570 Days of Summer – Sky Worship VII

As the calendar rolls around to my 7th year in Japan, I thought it might be a good idea to write a reflective post or two on my time abroad (I even had a title picked out: “7 Years in Japan” – do I know how to steal movie titles or what?) But what happened is that I had (and have) too much stuff going on at the moment to sit down and write a long drawn out semi-introspective entry (plus I’m just not that clever), plus I still need to finish writing the last few entries in the 2008 Autumn Road Trip series before, you know, it comes time for the 2009 Autumn Road Trip haha.

mori tower sky worship

So as a way of making recompense for my laziness, I decided to take a moment the other day to calculate how many days of summer I have spent in Japan. The answer, it turns out, is 570 (at least as of when I calculated it) a number that lets me steal the title of another movie, 500 Days of Summer to use as the title of this post. Incidentally, that title is really intriguing and made me want to go see the movie, but as usual the movie isn’t being released in Japan for god knows how long after it finishes its US run (if it is even released at all) and I, being of the impatient panda persuasion, just ended up reading the movie spoiler and now I’m not going to go see it all. Tsk tsk Fox. That’s what you get for being greedy and staggering releases to milk more money out of international distribution.

mori tower sky worship

Anyway, I digress. The reason I even decided to calculate how many days of summer I’ve spent in these fair isles is that recently we’ve been having some absolutely kick ass summer weather in Tokyo (seriously, the skies have been ridiculously beautiful) and as I headed out the door to snap some pictures from the top of the Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills (one of my favourite photography spots) on a particularly fantastic – albeit sweltering – summer day, it struck me that this year I’ve been a lot more active this summer than in all the other summers past combined.

mori tower sky worship

Summer for me has always been a dead and dread season, ranking fourth on the scale behind autumn, spring and winter – something to be endured rather than enjoyed. For a cold-weather panda such as me, Japan’s summer was particularly brutal, with heat, humidity and a lengthy torrential rainy season that conspired to wilt the mind, body and spirit the second one left their air-conditioned sanctuary (provided you were lucky enough to even have air-conditioning).

mori tower sky worship

This year, however, has been different. I mean, I have always loved certain things about the summer – but this year it’s like all of those things and more – it’s hard to explain, but I’m not dreading summer like before, I’m not constantly feeling melted and miserable, I’m not continuously counting the days until Autumn swings around like I used to. Rather, I’m looking forward to all the fun things Summer has to offer – the seasonal cuisine, the summer festivals, the gorgeous verdant rice fields that fill the countryside… and of course, those gorgeous blue skies over Tokyo.

mori tower sky worship

Speaking of which…

mori tower sky worship

I’ve posted several entries about Roppongi Hills and the Mori Tower before. In fact, one of my favourite pictures I’ve taken came from the observation deck on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower and was the original picture that kicked off the entire Sky Worship sub-theme on my blog. (Hey I know it wasn’t that great of a picture, but I took it with a crappy point and shoot through a thick haze and a glossy glass window, so cut me some slack :P ) In case you couldn’t tell, I really like this place.

mori tower sky worship

What I stupidly did not realise is that starting about a year and a half ago, you could actually go outside onto the roof of the Mori Tower for the “Tokyo Sky Deck” viewing platform on the very top of the building. Actually, I had seen advertisements for it last winter (in some romantic “Tokyo is for Lovers” campaign) and went there to take some pictures, but then I got confused because the indoor observation deck is confusingly titled “Tokyo Sky View”, so then I thought I had misread the name and that there really wasn’t a way to get out onto the roof and it was all my imagination. The fact that the entrance to the tiny staircase leading up to the roof is somewhat hidden didn’t help poor spatially challenged me. (as we have seen in previous blog entries, I’m not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to finding entranceways).

mori tower sky worship

But as you can see, I have managed to find my way out onto the roof last week where I could enjoy some truly stunning vistas over Tokyo, which I have dutifully done my best to capture on film (well, digital sensor) and document here for you. It was a great day out, and if you are ever in Tokyo on a fine summer day and looking for something to do, I highly recommend plunking down your hard-earned 1800 yen (yeah, it’s super steep, I know… but worth it!) and heading up to the roof of the Mori Tower for some gorgeous sky and sun worshipping.

You can see a few more images below:

mori tower sky worship

mori tower sky worship

mori tower sky worship

mori tower sky worship

mori tower sky worship

mori tower sky worship

mori tower sky worship

And this, gentle readers, concludes how I spent my very fine, very beautiful, very sunny and very beautiful 570th day of summer.

Now listening to: Gorilla Zoe – Echo

57 Reactions

  1. matsudolegend

    i love your photos. some of them are absolutely sublime. i wish i could shoot stuff 1/10 as good.
    im definitely coming back! great work.

  2. 6th Floor Blog

    What’s that red eiffel tower looking structure out there? Great pictures though, it’s actually been pretty rainy here in New York almost every day it feels like.

  3. matsudolegend

    when i tried subscribing to the rss feed for the blog, the posts arent updated on the feed and when i click on the feeds through my rss reader, the link doesnt work. :(

  4. michaelpanda

    @matsudolegend: thank you for the kind comments about my photos! I’m glad you like them! :) It’s funny that you spent time in Matsudo – I passed through there one time last year on my way to Chiba for business!

    Also, thanks for letting me know about the RSS feed – I (think!) I fixed it now so (hopefully!) it works! :P

    @6th floor blog: That’s actually the Tokyo Tower, which is, as it looks like, pretty much a miniature rip off tourist trap version of the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been to both, and trust me, the real deal is much better! :)

    @Al: Thank you for your kind comment! I love the summer sky in Japan (especially Tokyo). I mean, I guess it’s the same as summer skies everywhere, but there’s just something about all that concrete at the bottom of the frame that grounds it and contrasts with its expansive air-iness.

  5. moritheil

    Summarizing is really, really, really hard. We all make light of it, but separating vital from non-vital facts is a matter requiring a great deal of precision and focus. (Plus, unless you can see the future – or the end of a story arc – you can’t tell what will or won’t be vital.)
    Your photography has taken a bit of a darker, cooler turn. In particular I love the photo with the vibrant and sunny life on the right, the still signpost in the middle, and the shady glass-and-steel edifice on the left. It has that slight environmental undercurrent that a great many Japanese works have and which we might call quintessentially Japanese – see, your years are influencing you!

  6. Michaelpanda

    @moritheil: Tell me about it. *sigh* I’m turning… well, let’s just say a no-longer-quite-so-young-age soon, and I’ve been wanting to write a retrospective summarising entry for that, but it’s just so damn hard… ugh.
    and thanks for the comment about the photography – I’ve noticed that what I shoot has changed a lot since I first started taking pictures for the blog. Gosh, I can hardly believe I’ve been keeping this blog for nearly 7 years now. Which reminds me, I need to go back and re-upload the original pictures for the entries in the first couple of years, as they got lost during one of the database shuffles back in the day.
    @Gidget Bananas: Awww, thank you so much! I’m glad you like them. Though in all honesty, Tokyo’s blue skies are so gorgeous in and of themselves that all one really has to do is just point the camera at them and press the button and they practically photograph themselves! :)