2020 Olympic Stadium Meme

During the last few months one of the news that most frequently appears in Japanese media is the challenges faced by the construction of the new stadium for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. If it is built as originally conceived it will be the most expensive stadium ever built, and its cost will surpass that of the New York Jets stadium which currently has that honor. To show that the Olympics are being taken seriously, the government has named Toshiaki Endo as the “Minister of Olympics” to oversee the preparation for the Olympics. More affordable alternative stadium designs have been proposed but it seems that no decision has still been taken, something quite usual when something concerns Japanese bureaucracy.

Fruit of that indecisiveness, the Japanese internet community has created a meme of the controversial Olympic stadium design.

olympic stadium tokyo 2020
This is the controversial design.

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

olympic stadium tokyo

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Yellow Lines

What makes the streets of a place feel distinct from other places? For the people that get to Japan for the first time the change is so radical that almost any element in the environment feels different: lamp posts, hanging power lines, manhole covers, neon advertising, kanjis, the nets to cover the trash that have been ripped by crows… But with the passing of time you get used to everything and it’s difficult to find “flavor” in those small details that make everything. You start feeling like a fish that has never escaped out of the sea. With the passing of time I have lost the sensitivity to the local charms, much more stuff catches my attention walking in the streets outside of Japan than in here.

Even so, I have realized observing my photos that there are some topics that are always there. There are details that I capture repeatedly with my cameras, not getting tired of them, even after many years have passed. One of these obsessions that emerge in my subconscious are the yellow lines that populate the sidewalks and subway stations in Japan.

The yellow lines are used by blind people to find their way around, feeling them with their canes or just by stepping on them. They are also useful to know how close in the platform you can get to the trains. “It is dangerous. Wait behind the yellow line” “危ないですから、黄色線までおさがりください” – you can hear every time a train is approaching the platform.

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

My yellow “art” was present this year at the Tokyo Art Fair thanks to a contribution of artist Yoshiko Brigitte. It was strange for me to see strangers stopping by to contemplate one of those yellow lines that I captured with my camera almost ten years ago under the rain.

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

yellow lines in tokyo

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Urban Mini Temple

When strolling around the streets of Japanese cities one of the things that I enjoy the most is bumping into small Buddhist temples or Shintoist mini shrines. Sometimes they are so well integrated into the architecture of the buildings that you might not even notice them when passing by.

mini temple

mini temple

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Toranomon Hills

This past week I have been working for a couple of days at Toranomon Hills, the new tallest building in Tokyo (inaugurated one month ago) after surpassing Tokyo Midtown. Toranomon Hills is 255.5 meters / 838 feet tall and has been built by Mori, the same construction company that built Roppongi Hills.

Unlike Roppongi Hills, this new complex doesn’t have a shopping area or a movie theater. It only has offices, several residential floors, two floors for conferences, many restaurants and a small area with a garden. The mascot of the building is called Toranomon (トラのもん) and was designed by the production staff of Doraemon.

Can you spot the Toranomon mascot in the following photos?

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Toranomon Hills, Tokyo

Official website of Toranomon Hills

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Yokohama Port Symbol Tower

Last weekend, after a long walk around Yokohama we ended up in a curious tower. It turns out that it is one of the tallest lighthouses in Tokyo bay (58 meters/192 feet tall), it has an observatory open to the public and it is surrounded by a park. Built in 1986, in the midst of the Japanese economic boom, with a sumptuous design for just being a simple lighthouse. I like the retrofuturistic halo that it has.

Symbol Tower Yokohama

Symbol Tower Yokohama

Symbol Tower Yokohama

Symbol Tower Yokohama

Symbol Tower Yokohama

Symbol Tower Yokohama

Symbol Tower Official Website and instructions on how to get there.

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The Slow Demolition of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka

The Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, built in the 70s, is one of the most emblematic buildings in the Akasaka district.
At the beginning of 2011 it was closed down in order to be demolished, but the Tohoku earthquake changed the plans and the hotel reopened to host the victims that lost their houses during the tsunami.

A little bit over a year after, Taisei is in charge of continuing with the demolition plans using a novel technique that they have developed: they dismantle the building from the inside. It looks like the trick is to leave the top floors intact until the end as if they were a “hat”. The top floors are maintained with temporary columns while the lower floors are eliminated. It is difficult to explain, better watch the timelapse video:

The advantage of this method is that it is safer than other demolition methods and is less noisy. Taisei plans to use this method from now on to demolish buildings that are over 100 meters tall.

In the plot of land left by the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, Seibu Holding plans to build a brand new hotel next year.

Via: Aol.com

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Leisure Resort for Sanyo Securities Employees

Once we have explored the bank vault of Sanyo Securities we head to the the main building. Once inside we visit the kitchen located in the first floor, an auditorium and a dining hall in the second floor and several rooms in the third floor. The dining hall has views to Mount Fuji but since the clouds covered it this morning there’s no way to see it any more.

Even though there are almost no objects that were left in the rooms, the general atmosphere of the place reminds us of Nichitsu ghost town. In the kitchen there are several things left but in the rooms there’s barely some futons.

One of the things I like the most about abandoned places is that the lightning is ideal to take photos. The soft light that enters through the dirty windows is very good to play with our cameras. Now I’m using a Fujifilm X100 and a Nikon D800 with a 50mm F/1.2 manual lens.

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo

Haikyo
SEE THE LARGE VERSION

And that is all about the 2012 Summer haikyos exploration season. You can check this set with all the photos in Flickr.

Others posts about haikyos (Abandoned places in Japan):

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Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Mount Fuji hides and we come back to our car to continue bordering the lake in search of abandoned buildings (haikyo). We pull over by the side of the road in the spot where the map indicates the next building. This time an abandoned building is right there and it seems easy to access as we see some open doors from the outside. But just as we get out of the car, we see that in the first floor there are some flowers next to a doorway that seem looked after by someone.

We get closer to the building and suddenly an old lady pops out of the doorway. We realize that the old lady is living in the abandoned building. She greets us with a distrustful smile. She makes a comment about the nice weather, we nod and say that the air is fresher here next to the lakes than in Tokyo, then she tells us straight that we can’t park next to the building. She is kicking us out.

When we are about to get into the car, a man comes out from behind the old lady. He is wearing huge horn-rimmed glasses and a badge with his name hanging from one of the pockets of his suit. She continues talking, now she is telling us with pride about the tree that gives shadow to the area where we have just parked our car. The man with glasses makes me feel uneasy, now we will have to talk to him, and he doesn’t seem someone that smiles to strangers, in fact he seems like he hasn’t smiled for months.

Luckily, the man barely looks at us, he doesn’t say anything, like if we were not there. With his hands clasped behind his back, slightly hunched, he has a cigarette trapped between his lips which is almost a butt. The man walks by, slowly but without stopping. The woman keeps on talking about the tree, she keeps smiling but more and more it’s harder for her. We are already inside our car almost closing the doors.

When we start the engine she decides to stop talking, but she still looks at us. She doesn’t smile anymore and stares at us as we leave and disappear out of her visual field. The man continues walking by the roadside with his gaze lost in the horizon. We look at him out of the corner of our eyes when we pass him, he is still ignoring us. After the joy of seeing Mount Fuji, we still have a bad taste in our mouth after this “murakami-esque” moment.

Two curves later, in the forest area, we see something that looks like the house of a wealthy man.

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

On the contrary to the first place we found in the morning, this time it looks like the house is easy access, we park and we start exploring the haikyo!

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

Haikyo in Lake Kawaguchi

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Hikarie

Yesterday I visited Hikarie, the new building, department store, self-contained microcity in Shibuya. I don’t really like how this big crystal cube, 183 meters tall, looks like on the east side of the station. It is not a structure that you see from the street and say “Wow!”.

But, from the inside the experience is different. Entering the building from the Fukutoushin line station designed by Takao Ando made me “Wow!”. I also liked the feeling of being in a wide space in the 11th floor and enjoyed the beautiful sunset views.

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

Hikarie

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