Near the Ikura crossing, close to Tokyo Tower, I saw this construction site with a shrine inside. It’s the wooden structure in the center of the photograph, resting on top of a storage shed or perhaps portable toilet.
I noticed that the building was going up next to a small shrine, because a formal concrete gate remains close to the construction area, perhaps on the same lot. However, I was most surprised by this tiny wood shrine within the construction site.
I wonder if the workers bring this small shrine wherever they work. Or if it is related to the shrine next to the construction site. In any case, I am amazed by the juxtaposition of modern building and sacred space; engineering and spirit protection; concrete, rebar, and wood.
Have any of my readers seen a shrine within a construction site? Are there shrines or gods that specifically protect construction workers?
On the north side of Shimokitazawa, there is a Hawaiian restaurant with palm trees that are unusual for Tokyo. The tall palm tree with a silver trunk is a Queen Palm, syagrus romanzoffiana, native to woodland Brazil and Argentina and very common in San Francisco and other cold climates. It looks somewhat like a coconut palm.
The restaurant is clearly using these gorgeous palms– along with tiki torches and up-lights lit even during the day, a water fountain, and a wood porch extending to the street– as signifiers of exotic and distant islands. The effect is rather surprising and a pleasant contrast from the neighborhood’s narrow and crowded streets with few real street trees.
The trees look very healthy. I wonder if the restaurant provides special protection in the winter. The small palm tree is also very appealing. It is a Pindo Palm, or butia capitata, native to Brazil and Uruguay. Since it is hardy to 9C (15F), it seems well suited to Tokyo.