mural

Origami Mount Fuji celebrates 125th anniversary of Shinjuku station

折り紙の壁画が世界で一番大きい駅の125周年を祝っています。

This giant origami mural celebrates Shinjuku station’s 125th anniversary. Tokyo boasts many mega-stations, including Tokyo Station, Shibuya, Shinagawa, and Ikebukuro. Yet Shinjuku station is the most used station in the world, with an estimated 3.4 million daily riders on train lines operated by five different rail companies.

I love how the anniversary is commemorated with this origami art work composed of thousands of cranes. The images chosen are iconic for Tokyo: Mount Fuji, a cherry tree, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s twin high-rise from the 1980s, and a rainbow. The only thing missing is the station itself; however, with no main entrance, the station is less a destination than a passageway to other places.

Recently in San Francisco, my friend told me about his rapid transit station’s 40,000 riders, which is a significant number. That figure is just over 1% of Shinjuku’s traffic. It is impossible to overstate the role of trains in making Tokyo function as an efficient and low carbon city.

Bringing nature into the laundromat

The theme of Tokyo Green Space is how people bring nature into the city. Naturally, I focus mostly on plants and wildlife that bridge city and country. Recently, I have been struck by the amazing photos of nature used to enliven small commercial spaces. Like the Mount Fuji photo mural at the 1960s New Shimbashi Building, this alpine scene  has decorated the detergent dispenser at my local laundromat. Oddly, the laundromat looks much newer than this machine, which has been preserved with duct tape and much obvious care. The winter scene evokes Europe rather than Japan, I think.