Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Old and New at Shinjuku

I took Andrew deep into the heart of Tokyo today, by visiting the section with the busiest train station. As one of our guidebooks puts it, Tokyo's population (around 34 million) is the size of California's population squished into an area the size of Hawaii. Walking around Tokyo's streets definitely confirms this description.
Upon leaving the Shinjuku train station, Andrew and I took Rich's advice and headed for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It is a must see for anyone that visits the area because it is literally right outside the train station (a quick five minute walk), it's free to use their observation deck and simply, the building just looks cool (its exterior was apparently was designed to look like a microchip):

I don't know if you can get a sense of how tall the building is but...

...maybe this perspective will help. This is from the observation deck on the 45th floor looking down at the spot where we took the first picture:

The observation deck gave us 360 degree views of Tokyo, including one of Andrew's favorites, the Tokyo Dome (where the Red Sox played a series):

What was equal parts interesting and reassuring was the information on how the building was designed to withstand earthquakes:

Another stunning view of Tokyo to give you a sense for how densely populated it is. If the day had been clearer, we would've been able to see mountains and perhaps even Mount Fuji in the distance:

Although the lighting was horrible, we did manage to grab one kind Japanese woman to take a picture of us together to commemorate the experience:

As we were leaving, I couldn't resist snapping a shot of the lobby's ceiling - notice how the microchip theme is reflected in the interior?

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