October 29, 2010

Tokyo Dome City

Back from a week in Tokyo, I plan to do a few posts on the show I was fortunate enough to design the lighting for, the venue, and other interesting things I saw in Japan.

The Tokyo Dome is in the heart of Tokyo and its big, pillowy roof can clearly be seen from space. It can seat about 50,000 people inside, which would only be a small portion of the 12.8 million populating the city.

I had a great view of Tokyo Dome City from the 24th floor of the Tokyo Dome Hotel, and when the sun went down, the lights from the amusement park lit up, flickered and changed colors. The trussing surrounding the outside roofing is beautiful and the triangular tile work on the floor extends into the amusement park area for acres.

Looking at the Google map, it occurs to me that they should take advantage of that big inflated roof and add some graphic symbol to it.  After all, most of Tokyo is a graphic overload to the eyes with the manga characters, bold colors and signage everywhere you look.

So maybe they should consider throwing an image of Hello Kitty or Doraemon or Godzilla up there.  Or maybe since the Dome itself is a symbol of Japan, it would be a perfect background for a "wa" character, since it's also symbolic of Japan...  Hey, I'm just sayin'...

There's a sense of place you get when you find yourself standing next to a famous object or in a famous location.  It's the type of feeling you might get as you're gazing across the Grand Canyon, or climbing the steps of the Capitol in Washington DC, or sipping a mocha latte in a Times Square coffee shop.  Having found my way to the hotel's 3rd floor breakfast buffet, I enjoyed this lovely view of the humongus Dome while eating raw fish with my eggs.

From the pictures you can see the Ferris wheel and the roller coaster. But notice that the Ferris wheel does not have spokes. And the roller coaster runs around the mall, pops through a hole in the building and then, as the track turns completely sideways, it goes through the center of the Ferris wheel.  The terrified rider's screaming was heard throughout the park every time it ran.

There's also a bowling alley, horse racing, a water slide, towers as high as 80 meters that you drop from, and a slew of more kiddie rides. I got another shot of a carousel horse, though I'm not sure why I'm drawn to them.

And I love this shot of the kid in mid air, who is playing where water squirts up from the ground at random moments and a mist pours up from beneath their feet, which just makes them want to run around and risk getting wet. It made me wish I was a kid again.

More to come in the next post...

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