SimCity

An easy and relatively quick ride on the Shinkansen back from Kyoto to Tokyo, we checked into our hotel and found ourselves presented with a pretty amazing view of the city, right from our room.

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Uhhh, whoa
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A very Instagram-able photo of the lobby of our hotel. I always seem to forget that I even have Instagram until well after the trip.

And it got me to thinking… this looks a lot like SimCity up here.

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A random pic in a random direction. It was hard to capture all the expanse of Tokyo, but that didn’t keep me from trying.

I was actually hilariously bad at that game. My cities would go bankrupt shortly after my first power plant blew up. I had to cheat in enough money to build my city up to a freakishly enourmous size, and then start blowing things up, summoning meteor strikes and tornadoes and UFO attacks.

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I think the orange glow of the overpasses through the electric blue-white of the surrounding buildings was cool. Also, obligatory headlight streaks.

I could never figure out how to use the fire stations effectively, so all my SimCities (usually called Duckburg or Nickville or something else really uncreative) were slowly, painfully flattened.

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Maybe once I’m done being a desktop background photographer, I can get Ikea to buy some of my photos to make art out of.

Leave it to a ten-year-old me to turn a very serious city simulation into a Godzilla movie.

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This one turned out pretty well.

The truth is, Tokyo is that freakishly enormous city. I think SimCity used the word Megalopolis… sounds made up to me. Fortunately the Japanese have seen fit to put themselves in charge, rather than me, so no UFO attacks.

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I think that’s Tokyo Tower, a big TV antenna that looks kind of like the Eiffel Tower, to me anyway.

And no tornadoes.

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Couldn’t decide if I liked this one or the other one better, so you get both!

For a city that is so expansive – the greater Tokyo area is home to almost 38 million people – there are plenty of opportunities to go high. Opportunities like our hotel.

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Tokyo Skytree, also a tv broadcast antenna

Or the Tokyo Skytree. This was amazingly difficult to get to and packed with tourists (like us!) but good for more views during the day.

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View from the Skytree. The wait to go up wasn’t long, but the wait for a window sure was!

Even at this height, even with the haze, the city stretches on well past the horizon.

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Lots of people
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Lots and lots of people
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And some bridges

However, we didn’t let that deter us from playing Japanese landmark bingo. Here’s a cemetery (I think):

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I’ve heard that, in Japan, the dead can only be buried for so long before they have to be exhumed to make room for someone else

Or how about a train and a pagoda?

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There’s an amusement park in here, too. Five points to whoever can find it first!

Or how about finding our hotel?

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Somewhere that way, I think

The Skytree itself was also cool to look at, even if you don’t fancy heights.

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It’s “look up until you fall backwards” tall
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I’m glad I wasn’t the one who had to do all the math on these supports
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You know how when two mirrors are facing each other, and the reflections of reflections make an infinite tunnel through the wall? Yeah, that’s not this, but it’s close.

I thought the Skytree was interesting, but a very complicated trip by JR and private subway to get to, and really crowded. A good stop, maybe if you’re already in the area.

However, I think the best views were definitely at sunrise, from our hotel.

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Tokyo tower and bridge
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Thank goodness for jet lag ensuring I’d be awake for this
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Another tower view

Tokyo is such an impossibly large city, it gets overwhelming fast. Without a good plan, a visit can easily descend into a back-and-forth of “well, what do you want to do?” And then you might end up just hiding in the hotel, taking pictures.

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…now with lights!

What?

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