Land O’ Engineers

Japan is really proud of it’s industrial heritage and engineering skills. It’s on display everywhere.

You can’t go through any town without seeing a warren of bridges and canals and elevated highways:

Trains on bridge near Ochanomizu Station

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Construction sites also have to happen on a massive scale and surround themselves with a bit of mystique:

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There are even ads for robotics and machine tooling companies:

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But nowhere is it more obvious of how big their engineering culture is than when you ride the Shinkanzen bullet train. We took it between Kyoto and Tokyo, where the N700 rips along at over a kilometer every fifteen seconds.

At that speed you only have a few seconds to take anything in; many things pass by too fast for your eyes to focus on or for your visual cortex to comprehend. You literally can watch clouds change perspective as you whiz by.

But don’t take my word for it; here’s a video of our trip. I particularly like how the rice paddies come in and out of perspective:


As you whip through the Japanese countryside, you also see strange industrial installations. There’s a Fujitsu elevator factor in the middle of nowhere; it has a giant, many hundred foot tower that is presumably for testing the elevators before they ship. You fly by the huge Sanyo Sun Ark, an interestingly shaped solar lab.

Japan’s countryside is also about man triumphing over nature. Power lines come down from the lush, cloud-swept mountains and gingerly step their way across terraced rice paddies.

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A great journey and a fitting representation of the country.