Thousands of Miles from Home


Retrograde Motion

Sony is a great company. From the Walkman to the Playstation to the Aibo, they always seem to deliver a decent product that knocks your grandma's socks right off.

However, while teaching English at a juku in Tamano, Micah and I came across the greatest Sony invention EVER, which somehow slipped through the cracks of time. It's called the "Sony Teaching Card Player," and for all I know it was only released in Japan sometime in the 80s or early 90s.

The device is about the size of a small lunchbox, and a little heavier than a briefcase. It comes with various cards fitted with magnetic stripes, which you place into the reader. The Card Reader then dictates a small passage written on the card, with the intention of teaching the listener simple English phrases.

Like the first person who realized a turn-table could be used for other uses than strictly record playing, Micah and I immediately "scratched" the cards through the reader. By the end of our five minute jam session, we were laughing too hard and had to give the machine back to Otani-san before we fell over and passed out.

I can't find any reference to the machine online, but I will be borrowing/stealing the card reader from Otani-san to lay down some dope tracks under the name "MC Sony Teaching Card Player."

Here are some samples (click for the video):

Instructional card: "I can run, I can run"

Instructional card: Woman singing, followed by "Sing"

Absolutely ridiculous, and just another reason I'm glad to be alive.


  • I think it is time to open that calculus book.

    By mom, at 9:51 AM  

  • Kostya called. He sounds great.

    By mom, at 12:07 PM  

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