A new craze sweeping Japan, in which folk spend hours isolated in Media immersion Pods, leaves me feeling a little blue.
As you know, I like technology as much as anyone (come on, let's be honest, I LOVE the stuff). So you might find it strange to hear that I'm a little perturbed by a piece on Media Immersion Pods that recently appeared in a BBC news report.
It appears that this is the latest craze in Japan. The pods are small, individual cubicles that can be rented by the hour and that contain a killer sound system (that you listen to through headphones so as not to disturb your neighboring "pod-dwellers"), DVDs, computer games, comics, food and drink, and a huge plasma display on which you can watch movies, flip through TV programs from around the world, or surf the internet at breakneck speed.
Now, this may sound like a techno-geek's dream of heaven, but the telling point is where one of the customers says:
"I usually spend around three hours here – it kills time between work and going home"
As fate would have it, I've been fortunate enough to visit Japan quite a few times, and I appreciate that their culture is someone different to mine. If, for example, the husband returns home too early (say before 9:30 pm), the nosy neighbor ladies will eventually manage to find an opening where they can say to the wife things like: "So sorry that your husband's company doesn't have enough work for him to do."
And I also understand that it's occasionally nice to get a little quite time to oneself. But I really have a sad feeling when I think of folks spending hours each day isolated in a tiny room (no matter how large the plasma display and how fancy the "Media Pod" name). Come on people, there's a whole world out there and a life to live – call me "old-fashioned" if you will, but as far as I'm concerned, nothing can beat hanging out with your friends and family sharing good food, good drink, and good conversation.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at firstname.lastname@example.org). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.