Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Tale of Two Towers

Tokyo Sky Tree August 2011
Tuesday May 22, 8:28 p.m.

After years of seeing this thing slowly rise up from the nondescript neighbourhood of Oshiage, Tokyo Sky Tree finally got its debut today. All 634 m of it opened up to the public. The weather didn't cooperate too much, though, since there was a pretty steady rain dampening the proceedings, and later on the winds were strong enough to stop any elevator rides up to the higher observation deck. Still, by the end of their Tuesday, 220,000 visitors made it up and down the world's tallest tower. How? I've got no idea.

Of course, NHK gave a full half-hour to the opening. And there have been a lot of gimmicks surrounding it. One French restaurant near TST is serving a towering dish made up of chicken, rice and veggies. There is a campaign going on at a soba restaurant in which exactly 634 grams of soba noodles measuring 63.4 cm in length are being served. Kinda challenging dining.

Meanwhile, the former No. 1 tower, Toronto's own CN Tower, is down to No. 3, since the Shanghai Tower usurped its position a few years ago. Seeing the Tokyo Sky Tree debut kinda took me back some decades as I remember seeing the CN Tower being built as an elementary school kid. As I played recess in the schoolyard in St. James Town, I saw the tower slowly taking shape and rising above the cityscape thanks to the famous Sikorsky helicopter taking up various parts to the very top.

I think it's still a proud structure down at the lakeshore, and I can honestly that I have lived in two cities that boasted the tallest free-standing structure.