I was holding out not blogging about this, it just seemed to obvious, but after having heard from trusted friends that this really is a thing worth experiencing, I can’t hold out on you anymore! If you have been in Tokyo the last few months chances are you have seen the giant fembots circling the streets advertising the extravagant Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku’s Kabukicho area. Not having gone myself, I can only take my friends word for it, but they say there is nothing like it in this world. Maybe so. I still can’t stop taking a few snaps every time I see these giant contraptions being towed around Tokyo! I think there are four of them. If you want to read more about the restaurant they are advertising you can find their homepage here, but remember to turn down your speakers, the site is as loud as the restaurant itself! Here they are being towed through Omotesando the day before yesterday, and through Shinjuku last year. If you go – be sure to let me know how it was!
As big as Tokyo is, even this metropolis has a heart, and this is probably right here in Shinjuku, where we find the biggest train station in the world. I took a walk around the station, which can take anything from 10 to 20 minutes depending on how fast you go and the route you pick. I took a wide path around the station and snapped these photos on the walk. Even though there is nothing special about these images it is good to show the everyday side of the city from time to time I think. If you have been to Shinjuku more than a couple of times you should have no problem remembering all of these spots!
Sometimes you just happen to be in the right place at the right time. I was near the eastern end of Shinjku in central Tokyo when a lot of smoke started drifting towards us. I took me awhile to figure out where the smoke was coming from and by the time I had gotten there the fire had already been raging for 40 minutes, it had taken me that long to reach it. It turned out that a wooden apartment building on a narrow backstreet had caught fire and while I was there it spread to two more buildings before being put out about three hours later. Luckily there were only two minor injuries and over a dozen fire trucks and dozens of auxiliary vehicles, ambulances, police cars and buses crowded the area. Japan really has some of the most amazing fire fighters I have ever seen, and not any less impressive where the dozens of volunteer firefighters taking care of less physically demanding but critical duties like crowd control, equipment deployments etc., many of them female and many near or over retirement age! As terrible as a home fire always is, I know it could have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the well trained professionals showing up to help.
I don’t know about you, but I think the first photo is the most beautiful I have ever taken, a young firefighter pausing for a split second to get his bearings while carrying oxygen tanks from the scene of the blaze to the safer staging area. I saw many of them carrying dozens of these heavy tanks to the smoke diving helmet equipped fire fighter working inside the buildings.
After wandering around Shinjuku station the other day I decided to do my (several times a year) trip up the Tokyo City Hall to enjoy the view of Tokyo at night: it never ceases to astonish me how huge this city really is! As far as you can see, all the way into Saitama prefecture, it is an unbroken urban landscape. The city hall itself was lit up in a new color scheme that I think has something to do with the Olympics maybe. I will always hold that visiting the City Hall is one of the two tourist things you simply must do in Tokyo. The other being visiting Asakusa. Enjoy!