by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2008/04/14 - ASIMO and Aoyama Cemetery
A few days ago I visited the Honda Showroom in Aoyama. There were a bunch of cars and motorcycles on display, but what really interested me was the little guy above. I had seen this robot many times before on TV, but I never knew much about him. I suppose I'm being a little presumptuous in assuming the robot to be a "guy", since as I far as I could tell the engineers hadn't made any definitive specificaitons in that regard. In any case, it was actually quite impressive to see him/her in person. I learnt that Honda has been working on a robot to mimic human walking for over 20 years. Originally looking kind of like the bottom half of Terminator, the small, friendly incarnation of Honda's walking technology, ASIMO, first appeared in 2000. Ever since they've been making improvements. Now, the cutting edge technology is making him run and be able to swerve a bit when running. It's actually quite fun to see in person, and you can get a picture with him after, too. I think they give three shows a day, at 11, 1:30, and 3.
I also went to Aoyama Cemetery to see the cherry blossoms. I thought it may be a bit grim to go picnicking in a graveyard, but the trees were really gorgeous. There were even stands selling Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki. I became very surprised when I was browsing through the garveyard and started to notice Smith's and Thorton's among the names on the tombstones. It turns out Aoyama Cemetery has a significant foreign section, with graves of gaijin predecessors that date back even to the 1800s.