24 February 2007

The Same Building. From Way Too Many Angles

No Friday Seppuku this week as I just haven't had the time or energy. Instead, as a follow up to the amazing futuristic pics posted on GGSA a while back (not taken by me), here are some pics of industrial Tokyo, appearing as it would have circa 1975.

Tokyo in winter is gorgeous: clear, sunny days and clean, crisp air. It was not, however, one of these clear sunny days that I decided to take photographs from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. I rolled over in bed and looked out the window on the afternoon of the mission to see murky grey clouds that threatened snow. Undeterred, I braved the weather and put far more faith in my photographic skills than proved to be justified.

I'm a bit of a geek for facts and figures, so you might want to skip the following if you find them boring; although you're here on this blog, so you're obviously after some kind of punishment.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building houses Tokyo's other important HQ - the Tokyo local government - which I am sure very efficiently looks after the 23 wards, cities, towns and villages that constitute this fair town. Designed by architect Kenzo Tange to look like a computer chip, the building consists of a complex of three structures, each taking up a city block. The tallest and most prominent of the three is the Tokyo Metropolitan Main Building No. 1, a tower 48 stories tall that splits into two sections at the 33rd floor. The building also has three levels below ground.

The other two buildings in the complex are the eight-story Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building, including one floor below ground [below] and the Tokyo Metropolitan Main Building No. 2, which has 37 stories including three below ground [see below below].

A token search of our bags revealed nothing untoward, so we were ushered to the lift and up to the observation level in one of the towers. (It was so long ago now that I don't remember which one.) Flurries of snow danced outside the window but melted before they hit the ground. Here's a view of folk in the other tower, some freakin' rocking multi-level expressways, and the Park Hyatt Tokyo, famous from Lost in Translation (still unseen by yours truly). We went to the New York Grill for lunch and although I'm not really too excited by food and am happy just to satisfy my hunger, I was disappointed to find the food very average. The chef must have been having an off day.

Various other non-views:

The Government Building from another tall building nearby, [above] and the courtyard/walkways [below].

Aaaand... various shots from the Hyatt.

Er, the government buildings again [above]

Finally, a wee glimpse into how this city stays so immaculately clean. Grab a sponge and a bucket of water, and hang from a rope and wipe the building down by hand.


  1. Oh, WOW! GG!
    Wow and wow again!
    Thank you. What a fabulous set of photos. I shall keep coming back to see them again and again and wishing I was there.
    And do you really mean to say you've never seen Lost in Translation?
    And you've never eaten Natto?
    It kinda begs the question, are you really in Tokyo or posting this from Melbourne to fool us? Hee hee.
    Thanks again for such brilliant photos. I love 'em.

  2. They are indeed cool pics, GG, especially the last three.
    Poor old mate with the bucket! It'd be kinda fun the first time, but bugger doing that full time. It's been added to the list of things I'd rather not do for a living!

  3. No probs, boss. Glad you like 'em as I took them for you. You were so enthusiastic about it how could I not.

    Vic: Yeah, I like the last three as well. I'm terrified of heights so cleaning buildings while dangling by a single rope has never been on my to-do list. Bugger that, indeed!

  4. Just awesome, GG.
    I think a payrise is due.

  5. Black & white kicks ass GG, very cool pic's.

    I'm having second thoughts about doing some pic's from Belgium in a couple of weeks now, as the standard is too high.
    Might need to bribe the bro for some help.


  6. That guy in the last picture is on one of those ninja squeegie bunjie ropes, so it only takes him 20 minutes to clean the lot.

    I used to work as a "wringer-out" for a one-armed window cleaner.

  7. Woooooo I'm really quite dizzy now ... i don't have much of a head for heights but wow great shots!

  8. Yup. I think it's time I opened an office in Tokyo.
    It'll save you the daily commute to London GG.

  9. Full: Thanks, but these pics are a piece o' shite, really. I'll look forward to seeing yours of Belgium - I've never been there so it'd be great to see what it's like.
    A one-armed window cleaner, eh? Intriguing.

    Dive: C'mon over, boss.

  10. After spending the past six weeks building a base for a new garage, I have a newfound respect for architecture. Fantastic.

  11. You really need to see Lost in Translation. Beautiful little movie (funny, I watched it again last night).

    Those are great photographs.

  12. I thought Lost in T. was overrated i'm afraid. Bit silly at times and a waste of Bill Murray's talent. Eek, sorry!

  13. Very impressive buildings though I hate cities.
    Lost in translation was very good listen to me I wouldn't steer you wrong, the lighting the feel and the culture that we arn't used to very good.

  14. And any movie that starts with a lingering shot of Scarlett Johansen's arse gets my vote.