We went to Expo 2005 today, the successor to the World’s Fair series. Close to 50 years since the Flushing World’s Fair, there is still a number 7 type train, but it’s a magnetic levitation train, and there is still a big globe, but it’s made of living flowers. The car exhibit is just as big, but there is a big ferris wheel which was incredibly smooth. We focused most of our time in the Pacific Rim countries area, mostly asian countries. The Philippines had these essential oils displays which facinated me. Malaysia had a projection of a girl in a sarong, which looked something like Princess Leia if she was malay and was being projected from R2D2 in a jungle. Singapore had a huge pavillion — the main attractions were an indoor rain forest (not that we needed it – it was seriously raining all day) and huge bookcases of keepsake boxes which showed little aspects of daily life.
Prices were really expensive. Roti canai = $10 US, Pizza = $4 US. We got a lot of magnets.
Canada was the best visually because of its multifaceted video presentation. The picture is from the Canada pavillion’s website – they had people with big flat screen displays walk around and take people’s pictures.
The most advanced thing that we saw were a variety of robots. There is a robot receptionist called “Actroid” that can respond to questions in four languages, and looked somewhat plastic but relatively real young lady. It’s a step up from Disney World anamatronics. They had another one that was standing and in a race queen uniform at the “Robot Center” while they were demoing a T. Rex robot. P- and I thought it was real freaky. It was also really freaky that they also had a live Japanese lady in a similar but red uniform, and it was kind of hard to tell them apart.
Before that, we spent the morning exploring the local department store’s food court at Nagoya Station. We stood outside for the 10 am opening, where the female attendants came out and literally did some sort of mechanical song and dance before they opened the doors. You kind of almost couldn’t tell that they weren’t robots either.
We spent like US$30 down there on so many foods it was not funny. Pork cutlet bento, salmon sashimi, fried gyoza dumplings, crossants, ham buns, chestnut buns, brioche, salmon roe sushi, square box sushi, yoghurt drink, assorted nuts, mochi. But it was so delicious and fresh, we could not resist. That seemed like a lot, but we saved a ton of money not eating at the expo.
Onward to Kyoto tomorrow, returning to Tokyo and flying to Taiwan.