A proud native of the Second City, producer Jenny Lawton joined Studio 360 in 2007. Since then, she's produced the show's American Icons specials on the Disney parks and I Love Lucy, lots of stories in the Aha Moments series, and a portrait of the Japanese tea ceremony from Kyoto. She also serves as the managing editor of studio360.org and coordinates the show's internship program. Jenny started recording interviews as a Watson Fellow in India and Spain, researching the origins of flamenco dance. She cut her teeth in journalism at Chicago Public Radio, where she filed stories on culture, politics, technology, and the environment for WBEZ as well as NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World, among other programs. Jenny was awarded a USC-Annenberg/NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, and lectures about radio and sound design at NYU and her alma mater, Kenyon College.
Friday, November 14, 2008 - 02:34 PM
Kyoto may be the 1200-year-old home of Japanese classical arts, but you wouldn't know it when you first get here.
Built in 1997 by Hiroshi Hara, Kyoto Station is a stunning living monument to modern Japan. A hub for multiple regional and local train lines, it's also home to great restaurants and multiple shopping centers. Travelers step off the bullet train, wind their way to the Central Gate, and emerge into a 60-foot atrium made of a glass and steel. It's remarkably quiet for a station so big, and so busy. But this is a space that was clearly built to keep the people passing through it breathing deeply and looking all around them -- especially up: on one side of the main arrival hall, an escalator stretches up to the 15th story, a beautiful outlook over the city.
But I think my favorite part of being in Kyoto Station is the way the building becomes even grander when glass/steel reflects off of itself, creating the illusion of even more gravity-defying shapes.
Apparently, when the station was finished, the locals were none too happy with it. And I've heard that some Kyotoites suffer from a sort of second city syndrome which manifests as snootiness. Could it be that they're just suspicious of something so modern shifting the city's action away from its temples? (Because it is.)
Whatever, I say. This place is fantastic and should be praised as Kyoto's newest crown jewel. I'll be back tomorrow.
- Jenny Lawton