36 Views of Tokyo Tower
by Stuart Isett
In 1999 my wife and I moved into our second Tokyo apartment, relocating from gritty (by Japanese standards) Okubo on the city's west side, we landed in slightly more upscale Nishi-Azabu, where we managed to find a 7th floor apartment next door to the Chinese embassy. It had unobstructed views of the city looking west, out over Tokyo Tower and towards Tokyo Bay in the southeast. It was an astonishing find. A "view" in Tokyo usually meant opening a window to see your neighbor's window a few feet away, with a narrow shaft of light falling down between. Here we managed to find a top floor apartment in a building on top of a hill. Still small by US standards, it had two rooms, one was my office, and a decent sized living room. But the views. Without them, I think we would have gone crazy.
A few months after moving in I also bought my first digital camera, a Nikon 990 with 2,048 x 1,536-pixels, for about $1200 at Yodabashi Camera. Soon after I started shooting the view. Over the 4 years we lived in the apartment I captured the amazing range of weather you experience in Tokyo, from stunningly clear blue summer skies, to dark, steamy rainy season days, to the aftermath of typhoons in late September, and even one snow fall.
Here are 36 of the views, half-heartedly inspired by the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” landscape paintings by Japanese artist Hokusai.