dramatic

Hard-hat intervention at sidewalk Sony Aquarium in Ginza. Beware of the sidewalk shark!

sony_aquarium_ginza
銀座のソニーアクアリウムで何が起っているのか分からないけど、面白そうです。歩道でもサメにご注意ください。

Not sure what the crew is up to, but it makes for a dramatic surprise in Ginza. Beware of the sidewalk shark!

Sky Tree, the view from below and from up top

SkyTree_view_from_ground

日立さんのおかげで、やっとスカイツリーに登ることができました。構造と景色がすばらしいです。夕暮れのときがおすすめです。

Hitachi recently invited me to visit Sky Tree this summer. I’d delayed visiting because it seems far away from where we live, and because of the long lines. Seeing it complete, however, is very impressive with its exposed structure and unbelievable city views. I recommend going at twilight when the sunlight is dramatic, and then slowly the city lights up as the sky darkens.

Hitachi is responsible for the elevator between the first and the top observatory decks. In addition to its large capacity, the elevator ascends very quickly and is thus a showcase for Hitachi’s latest technologies. I was surprised to learn that when it is windy, this upper elevator is often closed for passenger safety.

I loved seeing the bay, the Sumida River, Marunouchi and in the distance Shinjuku.

SkyTree_sumida_marunouchi SkyTree_sunset

Under dramatic sky, inner west Tokyo looks like a movie set

日没の劇的な空の下に、中野と新宿が映画のセットみたいです。ミニチュアというカメラの設定を使いました。

This “miniature” setting on the digital camera makes the Nakano skyline seem less real. This wild jumble of buildings leads all the way to Tokyo city hall and the Opera City tower.

Dramatic view down Ome Kaido towards Nakano Sakaue

江戸時代に作られた青梅街道は、とてもモダンになりました。背が高いビルがある中野坂上です。

I love the dramatic clouds, and how Nakano Sakaue beams with light and activity. The building in the southwest corner of the main intersection has an awesome, transparent erector-set spine in the middle of two office columns.

Ome Kaido is one of west Tokyo’s oldest and longest streets. In its current incarnation, it is six auto lanes wide and the fastest route between Shinjuku and Ogikubo. Underneath is the Marunouchi Metro line.

Dramatic clouds and Mount Fuji

空と都市の対照がきれいです。この雲は本当か偽物のどちらでしょうか。

Fall brings clear skies and dramatic clouds. How come the top looks like a natural wonder and the city below is littered with antennas, utility poles, and a giant incinerator?

Single tree beautifies modern house

Single tree beautifies modern house

A single tree standing in the entrance to a modern Tokyo house provides a marvelous contrast between the traditional and the new. The beauty of the single tree and the clean lines of the boxy concrete home create a uniquely Japanese feeling, or what I introduced recently as wafu modern (和風モダン) in relation to Kuma Kenga’s new Nezu Museum and tea house.

The intricately pruned pine tree evokes hundreds of years of Japanese garden design almost single-handedly. The pairing suggests a forward-looking aesthetic that remembers and revitalizes traditional culture elements.

Wafu modern residence with gorgeous pine tree

From an ecological perspective, the single tree and minimal shrubs provides very little habitat. This quiet cul-de-sac suffers a typical Tokyo over-abundance of pavement, which is a certain pathway to Tokyo Bay pollution from storm runoff and an obstacle to insect and plant life that could feed and shelter bees, birds and other urban wildlife.

Still, the effect of the tree is all the more dramatic against the excess of hardscape. I also would regret if urban ecology became a quantitative calculation of efficiencies and benefits. There must be a place for not only traditional culture but also the type of human care and aesthetic appreciation manifest in this stylized pine tree.