A stop down the line is Shibuya, another centre of pop culture and entertainment. If you could imagine Picadilly Circus times 100 and tailored to teenagers and young adults then you have this place. I would have liked to walk around this place at night and see the neon lights, but it wasn't to be. An early morning jaunt and opportunity to see the place during daylight hours, albeit early ones, was all I was going to get.

Just about every building here has a crazy mix of super sized video screens, crazy architecture, over the top signage, and of course the neon.

The Shibuya crossing is one of the busiest in the world, look there are at least 10 people using that crossing at the same time. If I was here at the weekend you would be hard pushed to see any of the road surface for all the people that mill around here.

This is another department store situated above another station; one of the many entrances to Shibuya station is in the left had corner. Women do have a submissive role in Japan but as in the West a big picture of a nice looking woman will sell more than one of a man. These are advertising make-up and don't really prove my point, but then there weren't many around here with men on them, so perhaps I did prove it after all.

This area is one of the hottest areas for targeting products to Tokyo's youngsters. When I was there the big title being advertised was the Final Fantasy VII relaunch for the PS2 and there were huge posters on the buildings in this area.

[edit] I've since been made aware that it's not the game but a movie that is being advertised here.

Role Playing games are huge in Japan and the Final Fantasy series has been one of the most successful to date. It was Final Fantasy VII in its original guise on Playstation 1 that broke the genre in the West and went on to be one of the biggest selling games worldwide. I don't know if it was a case of running out of ideas or wanting to do justice to the original game that had steered Squaresoft to releasing this.

The main road heading west of Shibuya is Dogenzaka and as you walk along this road the shops become crazier and crazier, ending up with the massive department store at the 109 building. When I took this picture I think it was half six in the morning.

An attempt at an arty shot reflecting a poster in a building who's frontage consisted of large mirrored panels.

This is Hachiko, a dog who walked to Shibuya every day to meet his owner a the end of every day. When the owner died, the dog continued to travel to the station for seven years before finally dying itself. The dog's loyalty became legendary and in honour of it they made unveiled the statue and it is now the most popular meeting place in Tokyo.

This wall marks one border of Hachiko square. Oddly enough I managed to miss all of this until I returned to the station to head back to hotel. Maybe I was distracted by all the crazy signs opposite it.

One of the things I was hoping to see a lot of in Japan was western actors advertising odd products. In the hotel I had seen Santori Whisky, the brand that Bill Murray advertises in "Lost in Translation" (coincidentally the Starbucks that Scarlet Johansson drinks at was here in Shibuya), and before coming out I saw ones featuring the Beckhams and Arnold Schwarzenegger. However the only one I came across was this advert for Canon video cameras using tennis star Maria Sharapova.

On the way back I managed to take this picture of a penguin running off with some woman's shopping. Actually I didn't, it's a poster telling you that you can get through the Metro quickly if you use Suica, one of the companies that sell travelcard type passes for the train network. I did enjoy showing this to people on the coach and watching their expression as they tried to figure out what was going on!

A last opportunity to purchase my random foods for the day, and on this occasion I went for apple jelly and vanilla ice cream, both in easy to eat astronaut pouches. Both of these were better than the green tea I had the day before, the vanilla taking the edge. The characters at the bottom left of the right hand pouch spell "ra-ku-to-i-su" which is probably lactose. The three around the flower at the top left spell "ba-ni-ra" which is actually vanilla.


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