I have a new appreciation for Japanese engineering. Engineering that uses vertical space UP and DOWN in such dramatic ways:
On a recent trip through Tokyo I went deeper underground than I've probably ever been before. The newly completed shortcut through the heart of the city involves driving your vehicle down an extended corkscrew tunnel that winds you a dozen or so stories underground before straightening out. Only at that level could the engineers circumvent the cobweb of subway lines and underground structures that crisscross Tokyo. Entering the tunnel is like entering a future spaceport. And the ride down not unlike Space Mountain at Disneyland. I think my ears popped a few times on this "journey to the center of the earth." Wow, here is another place I want to avoid being during an earthquake. Not a good idea to run out of gas down there either.
The flipside to this dramatic DOWN is the up, Up, UP of the Sky Tree. This will be a radio tower and observatory some 2080feet tall upon completion sometime in 2012. We recently saw a scale model. Even at 1/25th of the actual size, it soared above us. For comparison's sake, you can see it next to the Empire State Building in the photo above. My list of places not to be in an earthquake keeps growing.