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Japan: New Landmark “Tokyo Sky Tree” is Growing

The year 2011 in Tokyo started with a sunny blue sky, and it was the perfect day to mark the beginning of a fresh new year. Japanese people have customs to be in touch with auspicious things during the New Year's holiday, such as special meals where each of the dishes and ingredients have a meaning related to the good abilities that human beings want to acquire, watching the rising sun on the morning of the new year’s day to receive the blessing from the sun, or praying for a good year at temples or shrines.

This year, there was a new “lucky icon” that many Japanese people enjoyed.

It is the Tokyo Sky Tree. This “Tree” is a tower which will “grow” to be 634 meters high and will become the highest tower in the world by December, 2011. This tower has mainly three roles. First, to be a landmark in eastern Tokyo and stimulate tourism. Second, to be the new antenna of the terrestrial digital broadcasting system. Third, to build better information infrastructure for disasters preparation and relief, which is important in a country like Japan where there are numerous earthquakes throughout the year. Now the Tower tops 530m and is growing day by day, and Tokyoites are enjoying the “growth” of the tree. Hereafter, you can see how people are taking care of the Tree.

あけましておめでとうございます。2011年1月1日元旦の「東京スカイツリー」です。薄い雲はありますが元旦から晴れました。

A happy new year! This is the Tokyo Sky Tree on New Year's day of 2011. There were some wispy clouds but it was sunny from the first day of this year.

These two photos are from a blog titled “Fixed-point observation of Tokyo Sky Tree (東京スカイツリー定点観測所)”, where the author has uploaded pictures of the Tower almost everyday since the beginning of the construction.

2008年3月23日の「東京スカイツリー」の建設現場です。この頃はまだ名称が決定しておらず

This is the building site of the Tokyo Sky Tree on March 23th, 2008. At this time, the name of the Tower was not decided yet.

Back to the story that the Tower is seen as a lucky icon, here are some bloggers writing about what kind of meaning they found to observing the Tower on New Year's Day.

The blogger at Dankai-jin said:

お昼頃になって再度ベランダに出てみました。そして先ほどの高い塔を確認したら、やはり建造中のスカイツリーでした。わが家のベランダからスカイツリーが 眺望出来るとは思ってもいませんでしたので、正月から縁起の良い大発見でした。現在の塔の高さは539mとのことで、これからあと1年ほどで約100m伸 長して634mの世界一の電波塔が完成する予定になっています。これからはわが家のベランダから完成までの偉業を見守っていきたいと思います。

Around noon, I went out to the balcony and looked at the high tower that I’ve seen in the morning. It was the Sky Tree under construction. I did not imagine that I could see the Sky Tree from my balcony so it was a big lucky discovery on this New Year’s day! It's 539m high right now and will become 634m in about a year to become the world's tallest TV tower. From my balcony, I shall watch this great accomplishment come to completion.

The Yokohaman Nikki also sends his greetings:

明けましておめどうございます。東京スカイスリーが、閉塞感に満ちたいまの社会で、大空に伸びゆく姿が、希望と夢を分かち与えてくれると思い、新年最初の写真としました。

A Happy New Year. Since I thought that the figure of Sky Tree, rising up to the broad sky gives us hope and dream in this stagnated society, I put this photo as the first one of the year on my blog.

As does T.N.T.-SHOW, who visited Sensō-ji, one of the most famous temples in Japan:

浅草寺へ行く途中、新東京タワーの近くを通りました。
スカイツリーの名の通り、巨大な構造物は晴れた元日の空にそびえ立っていました。
浅草寺の近くからもその姿が見え、たくさんの参拝客が記念撮影に興じています。
構造的に日本古来の建築である五重塔の構造を参考にしたと言われる塔ですが
その外観はあまりに異なります。
一年前、通勤途中の電車から見たスカイツリーは今の半分くらいの大きさでした。
それが今ではこの威容です。日本の建築技術も捨てたものではありませんね。
今年の日本の行く末はまだ霧の中ですが希望が持てると思えてきます。

On the way to Sensō-ji Temple, I passed the new Tokyo Tower. The huge construction was standing straight up in the sunny sky of the new year’s day, exactly like its name, Sky Tree. Since it is visible from near Sensō-ji Temple, lots of visitors of the temple were taking pictures of the Tower. It's said that the Tower is designed after the traditional five story pagoda, but it looks completely different. A year ago, the Sky Tree seen from the train on my way to work was just as half high as it is now. Look at this strong impressive figure! Japanese architectural technology still has a lot to offer. Although the future of Japan is still unclear, I feel the Tower allows us to have hope.

Tourism & Sky Tree

Asides from the auspicious aspect, there is a business-related aspect of the Tower. People in particular want to take full advantage of the construction to revitalize the area around the foot of the Tree. In the old days, this area was an industrial zone and there were lots of manufacturing factories standing next to each other, but since those small-to-midsize factories are nowadays on a decline, the area is gradually losing its active atmosphere and getting closer to a ghost town.

As the mother ground of the Tree, the Tower of course is being utilized as a tourism resource.

Tarobe Morita introduced a rice-bowl dish.

ご近所グルメ すみだ《そば処かみむら》名物「タワー丼」。東京スカイツリーは、514mになった。テレビや雑誌でおなじみの、スカイツリー近くの《そば処かみむら》へ行く。話題のタワー丼に挑戦。特大エビの天ぷら3本にかき揚げを、スカイツリーに見立てたもの。スカイツリー関連食べ物の元祖である。

The Neighborhood gourmet of Sumida Ward is Tower-don from the restaurant Soba Kamimura! I went to Soba Kamimura, now famous on TV and magazines, to try the famous “Tower Bowl”. It has 3 huge shrimp tempuras and a vegetable mix tempura to resemble as the Sky Tree. It's the original “Sky Tree dish”.

Kimama na Jikan tried a parfait.

歩き疲れたら、ちょっと休みたいですよね。ちょっと甘いものなんて嬉しいと思います。
そんな時にこちらはどうでしょう。東武橋の所にある「さくらcafe向島」さんです。外でソフトクリームも食べられますが・・・お隣のテーブルに運ばれて来たのは・・・
まさしく、あのスカイツリーパフェです。高く聳え立つツリーの如く。。。すごい。みんなが写メ撮らせてもらってました。

Let's have a break when you are tired of walking. Something sweet would be nice. How about this cafe? “Sakura Cafe Mukohjima”, close to Tohbu-bashi bridge. They sell ice cream inside but what we had was…. yes the famous “Sky Tree Parfait”! Standing straight up like the Sky Tree… Wow. Lots of people asked to take a photo.

This Sweet tall Parfait is 634mm high as the real Tower is going to be 634m high.

There are more examples of collectibles using the Tower as an icon, including orthodox ones such as key chains and post cards. There are also Sky Tree boxer pants and the canned beer wrapped with the picture of the Tower, and more can be seen on Tokyo Sky Tree Fan's Blog.

The completion of Tokyo Sky Tree is scheduled at the end of 2011 and Japan is waiting for the first day to “water” the brand-new landmark of Tokyo. The meaning of “water” will vary for each person; some will take a picture, some will climb up to the top, and others will create a new Sky Tree related collectible to celebrate the big effort.

The special historical moment is getting coming closer and closer!

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