Tokyo Day 2: Hachiko Statue and Sibuya Crossing




'Hachiko' the Akita dog that waited at the station for his master even after his death for years, and a busy intersection that is crossed by hundreds of people at one go.

Before this trip, I honestly didn't get the hype about the famous crossing. It's just an intersection, I thought, and we got some in Metro Manila – although not exactly the same... and filthy... and can become unruly... okay, I answered myself.

I thought it looked amazing on photos, yes, but why do tourists really like to see and cross the Shibuya Crossing? I came to find why.

And to understand why people gather around Japan's most famous dog, you have to know its story.




The Shibuya Crossing is the place Anna was particularly most excited about even before the trip. It's a must in our itinerary



Hachiko Statue





Hachiko was a dog in Japan that became very well known for waiting outside the Shibuya station to meet his owner Eizaburo Ueno from work. That should have been amazing, right? To have your dog fetch you everyday.

Accordingly, Ueno died while at work when Hachiko was 2 years old. Hachiko continued to wait for his owner outside the station for 9 years. Hachiko gained attention and got published nationwide. A movie (2009, starred by Richard Gere) was even made which is loosely based on Hachiko and Ueno.

In 1934, while Hachiko was still alive, a bronze statue was erected in Shibuya, but the one currently seen in Shibuya is the second version and was built in 1948 after World War II.

When we visited the statue in 2017, an actual cat keeps Hachiko company. It may or may not be stealing the attention from Hachiko, but it's nice to see something moving and not just a still statue.




Tourists gather around and pose near Hachiko's bronze statue. Just a few meters behind is the actual Shibuya Intersection.


Hachiko and a cat. The tourist is probably a dog-person.






Pigeons are everywhere, too.



Probably the owner of the cat.



Soft kitty, warm kitty
Little ball of fur
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty
Purr, purr, purr


The photo I like the most from Shibuya because it includes the old man on the right. I remember him to be the only person at that time around Hachiko that was not holding a cellphone. He's for sure a local. He was smiley and seemed to be observing the tourists.



The Shibuya Crossing





I would have wanted to visit the Shibuya Crossing at night to photograph the night lights, too, but decided to do it earlier (check our full 7-Day Japan Itinerary).


What's special with this crossing?


Well, it may not be for everyone. Though, for me, one way to look at it is that this intersection represents Japan in many ways.

First is the discipline and cleanliness. People waiting to cross patiently, obeying traffic rules, and it's infectious (I mean, no one crosses when the light is red, right? But some do in a country I know). Courtesy and the discipline of Japanese people is so prominent and you would just sort of naturally behave like them when you're in Japan. Their level of obedience and courtesy is high. Plus the place is so dang clean, free of litter.

Second, Shibuya is like an awesome setting to see different kinds of people. A melting pot, if you may. I am not talking about just nationalities. Stay there for a while and you would see tourists, locals, fashionable people, office people, students, and Gandalf! Or at least that's who I thought he was portraying. Or, Or, Or, (it just occurred to me now) Alaster Moody!

Third is the act of crossing itself! You would think that with that amount of people would clash --hundreds at once, crossing, coming from and going to all directions. But, no! It's like every pedestrian has a proximity sensor and everyone walks without touching each other (not 'touching' touching, lol). 

And the best part: tourists like us could actually safely stop quickly to take photos and take a memory of the famous Shibuya Intersection while other people are still crossing.
And of course it's a rush! Crossing from one side to other of course happens quickly and, for tourists, photo opportunities have to be done barely under a minute at one go.

Observe for interesting stuff (cosplayers, mainly), and cross and metaphorically feel the chakra from other pedestrians.















JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE (Happy Anniversary)





The guy on the left, kneeling, was taking a video using a big video camera.

In the center is a man deeply 'in character', to say the least, with a very stylish bag. I first thought he looked like someone from The Lord of the Rings, but I just realized he looked more like Alaster Moody especially with that eye-patch and cane. (Well, Alaster Moody had a fake eye instead of a patch.)

Here's for a quick reference:








Apparently, Anna was able to take a photo of the guy.


Again, I think it would be a different feeling and view if you visited at night. With all the lights –the cars, the buildings and the electronic displays, the people themselves– it would be an awesome opportunity to take slow shutter shots of the Shibuya Crossing. So, consider going there at night, too.

I think we crossed twice before lingering around.

We then visited a bookstore in one of the buildings near the station, strolled in the alleys, and ate ramen.


Bookstore by the Crossing


We were aiming to find the entrance to Starbucks which has a good view of the intersection but instead found our way into a Japanese bookstore.









From the Alleys of Shibuya

The alleys and streets of Shibuya (almost any city in Japan, actually) are a great place for some street photography.



Rokcin' the swoosh.




Coin Locker. Yes, if you find yourself carrying a lot and are just not done yet walking around, there are coin lockers in key places where you can leave your bags (even small luggage, like what he's carrying).




On the left of this photo are the lockers. Dunno what I was aiming for this shot.


Ramen!


This was our first time to experience to order from an automated menu. Most restaurants in Japan have machines installed by the entrance where you can order and pay in advance, free of human intervention.





















Time to head back to the Shibuya Station to take a train to Odaiba.


Conclusion


Shibuya is an 'awesome' place to explore if you're fond of pop culture and the more modern and urban side of Japan. You will be immersed in the lively streets filled different kinds of people, various shops and buildings. To be honest, streets are not my thing, but I would probably appreciate it more at night when the lights are on. Still, definitely a must seen when in Tokyo!
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Travel Period: October 2017
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