February 19, 2014

Tokyo Bay via Kasai Seaside Park

At the edge of Kasai Seaside Park, where you can play at the lip of Tokyo Bay.

The views are quite good. This is Tokyo Gate Bridge.

Highway rest stop Umihotaru is visible in the distance, sails ironically on land.

Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea in the distance.

An ibis.

I don't know the name of this bird, but it was dipping and diving like a cormorant. It seems to be a baby grebe?

Remnants of a jellyfish.

Dunlins, foraging.

Looking back at the park again.

Nighttime at the Mandarin Oriental

The 37th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo.

It says it's a pizza bar, and I guess the way the tables are cordoned off by little bodies of water is inspired by Venice? 

Like the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku, it seems to be one of those places in Tokyo that are frequented by overseas visitors and affluent Japanese.

 The lobby of the 38th floor.

 This lamp reminded me of one of these skirts.

A secret delight was the view from the women's (and I'm assuming men's) bathroom. Unfortunately, the wheelchair bathroom doesn't have a view.

Tokyo Sky Tree, again.

All the flower arrangements on display at the hotel were beautiful, but I kept on thinking that their flower budget must be astronomical.

Daffodil Festival at Kasai Seaside Park

From mid-January to mid-February this year, Kasai Seaside Park held its annual daffodil festival.

With 50,000 bulbs and an estimated 200,000 flowers, it was meant to be one of the park's major events to celebrate its 25th year.

Unfortunately, an unusually merciless amount of snow meant that the flowers ended up in an extremely fragile state. While late January was unseasonably warm, there were two major snow days on consecutive weekends in early February. This photo was taken after a day of light snow.

The poor flowers had been flattened, and their necks snapped. And the cold seemed to do away with the amazing scent that a field of daffodils can have. 

What a shame. Look how the petals are gleaming!

City Views from Bunkyo Civic Center

View from the Bunkyo Civic Center, close to Kasuga Station. The 25th floor observation deck is free.

Obviously, that's Tokyo Sky Tree in the background.

The La Qua (where the Moomin Cafe is) rollercoaster is visible too.

The green patch in the background is my favorite park, Koishikawa Botanical Gardens.

You can view Tokyo from every single floor.

 The University of Tokyo is visible by its clock.

 My former residence is visible in this photo.

The two towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building are visible far away.

Chuo University is the yellowish building in the center, and to the left is the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, which I have only been to once but found rather dull. There is a Chinese dormitory next to one of the exits that has a beautiful tea room, though!

Tokyo Snow Day x 2

In Tokyo, it used to be that we were lucky if we had snow that stuck for one day out the year. This usually happens in February, when the poor schoolkids are taking their school entrance exams amongst delayed trains and freezing weather.

This February, we've had two large snowstorms on two consecutive weekends. What would have been a routine amount of snow for somewhere like Hokkaido became catastrophic in Tokyo -- the Yurikamome Line suffered a blackout on Rainbow Bridge, roads were closed off, and those who ventured out had an extremely difficult time getting home.

The concept of snow angels don't exist in Japan, so I could tell even before I saw the toddler's blond hair that this mother and daughter weren't Japanese.

Odaiba, snowed in.

 View from the Tokyo Midtown building in Roppongi, overlooking a public park.

Kachidoki at night.

Most of the streets were closed to traffic.

The same area the next morning.

Kachidoki Station, partially blocked for security checks.

An "igloo" and snowman in Monzen-nakacho.