Friday, January 27, 2017

Back To Ginza...



Back to Ginza, we walk back towards our hotel...


We quite liked being in Ginza...


Ginza was decked up...


Pedestrian lane for walking with kids...


And it's time to relax back in our room. The hotel room, as we previously experienced in Osaka and Kyoto, was fairly tiny with only a little space to move around. The bed too was really small. And the bathroom, was barely double the size of an airplane toilet. Despite this, the room was pretty organised and quite comfortable. And the thing that we really love about hotels in Japan are the yukatas or the cotton nightgowns, which are super comfortable. The nicest touch was that of the origami cranes which were placed on our yukatas...


Before turning in for the night, we watched the Richard Gere's Hachi: A Dog's Tale - an adaptation of the story of Hachikō and Hidesaburō Ueno...

Postcards From Shibuya...



In an hour or so, Shibuya will have a different feel to it when the neon lights come up...


Crossing the junction...



The vibe around here is electrifying...



Colonel Sanders in Japan!




The neon signs come up...


Crossing the junction again...


That's the Starbucks which has a great view of the crossing...





The streets of Shibuya...



What a name for a shop...



The Shibuya Crossing - Finding Zen In A Sea Of Humanity...


If you haven't experienced the Shibuya pedestrian crossing, in Tokyo, you really haven't seen Tokyo. The pedestrian crossing is located right outside the Hachikō-guchi of Shibuya Station and is called the  “The Scramble”.
The Shibuya area is full of trendy fashion shops, departmental stores and restaurants. That brings in quite a few people in to the area. That makes the Shibuya Crossing quite a busy crossing - it is considered to be the busiest intersection in the world. 
When the traffic lights at the junction turn red, they all turn red at the same time in every direction. In a moment, traffic stops completely and pedestrians surge into the intersection from all sides, like water gushing out of a dam. 


As advised by quite a few guides on the internet, we headed to the Starbucks located in the Tsutaya building on Shibuya crossing's north side, and patiently waited for a seat by the window...


It is indeed interesting to see masses of people dodging each other while crossing the intersection...



Despite the massive crowds, it is interesting to observe how the crossing remains orderly and efficient, perhaps a reflection of the Japanese at their efficient-best...



Look at the crowds...



Timelapsing the crossing from our vantage point in the Starbucks outlet...



And here's the timelapse...



Zooming in on the crossing...


People crossing the junction, with an absolute sense of purpose...




Watching the crowds cross from this vantage point is some kind of a meditative, relaxing, zen-like experience...


And here we go...

Remembering Chūken Hachikō...

If you are in Shibuya, you can't miss hearing the delightful and heartwarming story of the loyal dog, Hachiko.
Hachiko was a golden brown Akita, a Japanese breed. Hachiko was born on November 10, 1923 at a farm located in Ōdate. In 1924, he was adopted by Hidesaburō Ueno, an agriculture professor at the Tokyo Imperial University, and was brought to live in Shibuya, Tokyo. 
Ueno would commute daily to work, and Hachikō would leave the house to greet him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued the daily routine until May 21, 1925, when Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, while he was giving a lecture, and died without ever returning to the train station in which Hachikō waited.
Each day, for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days, Hachikō awaited Ueno's return, appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.
Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. After an article was written about him in the Asahi Shimbun on October 4, 1932, Hachikō became a national sensation - people started to bring Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait.
Teachers and parents used Hachikō's vigil as an example for children to follow. A well-known Japanese artist rendered a sculpture of the dog, and throughout the country, a new awareness of the Akita breed grew. Hachikō's legendary faithfulness became a national symbol of loyalty, particularly to the person and the imperial establishment.
Hachikō died on March 8, 1935 at the age of 11. His body was found on a street in Shibuya. His remains were cremated and his ashes were buried in the Aoyama Cemetery, right beside his beloved master. Hachikō's fur, which was preserved after his death, was stuffed and mounted and is currently on permanent display at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno, Tokyo.


In April 1934, Hachikō's bronze statue was sculpted by Teru Ando was erected at Shibuya Station. The statue was recycled for the war effort during the Second World War. In 1948, Teru Ando's son Takeshi made a second statue. 
The Shibuya Station entrance near this statue is named "Hachikō-guchi", meaning "The Hachikō Entrance/Exit", and is one of station's five exits.
And that new statue, immortalizing Hachikō is a landmark and an attraction for tourists like us. We were really pleased and humbled to have paid our respects to the loyal Hachikō...


Walking Around Shinjuku - Shibuya...


We spent a while walking around the Shinjuku - Shibuya area and appreciating the vibe of the place and the slight nip in the air. The weather here is certainly better (read: warmer) than Songdo...


A mural on a wall - an adaptation of the Last Supper?


Can I say that Tokyo is such a "mast" place?


A mural in the subway station...


A mural on the sidewalk...





A sculpture in Shibuya...

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