Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree is a tower that when finished in 2012 will be the second tallest artificial structure in the world after the Burj Dubai. It has barely surpassed half of its planned final height of 634 meters but it is already the highest structure in Japan, surpassing the Tokyo Tower. These are some photos that I took last week from Asakusa that show the current state of the construction.

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

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Miguel Diez in Tokyo

At the end of last year, Miguel Diez, one of my favorite photographers, came to Tokyo for some months. His main objective was to take photos for a couple of projects that he had had in mind for a long time. As an extra he recorded some video around Tokyo and this is the final result; you can enjoy it better in full screen!

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Vibram Fivefingers

As I visited San Francisco last month I took the opportunity to buy a pair of Vibram Fivefingers. The Vibram Fivefingers are sport shoes that adapt to the shape of your feet like a glove would do to your hands. The sensation of running with them is very similar to running barefoot.

VibramFivefingers

The feeling after putting the Vibram Fivefingers on for the first time is pretty weird. The easiest way to put them on is to put first the big toe and after that fit the rest of the toes as you can. In this two pictures Pablo tries a gray pair on; eventually we both bought the Vibram Fivefinger KSO model in black.

VibramFivefingers

VibramFivefingers

One of the things that doctors usually recommend is that running or walking barefoot on the beach is excellent. When you walk barefoot you do it naturally, the human body is designed to walk barefoot. The problem with running using shoes is that as they have a soft sole we tend to make contact with the ground first with the heel. This is specially not good when running because the impact in every stride is pretty strong, all our body weight is absorbed first by the heel and then by the knees, hips, back… If you like jogging you know that one of the problems that arises after some time jogging regularly is knee pain. And sometimes it even causes pains in the lower part of the back.

When running barefoot or with some shoes like the Vibram Fivefingers the running motion changes, instead of making contact with the ground first with the heel we make it with the middle part of the foot. That is the natural way to run for humans. If you have more interest in how running barefoot benefits your health I recommend you the book Born to Run.

In this graph you can see more clearly what I’m trying to explain:

VibramFivefingers
More information about this picture

I’ve been using them lately and the experience has been fantastic. When I just put them on I immediately want to start running or start jumping! It’s like being barefoot but outside of your house, on the street, everywhere. At the beginning I went jogging 10km a couple of times, I got more tired than usual and it seems like I used muscles that normally I don’t use when running because I had muscle pain the next day in rare places. I also got a small blister in the the tip of one toe, I guess you have to get used to them.

VibramFivefingers
iPad, Smoothie and Vibram Fivefingers. The whole set to be a trendy Californian geek.

Sergey Surprise on China
Even Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has his Vibram Fivefingers and shows them off in public. (Photo by Steve Jurvetson)

VibramFivefingers
High five! Pablo and I testing our Vibram Fivefingers at Stanford campus.

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Futuristic capsule hotel

Capsule hotels are an ideal low-cost option to spend the night if you are traveling around Japan. They are usually located near train stations and in them you can find the basic things that you need to spend a night comfortably: a capsule-bed, a bathroom and showers. In this video you can see a very modern capsule hotel located in Kyoto:

You can book a room in this cool hotel in this website.

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Sanja Matsuri

Two weekends ago we were in Sanja Matsuri (三社祭: festival of the three temples), one of the most important Shinto festivals in Tokyo which takes place in Asakusa every year. The main attraction of most of Japanese festivals are mikoshis, some kind of “small temple” that are carried by men and are taken out “for a walk” in the festivals. However for me the best thing about the festivals is not the mikoshis, nor the dances, nor the traditional clothes; what I enjoy the most is the general atmosphere that you can breathe during the celebration of each event. Here you have some of the pictures I took:

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Matsuri
Just married, congratulations!

Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri
Starbucks just outside the exit of the temple in Asakusa.

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Posts about other Japanese festivals:

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