MY BAGS are packed and I’m ready to go. No taxi waiting, but the JR Station is just next-door.
This Tokyo trip was too short. Angelo A., cousin to my good friend Tenny and my host, knew of this and offered to take me to a couple more areas before heading to his prefecture. Knowing that I’d be back to see more of Edo soon, I declined.
Time to board the train and head east. There would be one quick stop though, Angelo wanted me to see Tokyo from a different vantage point- from high above, and that would be from the Tokyo Tower in Shiba Park, Minato.
|To my next destination…..|
|So are these guys…|
It was like walking the streets of Paris as we headed towards the city’s own Eiffel Tower. Inspired by the French landmark, Japan built and completed a single communication tower in 1958 to service the entire region’s communication needs. It would also be the monument to symbolize post-war Japan’s ascendancy as a global economic powerhouse.
|J’taime Paris……………………………………………………………Ai shi teru Tokyo.|
But unlike the Parisian tower it drew its inspiration from, the Tokyo Tower is orange (to comply with air safety regulations), it’s taller by thirteen meters, lighter in weight by 3,300 tons, and more impressively, its design could withstand earthquakes with twice the intensity of the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake or typhoons with wind speeds of up to 220 kilometers per hour.
Originally planned to be taller than the Empire State Building’s 381 meters, the world’s tallest then, the Tokyo Tower had to work within what the funding and materials allowed. The 330-meter tower’s height was eventually determined by the distance the TV stations needed to transmit throughout the region.
The Tokyo Tower was built with steel including scrap metal taken from US tanks damaged in the Korean War. Upon its completion, it was the tallest artificial tower in Japan (until the Tokyo Sky Tree was built in 2011) and the tallest self-supporting steel structure in the world today.
Since its opening, over 150 million people have visited the tower. Guests are treated with a number of attractions the tower offers- FootTown, a four-storey building housing restaurants, specialty shops, the Guinness World Records Museum Tokyo, the Tokyo Tower Wax Museum, and an interactive hologram gallery named the Gallery DeLux; and the observation decks- the two-storey Main Observatory and Special Observatory with 150 meters and 250 meters from the ground respectively.
Just like New York’s Empire State Building, Edo has their own “Tokyo Tower State of Mind” and the tower is specially illuminated for special events- pink on October to highlight the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, red and green for Christmas, (dig this) the top half of the tower was lit in green on the Japanese premiere of Matrix Reloaded and on the first day of sales of Coca-Cola C2, the different sections of the tower were lit in red, white and black.
And so I arrived as one of the millions of tourists that visit the tower yearly with hopes that I can add to the tower’s tourism revenue, get a 360 degree view of Tokyo from high above, maybe get a glimpse of Mount Fuji, offer a prayer at the highest Shinto Shrine in the special wards of Tokyo, check out where Godzilla, Mothra and King Kong had their final battles, and meet Noppon Brothers, Tokyo Tower’s mascots. But as high as my hopes rose, it came back to earth twice quicker with the sight of bus loads of tourists still queuing to get in at six in the evening. By the looks of it, my turn would come around midnight. So, I added this one on the list of must-see again.
|Tokyo Tower meets the Davao giants.
Thanks Angelo for this great tour!
I love Tokyo. I will be back to see you soon.
Back on board the train, it was time to move to Gunma Prefecture and visit the place Angelo and the rest of his family now calls home.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 03, 2011.