The Kansai Episode: Not Quite Him

“I wish we could be together, Andy. Levin.”

The previous first three shots were unintended. I had dropped my camera for the first time, and the shutter somehow became bugged, and just couldn’t focus. I loved the effect of it all, though.

Towards Juso and Kobe, west of Osaka.

South towards Osaka Bay and Kansai airport.


A closer look at the developments near Osaka station.

Shot through a foggy window. I like the effect it created.

Are you afraid of heights?

The Umeda Sky Building was conceived in an era when impossible was nothing. There was so much optimism, so much hope and promise. All around Japan, governments and architects alike planned for a vision of the future. Everybody just kept pushing the envelopes – buildings kept getting taller and taller, but when it was clear the only thing between the oil crises of the seventies, the reviving eighties and rocking’ nineties was sentiment, everything came crashing down. Property was being built for people who simply couldn’t afford, and for souls that were never accounted for. Futuristic visionary projects like Sir Norman Foster’s Millennium Tower for Tokyo Bay, Tokyo’s Sky City remained as they were – blueprints and renderings. Whole artificial island cities such as Tokyo’s then new waterfront town, Odaiba, then a shining beacon for urban redevelopment, became an embarrassing white elephant that couldn’t be removed from plain sight or balance sheets. One project that survived in a significantly reduced form however, was a project that called for a “city of air”, four inter-connected towers joined by a floating garden. While the number of towers was ultimately reduced to just two, it survived, as the Umeda Sky Building.

I must admit, I choked up a bit. Perhaps because the observation deck had a Christmas theme to it, and in Japan, Christmas is all about being with your loved ones, in particularly, your partner. I know how it must look like through the looking-glass: a guy incapable of living without love, but is it so wrong of me to desire love, no matter how desperate or hopeless I look? As the days, months and years go by, I realize I’ve only become more recluse and less sociable than the opposite, really.

They give us stars to write and hang our Christmas wishes. My wish, which not even my travel partner knows, is the first line of this post.


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