03 September 2007

Umi Hotaru

So over the weekend we had an offsite meeting over in 千葉県 Chiba-ken at a town called 金谷 Kanaya. We got there by driving through the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line, which is a freeway that passes under half of Tokyo Bay in a tunnel, and then turns into a bridge for the remaining distance.

Back towards TokyoForwards towards Chiba

The place where the tunnel comes out and turns into a bridge is called 海ほたる Umihotaru. Hotaru means firefly, and umi means sea, so "ocean's firefly?" It's a HUGE man-made building in the middle of Tokyo Bay.

It's 5 stories tall, so you park in one of the lower levels and then go up......and up......and up...
...and up......and finally come out on top where the views are!

Fundamentally, this is what we used to call a "tourist weir" -- it's job is to slow down the tourists so they'll spend money in the shops. It seemed to be a very popular spot to stop, which I was slightly surprised by given that the whole trip across Tokyo Bay only takes about 30 min.

At right, Tomoyo and Hitomi enjoy the bay sun. At below left, Shuzo tried to take a picture in the breeze. Below right, some of the insane infrastructure around this man-made island.

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