Tokyo Gate Bridge

If there was a defined edge to the city of Tokyo, this would be it. Tokyo Gate Bridge is the furthest public highway built out into Tokyo bay. The island on the horizon is Chuo Bohatei, Tokyo’s largest landfill, which is reaching the edge of the municipality’s border. This image is from Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. The image is also an optical illusion: can you tell if the bridge piers are getting thinner or taller the further away they are? Click on the image for a larger view.

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Edogawa

The levee along Edogawa or Edo river is 10m or 30 ft. above the river course. The land on the other side is near sea level. The population density for this Tokyo ward is 13,900 people/km² or 35,900 people/sq. mi. Millions of people are protected from riverine flooding by these structures. This image is from Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.

Jyonanjima

Jyonanjima Seaside Park is built on an artificial island in Tokyo bay. Since this island lies on not only the busiest shipping route into Tokyo harbor, but also along one of the flight paths to Haneda International Airport, its popularity is surprising. And while it is one of the few places residents of the city can enjoy a sand beach, the water is too hazardous to allow swimming. Click on the image for a larger view. This is from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape.

Wasp

I am not sure the type of wasp, but we found the remains just on the inside of our window. It is missing two of its wings, but apart from that, it is it good shape. At first appearance, it seem rather plain, but under closer inspection, the markings and structure are beautiful. As with most insects, this wasp also has three primitive eyes between its larger primary compound eyes. Click on the image for a larger view.

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The Stuff of Stars

This universe started as energy and cooled to form two elements: hydrogen and helium. Those two elements coalesced into stars. These early stars died and, in the process, exploded to form other types of matter such as carbon and oxygen. Billions of years of this cycle of star formation and destruction led to the life we see around us. We think of space as a place far from here, alien to our experience, when it is the cradle from which we were born. Click on the image for a larger view.

Northern Mockingbird

We were visited by a Northern Mockingbird this afternoon. While the plumage of this bird is subdued, its song is complex and beautiful, giving it its latin name, Mimus polyglottos, the many-tongued mimic. It serenaded us for several minutes while feeding. Continue reading