Koenji—On the Streets of Tokyo

In the 1990s, shopping streets were a common feature of Tokyo neighborhoods and a central locus for communities. Shops were often multigenerational family businesses. Today, large department stores and online retailers are making the economics of running local stores difficult, if not impossible. This street in Koenji from the 90s is typical of many of these thoroughfares. Click on the image for a larger view.

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Retention Ponds

Florida is a giant sand bar. You need not dig very deep before hitting water. This presents problems with construction as roads and buildings make surfaces impervious to rain, causing a flooding hazard from runoff. Retention ponds are dug to mitigate flooding from development. While natural lakes in Florida are shallow, retention ponds are deep, penetrating the ground 40 or 50 feet. But, because of the high water table, these ponds need to be pumped while under construction. In the woods to the left of the image is a temporary holding pond. Click on the image for a larger view.

Number 3 Daiba

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.

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Kasai Rinkai Park

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.