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With this summer’s record-breaking heat wave in mind, I aim to find the longest shadow in Tokyo. Alas, I start out at high noon, when even Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcasting tower, offers zero refuge. Once outside the air-conditioned environs of Oshiage Station, I am left at the mercy of the scorching sun.

A canal flows past Skytree on the northern edge of the Narihira neighborhood and, under a bridge that spans the water, I spy a makeshift cave of shade. Descending steps to the canal side, I find the air thick with the algal odor of a neglected fish tank.

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