Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yay, the train is here ... now what?

It's been months since the citizens of Shukuzu could count actual train service amongst the benefits of living in their fair ward. Sure, the weather is always perfect and none of them have to do anything other than stand around all day long, but no running trains makes for a boring city when your legs don't actually move and all the cars have doors that are sealed shut. It almost seems comical that even a taxi will have doors that don't open given how they all operate by magic remote handles from the drivers seat in the rest of Japan, but there you have it. Shukuzu is a different place.

But they are safe now, the happy little citizens. Service resumed today with a line twice as long as the original and now they no longer even have to wait for the train out in the glaring 75 watt sun. The underground station is in place, although the tunneling itself is only roughly finished.

Calamity still obviously reigns on the surface, with overturned trucks and eerily smiling engines. But, after production delays with the extensive tunneling through two layers of the town, plus a faulty switch pulling the entire line off service, there are some happy faces in the hastily laid out town.

Monday, April 25, 2011


There was an earlier version of this post, replete with anime and Godzilla movie monsters tearing through Shukuzu, but after the earthquake and tsunami it was obviously going to be in poor taste. If there is anything at all positive to be taken from the disasters in Japan, it's that they are guaranteed to recover from this, and that they will do so in their uniquely Japanese way. Clean up, regroup, and then start rebuilding, replacing two story buildings that were swept away with 10 story modern structures that will withstand the next disaster. It is a country trained in resurrecting itself every few generations.

We'll continue on with Shukuzu in the same way. The cute, antiquated surface lines are being upgraded to include an underground line, easing congestion on the surface streets and opening up additional land for housing and office high rises. A Shinkansen loop will encircle the city, opening up even faster transit routes for little plastic people who otherwise have no where else to go.

Construction has already begun and is progressing rapidly, at least according to the traditional time frames most building projects seem to take around here. A crude tool and overwhelming force can go a long ways.

And because I am a sucker for time lapse videos, especially when they use shift-tilt photography to heighten the sense of peering down on a small little world, another video of life in Tokyo. The streets of Tokyo have been darkened to save power, which you would expect would take some of the hustle out of the city at night but instead it just leads to more people apologizing politely for running in to each other.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A separate cast(e)

It would be a rare creator who didn't want to envision their little world as a perfectly egalitarian society, free from the banal prejudices of modern life, but it would rarely be true.  The truth is that all are not created equal, and some will be pigeonholed, marginalized or outright discriminated against for their minor little differences.

Take the three fine gentlemen above, for example.  They're all to scale, they've all got the requisite number of limbs and aren't oddly tall or short, but they are definitely not created equal.  These three future citizens of Shukuzu will face an immediate classification based solely on subtle differences in their appearance that really only appear if you spend the time to look for them.

Our fine, upstanding gentleman on the right is representative of his class; expensive, highly detailed, and as flawless as you can expect from a person the size of a grain of rice.  It is exactly those qualities that will see his kind marginalized within Shukuzu, pricing his way out of the common realm and left to make only scattered appearances, usually in some functional capacity such as our porter here.

Our suave hipster in the middle is just that.  Middle class, unoffensive but also not overly catching to the eye, rather boring as an individual but priced well enough that he can appear in the thousands.  He is the common man, every where and every thing; milling about on the sidewalks, waiting patiently on the station platforms, hustling to or from somewhere he will never reach and never did just leave.  He may occasionally man the counter at some more obvious establishments, but for the most part he is the aimless fill, interesting only in that they are there.

Everyone has an angle that just makes them look horrendous when it's caught on film.  That, unfortunately, was not the case with the gentleman on the left.  His head is just a sliver of what it should be, like someone had balanced a coffee can on their shoulders.  Many of his fellow discount bin refugees feature a distinctively incomplete left leg, as if they went sprinting from the mold before they had completely dried and left part of themselves behind.  If the paint on most cheap LPP is garish, with these guys it is also poorly applied and often in even more surprisingly bad colors.  But, these poorly formed and badly dressed people will be the ones with homes, hidden behind windows and furniture enjoying the peace and quiet of a place of their own.  High in downtown skyscrapers, these will be the salarymen tucked in to conference rooms deciding the fate of the teeming masses below.  While the beautiful people struggle with someones baggage and direct traffic, and the massive middle class rushes about aimlessly, the odd looking rejects will occupy the upper rung of the Shukuzu society.

I guess even oddly preferential reverse discrimination is still discrimination.