Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shibuya Crossing

The Shibuya station is about a 22 minute train ride from the Tokyo station, from where the Shinkansen drops you off. Just outside of the Shibuya station is the Shibuya crossing. This street crossing is often seen in movies and photos of Tokyo, for example almost the entire movie of Lost in Translation was filmed here. This is the worlds largest scramble crossing too, called as such because traffic stops in all directions and you are allowed to scramble or cross the street in any direction you want, basically, you can't j-walk. Let's take a tour.

Before you can cross the street, you need to meet your friends somewhere. Because this train station is so large, they have a few landmarks around the perimeter. Here is the Statue of Moyai, a typical spot to text on the cell phone.A few meters north from the the train exit and statue is the edge of the crossing, I have never been this excited about crossing the street. Here is the view from a few feet above the crowd.If you look across the street to the left you can see what I guess is the busiest and largest Starbucks in the world. And you can also see people building up across the street. After a few minutes, the light turns to walk, and you are off on an adventure. Once you cross the street, there is not much to do other then keep walking through buildings, pass clubs and restaurants. I thought this was kind of interesting:This girl advertising the Honey Bee Market, I'm sure it's the one down on Bagley St. and 16th. Also in the background, you can see that girl yelling in the mic. People love to yell in mics here but I have learned to block it out since I really don't care what they are selling anyways. Down the street, you can also see a McDonald's.

We can also look back on this from the second floor of Starbucks. About a minute after the don't walk light turns on, this many people show up, all-day-longIt's only about an 8 minutes cycle time. Where do all these people come from? It's worst then mid day traffic on the 405. Here is just after the walk light turns on:After a while, you get this mash-up of people and someone comes running up from Starbucks and tells you "no more photos."