Saturday, January 13, 2007

Shibuya (lovingly pronounced Shi-BOO-ya)

So this "Mecca" for commerce is reminiscent of Times Square with plenty of flashing colours to mesmerize the innocent bystander should she or he be so silly as gape up at the 5-story televisions or movie ads. For those who do not know, this area is famous in at least one movie, Lost in Translation (and likely others) for the crossing. 100,000s of people pass through the Hatchiko Crossing and it makes for a shocking swell of movement synchronized perfectly with the traffic lights. Are the intervals timed to the flow of people or the cars? People might win out on this act of urban engineering. It seems to run smoothly.

The crossing is name for a dog, Hatchiko, that came to great his deceased master at the station for ten years. The loyalty was enough for the Tokyo residents to erect a statute in the dog's honour.

I ended up in Shibuya this afternoon because Lind and I met for Indian (her favorite) while on our respective lunch breaks (my first alone venture on the transit system). After she dashed to work, I walked around to get a comprehensive sensory overload (really how many types of music does one need to be blasted at strolling shoppers?) Lind has challenged me to find shoes in my gigantor sizing of *gasp* 9.5, so I forced myself to browse in a few shops but quickly got bored of looking.

Not sure where to set up my “reading” spot dozily spent time staring up at what I think is a toy shop. Impressively large cartoon figures (Superman, and Buzz Lightyear as prime examples) stand 4 meters tall facing the street. It is positioned directly across from the Disney Store…appropriate. Have I mentioned that the magic and love of Disney is very much alive in Tokyo?

I may gradually become enamoured with the fashion here. Odd glittery golden balls, random ruffles and lacy ornamentation wherever you can fit it result in fascinating (and colourful) outfits. As Linden has told me on more than one occasion: “Your tacky meter just doesn’t register after awhile, celebrate the outfit.” Good advice. Sitting and occasionally peering over my coffee mug onto the crowds people in Hachiko crossing I got an eyeful of examples.

More people get dressed up to "live" (vs. the occasional I'm wearing heels because I have a job interview or am going to a concert) thus its very easy to spot the counter-culture peeps. This is not the same as a sloppy dresser. Clothes have a distinct purpose here in Japan.

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