Walking the virtual dog

Walking the virtual dog

During my time living in Japan I noticed that some things there were quite similar to back home but most things were completely foreign to what we are all about here in Aotearoa.

These things aren’t always the most obvious either, it doesn’t take long before you get over the vending machines and the strange foods and start noticing the really weird stuff.

Take for instance, Dog Walking. What could possibly be weird about dog walking right? Well quite a lot actually. I first noticed something odd when I visited one of Tokyo’s largest parks and saw a truck loaded up with dogs of all shapes and sizes in cages. I asked a Japanese friend what it was all about, and was told dead pan that they were rental dogs that could be taken for a walk around the park for an hour then returned. I spent my money on ice cream instead.

The second example was at my local gaming arcade where I would often go. There I would play a dog-walking simulation arcade game, which was simple and brilliant. All it used was a large T.V screen a working treadmill and a leash that was held in the hand.

Firstly, you picked out your dog. I usually went for the Pug; although he tired quickly he was easy to maneuver and didn’t need to stop to relieve himself often. As the treadmill started rolling I would walk, while watching my Pug on the screen, through a virtual urban world where we would avoid oncoming cars and I would direct him to the correct areas so he could take a slash or get something to eat. At the end of level one we had to evade an angry bulldog hell bent on attacking my pug, but if I ran fast enough and steered him correctly with the leash we could escape. After a while I would get bored or tired and go play the bus driving arcade game because you got to sit down for that one and it felt good to help virtual commuters.  So in Japan, why own a real dog when you can just walk a virtual one, or rent one at the park.

I was reminded of my virtual pug and how much I missed him by a recent news story. Turns out that bicycle fatalities are up in Japan with the majority of instances stemming from breaking traffic rules. So Honda has come to the virtual party by creating a bicycle simulator to teach road safety in a safe environment. Once you’ve ridden the bicycle simulator there is a “rider evaluation session” afterward to address any issues you may have.
Honda is putting the simulator on sale next February, but it’s unlikely you will see it at an arcade here.

But, perhaps the Auckland City Council could invest in one for the cyclists that frequent Tamaki Drive. This could save local motorists some serious grief. I mean Auckland cyclists could still shave their legs and wear tight pants but with the help of the bicycle simulator that could all be kept behind closed doors.

honda_bike_sim

During my time living in Japan I noticed that some things there were quite similar to back home but most things were completely foreign to what we are all about here in Aotearoa.

These things aren’t always the most obvious either, it doesn’t take long before you get over the vending machines and the strange foods and start noticing the really weird stuff.

Take for instance, Dog Walking. What could possibly be weird about dog walking right? Well quite a lot actually. I first noticed something odd when I visited one of Tokyo’s largest parks and saw a truck loaded up with dogs of all shapes and sizes in cages. I asked a Japanese friend what it was all about, and was told dead pan that they were rental dogs that could be taken for a walk around the park for an hour then returned. I spent my money on ice cream instead.

The second example was at my local gaming arcade where I would often go. There I would play a dog-walking simulation arcade game, which was simple and brilliant. All it used was a large T.V screen a working treadmill and a leash that was held in the hand.

Firstly, you picked out your dog. I usually went for the Pug; although he tired quickly he was easy to maneuver and didn’t need to stop to relieve himself often. As the treadmill started rolling I would walk, while watching my Pug on the screen, through a virtual urban world where we would avoid oncoming cars and I would direct him to the correct areas so he could take a slash or get something to eat. At the end of level one we had to evade an angry bulldog hell bent on attacking my pug, but if I ran fast enough and steered him correctly with the leash we could escape. After a while I would get bored or tired and go play the bus driving arcade game because you got to sit down for that one and it felt good to help virtual commuters.  So in Japan, why own a real dog when you can just walk a virtual one, or rent one at the park.

I was reminded of my virtual pug and how much I missed him by a recent news story. Turns out that bicycle fatalities are up in Japan with the majority of instances stemming from breaking traffic rules. So Honda has come to the virtual party by creating a bicycle simulator to teach road safety in a safe environment. Once you’ve ridden the bicycle simulator there is a “rider evaluation session” afterward to address any issues you may have.
Honda is putting the simulator on sale next February, but it’s unlikely you will see it at an arcade here.

But, perhaps the Auckland City Council could invest in one for the cyclists that frequent Tamaki Drive. This could save local motorists some serious grief. I mean Auckland cyclists could still shave their legs and wear tight pants but with the help of the bicycle simulator that could all be kept behind closed doors.

honda_bike_sim

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