Thursday, May 8, 2014

Encountering Tokyo: Tokyo Skytree’s disappointing attendance so far: 6.19 million visitors

Tokyo Skytree’s disappointing attendance so far: 6.19 million visitors

I don't have any particular interest in Tokyo Skytree.  From the start it just seemed like a colossal money-burn to me.  Tokyo Tower has a cheesy charm and a history.  Skytree only has newness and size.

But I'm sharing this story because I definitely agree with writer Casey Baseel's opening sentence.  Tokyo is huge beyond comprehension.  Seeing it on Google Maps or having someone quote you the metro-area population-- a bit more than 9 million, putting it at number 16 on a list of the world's most populous-- makes you think of a vast megalopolis right out of a William Gibson novel, spread from horizon to horizon and over-stimulating enough to expand your mind past the breaking point.  When you're inside it, though, you don't have this feeling at all.  You take it street by street and you could be practically anywhere.  The scale becomes more modest.  Tokyo is very approachable and comprehensible.

Then you see it from the air, or Tokyo Skytree and you're boggled again.  A desert of concrete, steel, glass and plastic.  Cubes and pyramids piled on top of each other fading away for as far as you can see.  It swallows you when you glide in on the shinkansen, but once you're inside the city body and you've become a cell, you only have to deal with the next cell, or the specific organ in which you find yourself.  Where is the heart?  Is it Shibuya, Shinjuku or Tokyo proper?  That's for you to decide.

Anyway, don't be intimidated by Tokyo.  After all, there are 15 larger cities.  And the ward you visit will only be as large as a modest-sized one that doesn't even make the list.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tokyo metro is over 30 million and its no1. Seriously, what source were you quoting?