The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ahhh, Beppu

Spring has truly sprung; the weather is beautiful, and Beppu is lovely. Ahhhh. We probably have about a month of nice weather to look forward to before it turns mega-humid and the rainy season begins.

I did my iaido 5th-dan grading today (passed - yay) and then, exhausted, trudged up to the Beppu landmark called "Global Tower". I've always been meaning to go up the tower, but for whatever reason have always put it off, until today. I was in the area, the weather was nice, you know.

The tower was constructed at God-only-knows-what-cost and stands 125 meters tall. There's an observation deck at 100 meters or so. You'd think it would be a pretty popular tourist spot, but for whatever reason, it's not. Maybe because it's just dwarfed by the surrounding mountains. In any case, it's pretty cheap to go up: about 3 dollars. (At that rate, the thing will pay for itself in about 150 years or so.)

Hideously ugly or kind of cool? I think cool.

The thing is essentially two tubes and a sheet of metal with a bunch of struts between them. One of the tubes contains an elevator, the other tube contains a staircase (for emergencies) and the sheet of metal is there for support. The design is rather high-concept. The sheet of metal is not straight but is actually an arc, representing the surface of the earth. The observation deck is located in such a place that it mirrors Beppu's latitude on the earth, if the ground level were the earth's equator. So the whole thing is kind of like a diagram of the globe with Beppu's location represented by the box at the top. I think.

Just to scare people more, the whole damn observation deck is cantilevered out into space. No glass floors, thank God.

It was a nice view, but it's basically an acrophobe's nightmare. Fortunately, it wasn't swaying in the wind or anything silly like that. I could just imagine being up there in an earthquake.

Here's a nice view of Mount Takasaki, which is known for being infested with monkeys. Oita city is off in the distance around the curve of Beppu bay. Much-loved Beppu park is in the foreground.


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