There are many strong synergies and similarities between the two sister cities, Berlin and Tokyo. The one influences and inspires the other in unforeseen ways.
Take the catastrophe of Fukushima, for example: Berlin resident Angela Merkel renounced nuclear power for good after she saw the disaster. Germany became the first industrial country to do so. Since then, discussions about nuclear power in Japan have taken on speed.
Maybe a safe energy path will affect Japanese birth rates: Despite decreasing birthrates in Germany, Berlin has become the baby-boom city and counts as one of Europe’s most child-friendly capitals. Life can be so relaxed here, with more people cycling or walking to work than commuting by car. In Tokyo bicycling culture is definitely for on-the-run.
Japanese cherry blossoms as a gift
If you happen to take a stroll in Berlin’s center in spring, you will be surprised with the number of blooming cherry trees – a present from the Japanese Government for the opening of the German borders. Sympathy has never looked so beautiful.
Then there is Kiez culture, the organic formation of small neighbourhoods with a very local flavor. This culture is vibrant in both Tokyo and Berlin. What makes Kiez culture so attractive? It feels like home. You know your local grocery shop and celebrate your local Hanami Matsuri or street-carnival.
Ringbahn and Yamonote Line
Did you know that the famous Yamonote Line in Tokyo is based on the Ringbahn concept of Berlin?
— マライ・メントライン＠職業はドイツ人 (@marei_de_pon) May 27, 2018
Translation: The circle-shaped Yamanote Line in Tokyo by JR-railway originates from the Ring S-bahn Line in Berlin by Deutsche Bahn. Franz Balzer and a few German railway engineers who had planned the Ringbahn consulted and designed the Yomanote Line. His idea of a through train between the Tohoku line and Tokaido line was finally actualized in 2015 with the launch of the Ueno-Tokyo line.
Last but not least
Isn’t there a strong cultural divide between East and West Tokyo, just as there are an East and West Berlin? With NION we will have plenty of opportunities to seek more in common.