Shinobazu no Ike, or Shinobazu Pond, is located in Ueno Park, Tokyo. This is all that remains of the marsh that has been filled since Edo was established in the seventeenth century. The eastern part of Tokyo was reclaimed from this marsh and is protected by a series of flood walls. During World War II, the pond was used for growing rice. After the war, discussions on whether to convert the area to baseball fields were held. Boating on this pond goes back to 1931. This image is from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscapes. Click on the image for a larger view.
What looks like a peaceful Japanese garden is Number 3 Daiba, a fortification built in 1853 as a response to attempts by US Commodore Perry to open Japan. Beyond that is the artificial island of Odaiba, which was constructed after World War II and one of the planned sites for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Between the two high-rise apartment building on the left is Tokyo Gate Bridge, the furthest extent of the city into the bay. Number 3 Daiba was originally built several kilometers off the coast of the city in open water. This image comes from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscapes. Click on the image for a larger view.
Kasai Rinkai Park is on Tokyo Bay. It is an artificial island built to preserve the natural habitat of Tokyo bay destroyed by development. The bridge in in the background is the main highway that connects Tokyo with Chiba, Tokyo Disneyland, and Narita International Airport. The loudspeakers on the post warn people of approaching tsunamis. This image is from our book Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Emptiness: Tokyo Landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.
Ōkeanos is the Greek for “the great stream encircling the Earth’s disk.” This word was transformed in middle English to the word we are familiar with: ocean. Click on the image for a larger view.
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.
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 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.
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