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Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Taiichi Fox brought a Segway over to the office today and let us take it for a spin. It was great. It is one of the two Segways that I know about in Japan. He brought it from the US. I'm still trying to figure out whether to leave mine in the US or have it delivered to Japan. Japan is definitely more suited for Segways but we're not allowed to ride them yet. I'm applying for a regulatory waiver, but the first one was rejected. I'm applying for it again in June. I think I should probably leave mine in Silicon Valley to cruise around when I'm there and bring mine to Japan once we are allowed to cruise freely.

Anyway, it was lots of fun and perfect for people who have to walk 30 minutes to the train station every day.


well when you come back here to visit try and bring it I want to try it out :) I'll let you borrow my skates k? :)

I am SOOOO Jealous! I want one so damn bad!

I don't mean to sound sarcastic, Joi, but I thought you were trying to lose weight ...

I guess there is none in Shanghai

perfect for people who have to walk 30 minutes to the train station every day

I hate to always have negative sounding comments, and I have nothing against the segway, but what will they do with it when they get to the train? If only one or two people bring it on no problem, but what if half the people do? If they don't take it on, the train, I'm leary as heck about leaving my 20,000 yen mountain bike outsite the station... I sure wouldn't leave a Segway out there! But then again, I guess if you can afford one, you can also afford a garage to park it in next to the station. But then why don't those people just take a taxi?

I think there is a lot more to think about than just permission to ride it on the streets.

Aha! I beat you by about an hour!

Beating Joi to a new gadget is, I think, a serious accomplishment. :)

Antoin: Don't worry. You always sound sarcastic, even when you don't mean to. ;-) I guess the low cost way to exercise is to out weights on your feet and trudge through the day. I think the benefit of the segway is that it is faster than you can walk and you can carry more bags, etc. if you get the segway with the baskets.

Kevin: The proposal we are making to Makuhari is to have a rental/charging station at the train station and the lobby of the skyscrapers. I think that's what they are doing in France. I agree. Parking at the station will be an issue. Maybe a quick trip to the supermaket makes sense. I think it makes sense in Japan because most people don't drive to the supermaket. They walk or bike.

Michael: Drat!

So, I think the Segway is probably best where people take a lot of scooters. The range is perfect for that I think.

Chey: of course you can try it... :-)

I want one. I want one bad.

As I walked out my office here in Roppongi, Tokyo and almost got run over by an electric scooter, and then by some bicyclists all on the sidewalk, I wondered why the Japanese government would be against the seqway....

People are pretty into riding at least bikes on the sidewalks all over Tokyo. How is the segway different?

Well, bicycles are basically "grandfathered" in. It is actually illegal for them to go on sidewalks, but they do. On the other hand, it is also illegal for them to be on certain roads.

As for motored vehicles, such as segways, you have to have bumpers, turn signals, license plates, etc. etc.

We tried to argue that they are like wheel chairs. The problem is that the segway goes much faster and is not for handicapped people.

It would really be no fun to try to get them registered as scooters since you would not legally be allowed to take them on sidewalks.

I am sorry but I don't get it: why would you want to spend $5000 for something that can be achieved with a bicycle? Of course you could spend $5000 on a bicycle but then you would have a masterpiece of technology. Could I suggest the beautiful Panasonic titanium folder, developed together with the Japanese Railways?

Andrea. Good point. I think the main target would probably be people who don't want to ride a bike for a variety of reasons. Also the range and the ability to carry stuff like groceries would be nice. It's also faster than most weak people can ride a bike.

I guess it best replaces scooters and cars driven for short runs to the supermarket, etc. Not a good replacement for bicycles.

Didn't clive sinclair try something like this 20 years ago with the C5 ?
What kind of neighbourhoods could you drive a segway around ?
It might be OK if you live in a gated community but in the real world ?
I can't see this taking off in any western european city.

The Segway won't take off in Japan
1.It is not Japanese
2.It is too expensive
3.It has too many compeditors,
eg Yamaha PAS , Honda Racoon etc.
It is still a novelty in the States
let alone Japan

police in the uk say they want them, I am wondering what will happen when for example they catch someone on the run...
how do they corner them, and do the parking thing..
is it that easy??

That scooter is awesome!!!

But have they resolved that safety issue that came up a year or so ago? I think the problem was that it was throwing people off when the battery died. Is that still a problem?

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