The Japanese City Time Almost Forgot

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Kanazawa: New bullet-train service from Tokyo makes this city—a place of castles, gardens and geishas—a tempting side trip

Chaney Kwak writes:

Kanazawa, for the moment, anyway, is a refreshingly low-key affair. This 16th-century castle town of some 460,000 on Japan’s west coast has remained blissfully off the radar of most overseas travelers but has long been a favorite getaway for the Japanese, explaining why tickets for this month’s inaugural Shinkansen high-speed train service—which has cut travel time from Tokyo down to just two and a half hours from almost four—sold out in seconds. 

Designated a Unesco City of Crafts and Folk Art, Kanazawa has serious artistic credibility and is a center for artisans who produce lacquer ware, textiles and other crafts using traditional techniques. None of these is more identified with Kanazawa than gold leaf. True to the city’s name, which means golden marsh, Kanazawa produces virtually all the gold leaf made in Japan, where they like to cover everything from monuments to food with the stuff…(read more)

WSJ


[VIDEO] University of Tokyo Biped Robot Races Toward the Singularity at Record Speed

From JapanJun Hongo reports: A research team at the University of Tokyo has unveiled one of the fastest two-legged robots in the world that can reach speeds up to 4.2 kilometers per hour (2.6 mph).

While many robots are controlled using what is known as “zero moment point” dynamics to balance itself, the new robot uses a combination of a high speed camera and a stabilizing motor so that it can lean forward without tipping over, enabling it to run in a dynamic form, according to Prof. Masatoshi Ishikawa. The robot can even perform a somersault. Read the rest of this entry »