Not so much a local custom - moreso a wacky local regulation. I saw this at a pedestrian crossing and just had to take a picture. The information on the right advises "No Smoking", whilst the information on the left tells us not to drop our cigarette butts. What should I do if I'm in the middle of a smoke when I see this? Eat it?
Unlike most Japanese cities, Nagoya restricts smoking in public places. Pedestrian crossings are one such example. Something to bear in mind if you are a smoker.
Nagoya City Art Museum
The Nagoya City Art Museum offers exhibits of famous artwork. When I was there I saw a Van Gogh exhibit. It's located close to Sakae and worth checking out if you are into art. Admission is around 1100 yen.
Expo 2005 Aichi
"Visit to Expo 2005 Aichi"
Greetings! Just got back and wanted to give my two cents...
I had a fantastic time! This fair gets High marks! It appears that the Japanese government spared little expense in creating the event. The size of the expo was amazing! If you are worried about the language difference……I found that the pavilion guides were very friendly and enjoyed practicing their English. I for one was impressed; their English was far superior to my Japanese!
It was fun watching the young Japanese women get a big smile, and then start to giggle as we approached them, knowing that they were going to have to use their English. They were surprised/appreciative when we initially greeted them in Japanese, but were also not fazed by how quickly we turned to English when our Japanese ran out!
Back to the Expo. We spent 2 days at the fair but never even had a chance to visit the Interactive Fun Zone( with its Robot station), the Growing Village(where visitors could climb trees and visit furniture/buildings built from growing trees), Family Island (with its 88 meter tall Ferris wheel and other rides), the Forest Experience Zone(with its gardens, Forest School, and Satsuki & Mei’s House-which is a really big deal in the Japanese animation world) or the NGO Global Village where nonprofit organizations set up exhibits.
We took a bus from the main Nagoya station to/from the park daily (took approx. 30 in each direction). Had heard reports of long delays using the new Linimo Service ( magnetically levitated maglev railway), and decided we would rather spend our time at the park. Arrived 15 minutes before park opening at the East Gate, and even though the lines were long, made it thru the gate within 15 mins. I had purchased my Expo tickets on line in advance, and had them sent to my hotel in Nagoya who then shipped them to me here in the US. This enabled me to take advantage of the on line reservation service in order to get into the busiest Corporate pavilions. I have to admit, the extra effort made our visit much more enjoyable. You are able to make 2 advanced reservations a day on line. By having the reservation, we basically entered the pavilions thru a VIP line and walked right to the front of the line, 5 minutes waiting at tops!
The first week of May was Japan’s GOLDEN WEEK which is a major holiday. Numbers at the Expo were greatly increased due to people being on vacation. Prior to Golden Week, the expo was seeing 70-80,000 visitors a day, during Golden Week, it shot up above 120-140,000! We visited right after Golden Week and found very few lines, except at the major corporate pavilions and the larger, “big draws” such as the Global House (with its mammoth), the Japanese National Pavilion and the German Pavilion (which had up to a 2 hour wait at times). Some of the other pavilions had small lines that were basically used to space groups of people from being right on top of each other and lasted no longer that a few minutes.
Everyone talks about how expensive the food and drink were at the Expo, I did not find it any more expensive than at other amusement parks, sporting events or concerts. A meal was easy to find for 1000 yen. Vending machines for drinks were abundant. A bottled Coke was 120 yen.
Review of the exhibits:
Wonder Circus (Electric Power Companies)-a large, brightly colored pavilion decorated with children’s drawings on its façade and a water playground laid out in front. The pavilion included a train ride themed “Earth, Humanity and Dreams” which took you thru different scenes including a large kaleidoscope, outer space, under the sea, a room devoted to the changing seasons and finally an area devoted to traditional festivals held in Japan. The ride was very visual, lots of color and sounds. I found it very enjoyable, fantastic for kids!
JR Central Pavilion (Japanese railroad)-devoted to superconducting linear motor systems-included a 3D movie, life sized walk thru Maglev coach, various exhibits on current technology-interesting information.
"Expo Aichi-PART 2"
JAMA Wonder Wheel-(Japan Auto Makers)- one of the easiest to recognize at the fair-impressive size-a large Ferris wheel-half of which is enclosed within a large red structure with projected images of transportation thru the ages, the other half (and by far the best) was the exposed part of the ride where you could see the Expo site. The exhibit also included a walk-thru area of concept vehicles. Mitsubishi Pavilion- theme: What if the moon did not exist? A Pre-show welcome by Wakamaru, a yellow robot attendant, followed by a dialogue between an animated moon and earth discussing their shared history . All of this leading up to a theatre which revealed “a concept of life without the moon, and the wonders of Earth and the environment". The movie projection was called IFX theatre and involved a combination of images, mirrors and sound effects projected onto multiple surfaces. One of the most amazing scenes was of life sized whales swimming around the room! Very Cool!
Toyota Group- One of the best structures at the fair. The main show (robots playing instruments and a Cirque du Soleil-like performance featuring the company’s prototype i-unit people movers) was very visual, it was also really cheesy. Not one of my favorites. Most people seemed to love the show.
Hitachi Pavilion-Nature Contact-Upon entering the pavilion a digital photo is taken of you. Next, you are given a hand held device used to learn information and watch short movies about endangered species as you walk thru the queue on way to a ride. The ride itself is fun! You are seated side by side in a 4-passenger car, given a visor to wear and a second, device to place on your right hand. The car takes you to various locations (sea, forest, savannah) where you encounter endangered species in their natural habitat. Using the visor & hand control you can see the animals in 3D and actually have them come up to you and sit on your hand or pet their shouts. At the end of the pavilion, you can use your Expo admission ticket to see a picture of yourself on the ride, and then pull up the picture on your home computer and print it out as a souvenir!
Did not make it to the Mitsui-Toshiba pavilion with its movie “Grand odyssey” where your face is inserted into the movie and you become the actor, the Mountain of Dreams with its roof suggestive of Mt Fuji, or the Gas Pavilion and its magic show.
The nations are divided into groups based on continents and located around an elevated walk, the Global Loop. The Loop is a pretty amazing architectural feature. It is barrier free, 21 meters wide and runs 2.6 km in length.
I was able to visit most of the pavilions during my visit. The Andean Amazonian Pavilion was not yet open. Never got into the Argentine Republic either-kept missing the show times.
Having stood in line for over an hour to see the German Pavilion I have to admit that although the rollercoaster ride was fun, the visuals left a lot to be desired. It had the look of 98% of the cost going into the ride and 2% of the funds being spent on content. Disappointing. The post-show was an interesting display of biotechnology based on nature…a similar theme to the presentations of both France and the UK (which I personally liked with its relaxing garden of art and interactive stations).
It was great to see a U.S. pavilion (with its hi-tech salute to Benjamin Franklin). The post show was the best part of the pavilion to me. It included the Mars explorer, copies of the 1902 Wright glider & the Cassini-Huygens Saturn spacecraft, a GM prototype sports car, and a hydrogen fuel cell designed for home use.
Mexico had a beautiful pavilion that highlighted its diversity and was higly visual. Exhibits covered the country’s ecosystems, artifacts, art, and lifestyle.
Another favorite was the Korean pavilion which featured a variety of media including animated film, live performances, and exhibits of art, history, culture and industry. My favorite display was a screen that took your shadow and slowly transformed it into a beautiful, flowering tree!
"Expo Aichi-PART 3"
China’s pavilion, while being one of the largest, was beautiful but somewhat cold. Tries to be impressive but left me feeling I had seen a lot of nothing.
Spain’s ceramic outer walls were impressive as were the exhibits featuring Don Quixote, Spanish technical innovations and contemporary heroes.
I enjoyed the French pavilion even though the film shown was serious. One of the few pavilions that actually made you think about things that aren’t necessarily perfect, beautiful, or full of hope. The countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland shared a somewhat disappointing pavilion entitled “Oasis in the North”. The Russian Federation had a large, visually busy pavilion filled with everything from models of power plants to nesting dolls. You could have spent hours trying to read everything, but it just couldn’t keep your attention for very long. Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Egypt all took their standard warehouse building and created interesting architectural facades.
The Czech Republic took the theme “The Garden of Fantasy & Music” creating a place where music and visuals became interactive. It was fascinating! Was able to play the “water piano” , “light trumpet” & create music with the numerous other creations found within the exhibit. Difficult to explain but truly one of the most inventive exhibits I have ever seen.
The Singapore Pavilion was another pleasant pavilion. As you entered the 1st room, you were handed a clear umbrella. Finding yourself surrounded by screens and trees made of glass, metal and concrete, a rain shower fell from the ceiling while you watched the movie. My favorite part of the pavilion however was the Library. This room contained thousands of “books”, each containing a single object donated by a Singapore native. Along with the object, information about the individual was presented so that you got a glimpse into their life. Items include photos, momentos, jewelry and many other objects.
Other highlights included Japan’s bamboo covered pavilion with its spherical theatre. You stand on a clear platform in the center of a sphere and watch a movie that completely surrounds you and is projected on all surfaces (amazing!!!!), Jordan’s miniature Dead Sea that you could take a dip (actually, float in), Switzerland’s exhibit built beneath a building-sized replica of the Alps, Poland’s salt mine, Croatia’s unique salt-making tour, (Don’t ask me why there was such an emphasis on salt) and Turkey’s exhibit of art & design based on the geometry of nature.
India Pavilion, with its beautiful facade was based on the symbols of the Bodhi Tree and the Dharmachakra (symbolizing Buddha’s turning the Wheel of Truth. Each of the wheels 8 spokes represent one of the 8 tenets of Buddhist belief). Marigold blooms mark the entrance to great exhibits.
Many of the Middle Eastern pavilions were based around their oil production and although slick in appearance were light on information.
I was disappointed with the “shared pavilions” of Africa, the Pacific Islands, Central America and Central Asian countries. Although each had a few bright spots, on the whole they were pretty lack luster.
I found that almost every country had either a gift shop or sold food, if not both. Some pavilions felt as if they were only there to sell merchandise. At Cuba you could buy coffee, rum drinks or cigars. There was a small area in the pavilion devoted to photographs of Che Guevara.
The Seto site is accessed by cable car from the main Nagakute area & was smaller and focused more on the nature of the local forest and how man and nature can coexist and still prosper. The Civic Pavilion/ Kaisho Plaza area areas where visitors participate in workshops, make local crafts & watch performances. The Aichi Pavilion Seto features exhibits focused on Forest life, local animals that are now extinct, and a wonderful display of insects made from recycled objects by the children of Aichi!
I had a great time at Expo 2005 and could have spent another day or 2. I highly recommend the trip if you get the opportunity.