Railway Stowaway

2017’s Densha De GO!! updated the 1996 classic with some neat features like sounding your horn in salute to trackside workers. But the basics are the same: Drive the train when told, stop the train when told. Don’t go too fast; don’t go too slow. Don’t stop at the wrong place on the platform – you’re measured to the centimetre.

Railway Stowaway

Nerd Incubators

Since 2006, most Tokyo game centres have housed dark rows of glowing pods that look like a clandestine genetic experiment from The X Files. Inside these nerd incubators are rich supplies of gamer nutrition flowing to every available inlet of the body.

Nerd Incubators

Getaway Car

Arcade hardware is an aid to escapism. Just travelling to the arcade makes a ceremony of leaving your life behind – better than just tuning out your bedsit scraps and empties. Climb into a cabinet, climb into a game.

Getaway Car

On Wiping

Tokyo has its ways of doing things, and as much as it will welcome The New, there is no automatic supersession of The Old. Certainly, the encroachment of the digital into daily life need not usurp the basic dignities of physical presence, such as cleanliness or well-mannered comportment.

On Wiping

Now Wash Your Hands

There has long been a trend of reporting on Japan that selects and spins niche, non-news stories to contribute to a collaborative caricature of “Weird Japan”. One popular pastime is to point at sexual perversions – where many “perversions” are merely wayward of Western norms, presented absent acknowledgement or awareness of the imperfections in how we all cope with sex the world over.

Now Wash Your Hands