From Japan: Visiting Shibuya

visiting Shibuya

So if all the otaku hang out in Akihabara, where do the (less nerdy) hip youngsters do their shopping?  The answer: Shibuya!

A district in Tokyo, Shibuya is not only famous for possessing one of the busiest train stations in the country, but is home to numerous fashion shops, all huddled together under jumbo-trons and bright lights.  Shibuya 109 and the recently erected mall, Omotesandou Hills, are places where you can purchase the latest fashion at steep prices, or simply admire some of the gyaru and even a few yamamba spending their parent’s money.  Fans of the film Lost in Translation starring Bill Murray, may recognize some of the distinguishing spots near the infamously crowded intersection.

visiting ShibuyaNearby is also the statue of the dog “Hachikou,” who sat waiting for his master at the station for over ten years, unknown that he died since no one told the poor mutt. The story was made into the American film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere.  Haven’t seen it, so can’t comment.

visiting ShibuyaSo what’s a guy like me to find entertaining in a fashionable place like this?  Well, there’s Mandarake, a gigantic underground comic shop, cluttered with nostalgic toys – both Japanese and Western – as well as old games and consoles.

visiting ShibuyaAlso, at the top floor of Tower Records is the biggest English bookstore I’ve ever seen in Japan (about the size of a regular bookstore back home).  And if you’re a fan of people-watching like myself, it’s fun to order a coffee at Starbucks, head up to the third floor, and admire the sea of people flood by when the light turns green.

Can’t get more Tokyo-ish than this.