階段

Simple materials create rustic shrine in the mountains

shrine_bell_rope_izu
階段の上に、簡素な材料で作られた神社は祈る場所を提供してくれます。

At the top of the stairs stands a simple shrine in Izu.

Pedestrian overpass also passes under freeway in Shiodome

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汐留の歩道橋です。高速道路のせいで、階段を登って、階段を下って、階段を登って、階段を下りなければなりません。なぜそんな道があるでしょうか。

This pedestrian overpass, which dips below the freeway in Shiodome, is a hot mess. I often wonder why city planners value pedestrians and bicyclists so much less than private vehicles and trucks. This is not how I’d like to walk to work from the station.

Maple leaves on tiled steps

AQの事務所の階段で。短い間、見慣れたものがすてきに見えます。

On the steps outside AQ’s office in Nishi Azabujuban. For a brief moment, the mundane becomes charming.

Shrine entrance invites tree lovers and prayers

自転車で日本語の学校に行く途中で、山手道路沿いにいつもこの階段を見ます。坂を登って、林と神社を訊ねたい。代々木八幡の神社に行ったことがありますか。

I bike to school on Yamate Dori, one of Tokyo’s modern ring roads. It’s currently under construction and rather ugly: a freeway underground, a 6 lane road on the surface, sidewalks torn up, new and mostly undistinguishable apartment buildings. On this ride from Nakano to Shibuya, one of the highlights is glimpsing the stairs leading up to this tree-filled shrine. I stopped and found out that it is Yoyogi-Hachiman shrine. I haven’t made it up the stairs yet, but it beckons as an inviting escape from the more functional, profane city racing by it.