Back to Contents of Issue: July 2000

Mediage Lights Up Odaiba

by Chieko Tashiro

Sony recently opened an amusement complex called Mediage on Odaiba, a manmade island next to Tokyo created just for that sort of thing. The six-floor structure holds a movie theater, restaurants, bars, cafes (including those of the Net variety), stores, and other services and attractions. This is the third such complex Sony has created: if you've been to San Francisco's Metreon or Berlin's Sony Center am Pasdamer Platz, you know the deal.

On what's called the Atrium, a stairwell climbing all six floors, you hear birds singing and bugs chirping, the murmur of a stream, the sound of a distant bell -- - and hordes of bored children screaming, of course. Mediage expects 20 million visitors a year, and even the peaceful Atrium is open to all.

The Mediage cinema is for now the largest multiplex theater in Japan, with 13 screen and more than 3,000 seats, designed stadium-style so even sumo wrestlers won't block your view. (And don't be thinking a sumo wrestler couldn't fit in the chairs, anyway: the widths of these seats are Normal, Premium, and Super Premium, and the latter come with meals.)

Other attractions include a "Where the Wild Things Are" area and a game zone designed by the reportedly charismatic French illusutrator Gean Moebius Giraoud. Overpriced networked games abound.

Dream Box is karaoke with a twist: you're not just singing to friends, you're auditioning. The box is apparently connected to professional talent scouts, so a moving rendition of "I'm Turing Japanese" could finally launch that singing career you so richly deserve. One truly cool feature is that you can do everything cash-free i-mode phone at www.cinema-mediage.com/i/. Find out more about Mediage at www.media.co.jp

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