FTV asks foreigners what they think of the way Japanese train conductors make all their announcements in a nasal voice (hanagoe):
The practice apparently dates back to when trains were loud and clanky and had low quality microphones and speakers. Announcements made in a nasal voice were easier to hear over all of the noise.
The TV show stopped Japanese people and foreigners and asked them to listen to train announcements in a normal voice and a nasal voice. Eight out of ten Japanese people preferred the nasal voice. The result for the foreigners was the exact opposite: eight out of ten foreigners thought the normal voice was better.
According to the foreigners interviewed, Japanese trains also have more automated announcements than other countries. Some countries, however, have even more elaborate announcements: In Spain, automated train announcements are presented in the form of a conversation between male and female voices.
Categories: General Japan
When the March 11th earthquake struck Japan, I was at Tokyo Disneyland. Inside the park, I saw absolutely no damage from the quake, but when I exited Disney and walked around the streets of Urayasu City, I saw quite a bit of cracked and damaged streets. The above photo, which I snapped in front of Maihama Station, demonstrates the effects of soil liquefaction:
The liquefaction left houses and power poles tilting in many areas.
Liquefaction occurs when saturated sandy ground, such as that found in reclaimed land and marshes, is loosened by a strong earthquake. The unconsolidated sand becomes like muddy water. This muddy water gushes up through cracks and opening in sidewalks and roads, and then drains away to leave the sand on the ground.
The latest earthquake caused ground subsidence of up to 50 centimeters, which destroyed underground water and sewerage pipes.
Reclaimed land usually stabilizes with time. Some areas along Tokyo Bay were reclaimed during the Edo period (1603-1867) and before World War II. However, the areas hit hardest by liquefaction during the March 11 earthquake had been reclaimed after the war with sediment taken from the seabed. In those areas, digging down a few meters will reveal a saturated sandy layer.
The Tokyo Disney Resort was also built on recently reclaimed land. Why did it not suffer from liquefaction?
The answer, as explained in this FTV news video, is sand compaction piling:
The sand compaction pile method, developed in Japan about 50 years ago, uses steel pipes to insert large amounts of compacted sand into the ground, strengthening relatively weak soil against liquefaction.
Sand compaction piles were placed under the Tokyo Disney Resort and Haneda Airport, and both survived the earthquake without suffering significant liquefaction damage.
“Nanikore” travels to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture to show us a truly awesome dog house:
The dog lives in a mini castle! It’s a 2.5-meter-high replica of Matsumoto Castle. The dog’s owner spent 6 months and 50,000 yen to build it. It contains one main room, plus a rear room in which the dog can hide during thunder storms. There is also a separate room with a sand floor, which is meant to offer a surface on which the dog can feel cool during the summer months.
The “Mezashi TV” takes a look at some of the interesting features of Japanese “Print Club” [Purikura] photo booths:
For years now, such photo booths made girls happy by washing out the colors in photographs to make one’s skin look smoother and lighter. In the last few years, photo booth manufacturers have strengthened these “beautifying” capabilities and have added another key feature: eye enlargement. The result is a photo that looks “cuter” but bears little resemblance to the person who actually stepped into the booth.
Here is what photo booths did to a FTV production staff guy & Mona Lisa:
It turned the man into a freakish alien-like creature, but girls on the street thought that it made Mona Lisa look “cute.” Some informal polling showed that girls are pretty satisfied with the results of their purikura photos. However, when men were asked to compare an actual photo of a woman with her post-purikura face, about half of them preferred the unaltered natural version. Since most girls aren’t taking these photos to impress men, the negative opinions a lot of guys have about them probably don’t matter so much.
Note: Some people may look at this post and assume that the popularity of skin-lightening and eye-enlargement features in purikura photo booths is evidence that “Japanese girls want to look White” or “Japanese girls want to look like anime characters.” Nothing in the report indicates that the girls have any such desire. They seem to just think that bigger eyes look cuter, and the skin-lightening feature erases pimples, wrinkles, and other blemishes that reduce cuteness.