Wishing you all a very happy New Year, and the best wishes for 2012. Let’s hope that 2012 treats you well.
Archive for 30 December, 2011
Below is a selection images taken at the 17th annual Nagoya Motor Show. It was interesting to see the European and American makers were in one building, and the Japanese were in the other. There were no Korean makers present, and the Americans were represented by Ford, Chevrolet, and Teslar, though they were in with the Europeans, their exhibits were mainly fillers, making the viewers have to walk past to see the next European display. The European makers were displaying what they already have available in Japan with an eye to make sales, rather than showing new stuff. Maserati and the Mercedes SLS AMG got a lot of keen attention, but the most serious attention went to Audi and Jaguar (and perhaps BMW, I didn’t notice them).
Of the Japanese contingent, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, and Subaru were keen to show their new concepts that caught the interest of the crowds. Especially, Honda which was near the entrance that got the crowds as they first walked in, but Nissan got the crowd staying and waiting to see more of the Pivo3 (pictured in the slideshow below). The model who drove the Pivo3 in figure of 8’s in the small space had a look of novel enjoyment on her face as she drove and demonstrated an elegant, lady-like way of entering and exiting the Pivo3. I suppose she knew that she could see herself on YouTube that night, if she hadn’t done so the night before. The Nissan ES Flow was drooled over, whilst the current Nissan models, especially the Leaf were keenly sat in and caressed. Suzuki wowed the crowd with the Regina, which has more than a passing resemblance to an angry cartoon character (pictured in the slideshow below). The model introducing the Suzuki display appeared to be on remote control. She said a few lines, paused, and when a bell rang she then announced the next few lines. I didn’t see the audio book she was reading from, so she was either hypnotised or a convincing human-like robot (also pictured below).
The Toyota corner was pretty easy to walk around as the crowds came, saw, and then returned to the Suzuki and Nissan displays. Nagoya is the hometown of Toyota, and to see Toyota show only cars that are already available for sale, is disappointing. The new Lexus looks like the designers took inspiration from both Audi and BMW, whilst the new Toyota 86 sports coupe looks like it was designed by someone who owns or loves Aston Martins. Subaru was also thick with crowds, but because of the crowds and my low interest, I didn’t bother rubbing shoulders with everyone there. Daihatsu was devoid of people, and their non-operating concept vehicles caught no imaginations at all. Furthermore, their concept vehicles looks like they are two generations behind Nissan and Suzuki.
The Nissan Pivo3 does a figure of 8 demonstrating its remarkable turning circle in a small exhibit space. At the Nagoya Motor Show, Nissan’s exhibit with cars like this was by far more popular with the crowds than Toyota’s lonely corner. This electric Pivo3 concept includes self parking, where the driver leaves the car in front of a venue and the car locates a vacant parking spot through a central computer system then parks itself. The car park would also include an automatic recharge plate to be located under the car. The owner would then press a button on his or her phone and the car would drive itself to the closest convenient location to where ever the owner’s phone is located. However, you need to hope that your car can find a parking spot and recharge point before the the batteries run too low. Nissan also wishes to emphasis the ease of getting in and out of the car, where you don’t need to put one leg in, park your butt, and then the other. With this car, you simply walk in.
Nissan is emphasising that it is developing a total interconnected system for the home and cars, where the home can use the power stored in the car, and the car can be recharged from the home. The crowds were interested in the Nissan Leaf which is already on sale, and a new sports car that looks far more exciting than the Toyota 86.
Suzuki’s new concept car that is reportedly able to achieve a stunning 32km/l, albeit with a 800cc (0.8lt) turbo charged engine. It looks great, but it looks like an angry cartoon character… an Angry ‘Zuki?
And Photo of the Week (POTW)
It’s two years since the first blog post. The website was already a few weeks old, but it took a while to design and finalise the website, and then must up a few words for the first official blog post… nothing sensational though. The first important post was to promote a set of photos of Tado Gagaku, a traditional court music group playing Sino-Japanese instruments in traditional garb. This little blog has come a long way since then. See more of these at my agent’s website: Asia Photo Connection by Henry Westheim.
I had time to stroll around Sydney and Darling Harbour for just one afternoon, and completely by chance this group were holding a demonstration. They chanted “Julia” as ‘Joooliaa’, and there were other chants, too. Julia Gillard is the current Prime Minister in Australia. On the evening news I learnt that the Labour Party were holding their annual conference and on that same day it seems that Ms Gillard had submitted to pressure and allowed Labour Party members to choose to support a bill which would allow same sex marriage. That is to say, she herself does not support the bill, but she is not publicly, or explicitly going to block it.
…is an division of the Virgin airlines group owned by Richard Branson. Virgin Blue services mainly domestic Australia and has international services between Australia and New Zealand. In ten years, Virgin Blue has come to rival Qantas Domestic and has the possibility to displace Qantas.
Last night, here in Japan most of us got to see the total lunar eclipse… or parts of it. There was cloud cover on the Korean Sea side of Japan, and patchy cloud sliding across the sky where I am. And it was quite late, so most people had brief looks at it. The last total lunar eclipse that was seen in Japan was eleven years ago, and only seen from Okinawa. I think the next total lunar eclipse will be 8th October, 2014 at or just after moon rise.