Monday, September 10, 2007

People Watching..........

And a lunch time restaurant recommendation for Spike!

On Saturday the S.O. and I sent out for Tokyo. She had tickets for an exhibition in Ginza. It was the perfect antidote for having 2 days rained out by the typhoon. I insisted though that we take the trains through Shibuya so we could walk around a bit, then change over to the Ginza subway line. After some negotiating-she agreed. Follow me!

Normally, the S.O. avoids Shibuya like the plague-she says its too crowded and the stores are too expensive. Now it is crowded all the time, but that is the fun part-for me. Oh the stories I could tell from my first couple of years over here!

So could the S.O. apparently. Now she denies it vehemently, but she has let it slip more than a couple of times that in younger days: her short skirt wrapped legs and pointy toed, high heel shoe wearing feet traversed Shibuya crossing and a few of the back streets to the good clubs………….

In one of God’s little ironies, I’ve never got to see the mini-skirt part-sigh. Here by the way is a picture of Shibuya crossing at night-I’m not kidding about the crowds. This scene by the way is a familar one from the movie “Lost in Translation”:

shibuya1.jpg

What makes it so interesting is the people. All kinds of people. Walking through the station-riding on the train-moving through the streets. The girls: young and not so young are always a treat. Name a fashion trend in Japan and you will see it here. Shopping, shopping, and sending messages on their cell phones. On the train up I was lucky enough to get a seat, so while I was reading my book-I kept glancing over at the girl (woman really) wearing a blue silk dress. Not exactly young any more, but not over the hill either, she kept glancing pensively at her watch. Late for a date? A wedding? A one afternoon stand? Who knows-but there was a story there-if only I could have followed her to figure it out. That kind of thing is repeated in Shibuya 1000 fold.

We of course stopped at Hachiko’s statue. Hachiko as many know, was the Akita dog who waited faithfully for his master at Shibuay station for 9 years-even though his owner, one Professor Ueno has passed away in 1925. The statue is the pooch’s monument. Its also THE place to meet your date. Ergo, it too makes for some great girl people watching. Rumor has it that Richard Gere wants to make a movie about this story-I’m not sure how you turn it into a 90 minute screen play, but hey, if they can do it for a Disneyland ride-they can do it for the dog!

My tactic to get the S.O. down there was one of pure greed. The TV show she watched on Mondays always runs a bit about good inexpensive restaurants. She had seen the TV bit about Shibuya Dining pun-raku. ???? They a Japanese tabehodai ( or all you can eat for a set period of time-this case its 30 minutes) from 10:30-3:00pm. Last customer is seated at 2:30. Its only 980 yen-which is cheap for a place that gives you that much food. Considering Shibuya prices-its a good deal. The buffet is a mix of Japanese salads, soba, chiken, fish and curry-coupled with Miso soup. rice and Japanese pickles. All I can say is we got our money’s worth.

So Spike, ( or anyone else for that matter) if you want a good inexpensive lunch during your sojurn in Tokyo this week. Head across the street from Shibuay station, Hachiko exit, to the Tsutaya building. Its the one with the REALLY big Starbucks sign and Starbucks inside. Tsutaya is a book and CD/DVD store and to get to the resteraunt you will need to meander through the first 6 floors by escalator then take the elevator up to the 8th floor and the resteraunt. I suspect its like a casino, they designed it so you have to pass all the good stuff including all the books on the 6th floor. (There is an elevator that goes straight up on the back side of the store-but where is the fun in that?). You will probably have to wait a while-they have been having a lot of business since the TV program. That’s ok-lots of people to watch while you wait.

And if you are lucky you will get seated like we did, next to two guys with Sumo wanna be haircuts and by my count at least 11 studs in their ears and face. ( No lie, the one guy had four on each ear, one through his bottom lip, and one on his nose. I did not look to see if there was one on the tongue as well…..I don’t want to know.) On the other side were two young girls. One of them at the end of the meal, while straightening her skirt and tugging on her blouse, broke out the big mirror and the whole make up kit-right there at the table. After which she proceeding to type on her phone intently.

It was all downhill from there. Over in Ginza we went to an art exhibition in the Matsuya store-the S.O. got free tickets from her credit card company. It was a display of fabric art and dolls. I think I was literally the only man there. Which would have been nice-except its not young ladies who are at the things. It was Oba san central.

It was a day out though-and those are never bad. I can’t wait to go back!

UNRELATED NOTE: Quintin Tarantino is being interviewed on TV right now by Tomoko Fujita. Now that is some great people watching in and of itself. Pat-kun with a sheep?fujita_tomoko.jpg

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