Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do Japanese kids want to be when they grow up? According to an annual poll by Dai-Ichi Mutual Life to elementary school and younger children, professional baseball player is the most popular occupation for boys, followed by football (soccer) player, and scholar/doctor. Food creator such as a pastry chef/baker is the most popular occupation with girls, followed by kindergarten teacher, and nurse. Baseball and football players had been the top two since the Dai-Ichi Mutual Life started the survey in 1989, but both fell to forth place in 1999. With Ichiro, Godzilla and Matsuzaka doing well in the Major League and Shunsuke Nakamura becoming MVP in the Scottish League, professional athletes seem to have regained popularity in the last several years. Carpenter came in fourth for boys, which I think is typically Japanese and reflects the craftsman culture.

Records in my my kindergarten year book show that I said "I want to become a stewardess, so Mummy, can I learn English?" I don't remember saying that at all!

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Singing Roads

There's a road that plays a song when you drive over it. The 320m-Melody Road running through Wakayama prefecture Kimino-cho Akagi area plays Kyu Sakamoto's "Miagetegoran Yorunohoshiwo" for about 30 seconds.

You need to keep the car windows closed to hear well.
Driving too fast will sound like playing fast-forward. Driving around 20km/h (12.5mph) has a slow motion effect, making you almost car sick, according to a report. 40km/h (25mph) sounds a bit slow. You get best results driving at 45km/h change in(28mph). The last sharp curve doesn't work that well.

"Melody Road" (patent pending) was first experimented in Hokkaido Shibetsu-gun Shibetsu-cho. According to the developer Mr. Shinoda of Shinoda Kogyo, he first heard a sound when driving over the grooves of the asphalt road which he had accidentally scraped by a bulldozer. Then he realised that the sound changed with the driving speed. So he thought, by adjusting the grooves, you could even turn it into a song. Melody Road has multiple thin grooves on the surface. The pitch changes by the groove interval; a narrow interval gives a high-pitched sound, and a wide one will give a low-pitch sound.

You can listen to the experiment sound by cliking on one of the icons (AIFF or WAV). The song is "Shiretoko Ryojyo".

These's also a Melody Raod in Numata-shi, Gunma prefecture, which plays "Natsuno Omoide (Summer Memories)".