Thursday, June 12, 2008

Okubo Mystery Building

What is this aluminum origami hat like structure next to the platform of the Okobu Station on the Sobu train line? I was intrigued by this handsome building ever time I took the train yet I never saw it once I left the station platform.

How can a building this big be so well hidden? One afternoon I decided to find out.

I began my quest from the North exit of Okubo Station. The station is small with only two exits so how difficult could it be to locate my mystery building.

The colorful military mural, the wide white lines on the street and the diagonal overhead train tracks make this one of my favorite station exits. My search for the building took me down every side street around the station. No building. So I continued walking along Okubo-dori the main shopping street in this area.

On a whim I walked through a slightly inclined large cement parking lot to look at a decorative pool between two office buildings. I looked up and there hidden in plain sight was what had to be another side of the aluminum like structure I saw from the train platform.

The building is far enough from the street that I'd only casually glanced at it the many times I'd walked along Okubo-dori. Still I felt embarrassed not to have spotted it sooner. So what was this large edifice?

The Wesleyan Holiness Yodobashi Church. This evangelical Christian church is the largest Protestant church in Tokyo. In addition to Sunday services, English translator provided if needed the sign read, this conservative Christian church hosts revival events, social groups for teens and weather permitting, Sunday afternoon hymn sings in the parking lot. If I had to guess ten uses for this unusual building fundamental Christianity would not be on the list.

How lovely the interior of the building looks in this picture from the Church's web site (in Japanese). The incoming light forms a cross over the congregation.

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