(Originally written Aug 20, 2021)
It’s been raining for about a week straight here in Osaka. Somewhere between the amount of rain in Florida where it feels like someone dumps a bucket of water over your head, and Seattle’s rain of someone dipping their fingers in a bowl of water and flicking it at your face for days on end (Am I bothering you? I’m not touching you!).
With Lori still in the hospital for Knee Surgery (and doing well) I was looking for another (any) activity to do with the kids that isn’t in the house yelling at them to get off the switch, or just standing outside in the rain. Lori mentioned the Osaka Science Museum and we’d never been. This place is close to Fukushima where the hospital is, so after dropping off a care package for her, we ventured on. Maps said it was a 14-minute walk, and for once in what seems like months, it wasn’t walking in the boiling sun, nor in a torrential downpour! However, a 14 minutes’ walk with these two lollygaggers is easily an hour.
When they were done with their (pretty impressive) display of balance, juggling, and Rubik’s cube mastery, they passed around ‘the hat’ and I was delighted to send the kids over with some money to pop in hat. We saw them there the whole day, so hopefully they did well –
As we get into the museum, starting on the 4th floor, and it’s a large projected sun on a scale model of the sun. The kids thankfully are already somewhat aware of the scale of the solar system and the universe, so we spend a few minutes making rabbit ears over each other’s heads. SCIENCE
I really did not have any expectations for this place, sometimes you just want to be inside, in AC and if there’s something interesting to look at, the more the better. This place tough was pretty neat, I could see via the hands-on stations there, they were made by the delicate mix of old science dudes that were like ‘yeah let’s make a Jacob’s ladder and let kids put their teeth on it’, and ‘this is how plastic is killing the planet’, and ‘Here’s some dangerously radioactive material behind a thin acrylic sheet (listen to that Geiger counter go!)’. In other words, I was in my new favorite place.
The kids take off and get absorbed in the hands on stuff, there was plenty involving magnetism, static electricity and some physics.
We see a display with pulleys and weights. I start to explain the fascinating mechanical advantage that pulleys have on reducing the amount of force needed to move an object, but neither one seemed overly interested. So I spot some vintage technology and go to investigate
On display were some early computation devices, some analog things that I’ve never seen, calculator/abacus combos? and some early electronics – I could smell the eau de old electronics from here. There was a Canon Canola 130s, which was a “Compact” calculator, capable of 4 (four) functions! Retail at that time was $995 in 1964, according to this site, that would be about $6,700 in today’s money 😨 Look at the amount of wires and boards in that thing!
We also found some hall of mirrors display that the kids enjoyed. I couldn’t imagine have 8 more Jacks so I shuddered and strolled past.
Then I found some old TV’s and computers and miscellaneous vintage electronics – The scene was about electronics that would be found in the home over the decades in Japan (Super famicom, I see you!) As well as what looks like a Sony Wega TV set that we had that weighs 500 pounds and I’ll guarantee still works)
Ah, the tape recorder calculator combo – and the classic ‘boom box!’, and some vintage PC’s
And we found some old toys (I’m beginning to wonder if people just drop off their old stuff here 🤔)
The first Radio Controlled …Bus
This seems like the (first?) electron microscope – how cool is that – look at the size of that thing – can you imagine how unsafe it is to operate, it looks like it just beams out gamma rays, it’s a superhero maker!
So, another day of adventures complete – kids tuckered out, I’m tuckered out, but ready for the next one!