I think I'm allowed to talk about maps again – a couple of months have passed since my last map nerd post. So here goes….
Google has launched Street View for Japan — covering Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe.
It works like the Street View that already exists for some North American cities… with one important difference. All of the map labels are in Japanese. I think the mapping data comes from Zenrin. As far as I'm aware, they don't provide an English language version.
Luckily, Nick May at "Diddlefinger" realized that people who don't read and write Japanese need a little help, so he developed a way to let you search Google Maps for Japanese addresses in English:
Instructions on how to use diddlefinger are here:
Very clever stuff. Now you can read a story by Haruki Murakami or Banana Yoshimoto and take a virtual walk with Google Maps to immerse yourself in the Japanese urban landscape that they're describing.