Future Lab News

TAKAHASHI: No.27 "Ride on the real C1!"

Hi there folks, it's Mr. May Blues himself - Tetsuo.
I dunno if you know about this, but in Japan we call a sticker "Biniiru""(Vinyl)...I just found out that it's also called a "Bainaru" sometimes! Weird, huh?

I wonder, out of all of you guys who know the Wangan Maximum 3 Metropolitan Expressways like the back of your hand, just how many of you have driven for real on C1 and all the other expressways in Tokyo?
When you're playing the game the road zigzags and bends about all over the place, roads join up and branch off, the gradient changes dramatically, and the 3D structure is intricate and confusing.
It probably looks like the roads have been made just for the game, but they really exist here in Tokyo!
These vast, distinctly Japanese structures are always being extended, reformed, and in the process multiplying and spreading out across the city.
These expressways look like giant veins that have been threaded through the center of the city, really different from other cities where the roads are usually flat. They are truly unusual structures not be found elsewhere in the world.
The expressways were used during location filming in one of the movies of a certain Russian maestro director...

The expressway looks beautiful when it appears in the game, but it's actually a really, really old road - construction began at the same time as the Tokyo Olympics, and the Kyobashi-Shibaura section was opened in 1962. The road has a kind of indescribable power that emanates from its long history.
The yellow tiles on the wall that pretty much symbolize expressways in Japan are bright and colorful along new stretches of road, but at the old parts, the tiles are falling from the walls, creating a spooky atmosphere.
These subterranean arteries are in a class of their own if you want to experience the true Tokyo underground.

The first time I rode along this expressway (with me driving) was more than ten years ago, and I was really impressed with what I saw at that time.
The complex and mysterious multi-level crossings stretching in every direction looked as if they were soaring above the Tokyo streets...just as soon as we could say "that's the one", there would be another turn off, and another...we were trying to get from Chiba to Hachioji, but I, having no sense of direction, just drove around for an hour or so in a state of confusion, then, I realized, I was heading back to Chiba...I got off the expressway, whimpering to myself.
It's easier and more relaxed when you race on this road in the Wangan Maximum Series because the branching points are all closed off. As an added bonus, you don't wreck your car even if you crash into the bridge pier at Ginza...such wonderful safety.

I really like the way that these roads form a unique space that puts SF movies to shame - whenever I find some free time I just drive along them, heading nowhere in particular.
The expressways give off a different feeling, depending on the weather or the time of day.
It's just a pity that you can't stop and take photos on an expressway...
Please try cruising along these expressways - these world cultural heritage sites - sometime, whether driving yourself or riding in your friend's car.
You might find something that you usually miss when racing around the Wangan Maxi courses at top speed!
I don't need to tell you that you've got to keep within the speed limit when you're cruising on the real expressway though, right?

That's all for today...see you!

(Original article in Japanese released on 5.14.2008)

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