Monday, December 22, 2003

Tokyo Station - 東京駅

Tokyo Station, seen from from the west (Marunouchi) side. It is the original 1914 red-brick station building, modeled on the central station in Amsterdam at that time.
Tokyo Station may not look especially big, especially when viewed from the Marunouchi side, but inside you can find twenty platforms above ground and eight more below. Underground passages extend like tentacles to subway line stations; you could spend hours walking around this part of Tokyo and never rise to street level once.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Shibuya (渋谷区; -ku)

Shibuya (渋谷区; -ku) is a special ward located in Tokyo, Japan.

The ward was founded on March 15, 1947. As of 2003, the ward has an estimated population of 201,524 and a density of 13,337.13 persons per km?. The total area is 15.11 km2.

Largely a commercial and entertainment district, Shibuya has achieved great popularity among young people in the last 30 years. There are several famous fashion department stores in Shibuya, but the most famous one is called "Shibuya 109" (ichimarukyu).
This department store is very popular among young people, especially teens, and it is famous as the origin of the kogal subculture. The fashion scene extends northwards to Harajuku, and Shibuya is increasingly becoming a fashion trendsetter for all Asia.

Shibuya is also famous for its intersection crossing, reportedly the world's busiest, which is located in front of Shibuya Station and uses a four-way stop to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection (this is called a "pedestrian scramble", スクランブル交差点 sukuranburu kousaten, or the Barnes Dance after traffic engineer Henry Barnes). Furthermore, the crossing is famous for three large TV screens, which are on the buildings facing the crossing. The 2003 movie Lost in Translation featured a scene at the crossing. The plaza in front of the station is known as Hachiko (ハチ公) Square, after a loyal dog who waited here for its master for years on end and is now commemorated with a diminutive statue.

To the north of Shibuya station is Dogenzaka (道玄坂), offering entertainment for a more mature audience with many nightclubs and love hotels.