Yesterday I went up the Tokyo Sky Tree.
634 meters tall … the tallest tower in the world!
First of all, the elevators move at 600 meters per minute! But they’re so smooth, I could hardly feel them move!
The sky was clear, blue and sunny … so I could clearly see Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Tower, Shinjuku, Tokyo Disneyland, the Tokyo Dome…all of Tokyo and beyond!
The shadow of Tokyo Sky Tree
Summer in Tokyo is very hot and humid. There is a typhoon season and sometimes a sudden thunderstorm with heavy rain will start seemingly out of nowhere…and then stop just as suddenly with blue skies returning.
Japanese people are sometimes surprised if I tell them that summer in Florida (where I grew up) is very similar.
Summer in Florida is also hot and humid. There is a hurricane season (hurricanes, for all intents and purposes, are basically the same as typhoons) and sometimes sudden short thunderstorms occur there too.
In fact, the area in Florida where I lived, Tampa Bay, is called “the lightning capital of the world”.
When the weather is sunny and then a rainstorm suddenly starts…with the sunny weather returning just as suddenly, Floridians call that a sun shower.
So I also referred to the same phenomenon in Japan as a sun shower, as well.
But a few years ago, the Japanese media gave these storms an original Japanese name. Here in Japan, these storms are called 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (“Guerrilla rainstorms“) because of the way they violently come out of nowhere.
Well, yesterday, there was a sudden, short, ゲリラ豪雨 (Guerrilla rainstorm)…and someone photographed it from the Tokyo Sky Tree tower.
The 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (guerrilla rainstorm) that hit the Tokyo area yesterday. It looks like a tornado!
Yesterday a 日食 (solar eclipse) could be seen over Tokyo and a few other parts of the world.
Did you watch the eclipse? To look at it, you needed to wear special glasses otherwise you could risk serious eye damage.
I got a (cheap) pair of the glasses and watched the eclipse. It was visible in Tokyo at 7:30AM.
I took a few photos of it with my cell-phone camera. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a very good shot of the “ring of fire” (when the moon was directly in front of the sun and a perfect ring was visible around the dark moon)…this one is probably the best of the pictures I got.
Solar eclipse over Tokyo, 2012 May 21
Another “sky-related” event in Tokyo is the grand opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree today (2012 May 22).
It says “Tuesday, 2012 May 22, Tokyo Sky Tree grand opening”
Personally, I don’t plan to go inside the Tokyo Sky Tree at least until the “novelty” wears off because it’s going to be very crowded (for awhile, a reservation is required to go inside) and also, the admission cost is expensive—¥2,000 – ¥3,000 for adults (depending on which level of the tower you want to go up to).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
Here’s a recent photo of the tower’s construction:
"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 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“):