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Mu-sa-shi

18 Mar

On the news today they said that the construction of the 東京スカイツリー (Tokyo Sky Tree) reached a height of 634 meters tall at 1:34PM this afternoon.

That means that they are finished building it upwards because it was designed to stand at 634 meters tall.
This height was decided upon for two reasons…first, it is now the world’s tallest free-standing tower, and also in Japanese “6-3-4″ can be pronounced as “Mu-sa-shi” which sounds like 「武蔵の国」 (“Musashi“) which is the old name for the area of Tokyo that the towers stands in.

Even though the Tokyo Sky Tree now stands at it’s full height, there is still construction yet to be completed on the tower which isn’t scheduled to be completed until sometime in 2011 December.

The tower is due to open to the public in the spring of 2012.

Last October, they did a test of the tower’s lighting, so we had a preview of what the Tokyo Sky Tree will look like when it’s illuminated every evening.
It’s quite beautiful.
Click here to see the post I wrote with a few photos of the lighting test and a preview of what it’s expected to look like completed and illuminated.

Top 5 X-mas Illuminations in Japan

21 Nov

In Japan, Christmas isn’t a national holiday. If December 25th falls on a weekday then it’s just a normal workday in Japan.

But that said, クリスマス (X-mas) is still a big holiday in Japan. Not the biggest though…the most important holiday in Japan is 正月 (New Years).

I wrote a post before that explains a bit about Christmas in Japan…and another one that explains a bit about New Years in Japan.

To summarize though, Christmas isn’t the same in Japan as it is in Western countries.
Even though New Years is Japan’s biggest holiday, stores and streets in Japan put up X-mas decorations on November 1st (as soon as the Halloween decorations come down) and take them down on December 26th.
On December 26th in Japan, the Xmas decorations are quickly replaced with New Years decorations which stay up until around January 5th.
So Japan is decorated for the imported holiday of Christmas for fifty-six days but only about two weeks for New Years.

Basically the image of X-mas in Japan is a romantic evening for couples on クリスマス・イヴ (Christmas Eve) and a day for families with children on クリスマス (Christmas Day).

One of the popular dates spots for couples on and before X-mas Eve is to look at クリスマス・イルミネーション (X-mas lights (or, as they’re called in Japan, “Christmas illumination“)).

X-mas illumination at "Roppongi Hills" in downtown Tokyo.

There is a website that shows some of the best 「全国イルミネーション・スポット」 (Illumination Spots around Japan).

One part of that website lists 「イルミネーションおすすめスポット Best 5」 (“Top 5 Recommended Illumination Spots”).

The list is:

  • 六本木ヒルズ Artelligent Christmas 2010」 (“Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2010” in Tokyo, Japan)
  • 神戸ルミナリェ」 (“Kobe Luminarie” in Kobe, Japan)
  • 2010SENDAI光のページェント」 (“2010 Sendai Light Pageant” in Sendai, Japan)
  • 第30回さっぽろホワイトイルミネーション」 (“30th Sapporo White Illumination” in Sapporo, Japan)
  • OSAKA光のルネサンス2010」 (“Osaka Light Renaissance 2010” in Osaka, Japan)

Also, check out this post that I wrote with photos of the X-mas illumination at Tokyo Tower and in Roppongi, Tokyo.
And also this one that I wrote about Omotesando, Tokyo turning the X-mas illumination back on last year after eleven years of not decorating.

How is Christmas celebrated where you live? Are stores already decorated for X-mas? Is looking at 「クリスマス・イルミネーション」 (X-mas lights) popular?

東京スカイツリーライトアップ

13 Oct

The 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree”) tower will stand an incredible 634 meters tall once it’s completed next year and every evening it will be illuminated blue and purple on alternating nights (blue one night, purple the next, and so on).

 

What the Tokyo Sky Tree will look like illuminated in blue, once it's completely built.

 

What the Tokyo Sky Tree will look like illuminated in purple, once it's completely built.

Well, as I wrote in this comment I made last Saturday, the Tokyo Sky Tree was illuminated in both blue and purple from 6:30PM until 9:30PM tonight in a test run of the LED lights that will be used to light up the tower every evening once it’s done being built.

As expected, many people turned up with their cameras to see the Tokyo Sky Tree light up the night sky for the first time (and only time until next year).

The Tokyo Sky Tree lit up in purple tonight.

The tallest structure ever built…and still climbing

27 Sep

The Tokyo Sky Tree broadcast tower and observatory is now standing at a height of 407 meters tall…which makes it the tallest structure ever built in Japan.
And it’s only 74% complete. When construction at it is finished next year, it will be 634 meters tall.

I had to go past the construction of the Tokyo Sky Tree yesterday, so I brought my camera and took a few photos of it.

The sign says that the tower is currently 470 meters tall.

I have been up in many observatories in Tokyo…some have free admission, such as the government building in Shinjuku (click here to see my post about that building)…and some aren’t free, such as Tokyo Tower (click here for one of the post I wrote about that tower).

Are there any tall towers or observatories in your city? What the tallest one you’ve been in?

江戸消防慰霊祭

26 May

Yesterday my wife and I went to a festival that I had been wanting to see for years but never got a chance until this year.

We were a bit early for the festival so, since the festival was in 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo), we decided to go by the Tokyo Sky Tree tower and walk to Asakusa from there.

Tokyo Sky Tree behind 押上駅 (Oshiage Stn)

The Tokyo Sky Tree, currently under construction, now stands at 389 meters (it will be 634 meters tall when completed).

The Asahi Beer HQ is in Asakusa

Cruise boat

The Sensoji Temple in Asakusa was covered while it's being renovated.

Once we got to 浅草 (Asakusa), we went to watch the 江戸消防慰霊祭 (Edo Firefighters Memorial Ceremony).
This is the festival that I wanted to see yesterday.
It’s a ceremony to honor fallen firefighters. The ceremony involves the firefighters dressed as firefighters in Japan did centuries ago and doing stunts on bamboo ladders.
In ancient Japan, firefighters had to balance on such ladders while fighting fires and they would practice such stunts on the ladders in order to improve their strength and balance.
Modern firefighters in Japan still practice these stunts…for tradition and to improve their strength and balance.

Actually, last January I went to the 「東京消防出初式」 (“Tokyo Fire Departments New Year Drill“). That ceremony had many exciting shows including a similar ladder show. But it was still fun to watch again yesterday.

They use these hooks to steady the ladders.

After the ceremony was over we stopped by a store and I saw these vending machines. One looks like Ultraman…it sells, among other things, 「ウルトラコーラ」 (“Ultra Cola“).

We saw this pretty cat.

We don't have a cat...but this is our pet turtle.

53.3% built

7 Apr

Yesterday was the last day of my kids’ spring vacation. And in Japan, after spring holidays the new school starts in early April.

So, today will be my daughters’ first day in the next grade. My oldest is starting 高校2年 (11th grade), my second daughter will begin 高校1年 (10th grade), and my youngest is now in 中学校2年 (8th grade).

They grow up so fast!

As I said, my second daughter is starting 高校1年 (10th grade). It’s the equivalent to tenth grade in America…but a literal translation would be “high school year 1” because it’s the first year of high school in Japan.

So today is her 高校入学式 (High School Entrance Ceremony).

Last year at this time my oldest daughter had her 高校入学式 (High School Entrance Ceremony) on the same day that my youngest had her 中学校入学式 (Junior High School Entrance Ceremony).
So last year, I went to our oldest daughter’s ceremony and my wife went to our youngest’s ceremony (Click here to read the post I wrote about that day).

But today, both my wife and I will be attending our second daughter’s 高校入学式 (High School Entrance Ceremony).

おめでとう (Congratulations) to her!

————-

I titled this post “53.3% built” because the Tokyo Sky Tree is now standing at 338 meters (about 1,109 feet) tall.

That makes it taller than the 333 meter tall Tokyo Tower and the tallest structure in Japan.

When it’s completed in late 2011, it will stand 634 meters (about 2,080 feet)…which will make it the world’s tallest tower.

338 meters is 53.3% of 634 meters…hence this post’s title.

I went by the Tokyo Sky Tree yesterday, so here are some of the photos I took (as with all the photos on my blog, click on them to enlarge):

When completed, the Tokyo Sky Tree will be about twice as tall as it is now!

I held my camera diagonally for this shot.

Tokyo Sky Tree is the highest in Japan

29 Mar

I wrote this post last December showing photos I took of the construction so far at that point of the Tokyo Sky Tree tower, which will be the tallest tower in Japan and the second tallest in the world (click here for the post I wrote about the “world’s tallest tower”).

I also wrote this post when the construction of the Tokyo Sky Tree reached 30%.

And this post that I wrote almost two years ago is the first one I wrote about the Tokyo Sky Tree tower.

Well, today the Tokyo Sky Tree reached a height of 338 meters tall. It is now taller than the Tokyo Tower which stands 333 meters tall.

The Tokyo Sky Tree is now 338 meters tall...the tallest structure in Japan.

When it’s completed, the Tokyo Sky Tree will stand 634 meters tall.
There is a reason that this height was chosen…the Tokyo Sky Tree is being built in a “blue collar” area of Tokyo that was called 「武蔵の国」 (“Musashi“).
And the numbers six-three-four (as in 634 meters) can be pronounced “Mu-sa-shi” in Japanese.

I think “Musashi Tower” would have been a better name than “Tokyo Sky Tree” for this tower.

A artist rendition of the Tokyo skyline after the "Tokyo Sky Tree" tower is completed in 2011 December.

World’s Tallest Tower

5 Jan

Until yesterday the Taipei 101 tower was the tallest building in the world. It stands 509 meters (1,670 feet) high.

The "Taipei 101" (509 meters tall)

Next year, the 「東京スカイツリー」 (Tokyo Sky Tree) tower is scheduled to be completed and will stand 634 meters (2,080 feet) tall which would make it the world’s tallest tower.

The "Tokyo Sky Tree" will stand 634 meters high.

Click here to read a post that I wrote about the 「東京スカイツリー」 (Tokyo Sky Tree)…and click here to see another post with some photos I took of the construction of the tower.

But now the 「東京スカイツリー」 (Tokyo Sky Tree) will be the world’s second tallest tower, because the “Burj Khalifa” tower officially opened yesterday (2010 January 4) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The “Burj Khalifa” tower stands at an amazing 828 meters (2,717 feet) tall! Which makes it not only the world’s tallest tower, but it’s the tallest man-made structure in the world!

The "Burj Khalifa" tower stands at 828 meters tall.

愛子さまの誕生日

1 Dec

Today is the eighth birthday of 敬宮愛子内親王 (Princess Aiko) of the Japanese Royal Family.

Princess Aiko at her school's 運動会 ("Sports Day") six weeks ago (2009 Oct).

And yesterday was the 44th birthday of her uncle, 秋篠宮文仁親王 (Prince Akishino).

Prince Akishino with his wife Princess Kiko

Today my wife and I went to check out the construction of the Tokyo Sky Tree (click here to see my previous post about this tower), and to see the イチョウ祭り (Gingko Festival) at 明治神宮外苑 (Meiji Grand Shrine Outer-Garden).

Here are some photos I took of the Tokyo Sky Tree tower today:

Only 30% complete so far...it's gonna be huge when it's done!

I always wonder how they get the cranes on top of tall buildings and towers when they're being built.

So far it's 224 meters tall. When done, it'll stand 634 meters high.

The reflection of the "Tokyo Sky Tree" in the water.

From there, we went to the イチョウ祭り (Gingko Festival) at 明治神宮外苑 (Meiji Grand Shrine Outer-Garden). (Click here to see the festival’s homepage).

I only took one photo at the festival of the イチョウ (Gingko Trees) in autumn color:

東京スカイツリー

8 Nov

I wrote about the new broadcast tower being built in Tokyo called the 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree“) last summer. (Click here to read that post. I compare the new tower to the original 「東京タワー」 (Tokyo Tower) in that post).

A promo ad showing what the skyline will look like in 2011 with the completed tower.

A promo ad showing what the skyline will look like in 2011 with the completed tower.

The 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree“) is scheduled to be completed in late 2011 and stand 634 meters tall (making it the tallest structure in Japan, and one of the world’s tallest). The tower’s observatory will be open to the public in the spring of 2012.

Once this tower is completed it will stand out in Tokyo’s skyline. Far above the current 「東京タワー」 (Tokyo Tower), which is 333 meters tall. The 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree“) will replace the 「東京タワー」 (Tokyo Tower) as the Tokyo area’s broadcast tower and at that point all TV broadcasts will be digital (because all analog waves will be used for cellular phone service).

sky-tree-2012

The "Tokyo Sky Tree" will tower above all else.

The construction of the 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree“) began last year. Right now, it stands at 191 meters (less than 30% complete).

sky_now

Here’s a recent photo of the tower’s construction:

sky-tree-night-2009

"Tokyo Sky Tree", autumn 2009

Unlike the 「東京タワー」 (Tokyo Tower), which stands in Tokyo’s upscale 港区 (Minato Ward)…the 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree“) is being built in the blue-collar, 下町 (down-town) area of 浅草 (Asakusa).

It will stand very close to the Asahi Beer headquarters. So, that probably explains why Asahi Beer sold their beer last summer in commemorative 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree“) cans.

asahi-sky-tree

Asahi Beer's commemorative "Tokyo Sky Tree" can

Here’s a promotional video for the 「東京スカイツリー」 (“Tokyo Sky Tree“):

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