National Geographic : 1964 Oct
is in winter or in summer. In winter, Tokyo has hun dreds of thousands of heating fires. The risks in an earthquake then are much greater." I chose winter for my imaginary earthquake, and for an answer Professor Kawasumi pulled out a map. At first I couldn't make much sense out of it, and then suddenly I realized what it was: a chart of a future earthquake and the damage it would do to Tokyo. Certain areas of the city were heavily shaded in red, some were lightly shaded, and still others were un touched. The shading obviously denoted fire, and the zones were very carefully drawn. It was like seeing the casualty list the day before a battle. The map showed the central areas of Tokyo-the downtown sections with most of the new construction - completely unshaded. Eastward toward the Sumida River, however, in the poorer sections of the city, the red patches grew until they dominated everything. The contrast was striking and somehow pathetic. "It cannot be helped," Professor Kawasumi ex plained. "Tokyo has one of the finest fire departments in the world-our engines can reach any spot in the city within a matter of minutes. But among older buildings and wood-and-paper homes, minutes can mean the difference between a house and a funeral pyre. We still could not save all of the city." He swept his hand over the heavier red sections. "Each year we are cutting these down in size, with more and newer fire-fighting equipment, fire-preven tion campaigns, and safer buildings. We have come a long way from the 'fire-looking' towers that you still see in some neighborhoods. Perhaps one day we can throw our red pencil away." Courtesy Cloaks Japan's Olympic Hopes One of the areas of Tokyo that are safe from Profes sor Kawasumi's red pencil is the section near Meiji Shrine known as Meiji Olympic Park. The park has relatively few trees, and the only buildings are con crete gymnasiums and sports centers. The largest structure is the huge National Stadium, main arena for the 1964 Olympic Games (pages 512-13). I visited the stadium one misty April morning with Goro Nakasone, an old friend who is now with the Organizing Committee for the XVIII Olympiad. Siz able as the stadium originally was-it seated 55,000 spectators-the committee planned to enlarge it to hold 85,000, and still feared it would be embarrass ingly small for the games. They had a point. During the remodeling, someone realized that the seat marks on the benches-the spaces originally designed for slender Japanese would never do for hefty Westerners. The committee ordered the benches re-marked-and 13,000 Olympic seats suddenly disappeared into thin air. The stadium was ghostly quiet when Mr. Nakasone led me through the dim corridors under the stands to a dugout beside the field. In the early light I could 462 Lonely Coast of Hachijo Jima Suggests a Fragile Japanese Print Legally part of Tokyo, remote Hachijo Island lies in the Pacific, 175 miles south of the capital. Islanders, numbering about 12,250, earn a bare living from fishing, farming, and a small tourist industry. Ocean swells forever batter Hachijo's south coast, wrapping it in fine spray. Bullfight without a matador, a Hachijo Jima attraction matches bulls in a butt ing contest. Handlers manage the ani mals so as to give the impression of dan ger while protecting them from injury.