Olympic rings and cherry blossoms at Odaiba, Tokyo
Odaiba is Tokyo’s foremost waterfront area with large shopping malls, luxury hotels, beaches, park areas, Giant Unicorn Gundam, and Tokyo 2020 Olympic venues. Pleasant place to hang out. In the 19th century, it was once fortified as a line of military defense against invading foreign (US) naval powers. The purported enemy never had to come through here though. The dominant edifice is now Rainbow Bridge (bottom photo) on which the Yurikamome Line travels to Odaiba from Shimbashi Station. If you have time, you can walk across the bridge for great views of Odaiba and the old island forts.
From July 23 to September 5, 2021, Odaiba will be one epicenter of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Besides being the venue for the triathlon and marathon swimming, Odaiba is close to many other venues on foot, by train, or by bus. There’s beach volleyball, sport climbing, gymnastics, volleyball, skateboarding, rowing, canoe sprint, equestrian, BMX, tennis, and the aquatics center.
Odaiba will be a convenient place to hang out before or after seeing competitions in this area. That’s why they brought these giant Olympic rings on a barge. They will be here until August 9, 2021. In the evenings, the rings are lit up and look white. (There’s another set of smaller Olympic rings on Mt. Takao in western Tokyo.)
In late March and early April 2021, I took pictures of Odaiba’s cherry blossoms for the first time. I just had to take pictures of the cherry blossoms and Olympic rings together. Like the Olympics, cherry blossoms are glorious, but fleeting. These two symbols match each other so well.
The Japanese/Tokyo governments and organizers remain very determined to make the Games as Covid-safe as possible. They’ve been taking major steps in this direction. Everyone involved will be tested often, so any positive cases should be caught early. Most people coming to Japan will be vaccinated as well.
It was heartbreaking to hear the decision to disallow overseas spectators and volunteers. I still tear up whenever I think about it. A decision that will live in infamy in Olympic history. It was an attempt to placate the Japanese public over Covid fears.
And another postponement is simply not possible, so public opinion polls (always questionable) should stop providing that choice to respondents. The media continues to make people think another postponement is an option. The organizer has explained that there’s no suitable year to postpone it to, athletes cannot maintain their peak performance that long, and the Olympic Village cannot be put on hold any longer.
I’m expecting the summer heat (and maybe typhoons) to be the biggest problem, but nobody’s talking about it. I worry about the people who will be outdoors: Beach volleyball, triathlon, rowing, track and field, marathon, etc. Hope the organizers are preparing for the heat too.
All the venues are being prepared for a full crowd, just in case. (Update: A maximum of 10,000 spectators or 50% capacity might be allowed venues.) Thousands of extra spectator stands are being installed, venues and systems are being tested by test events, athletes are qualifying and training hard, and the torch relay is continuing safely. I won’t argue with anyone opposed to the Games, but if Tokyo is going to go through with it, I might as well support it.
Japan and the Japanese have long had a deep-rooted affection and admiration for the Olympics. I still see ample evidence of the Japanese public favoring the Games. Like only a small percentage of ticket holders in Japan have requested refunds. (I haven’t requested a refund either.) Pro sports in Japan remain popular. Torch relay is still attracting crowds, sometimes too much so they have to take it off public roads. And Japanese athletes continue to train hard with much support from their fans. Despite what you see in the negatively-skewed, attention-seeking news media, don’t underestimate the Japanese public’s support of the Olympics. It hasn’t evaporated.
Odaiba is near multiple train stations: Daiba Station on the Yurikamome Line running between Shimbashi and Toyosu Stations, and Tokyo Teleport Station on the Rinkai Line running between JR Osaki and JR Shin-Kiba Stations.
Odaiba venue: https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/en/venues/odaiba-marine-park