Sunday, 14 October 2007

Japan in Widescreen Pt.2


I left Sagamihara this morning headed for Tokyo, with my assigned interpreter Ken Nakanishi, who was very kind to be my 'guide' for the day, which, being Sunday means no work for him. Kenji Mukasa from the City Hall surprised us by seeing us off at the Hashimoto Station in Sagamihara. It was a bit of a moment then, as we had been communicating early on back in June with his first email, but as he spoke no English, it was Ken who was responding for Kenji in his emails to me. Strange situation, but then came good, and now I am departing Sagamihara, not having really had the opportunity to speak directly with him. I feel really grateful to him.

The train ride to Tokyo Shibuya Station where I will be staying took around 50 minutes only, and this is not the Shinkansen, or bullet train. Its a normal commuter fare. Shibuya, however is another world. The station is a huge complex combining the subway, rail,a bus station and shopping and retail all in one. Its high-tech and crawling with trendy Tokyo-ites.

Its also on the doorstep to Shinjuku, one stop away, which, apparently is has the world's largest railway station, department stores like Takeshimaya, Isetan and Tokyu Hands.

Shibuya, however, has Hachiko Square, a little memorial to Hachiko, a dog whose endearing story goes like this. This faithful Akita dog waited everyday for his master's return from work for 7 years at the same spot after his master had died.

Shibuya also has the famous street junction crossroad where hundreds of people gather on 4 sides of the intersection and cross at the same time. You have probably seen this in travel documentaries, ads and movies like Fast and Furious. Its a real sight. We went up to the Starbucks on one side of the intersection and watch from a cool first floor vantage point, whilst sipping green tea frappucino. Yes, green tea.

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