very interesting things while using public transport. In a train or a bus the driver is likely to talk and seemingly magically point with his finger and wave his hand.

You will very likely observe a behavior that might not make sense at first but is fascinating to see. And all is to ensure the safety of the vehicle and all it’s passengers.

It might look like this:

Pointing and calling is a method in occupational safety for avoiding mistakes by pointing at important indicators and calling out the status. It is common in Japan and railways of China. It is sometimes referred to by its Japanese terms, shisa kanko (指差喚呼), shisa kakunin kanko (指差確認喚呼) or yubisashi koshō (指差呼称).

Making large gestures and speaking out the status helps keeping focus and attention. The method was first used by train drivers and is now commonly used in Japanese industry.

It is recommended by the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA, 中央労働災害防止協会)

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Pointing and calling requires co-action and co-reaction among the operator’s brain, eyes, hands, mouth, and ears.

Wikipedia

Thanks for 55997 hours of continuous service

Every once in a while a hard drive fails in our house. Since all is setup to tolerate one or more failed drives no data was lost with this incident.

This drive especially gives reason to look back as it is more old with more than 6 years of continuously being powered up.

“Kowloon Walled City” themed arcade in Kawasaki (あなたのウエアハウス)

While we were visiting Japan we usually stay quite close to Kawasaki. And with some hints we found that a replication of “Kowloon Walled City” had been put up as a video game arcade there.

Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned, densely populated settlement in Kowloon City, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories was leased to Britain by China in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. By 1990, the walled city contained 50,000 residents within its 2.6-hectare (6.4-acre) borders. 

Wikipedia: Kowloon Walled City

A partial recreation of the Kowloon Walled City exists in the Anata No Warehouse, an amusement arcade that opened in 2009 in the Japanese suburb of Kawasaki, Kanagawa. The designer’s desire to accurately replicate the atmosphere of the Walled City is reflected in the arcade’s narrow corridors, electrical wires, pipes, postboxes, sign boards, neon lights, frayed posters, and various other small touches that 

Wikipedia: Anata No Warehouse

I did not know a lot about the Kowloon Walled City before we found this arcade. And it’s – as you can imagine – a very colorful reproduction of the ambiance that you – according to documentations and reports from the time – would have experienced. Especially in the entrance area, the theming of the rooms and some game cabinets as well as for example the rest-rooms.

Of course there is a full blown quite nice but – as it is good custom – extremely noisy arcade in there as well. We’ve easily ‘lost’ 3 hours in there. Be aware that smoking is allowed in these places in Japan.

The first floor contained the UFO catcher machines and a good portion of vintage and modern arcade cabinets. I’ve had a go and Gradius and greatly enjoyed it. There’s a battery of Mech-Pods as well as racing and rythm games.

The second floor had lots of pachinko and other medal and slot machines. Even more noise than any arcade cabinets could do.

The third floor finally contains Dart and Snooker / Billard tables.

All in all it was one of the nicer arcades. Much nicer than others because there was a lot more room. It did not feel half als claustrophobic as an arcade usually feels in Japan.

celebrate Discoflux!

Hurray!

Discoflux is the holyday of of the season of Discord. It is celebrated on Discord 50 (Discordian calendar) or May 3 (Gregorian calendar). 

Celebration

The Principia Discordia doesn’t indicate what to do, but do something that promotes Discord, or maybe Disco.

Discordian Wiki

A good T-Shirt to celebrate, containing “Disco”:

Kawasaki Frontale vs. Vissel Kobe

First: I am not at all interested or knowledgeable in football / soccer. But…

Several times a year I am for multiple weeks in the area of Musashikosugi ((武蔵小杉) which is part of the greater Tokyo area in Japan.

And because of these stays – I’ve probably been there for the accumulated time of 1 year – I’ve got attached to this area / community over time.

This includes all those things the community shares on various places on the internet so to a small degree I can stay informed.

For example: There is a fantastic blog (as for many other communities in Tokyo) that specifically shares community related information about Musashikosugi.

To understand the context you need to know that I’ve worked for Rakuten. The number one eCommerce company in Japan. This surely kick-started my interest in Japan overall.

I know from my time at Rakuten that the company engaged in a couple of sport sponsorships. One of them was the J1 League football clubVissel Kobe“.

Kawasaki, the area of which Musashikosugi is part of, also has such a football team called “Kawasaki Frontale“.

Through said blog it came to my attention that there was a game between those two football teams and…

Kawasaki won the game!

So despite me not being particularly interested in sports this news was quite exciting to see. It almost feels like some local patriotism feelings come up. And with the direct connection to my past employment it get’s even more exciting.

Go Kawasaki, go!

Super Urban Intelligent CArd

Suica (スイカ Suika) is a rechargeable contactless smart card, electronic money used as a fare card on train lines in Japan, launched on November 18, 2001. The card can be used interchangeably with JR West’s ICOCA in the Kansai region and San’yō region in Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi Prefectures, and also with JR Central’s TOICA starting from spring of 2008, JR Kyushu’s SUGOCA, Nishitetsu’s Nimoca, and Fukuoka City Subway’s Hayakaken area in Fukuoka City and its suburb areas, starting from spring of 2010. The card is also increasingly being accepted as a form of electronic money for purchases at stores and kiosks, especially within train stations. As of October 2009, 30.01 million Suica are in circulation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suica

This time around we really made use of electronic payment and got around using cash whenever possible.

There where only a few occasions when we needed the physical credit card. Of course on a number of tourist spots further away from Tokyo centre cash was still king.

From my first trip to Japan to today a lot has changed and electronic payment was adopted very quickly. Compared to Germany: Lightning fast adoption in Japan!

The single best thing that has happened recently in this regard was that Apple Pay got available in Germany earlier this year. With the iPhone and Watch supporting SUICA already (you can get a card on the phone/watch) the availability of Apple Pay bridged the gap to add money to the SUICA card on the go. As a visitor to Japan you would mostly top up the SUICA card in convenience stores and train stations and mostly by cash. With the Apple Pay method you simply transfer money in the app from your credit card to the SUICA in an instant.

This whole electronic money concept is working end-2-end in Japan. Almost every shop takes it. You wipe your SUICA and be done. And not only for small amounts. Everything up to 20.000 JPY will work (about 150 Euro).

And when you run through a train station gate to pay for your trip it you hold your phone/watch up to the gate while walking past and this is it in realtime screen recorded:

I wish Germany would adopt this faster.

Oh, important fact: This whole SUICA thing is 100% anonymous. You get a card without giving out any information. You can top it up with cash without any link to you.

bliss is: waking up to this

This is how my bedroom sounds at 5 am. There’s barely light here in Germany but spring can’t hold it back. There are so many birds right around the house and in the garden around the house that it’s really really really impressive to hear.

Yes. I am not living in a city. And still you can barely hear the hum of cars/trucks in the background. Sadly.

I made this recording by holding my iPhone up in the air and with the Voice Recorder app included in the OS.

Nevertheless this is quite a contrast to the last 2+ weeks in Tokyo.

Constructive Feedback in Difficult Situations

This post is a good part just a “repost” of something I’ve read on Volkers blog: “How to Deliver Constructive Feedback in Difficult Situations” and I want to have noted down here as well.

We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication

There’s a good article about the book. Volkers article sparked my interest and I am reading.

not the only pope writing code

Recently news broke…

Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi noted in late 2016 that he was “still working on Pope Francis.” GeekWire reports that Partovi was able to cross that one off his bucket list Thursday, as he helped Pope Francis become ‘the first Pope to write a line of code’ at a ‘Programming for Peace’ event

slashdot

At first I was confused which pope could it be that has not written any code before. But I quickly realized that the news is about the 266th pope of the catholic church.

Of course a lot more popes already had coded before him. Evidently a lot earlier. And to complete the circle, make yourself comfortable: In discordianism you are a pope!

ポカヨケ

Poka-yoke (ポカヨケ, [poka yoke]) is a Japanese term that means “mistake-proofing” or “inadvertent error prevention“. A poka-yoke is any mechanism in any process that helps an equipment operator avoid (yokeru) mistakes (poka). Its purpose is to eliminate product defects by preventing, correcting, or drawing attention to human errors as they occur.[1] The concept was formalised, and the term adopted, by Shigeo Shingo as part of the Toyota Production System.[2][3] It was originally described as baka-yoke, but as this means “fool-proofing” (or “idiot-proofing“) the name was changed to the milder poka-yoke.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poka-yoke

Only in Japan

When you are searching the internet for more information and things to learn about Japan you will inevitably also find John Daub and his “Only in Japan” productions. And that is a good thing!

ONLY in JAPAN is a series produced in Tokyo by one-man band John Daub.  

Only in Japan Patreon page

Back in 2018 we even where around when John announced that he is going to live-stream.

And so we met up with him and eventually even said “Hi”.

this is John in full gear

Of course it wasn’t just us who got a good picture. We were part of the live stream as well – involuntarily as we had tried very hard to not be in frame.