Toyota Technology Museum Tour

About two weeks ago a student of mine brought in 2 tickets to her museum. It’s the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology and it’s located right down the road from where I live. It was pretty impressive because the museum highlights how Toyota was started. Most people don’t know that the man who started Toyota actually began by inventing weaving looms, not cars. The man’s son then started in the automobile business after the loom business was so successful.

This loom makes a fabric cylinder that is about 5 meters wide when cut. It was designed to be used for boat sails, etc.

The company actually began as “Toyoda” after Kichiro Toyoda who stopped going to school after ELEMENTARY school and started the biggest and most successful loom business in the world. What have you done today? Nothing? Yeah, me either.

The museum was super-interactive. Sayaka even scored me an engine part that was stamped by a 150-ton hydraulic press right in front of my eyes. It was awesome.

I will now give you the rest of the tour in photos…

This is a hand loom. Sayaka demonstrated how to use it and it was so cool! I'd never seen it done before.

This is a "bale" of cotton. It weighs almost 500 pounds and can make 800 t-shirts. It's rock solid.

Then it's fluffed and partly twisted so it looks like ice cream. Or a white poop. You choose.

Then it's spun a little further and then put onto this machine, which spins it even further so it's really strong and won't pull apart.

This is a classic,human-operated loom.

These are the automatic looms that Toyoda designed.

Now we're onto the cars! This is one of the first Toyoda model cars made.

This is the inside of the car, designed as a taxi. That's Sayaka giving us our tour.

This is the auto part of the museum. The thing is huge. We even got to see them use a 200-ton hydraulic hammer. It shook the floor.

This is a future "car" concept. It fits only one person and moves from a seated position for low speeds and this reclined position for higher speeds.

This is me. Half man, half robot.

Overall, the tour was pretty cool. On a serious note, one thing I found pretty surprising was that the loom pictured above, the “human-powered loom”, had more advanced technology on it then I saw of the looms in Morocco in 2009. I saw a room full of people who were weaving fabric, with looms that weren’t even as advanced as looms that existed in the early 1900’s. It was actually surprising and sad. I wanted to say, “hey, what about those guys, in that room who were sweating and working their asses off with looms half as good as this.” It really opened my eyes as to how unequal the world can be. Later in the tour, we saw a modern loom that wove fabric insanely fast with air and electricity. It could even make PICTURES in the fabric by just clicking your image into a nearby laptop. I found it absolutely amazing and a little disgusting that a historical relic in a Japanese museum would probably make someone’s job and life much much easier in Morocco.

Sorry for that, but it’s true. It really makes my heart ache.

That night I played at an open mic night in a city called Imaike.

On a totally unrelated note. I played at an open mic night that night. This was the act before me.

Men in makeup, playing a kazoo/keyboard thing... Welcome to Japan.

I played “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals and “Freefalling” by Tom Petty because those were the only songs I knew the words to. I should have practiced more. But I’m going back with more songs this month so I’ll be sure to write about that when it happens.

Thanks for reading.

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