Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Tokyo Motor Show 2007 – The Cars

Tokyo Motor Show 2007 - The Cars

Last Friday I was at the Tokyo Motor Show. Here are the photos.
My highlights were as follows:
Concepts: Mazda Taiki (pictured)
New model: Nissan GT-R
Car in my price range: Mustang
Luxury: Rolls Royce
Ugly: Mitsuoka Orochi

Tune in again tomorrow to see the Tokyo Motor Show girls….

How to Park your bike in Tokyo


Originally uploaded by James Hart.

Tokyo introduces a new concept in bicycle parking.
Currently undergoing trials in the Ariake Big Sight area in Tokyo Bay, the objective is to shave further vital seconds off the Salaryman’s journey to work in the morning.
The methodology is simple, yet brilliant. As the salaryman approaches the train station, he slams on his brakes, throws the bike on the pile and runs into the station in one effortless motion.
Returning in the evening on the last train, it may take a while to untangle his ride home, but his wife is already asleep in bed, so that’s of no concern.
Just remember, you saw it here first!

PASMO is released!

suica.jpgPASMO service has just started. It is a rechargeable magnetic (one touch) smart card train pass that works for all trains (JR and private), and buses. A similar card existed for JR only called SUICA, while the private lines and subways used a disposable card called PASSNET. This card you throw away when the debits have been used. And then the bus system also had a similar disposable card only for buses. So in the Tokyo area you had to carry around 3 cards all the time to use various transportation services.

I will tell the advantages and disadvantages of this PASMO.
advantages : I think these are main advantages.
We can do “touch and go” like SUICA in private, subway, bus too.
(This is nice! I must alway be nervous to suceed in putting such a thin card into a thin slot.)

We can use only one card, no need to have one for each line.
(This is nice too! because I have SUICA, train pass, PASSNET and bus card. If I don’t have them all, I need to buy ticket everytime, I can’t be bothered.)

When I go throgh the exit, if my remaining PASMO credits are not enough, my PASMO will be recharged automatically from my credit card (pre-registration is necessary)

Some private company will give you points for your use of PASMO. If you accumulate a certain number of points, you will be given various advantages. (I like this too. I use Odakyo, I can collect points and use them in stores, department stores and PASMO too )

And there were many inconveniences relating to these older systems as well. The transfer from a PASSNET line to a SUICA (such as in Shinjuku) can be very confusing for some people and it holds up the line. Basically you have to first put your PASSNET through the reader slot, and then swipe your SUICA across the magnetic pad. Many people, especially old people, people not from Tokyo, and some foreigners had troubles with this. Also, if your SUICA ran out before you could exit, you could recharge it inside the station before exiting, but for PASSNET, if your card runs out, there is usually no way to get another card inside the station, and exit (some stations sell PASSNET cards at their kiosks). So you had to line up in a long line at the adjustment machine and pay your total fare, then buy a new PASSNET once you’ve exited.
So although these systems (SUICA, PASSNET, and all Kanto area bus card) were a great improvement over the old system of every train line using different ticket systems, they still had inconveniences. The great thing about PASMO is that it combines all these together. We can use PASSMO on every major train (including JR, private, and subway) and bus. And after the introduction of PASMO, we can also use SUICA anywhere the PASMO card is accepted.

disadvantages : I have to be careful too.
You must be charged more than you used.
If you started at A station of X line, then transfered through Z line in the middle without going through exit, then go back to the final destination is B station in X line, then you will be charged a full A to B of X line. JR tends to be more expensive than private and lines, so this is a problem for many people. (めんどくさい)

Auto charge service won’t be available for bus, so bus user need to be careful.

You can not carry both a SUICA and a PASMO in the same pass case together (actually you don’t need it), if you do it, you got error. You need to choose Penguin or Robot. :-p

If you have kids, PASMO would be inconvenient because PASMO is available for only one person.

The name “PASMO” is a kind of funny commbination of the English word “pass” and the Japanese word “mo” (meaning “also”). The logo on the card has a picture of a train and then the word “mo”, the a picture of a bus and the word “mo”, then finally the word pasmo. So we can kind of get a feeling of its “all inclusiveness” from the name. Bus mo, train mo, pasmo. :-)

Living inside Narita Airport

This might explain why it always takes so long to taxi at Narita. Oliver at TokyoAhead points us to Google Earth photos that apparently show the contorsions that had to be done in building Narita airport due to Land-owners who refused to sell up.
The difficulties that the Japanese Government encountered in appropriating land for Narita and the effect on the airport, in terms of construction delays and shortened runways, were major reasons for the construction of Kansai and Chubu airports on reclaimed land. You can read more about the controversy surrounding the airport on AsiaCable and at Wikipedia.

The Best Underground Transit Systems in the world

Metro_2This is interesting news: Virgin Vacations decides the Top 11 Underground Transit Systems in the world.

No.1 is London, England. It’s Europe’s largest metro subway system and is the world’s oldest underground system. No.2 is Paris, France which is a the second oldest in the world. No.3 is Moscow, Russia! (really!) It has the biggest ridership of all metro systems throughout the world. Hmm I wanna try it. No.4 is Madrid, Spain! (really!). It’s the second largest underground system in Europe. Then No.5 is Tokyo, Japan. It carries approximately 2.8 billion people per year to 282 subway stations. Hm, okay. BUT I can’t agree with the later part! In addition to underground subways, the Tokyo transit system consists of the Toden Arakawa light rail line (one train car!) and the Ueno Zoo Monorail (run between only two stations!). What? Where is JR, auto driving train Yurikamome, and other major railways? Actually I have never ridden the Ueno Zoo Monorail (monkey train!) . Strange article…orz.

Anyway when you use the subway in Tokyo, to choose a transfer point is very hard. On the train map, you can see two lines are connected to each other, but sometimes you have to walk very long to transfer. And you need to be careful when you use Oedo line and make an appointment. Their stations are built in very deep and you may take 10 minuste returning to the ground after you get off trains. Here is an English train route finder. It will help you when you come to Tokyo. By the way, talking about the Tokyo subway, some will remember this Sarin attack. I remember the day because my mom called me at my job to ask, "Are you okay?"


Himiko “Waterbus” arriving at Lalaport Urban Dock, Toyosu.
Posted from my mobile phone

Woops! Himiko, not Hitomi…

2 Wheels for a Girl

Japanese girls can ride a Motorbike and still look ladylike.

Beginner’s Guide to the Trains in Tokyo


The Greggman has a great write-up of his advice for using the trains in Tokyo: click here
I’ve had people who come to visit get very lost & confused on the trains here (of course I never have done myself…), so this should come in handy.


Equal Time.

Okay, I took a ride on the Seibu line the other day. You know what stood out? That’s right, I did not hear a single female voice from the rear of the train announcing stations. Not only that, I didn’t see any female drivers. I guess the Chuo line is a bit more progressive than the Seibu line. For what it is worth, I have seen female announcers on the Keio line. This new phenomena of women driving is not a new one.

I am seeing more and more girls doing the pedaling and the guys riding on the back of bikes. I am sorry, but this is just wrong. Call me old-fashioned.

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How was your commute this morning ?

Electricity was stopped in wide area of Tokyo and Chiba this morning, at around 7:40 a.m.
I watched news on TV about some of trains were stopped, stations were dark, and lifts were stopped with people inside them. Horrible.
Fortunately, most part of Kanagawa area were not affected, that means my computer is ok.

If you were in the train, station, lift(hope you were not) at that time, please let us know.
How was that ?

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