29 July 2004
It was a hot July evening when the 22 Lighting Detectives gathered at Hinode Pier to board the waterbus for a 50-minute tour down the Sumida River to Asakusa. It was early in the evening, just after dusk, and the lights from Odaiba, the Rainbow Bridge, the evening sky, and the bright moon helped us all forget the humid heat of Tokyo. As the boat headed down the river, like school children, the detectives moved from left to right and from the front to the back of the boat, taking in all the lights along the riverbank.
One highlight of the trip towards Asakusa, are the 12 bridges that the boat will pass under, all individually designed and illuminated. The first bridge, Kachidoki Bridge, was dyed blue at the base and had a green arch against the dark sky. The next bridge, Central Bridge, was a combination of white ceramic metal halide light illuminating the top and orange high-pressure sodium light from the bottom, creating a simple gradation pattern up and down the bridge. Next on the river, the arch of Eitai Bridge was illuminated an impressive blue, well matched with the dark backdrop.
Not often found in Tokyo, but darkness along the river helped to emphasize the bridge illuminations and Tokyo nightscape. The many highway ramps and bridges running across the river formed a complex 3-D network of static and interactive light. Also, in the Tokyo vicinity,r soft residential light from high-rises apartment buildings, florescent office lights, and neon signs from shopping centers were clearly visible from the dark river.
After everyone had picked their favorite bridge and enjoyed the shadows and stillness along the river, we debarked and made our way towards Asakusa Shrine. Along the famous shopping street leading to the shrine most of the souvenir shops had closed, buton our photometer, we still recorded 500lux, reading light level, down the middle of the path. As we walked on, we wondered if this festive street was one of the sources of power and inspiration for the famous Asakusa springtime matsuri?!