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Japan Tokyo Ginza Ikebukuro

5 May 2010

Ginza, Ikebukuro

Another fine day, have had really good luck with the weather so far. Pollution starting to become apparent though, which is a side effect of fine weather.
It is also the last day of golden week, which means tomorrow people go back to work.

In the morning I headed to Ginza, which was on a different train line, with different tunes, it was also on the metro which is different to the metropolitan, JR and subway lines and the various private lines. Thankfully with a suica card it doesnt matter anymore. What it does mean is it goes underground so you dont get to see anything out of the window.

When I got off at Ginza station it was a bit underwhelming, it was also pretty much deserted at 9am. I am generally too early everywhere, but today I am really early as nothing is open.
I found the main street with all the fancy brand shops, not sure of the appeal really as they are mostly European shops, and theres a lot of European (or more specifically Russian) people wandering about. There is also a lot of tour busses full of Gaijan (whitey) and amusingly, an obnoxious American stepped off one, complete with multiple fanny packs, baseball cap, obesity, he said loudly 'I dont see what the appeal is of this place, its just like New York but with funny writing', he then looked to his left (stay with me here), saw no oncoming traffic and stepped out on the road with his camera, with his back to the traffic which drives on the left here. He was almost killed and the driver of a small truck thing yelled something including the word GAIJAN!!! The American looked terribly embarassed, said something about how he forgot these fools drive on the wrong side of the road and got back on the bus.

I wandered around a lot and some sort of marching band contest was going on (see pics), I also had coffee out of a machine at family mart, and ate some take away sushi that was pretty good.

I decided that Ginza wasnt for me, or wasnt for me at 10am anyway, so I got on the train and headed to Ikebukuro, which was much more interesting.
Its another mega shopping district but seems a bit more Japanese flavoured than Shinjuku and Shibuya for example. No European brands to be seen. There were lots of signs pointing to Sunshine City so I headed that way with the crowd, through alleyways of Pachinko places and karaoke bars. When you get to Sunshine city you are initially confused as its an escelator with a huge line heading underground, with pictures of fish and planets. I headed down and discovered that it is nothing more than a shopping mall that features an aquarium and planetarium, both of which had lines stretching for days.

Anyone still reading at this point? 2 weird things happened on the train, A girl had a bag full of stuff that fell over and it was rolling around the floor, so I helped her pick it up, which did not please her at all, despite my apologies for helping her, she ran away into the next carriage!
Then later the train was empty enough for me to have a seat, eventually it filled up and I offered my seat to a lady, and she refused and gave me some sort of lecture, so the seat remained empty. I wonder what ettiquitte rules I have broken by being helpful.

Finally, I have a new favourite drink, Calpis Soda, which is a white milky colored ion replacement drink thats also carbonated, very refreshing.

Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - This is the main street in Ginza (well theres a few main streets), I am not convinced anyone buys stuff from along here, seems to be for window shoppi

This is the main street in Ginza (well theres a few main streets), I am not convinced anyone buys stuff from along here, seems to be for window shopping, then go buy it from some place cheaper. Even starbucks doubles their price for coffee in this area.


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - This bunny type creature was doing a dance routine to a boom box out the front of the toy store before it opened. I considered doing a video because i

This bunny type creature was doing a dance routine to a boom box out the front of the toy store before it opened. I considered doing a video because it was pretty ridiculous, but I didnt, so a picture is all you get.


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - Crazy kit kats are real, here you have wasabi, soy sauce, intense roast soybean, among others. I wish they were available as a single bar, I am not ab

Crazy kit kats are real, here you have wasabi, soy sauce, intense roast soybean, among others. I wish they were available as a single bar, I am not about to buy an entire box of soy sauce kit kats to try.


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - Like all stores, the toy store was 10 storeys high with a restaurant on the 9th floor and a live performance space on the top. Near the top I played s

Like all stores, the toy store was 10 storeys high with a restaurant on the 9th floor and a live performance space on the top. Near the top I played slot car racing which was great fun. Cost about $2 for 10 minutes. I crashed badly once, the car went flying right off the track, the attendants applauded this.


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - Some sort of giant cosplay event was forming in the backstreets.

Some sort of giant cosplay event was forming in the backstreets.


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - Turns out it was a marching band competition, not sure what for, I saw a sign saying 'willow festival', pretty sure this was set to go for a few hours

Turns out it was a marching band competition, not sure what for, I saw a sign saying 'willow festival', pretty sure this was set to go for a few hours based on the lines of marching bands in the back streets, meanwhile traffic was out of luck.


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - This is in Ikebukuro, the interesting thing here is the giant monolith building poking up for no reason. Its enormous and seems to only have windows a

This is in Ikebukuro, the interesting thing here is the giant monolith building poking up for no reason. Its enormous and seems to only have windows about once every 10 storeys. What could it be for? Do lasers come out of the windows to destroy godzilla?


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - A typical street in Ikebukuro, the signs on the lamp post are for sunshine city.

A typical street in Ikebukuro, the signs on the lamp post are for sunshine city.


Japan-Tokyo-Ginza-Ikebukuro - On the roof of a 12 storey electronics shop (top 2 floors were restaurants), is 5 a side soccer. I had no idea, I just kept going up the stairs and en

On the roof of a 12 storey electronics shop (top 2 floors were restaurants), is 5 a side soccer. I had no idea, I just kept going up the stairs and ended up on the roof. The people playing soccer seemed concerned by my presence.


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