Sep 18, 2013

Back to Tokyo, Jiggity-Jig

Shinkansen - Bullet Train

Remember how my initial flight to Japan was cancelled, and I missed the Tokyo Orientation? If there's one thing that the Japanese don't like, it's a to-do list that isn't fully checked off. So Nanao City Hall sent me to Tokyo to attend the July/August arrival Orientation. For a weekend I got to explore the city on my own before "attending" (more on that, soon) the JET conference and meeting the new arrivals.

My first stop was Tokyo Station, where I met up with Hiroko & Rick, a Japanese/American couple living in the Tokyo suburbs. They very graciously showed me around town for the weekend where we experienced the best of the city :)

Tokyo Station

A little history: the plans for Tokyo Station were drawn in 1889, and construction was completed in 1914, making it nearly 100 years old. After much of the station was destroyed in WWII, it was rebuilt with an angular roof. Today, after years of renovations, it is once again topped by domes. 3,000 trains per day go through Tokyo Station, transporting an average of 402,277 boarding passengers every day*. To say it's a busy station is an understatement.
Deep underground in the new Tokyo Subway lines.

I swear, we had to take so many escalators down, down, down to reach the new and under-construction subway lines that my ears were popping. This is a map of the new lines. How much farther will Tokyo dig down into its foundation to create more and more subway tracks? Being down this far made me feel a bit edgy; you're so far away from the surface of the world. It's like being in Zion city in The Matrix.

Tokyo Tower

I really wanted to visit Tokyo Tower after first seeing it in the CLAMP manga, X/1999. This copy of La Tour Effiel  is used as a broadcasting and observatory tower. After the steep climb to its base, we took the outside-looking elevators (holy crap scary) to the observatory level to see Tokyo from above.

View from Tokyo Tower.

The "highest shrine" at the top of the Tokyo Tower observatory.

Next up, more from the capital!
* historical facts via Wikipedia

No comments:

Post a Comment