Kasairinkaikoen / 18 September 2014
Kasairinkaikoen is the train station before Disneyland; Kasai Rinkai is a large park on the coast with access to the sea, containing Tokyo Sea Life, a great glass observation platform, a Ferris wheel, picnic areas, restaurants and some great places to sit and relax.
Tokyo Sea Life, today's destination, is on three levels. The top one is circular with an offset glass observation /information dome. This circle is almost surrounded by an infinity pool that blends visually into the sea, or more confusingly, into the treetops on the land side.
Mist-fountains around its outer edge are visually intriguing and cooling in the hot sun (mist fans and fountains are very popular when the temperature rises).
Down on the bottom level it is dark, crowded and extremely noisy. Everything is wheelchair accessible and the Japanese visitors are helpful in making space for people using them. Some of the Asian visitors are not so polite.
There are quite a lot of fish, some quite fascinating, but the noise, the smell and the crowd freaks me out. Some of the aquariums extend right up to the middle floor, where there are some quite big fish. The larger aquariums appear to be metal and glass with no environmental enhancement for the occupants.
I've never felt quite easy about aquariums and their captives. I am happy to sit out in the sun and enjoy the sea views.
My concerns are put temporarily aside to focus on the peace and beauty of the area.
We eat lunch indoors, but there is also an outdoor eating area.
I choose the bento box and get a card with a beautiful image of a Tuna on the outside and a diagram of its edible parts inside. The last straw to make me feel uneasy about eating fish here.
Afterwards we relax outside enjoying the sea from a decked terrace with giant white sails providing patches of shade; we stroll through the gardens and the picnic areas and beside a rocky coastline with lots of small pools. There are picnickers with picnic blankets and small 'day-trip' tents, children playing and people flying kites and remote control planes.
Thoughtful wheelchair-pathways, smooth for easy rolling, follow the very bumpy paving and I have hopes of making my way into the large glass observation area on the second floor of the glass building. Unfortunately the smooth path stops too many metres before the entrance and my body is not up to the judders of using the textured surface.
Nevertheless there are peeks into woods, glimpses of 'natural' countryside and views out over the sea,
Sticking with the rocky coastline we watch a glorious sunset before making our way past a lit-up row of outdoor shopping and eating-out tents, on our lazy way back to the station.
Here is less than manicured, the grass seed
heads wave knee-high in a warming sea breeze;
the pine trees bend obligingly bonsai
without looking overly tended, neat
but not tame. Rough hewn granite slabs blend path
to coast, seamless as infinity
pools blend man-made to wild water.
Wildflower meadow blossoms head-high orange
attraction for unknown flying objects.
Tiny streams curl through juxtapositions
of pebbles and green growing shapes both large
and perfectly miniature, a feast
for the eye and something deeply inside;
some kind of universal treasure.