Millenario

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Preparations are afoot for many of Tokyo's year end activities. These workers are putting together the Millenario, a light display for Christmas and the new year.

The Millenario is a series of illuminated latticework arches across one of the streets in Marunouchi. It runs for several blocks and is a big attraction, with thousands of visitors every night. It started in 1999/2000 and has been popular ever since. This year they asked a famous designer to do the latticework. I can't tell, though. It looks a lot like last year's. I guess there's only so much you can do with lattice, or maybe my design sense isn't subtle enough.

It's beautiful from a distance. The perspective looking down the street is amazing; it looks like a tunnel of fairy lights. Walking through it is a bit of a let-down. It doesn't *do* anything. Arch after arch, all the same. No changes as you go further. No movement, except for the other people around you. It's not a close up sort of thing.

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But watching the workers put up the sections of arch was fun. They had a small crane and a lot of very tall ladders. There were many more people on the ground standing around holding clipboards than there were guys actually doing the work. A few of the clipboard people were directing cars when the crane and ladders got in the way. Otherwise, I really couldn't tell you what they were doing. Smoking. Looking up. Comparing notes?

Marunouchi is a surprisingly nice part of town now. When we first arrived, it was just a lot of big, older office buildings on squarely laid out streets. Everything looked the same to me and I sometimes got lost trying to find the office I worked in! Now the area has been redeveloped. It's full of big newer office buildings, but they've claimed one street for shopping boutiques and restaurants. The Maru Building anchors it all. But that's a blog for another day.

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