Sunday, July 10, 2005

World Expo 2005 - Aichi

With the World Expo being held in Aichi, Japan - how could I not go? It's a lifetime opportunity staring me in the face and ofcourse another opportunity to meet up with Rui before she leaves.

Rui, Yu-chan and Maki-kun were driving there from Saitama, so I took a shinkansen to Nagoya and met up with them there. The guys had organised everything - they were hardcore so it was nice for Rui and I to just take it easy and relax.

The expo was crowded as and the weather on Friday was way too hot. In Japan, I guess considering the population density, they love their queues and long lines. It was just crazy. The longest we could be arsed waiting was 2 hours for the Toyota Pavilion, but it was really good - I reckon the best out of all that we managed to see. It was a huge dome showroom made out of recycled materials and featured a robot band ie. robots walking around playing musical instruments, crazy Japanese b-boy MC/rapper with funky dance moves, acrobatic guy suspended above the crowd, dancers and Toyota's new i-foot? can't remember what it was called but it's like an electric walker where you can sit in it and control it to move around, and also the single passenger transport modules. Very sci-fi and entertaining, especially with the flames and water that shooted out of the ground.

Apparently the Hitachi Pavilion was the most popular, waiting time being 4 hours I heard. That's ridiculously insane! But the main feature was the 3D computer animated virtual endangered animals brought to life that you could control and play with.

We also went to the Mitsu-Toshiba Pavilion which scanned in your faces and cast you as a member of this space adventure computer animated movie. Very interesting. My part was the genius computer programmer 'authority' haha Rui was a 'receiver' - one in tune with nature and yadda yadda, Yu-chan was the hero guy, a 'guardian' and we think Maki-kun was the 'brain' haha we couldn't figure it out. It was all in Japanese but we kinda got the story.

The JR (Japan Rail) Pavilion showcased the new shinkansen train which uses electro-magnetic propulsion (I think?). Anyways it's in the Guiness Book of Records for being the fastest clocking up 581 km/h. We waited awhile to watch the 3D movie but besides the nice air conditioning and yeah ok the graphics were good, as Yu-chan put it "It sucked!" hahaha Everyone fell asleep except me, but I guess because they were buggered from the long drive up.

We saw the lifelike infobot which could speak Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. I thought she looked kinda scary and when we said 'hello', it answered back in Korean. Riiight.

I thought the Australian Pavilion was okay considering the bad reports from other mates who went. There were 3 rooms. One with an animated show about the dreamtime and beginning of life? (I was standing in the back and the Japanese voice over was drowning out the English voice over) next was a room with televisions of Australia lifestyle and music made from everyday sounds (remember that TV ad about Aussie apples and they're in the factory making noise/music from all the sounds? h'ok here's an easier example - think Pringles ad). Last room had a huge ass platypus and info about Australia - perfect photo opportunity background. They also had a Sunday session style pub set up with the footy on the bigscreen, serving burgers and Fosters haha they even had a cop walking around in the uniform - niiice.

Pretty lame but we ended up eating Pizza-La for lunch and buying Australian goods from the Australian Pavilion haha but we went to a Turkish restaurant for dinner complete with a bellydancing show.

Our business hotel was a fair drive away but very nice. The breakfasts were good too.

The next day it rained for ages and we checked out the country pavilions (New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan, Philippines, China, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Kazakhstan and a whole heap of others I can't remember - I think Mexico was the best).

We also waited for ages for the Mitsubishi Pavilion with the talking robots and the themed show "What if the moon didn't exist?" Pretty impressive.

We had Malaysian roti prata for lunch and smoked turkey legs for dinner. They were so good.

Japanese love their omiyage (souvenirs) and it's kind of protocol to bring back souvenirs for your workmates, especially that place's famous food. So we spent awhile in the mad crush to buy omiyage and World Expo biscuits, chocolates and whatnots.

Day 3 they dropped me at Nagoya station and we had Nagoya's famous flat udon noodles and pork katsu for lunch. I shinkansen-ed it back home and they drove back to Tokyo/Saitama.

I was so buggered but really enjoyed the whole experience. The only regret would be not being able to see the mammoth head. The line for that was about 4 hours long!


At 5:47 pm, Blogger Paul said...

Roti prata! dammit...lucky.


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