Ginza District

Another evening free to do as we chose and I wanted to go and visit the Ginza district in the East of the city, but before we left it was time for more random food to try and on this occasion I'd gone for some shrink wrapped squid tentacles. Keith doesn't think too much of his tentacle.

I thought they were a bit too salty but I still ate them, after I'd finished posing with them that is. The one escaping from my nostril was the only one not to be eaten, for obvious reason. I think that one ended up being thrown at Keith. I just realised I did get photos of the pillow assortment after all, you can see them in the background. The dark one is the "snore breaker" heavy monster.

One of the many rather amusing posters on the Metro with muppet characters telling passengers to keep the music down. I was wondering if this was a problem with tourists to the area as I wasn't aware of any locals doing this and I suspect the English wording was aimed at the real culprits.

The main reason for visiting Ginza was to see the Godzilla statue there. When we got out of the nearest station, I asked a girl handing out flyers to a karaoke bar where the statue was. She didn't tell me where it was, she walked me to it. How friendly was that! The statue was actually smaller than expected, a part of me would have loved to have seen a full size recreation, haha!

Created in 1954 by Toho Co. Ltd, the giant lizard has starred in over 20 films and destroyed Tokyo way before the Power Rangers did the same thing. In fact the site of the statue was chosen because Yurakucho Railway bridge nearby was crushed by his big reptile feet on more than one occasion. The creation of Godzilla is linked to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War 2. It's radioactive anger an indirect comment on the risks prevalent with large scale nuclear devices being used against mankind.

The Ginza district is home to the rich designer shops that a lot of people can't afford to shop at and they'll visit the area to window shop. Historically the district's exclusivity came from it being the first area to replace wood with red brick, the belief being that this would offer greater security from earthquakes (not true as they realised some time later). At night it's another neon lit district. It's also on the edge of the main city park in which the Imperial Palace is situated, another reason to visit the area.

One of the main roads on the edge of the park with the Tokyo Tower in the background. The darkness to the left was the first sign that I might not be able to get to the Palace, I had no way of seeing where it was as unlike other cities it's not spotlit at night.

In fact it sooned turned out that the palace closes at 5pm and there was no way I was going to get to see it at all, especially not at 11 at night. In fact in attempting to walk to it we had somehow managed to get past the first line of security being eventually stopped by a guard further in. Oops. So with that particularly mission failing miserably I took the opportunity to get some night shots of the city.

This corner tower was the only part of the palace that was lit, but barely just. Poor Keith at this point was starting to flag, I guess all the walking in the park and then me dragging him about Tokyo all night had taken it's toll on him.

Tokyo isn't as insular as the West perceived, this poster for an art exhibition shows that the borders are open. I have no idea what the exhibition would entail but I suspect German Fairs wouldn't be part of it. The first two characters in the kana are the symbols for ni and hon (Japan) and the final three spell do-i-tsu which is the Japanese way of saying Deutsche, or Germany.

Another example of cartoon characters being used in public service communications. I think this one was going on about the construction work taking place around the corner. The yellow imp thing on the other poster is the logo for the police force.

This is Japanese roadworks taking the piss out of the rest of the world. These guys were working through the night to get the road repairs done, and you can be assured there wouldn't be anything left in the morning when the rush hour starts. This was outside Tokyo train station, another major station in the city and if these roadworks were still there the next day it would be pandemonium.

This is Tokyo station, although it looks uncanningly like the town hall from Back to the Future. With the traffic being as congested as it was, even at midnight, there is no way you'd get a DeLorean reaching 57 outside here.

Deciding to get something to eat we stumbled upon this establishment where everyone gets their own cave in which to cook their own food, like a little barbecue. This was a lot of fun, even if all the chef had to do is cut the meat. I ended up spending time with the waiting staff here learning how to order in Japanese. They in turn practised their English with me. You can guess as to who's was better!

It was now getting late and the decision was to head back into Ginza to get the train home. Along the way we passed this place that seem to contain electronics from every company you could ever think of.

No idea what this was advertising but it must have been some long running promotion. The character next to the 2005 represents "year", the one next to the 3 represents "month" (it's the symbol for the moon) and the the one next to the 25 represents "day" (it's the symbol for the sun).

At the end of the building was this huge video wall running a series of commericals. It was quite odd that this building was away from the main lit up area but didn't seem to matter. Well I guess I saw it, shame I was unlikely to buy anything being advertised however. This is actually the bic building which caused an uproar when it became the first building to sell cheap goods in what is an otherwise affluent area.

One of my favourite pictures of the trip showing a smaller street in the Ginza district still littered with neon, and the immaculately polished taxis reflecting the lights.

It was Keith that spotted this near to the Ginza Dori. I never had a Sega Dreamcast so didn't ever play Jet Set Radio, although it did look pretty good. Apparently this clock sculpture is in the game.

The main junction in Ginza and home to all the best shops in the area. This area becomes overrun with pedestrians on weekend, so bad in fact that they close the roads to traffic. This is also one of those junctions where you see diagonal zebra crossings, something that is always associated with Tokyo.

One of the main corporations based in Ginza is Sony, who have their main retail outlet here. This 8 storey building (which looks like it should have more) contains massive arcade halls and the opportunity to try all the machines, although I suspect a Playstation 3 wouldn't have been ready when we were there. Alas the building was closed so we didn't get to go in and find out, so we headed back to the hotel.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post with dates from march to september 2005 was promoting the world expo being held in Aichi

5:54 AM  

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