Tokyo's newest (play) ground
After our day in Kamakura, James and Kimi took me to O-daiba, which is the newest place in Tokyo -- literally. It's the latest in the long series of projects to fill in pieces of Tokyo Bay, thereby creating expensive new real estate. O-daiba was one of the last projects to get started before the Japanese bubble economy burst, and so it was completed and then the new real estate just kind of... sat. There's still quite a bit of empty land in O-daiba, which is such a rarity to see in Tokyo that you definitely stare the first couple times.
The shot above is from O-daiba looking back towards downtown Tokyo. The lovely bridge in the medium ground is the Harmony Bridge (wa-bashi? I don't know) that connects O-daiba to the Tokyo station area.
|The centerpiece of O-daiba is the Fuji TV building, shown here. This is one funky building! There's a sort of exoskeleton of concrete, and the postmodernist glassteel box hides inside that. In the middle at the top is a huge reflective glass sphere.||The story James told me about the Fuji TV building is a pretty good one. The original plan was to put the boardroom of Fuji TV in the glass sphere. This was so completely pretentious that even in Japan, which is definitely more complacent about priveleges of the powerful than the U.S., the employees spent a lot of time complaining to management about that idea. In fact, the complaints were so vociferous that just before the building opened, they converted the middle layer of the glass sphere to a (expensive, but) public restraurant -- which is what it is now.|
Fuji TV also gives tours of the studios in the building all the time -- there were hundreds of young people lined up for the tour when we went by (around 7pm on a Saturday evening).
|Because of the bursting of the bubble economy, the expected business influx to O-daiba (Fuji TV notwithstanding) didn't happen. However, after a few years of slow growth, it's becoming a nightlife area for Tokyo's younger crowd-the folks walking around there on a Saturday night definitely skewed younger than your average Tokyo subway. There's a whole group of new hotels out on the island.||Here's a shot of me in front of -- your eyes do not deceive you -- the Statue of Liberty. To help along the leisure theme, the Japanese had another statue cast from the molds used for the proto-statue erected in France before they made the real one. It's about 60' high.|
|Another nightlife aspect of the area are these boats floating in the harbor nearby. These so-called 'pleasure boats' (sorry for the fuzzy picture) feature traditional or modern karaoke and drinking with the beauty (?) of tokyo-wan all around you.|
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|© 1998 Leo Hourvitz|