Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

My visit to the Tokyo Sky Tree.

KOBORI Sojitsu (the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School )

The summer has finally arrived. With the nuclear incident last year, the largest issue facing Japan this year may be the conservation of electricity.

As the positions of the government and electricity utilities continue to remain unclear, the public are the ones who are suffering. In particular, small factories which supply large corporations have had to devise ways of dealing with the situation, such as changing the opening hours of the factory and limiting working hours. We can no longer ask them to bear any further burden yet how can we continue forcing them to make changes.

I would like to ask those who are wasting time doing nothing but discuss whether a certain politician should resign or not or whether a certain law gets passed or not, to reflect seriously on the situation. They need to know that the public are reaching their limits.

Meanwhile, the opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree has recently been a subject of great discussion here in Tokyo. While I was not very interested initially in visiting it, especially since the earthquake last year it was not appropriate to be in a festive mood, this year the Tokyo Sky Tree has been subject to a large amount of media attention, in particular during the month up until its opening on May 22nd.

It is partly because of its height but the Tokyo Sky Tree has always been in view as I moved around the city. Despite this, I had always been fairly dispassionate about ascending it because I am actually afraid of heights. In fact, my phobia of heights is so strong that I dislike crossing pedestrian bridges.

However, there is one interesting characteristic of my phobia. As long as all windows are fixed shut, I do not fear the height. As a result, I can be in skyscrapers or fly in planes with no problems. I can also go on overseas business trips without concern. I just do not like being on bridges or on the roof of buildings where I can feel the wind.

As such, I thought I would be alright when it came to the Tokyo Sky Tree. When I accepted a special invitation to visit it, after giving it a lot of thought and since this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, I decided to go to the Tokyo Sky Tree.

On the day I visited the Tokyo Sky Tree, since it had rained the day earlier, the sky was clear and the weather ideal. I rode the elevator up 350 meters. It really did feel very high up. After walking round once I took another elevator up 100 meters. Here the windows were fixed securely but I still felt a little bit afraid. At this point I was 451.2 meters. I could feel my body moving naturally away from the windows and towards the centre of the tower. Finally, I descended a floor and was guided to a part of the tower where the ground beneath me became transparent and ended by taking a photograph of this fearful sight.
Going into this experience knowing that it would be the first and final time unexpectedly gave me a sense of confidence. It has been a while since I last felt my heart beat so rapidly.