Monday, August 23, 2004

Tokyo's neon lights never turn off and it's difficult to experience pitch darkness these days. Can you even remember what it is like being in perfect darkness?
"Dialog in the Dark 2004 Tokyo" - is an exhibition running until Sep 4 in Aoyama, Tokyo. It's a very unique workshop that lets you experience pitch darkness and recover your balance of the five senses.
Human beings depend on their visual sense to receive 80% of their external sensory information. If you lose your eyesight, what is it like? Surely you must have had a taste of the fear and anxiety when surrounded by complete darkness. After a period of time, though, you overcome (apparently) the anxiety and you instinctively try using your hands to touch and feel your environment. You will also smell things around you and feel the air flows. Basically your non-sight senses sharpen, and you start to feel something you would never be able to feel while sighted.
At this exhibition, your eyes are covered and you are lead by visually impaired people in a small group of 10 for an hour. You get to listen to water flows, enjoy a drink at a bar counter, etc. Since this remarkable exhibition started in Germany in 1989, it has been held in over 14 nations and over 100 cities, and has had more than 2 million attendees.
If you're interested in attending, you can purchase tickets from this website.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Keeping Cool

It's been hot here in Tokyo with average of 35C (approx 95F) degrees, and until this last week, it didn't fall below than 30C (approx 86F) degrees at night for days on end. Every day, the news announcements say that quite a number of people were taken to hospitals suffering from heat stroke. It really makes me wonder if this is just global warming or something else.
When you go outside, you might notice most building air conditioning facilities blow hot air straight out on to the street. In addition, the road re-radiates solar energy, automobiles emit auto exhaust, and in Tokyo at least, there is little green nor dirt to lessen the impact of such heat.
Well, here's something you can do to cool down the city. Sprinkle water! There's an event you can join without going out or costing you money: "Uchimizu Daisakusen (Water Sprinkling Operation)" is scheduled from Aug 18 - 25. The concept is simple - sprinkle water around your house, work place, town, etc., at noon during this period.
The first city-wide experiment was conducted last year, and researchers found that if 1m people were to sprinkle water at the same time, Tokyo's temperature would drop an estimated 2C degrees. Uchimizu isn't anything new, but rather a tradition that people left behind when they modernized. You might still see some elder people sprinkle waters mornings and early evenings in your old neighborhood.
Uchimizu is simple. Just use a bucket, or a bottle, or any kind
of water container, and sprinkle the water on the ground,
street, or even the walls of your house/apartment. Using tap
water is not recommended, since it is a waste of a natural
resource. However, using non-potable water, such as the cooling
water from your air conditioners, bath tub, rain water, etc.,
does just fine.