An action-packed two days in the most populous metropolitan area in the world.

I was only able to stay a single night in Nagoya, during which I became increasingly intimate with my inhaler after being assigned a hotel room which – contrary to their claim – was decidedly not non-smoking. Nevertheless, I was able to gather that it’s an exceptionally stylish city, and will definitely make a point of paying it a proper visit at some point in the future.

Awaiting my bullet train to Tokyo. Thank you for smoking.

Roppongi Hills – and my first time seeing the oft-photographed Maman by Louise Bourgeois in real life!

Japan’s love affair with Audrey continues.

My first port of call: the Star Wars: Visions exhibition, featuring original props and costumes from all six movies.

The exhibition was actually curated by George Lucas himself, who invited more than 60 artists to showcase their interpretations of the Star Wars universe.

That’s no moon…

This made me smile.

Housed in the Sky Gallery of the Roppongi Hills Observation Deck (located on the 52nd floor of Mori Tower), the exhibition also offered some pretty stunning views of the city.

Sadly the only place you were allowed to take photographs was the entrance hall, which meant that I couldn’t actually get any pictures of the costumes or lightsabres (!) besides Darth here.

…who, admittedly, was still pretty damn cool.

Shoddy Imperial craftsmanship.

The roof of Mori Tower, some 238m in the sky.

…where I was able to confront my dark side.

Dusk over Tokyo.

That evening: a 6-year catch-up with Fiona! (Actually we’d started that process when I dropped my suitcase off at hers that afternoon and we had lunch together, but Fiona is not the biggest fan of having her photo taken.)

We went to Ebisu Garden Place for old times’ sake.

…and also because I remembered the nearby Monsoon Café, which happily still exists!

Starbucks in Shibuya.

…offering perfect (if slightly rainy) views of Shibuya Crossing.

Fiona had literally just been telling me about the amphibious housemate who lives in their garden, when he jumped out from the bushes to greet us on the way home.

The next morning: the sweet ecstasy of waking up and not having to pack a suitcase (8 prefectures in 8 days was, in retrospect, probably a little ambitious), followed by a stroll through Yoyogi Park with Kaori sensei! We taught together at my old school, and she’d come all the way from Chiba to see me.

She also had a new arrival on the way!

Nessie had stowed away in my suitcase to start a new life with Kaori’s son.

ゴジラ! ゴジラ!!

A giant Godzilla, casually hanging out in Tokyo Midtown.


And, continuing our tour de tours: the Tokyo Skytree! We were actually 5 minutes past the official time when visitors were allowed to ascend the tower, but the staff kindly let us up anyway, which – as an added bonus – meant that we got to skip any queueing whatsoever.

Distant Tokyo Tower, which Fiona and I had also ascended together one of the last times I was in Tokyo.

Currently the tallest structure in Japan, the Skytree stands an impressive 634m (or 2,080ft) tall. This also makes it the tallest tower in the world (displacing the Canton Tower in China), though Dubai’s Burj Khalifa still holds the title of the world’s tallest man-made structure.

Ascending to the topmost observation deck.

Contrary to appearances, that’s not abject terror on Fiona’s face – she was just enjoying the light show in the elevator.

The Skytree is actually the primary television and radio broadcast site for the Kantō region; the older Tokyo Tower no longer giving complete digital terrestrial television broadcasting coverage because of the high-rise buildings surrounding it.


A glass floor, looking down to the 450m drop below us.

Totoro greeting us upon our descent.

Given our history of tower tourism, it seemed only appropriate that my first time up the Skytree, and last night in Tokyo, was with Fiona.

Our froggy friend also showed up again to say goodbye.

  1. Markus McD says:

    Omg, I would have died on the glass floor. I can’t even stand on the glass floor of the CN tower (the tallest tower in the western hemisphere, and third place for towers globally, with Canton Tower and Tokyo Skytree above it, as you mentioned).


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