Sunday, 21 December 2008

Landmark Tower

Two weeks ago, after taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in Kanagawa University, my EOS Kiss and I went for a night out in Minato Mirai. It was one of those places that brings me back to the time when we had our first kiss (pardon the pun), just about a year earlier. Frankly speaking, I would have preferred to have it ten days from now, so that it would coincide with our first anniversary. But the busy week ahead left us with no choice but to have an early celebration instead.

Yokohama, which used to be a small fishing village during the Edo period, has developed into a bustling city since Commodore Perry's arrival in the 1850's. June next year, the city will be celebrating its 150th anniversary of the opening of the port.

The part of the city where we exactly headed for was the waterfront known as Minato Mirai 21. It literally translates to "Future Harbor 21". The place was built on reclaim land. Yes, including the Landmark Tower, which looms over Cosmo World at a staggering height of 295.8m, setting the record for the tallest building in Japan. The view from up there was said to be magnificent, so we were compelled to see for ourselves.

For a modest fee of 1000 yen, you get to take a 40-second ride on the second fastest elevator in the world. (Well, it used to be the fastest one until it was unfortunately dethroned by Taipei 101's) The ride to the observatory on the 69th floor was smooth. In fact, it was claimed that a 500 yen coin could stay upright on the floor of the elevator throughout the ride. Alas the elevator was too crowded for me to confirm that.

I tried recalling the experiment we did a month ago. Had I plotted the velocity of the elevator against time, I would have got a bell curve; then by differentiating the velocity twice to compute the jerk, I ought to get a parabolic curve with a minimum point...

Okay, enough physics. Now, for the photos we got from the observatory (Sky Garden).

Landmark Tower :: Mt Fuji at Dusk
Ahah! So this was what these people were here for. On the west side of Sky Garden, you get a breathtaking view of sunset and Mt Fuji in a package - that is, provided the weather allows. Unfortunately, almost the whole stretch on this side isoccupied by Sky Cafe. So if you wish to have a first-class seat, you'll have to order a cup of coffee whatsoever. Soon after sunset, the city lights started flickering, and the inhabitants continued to hum in activity.

Landmark Tower :: Yokohama Cosmo World
Over there on the right, you can see the monolithic ferris wheel, Cosmo Clock 21. On the opposite side of the bridge is Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel (横浜グランドインターコンチネンタルホテル), designed in the likes of a yacth's sail. Further down the street is Cosmo World, a small amusement park frequented by mostly young couples. Need a romantic dating spot? This is it.

Cosmo World :: Cosmo Clock
Zooming in on Cosmo Clock 21, you get the idea how the ferris wheel got its name. Just like most of the ferris wheels here in Japan, it is strategically located at the waterfront. It's 112.5m tall, with a diameter of 100m and it takes 15 minutes to go around once. With a capacity of 480 passengers in a go, Cosmo Clock 21 currently holds the world record for the biggest capacity.

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