Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Weird Science: The Gas Quest

Tokyo is known around the world for being the centre of Japanese business. As Japanese companies are famous for being on the cutting edge of technology, one could reasonably expect that the Japanese would build a science centre that would suitably inspire visitors with their... sciencey-ness.... er....scienceosity.... erumm.... scientology? no... that's not it....

The Science Museum is located at Kudanshita Station, on the Hanzamon Subway Line. From Exit #2, walk up the street and head over the river on your left. It's quite scenic.

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Of course, the Science museum is logically located within what appears to be a traditional castle gate.

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YEah... that's what any respectable museum needs. A fort. The museum is in a large garden, in a fort. This is clearly what keeps it from being overrun by screaming masses of scantily clad teenage girls.

er.... don't mind them...they're headed for the nearby concert area.

/a warm welcome to anyone who's just joining us from Google. Sorry, today's post doesn't feature any pictures of "scantily clad teenage girls", but we'll have a girl in a bubble, a relatively hot robot and people riding a lot of things before we're done, so feel free to stick around.

Liquid Nitrogen, Earthquake Machines and a Bubble Girl!
Anyway, I'm sure that a lot of people were inspired by the various exhibits. For example, you can watch an official scientist (white lab coat = "official") play with liquid nitrogen in a workshop. You can also learn about various power grids, operate a crane and and even ride a simulator that allows you to experience an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale. All of these things are very interesting, especially the fact that the earthquake simulator allows you to see how the same earthquake feels in a "seismically isolated building" (aka really huge shock absorbers).

They had a machine that let you encase your friends in impenetrable walls of impervious, invincible, unbreakable bubble!
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Bwa ha ha!

Ride the Skycycle!
They also had a very....safe contraption called a "Skycycle". By allowing you to ride back and forth across a room on a bicycle suspended on a cable, the exhibit is designed to make you think about how people balance on their bicycles. It accomplishes this neat trick by first lulling you into a false sense of security on the first half of the trip, then scaring the living crap out of you by being totally out of control on the second half.

You might seem calm and composed...
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But really, it feels more like this...
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For example, the pedals are directly linked to the rail, and spin whether or not you pedal. This means that you have to either surrender control, or surrender a broken toe!

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Let me transcribe this rider's thought here...

Of course, no medium captures the sheer exhilaration of risking certain discomfort on the deadly padded floor below like.... grainy cell phone video! Go Atsushi!


Oh yeah... robots. I almost forgot.

Well, they had a bunch of them. The most memorable was this robot, which perfectly simulated human Customer Service at any major attraction!

1) It doesn't really care what you want.
2) It's really good at ignoring you.

3) Even if it did care, it can't really hear you. (Here the robot says "Sorry...excuse me... one more time please?")
4) But being Japanese and female, it's still impeccably dressed.


Really, though, I was more interested in finding some sort of meaning or purpose for my lactose intolerant existence.

FEAR NOT, young lactard. The Great and wise muse of science has a great and noble task for you. If you have the strength in your gut, and the power in your spleen, dare you accept....

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Yes! Yes, wise muse of science! I accept your gassy task!

First, young lactard, go out the front door of this room, then turn left. After that, just ask the man on the throne where you should go.

He will tell you many things, but know that The Gas Quest is far from over! You must journey forth to the ancient source of the Gassyness!

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The Methane Monument!

With the mythical cherub of squatty-fart!
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Here, you will study various mystic words, such as "Goo" and "Boo" which will help you comprehend the great, silent, deadly mystery.

And let no question of who dealt it, nor who smelt it, stand in your way.

Clench your courage, and then let go of yourself.

Surely, you will feel...... "Enlightenment"!
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English help:

Scientology: A cult famous for recruiting Hollywood celebrities like Tom Cruise. They're a bit crazy.

...impenetrable walls of impervious, invincible, unbreakable bubble: All of these words mean "strong" or "unbreakable". A bubble is actually easy to break. ; )

Gas Quest, Just ask the man on the throne: "Throne" is slang for "Toilet". "Gas" is a nice word for "farting".

And let no question of who dealt it, nor who smelt it, stand in your way. In North America, when one kid smelled something gross, and exclaimed "eeeewww!" another child would often reply with the rhyme "You smelt it, you dealt it!", which suggested that the child yelling "eeeewww" was only doing so to cover his own guilt.

"Enlightenment" There is a triple meaning here. 1) when you pass gas/go to the bathroom, you get lighter. 2) the light is making the statue brighter and 3) the light looks like something from heaven, implying spiritual "enlightenment" or wisdom.


Jarvik said...

We all know that whoever denied it supplied it.

Merry Man In Japan said...


and the one that said the rhyme is the one that did the crime.