• Tokyo


Regarding the May 28, Page 2, photo titled “RETURN TO GLORY”: Anticipating the upcoming unveiling of the completed renovations of Tokyo Station and its reopening slated for October is exciting. However, not for a minute do I expect the completion of this project to be the end of unsightly scaffolding at the iconic station.

Great architecture, like great art, comes and goes. But scaffolding lasts forever. For the 25 years I have lived in Tokyo, the central station has never once been free of some kind of construction or renovation — even before the current renovation project started — so why should the completion of the work change that?

If it’s not one thing it’s another: the Tokyo Station City underground shopping concourse, expanded subway stations, expanded underground access to surrounding buildings, the enduring necessity of repairs, cleaning of smog-damaged external facades, redevelopment of land in front of the station, etc. It will never end and it will never be “finished.”

Cities great and modest are evolving organisms and it is vaguely disappointing that we can never see them in a final, complete form. Of course, that would defy the very nature of the urban organism, but it highlights the conceit behind eulogizing great projects like the Tokyo Station renovation or the construction of Sky Tree. I welcome recognition of our conceits, first, because it shows that we can still make fun of ourselves and, second, because it is a nod to reality.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

grant piper

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