April 07, 2010

The future is now

I'll admit it, when I first heard of the concept of the Google Street View project years ago, it struck me as ludicrous. Build a searchable database of 360 degree image views of every street in the world? Stop smoking crack, Google!

And then they went and did it, which just goes to show what you can accomplish on crack.

Okay, they haven't actually gotten every single street in the world photographed and archived, but what they have done is pretty damned impressive. While they may not have the street corner where my childhood home in Harmony, Minn. on file. . . yet, they sure do have my current house on file, which was kind of disconcerting to discover. I thought, "I live in a nothing little corner of this city, there's no way they. . . holy shit, there it is."

It's not just the fact I found myself looking at my house on Google maps, it's the level of detail you can discern. The fake tombstones in front of the steps indicate it's Halloween--or we're really spooky goth people--and the tarp covering the dirt pile in front of the new driveway dates the image back to Halloween, 2007. I found that realization pinged my nostalia area of the brain, as I realized that was the year we camped in Yellowstone, poured the driveway extension, and we weren't even married yet. It was also the year I made a lot of money from Google, ironically.

But, I wasn't really hit with nostalgia until I did a Google Street View tour of my old stomping grounds in Tokyo. I pulled up the street address of the apartment complex where I lived in 1992 - 1993 and:

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I was 17-years-old again, a rural Minnesota boy in over my head in a city of 20 million people. Man, that took me back. It being Tokyo, of course, a lot of things had changed, so my virtual walking tour wasn't EXACTLY like I remembered, but it was pretty damned close.

The 7-11 on the corner that opened the same week I moved there:

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The Fuji-san bridge over the train tracks, so named because on the rare days there isn't smog, Mt. Fuji is perfectly framed in the distance:

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I've literally spent hours "walking" around in Tokyo, and I haven't even gotten to Kamakura yet, which could kill an entire weekend.

Posted by Ryan at April 7, 2010 10:23 PM | TrackBack
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