In a recent class at Cardiff University, I mentioned Yumenoshima (夢の島) in Tokyo. I visited the area in July 2019 when I was spending a week in Tokyo teaching a special short course at the nearby Ariake campus of Musashino University.
There were a combinations of reasons why I visited the island.
First, having come across an article about the Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall, which is located on the island, and its renewal, I became interested in visiting.
Another reason was that I was looking for a good spot to have part of my second novel, Tokyo 20/20 Vision, set, and wanted to see if the area around the Exhibition Hall would work. It did and so was included.
Not only that, I found that you can also get some good shots of planes approaching Haneda Airport – something that also made it into the novel as the planes drop their undercarriage in this area and this led to being able to include a story from my own childhood and visiting my sister in London.
Yumenoshima literally means ‘the island of dreams’ which is a rather poetic name given that this used to be one of Tokyo’s rubbish tips before it was turned into a park – as you can read about on Wikipedia. Indeed, Daigo Fukuryū Maru was found dumped by the side of the rubbish tip and this eventually led to it be claimed and maintained (there’s a great picture of this in the Exhibition Hall). Of course, there is no shortage of land being used these days in cities which used to be rubbish tips – there are at least one or two in Cardiff – you can usually spot them due to the metal tubes with a small rotating ball on top allowing the decomposing gases to escape. Although I do wonder what archaeologists in the future will make of our society when they start digging below such sites, at least they can become usable now.
The park itself is very pleasant and seems – compared to what was on Google Maps when I visited – that it’s gone through some further changes in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as it will be hosting the archery events.
You can find out more about my novel Tokyo 20/20 Vision here. The eBook of both it and my third novel, FOUR, are available for free on 4 May 2021 (and still much cheaper than a cup of tea or coffee the rest of the time) – use these links mybook.to/Tokyo2020Vision and mybook.to/FOUR-eBook