tower

A very urban, summer scene, with yukata sidewalk party, Odakyu train, and office tower

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
都市の夏景色かもしれない。歩道に浴衣パーティーや小田急線の電車やオフィスタワーが見えます。

Can you imagine inviting clients to visit your office *there*?

kabukicho_new_tower_black
このビルにお客さんを招待できますか。

An enormous black slab of a tower is nearly complete in the center of Kabukicho. Who is going to work there? Can you imagine inviting clients to visit your office *there*?

Multi-use space: parking tower, Buddhist temple, pedestrian priority side street

この新宿二丁目の一角が好きです。お寺の仏像の赤い服はよだれかけみたいです。墓と庭の一部は三階建てのエレベター ・パーキングタワーになってしまいました。背が高い木のおかげで、散歩したり話したりするのに、いい路地です。
I like this strange block in Shinjuku ni chome. There’s a temple with a lovely buddha statue wearing a red cloth bib, and part of the garden and graveyard have been given over to a three elevator automated parking tower. The tall trees also make this a good side street for strolling and chatting.

Uncanny, industrial side of Shibaura. Pipe enters 2nd floor of house, cement stored under Rainbow Bridge.

なぜこの大きな水道管は運河を渡ってこの家に入り込んでいるんでしょうか。下水と雨水の処理に関係しているのでしょうか。レインボーブリッジの下には、セメントの貯蔵庫もあります。芝浦で面白い土地利用がいっぱいあると思います。

I have no idea why this huge pipe crosses the canal and enters the small two story house. How this house survived all the redevelopment, what is being piped in or through the house, and is the foundation as make-shift as it appears? I wonder if it has anything to do with all the nearby sewage and storm water treatment plants.

Just under the enormous circular ramp leading to Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba is a gigantic tower of cement. I guess there are enough construction projects to justify a waterfront cement operation.

These two photos show the different scales of homes and enterprises in Shibaura. They make me curious to explore more.

Shibuya office tower has green wall on back side

垂直の庭は普通のオフィスビルを一変します。デットスペースをなくす渋谷の良い例です。

Since I have been taking an intensive Japanese language course in Shibuya, I have gotten to explore some of the back areas of Shibuya. Away from the massive crossing that is world famous (called a “scramble” in Japanese), and away from the crazy teen fashion, Shibuya is full of offices and even quiet residential neighborhoods.

I often pass the front of this bland and typical office tower. Recently, I was walking in the back alley, and realized that the entire rear facade is planted. I’ll have to go back some more to see if the wall of green grows thicker. It seems like a simple yet impressive structure for transforming the dead vertical space, and providing a beautiful garden for the office workers and neighbors. Well done!

Sky Tree rises above Tokyo skyline

「東京スカイツリー」は日本語英語です。ネイティブにはこの名前はちょっと変です。もう遠くにスカイツリーが見える。ところで、この写真の中で、本当の木はどこですか?

Tokyo Sky Tree is rising on the eastern side of Tokyo. As the new digital television tower, it replaces Tokyo Tower as a symbol of “new” Tokyo. It’s scheduled for completion at the end of this year, and is already visible across Tokyo. In this picture, you can see Nakano Sakaue on the right and Sky Tree in the center.

The Japanese name for Sky Tree sounds funny in English, with two syllables becoming five unrecognizable ones. It’s スカイツリー, or Su-ka-i Tsu-rii. Japanese English is truly its own language. It’s also funny that they chose to use “tree” as a metaphor for this giant tower. In this view from here to there, across Tokyo, there are very few if any trees, green walls or roofs.

Decorating construction sites with plants

Construction sites in Japan, unlike in the United States, are almost always concealed behind shiny white walls. Recently, I have noticed more and more of these temporary walls being decorated with plants.

Above, three simple flower pots seem like a small an and informal gesture. Below, ivy is built into the wall itself. Somehow, given the humbleness of the plant material and scale, the less designed plants seem more generous and heart-felt. What do you think?

The first photo is from a development called Nakano Twin Mark Towers. A short while after taking the photo, I noticed a hand-made sign on the back alley complaining about its massive scale: a residential tower that will be 29 stories high, at least twice as high as any neighboring building on the south side of the station. I am surprised by its height, and also wonder whether the developers will succeed in finding such a luxurious clientele in this rather humble residential area. Below is a developer’s image from the website.

Live video of falcon nest on downtown San Francisco office tower

Wow! San Francisco’s gas company (Pacific Gas & Electric) has set up a live webcam so you can the peregrine falcon nest on top of their downtown office tower. Four chicks were hatched on April 8 and 10.

What a cool way to support wildlife in the city and the popular interest that sustains urban habitats. The project is a partnership with UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research, and there’s a Yahoo discussion group.

Japanese wine

Japanese wine

Inside the upscale Shin Marunouchi office tower, I saw a poster for Japanese wine outside an Italian restaurant. Japanese have recently become very interested in wine, and I had heard about a famous manga introducing wine to new drinkers that had been translated into French and become popular. It was interesting to see the promotion of national wine.

Japanese wine

 

Office tower landscaping

Office tower landscaping, Akihabara

On my way to a meeting at an office tower in Akihabara, I noticed this subtle and attractive landscaping. I like how the garden breaks up a barren space and uses traditional elements of Japanese gardens– bamboo, rock, natural fencing,and emptiness– in a non-traditional scale and grouping.