A couple of weekends ago, just before the start of the rainy season, we went out after work to see fireflies. There are certain places where it is traditional to see them on evenings in early June, such as sugawara jinja here in Sakai city.
We decided to go to the Umeda Sky Building in the centre of Osaka, because it’s just more convenient to get to. The sun sets at around 7 or 7:15 at this time of year, and the peak time for firefly viewing is around 8. There is a special area with a pond and overhanging trees, and it is crowded with people watching the fireflies. It’s not really possible to take a photo of fireflies (at best it would look like a greenish-white dot on a dark background), so we don’t have any photos of those. But we do have photos of the Sky Building, which is a very impressive structure. At 173 metres high, it is apparently the 12th-highest building in Osaka.
The East and West towers link at the top in what is called the “Floating Garden Observatory”, a circular walkway that is mostly suspended over open space. The name is misleading because it is not an actual garden. But it’s got great views over the city. There is a charge of 700 yen each to go up there.
Other links between the two towers, such as this pair of escalators strung vertiginously between the 35th and 39th floors, give the overall structure a strangely mechanical or futuristic appearance. You can also see a stand-alone glass elevator shaft.
Note on the word of the day:
蛍 hotaru contains the character for insect or bug: 虫. The top part is simplified now – one can easily imagine it as representing the light of the firefly (hotaru no hikari) shining out. But in its original form 螢 the meaning was more explicit; it contained the symbol for fire 火, twice.