Woke up with anxiety pressed against my upper ribcage. A wave of unease set me reeling back in confusion. The quiet of the room made last night’s (Japan Day 4) turn of events seemed almost dreamlike. Is it possible to fall in love with a place within a week? Yes, indeed it is but..
A week?! How absurd. My “Japan To Do list” looked relatively untouched yet here I was with barely 3 days left in Tokyo. Time flows in strange ways when you are having fun.
Many cities have iconic landmarks: Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, Paris’s Eiffel Tower, New York City’s Statue of Liberty, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Most people might say that both the Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Tower are famous landmarks that add to Tokyo’s architectural landscape. But for me, Shibuya Crossing or “The Scramble” is unquestionably the true iconic landmark and highlight of visiting Tokyo.
Dragging my disorientated self, I set off to Shibuya Station. Remember the great cinematography in Lost in Translation where Scarlett Johansson crossed one of Tokyo’s busiest intersection? The way she made her way across the sea of people; how could we not reignite that entire scene.
Scarlett Johansson in the movie, Lost in Translation (Pic grabbed off iwanttobeacoppola)
Centre Gai at night (Pic grabbed off Japan Guide)
Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping and entertainment district. A young and trendy neighbourhood, people flock its streets to soak in its neon lights. Strangely, there lies an orderly madness amidst the bustle.
A prominent landmark in Shibuya is the large intersection in front of the station’s Hachiko exit (Japan Guide). Upon exiting the station, you are immediately thrown into action. Look up and you are greeted by giant neon screens screaming for attention. Look down and what you’ll see is not for the faint-hearted – a spectacle of people pouring in all directions.
Shibuya Crossing, or “The Scramble”, is a vibrant street filled with an array of sights and sounds. Packed with crowds of people eager to cross the intersection – one would expect to be met with impatient jostling. Yet there is a keen sense of awareness as pedestrians skillfully maneuver and dodge their way from one direction to another.
I admit that I was so hooked on making my way across the sea of people that I took to the crossing multiple times. Craning my head in all directions, I tried best to absorb in the moment with all 5 senses. Such thrill, how exhilarating! Taking each step with nimble agility, I danced my way across the zebra stripped lines as the lights alternate between green and red.
Anticipation grew as everyone stood to wait for the green man. The crowd bubbled with excitement as roads cleared in preparation for the transit of movement from vehicle to man. And… off we go! The great scramble began as suited men raced across the crossing. Quite possibly in a hurry to catch the train’s arrival. Most of us strolled leisurely. And a handful swiped open their cameras to snap photos of the marvelous mayhem.
After multiple crossings (I am not shameful to admit that I did 3 consecutive crossings), it was time to explore the surrounding area. Weaving my way in and out of the human traffic, I slipped gracefully up winding roads. Various service crews stood outside their shops joyously greeting passersby to come in. I casually walked past them without a hint of acknowledgment. In return, they barely looked at me. It is a strange realisation of how closely intertwined our lives are in a world where millions of us exist. I can barely recall their faces yet I cannot deny that their existence, however fleeting, played a crucial role in forming the skeletal basis of my entire Japan trip.
By then, I was cold, shivering, and hungry for some warmth. With the advanced knowledge that a sushiro was just around the corner, I quickened my pace with anticipation.
Kaiten-zushi! (Pic grabbed off appetiteforjapan)
Located a stone’s throw from Shibuya Station, Genki Sushi is a great place to dine for all you cheapos aka me. Don’t let that frowny face put you off yo. I promise you will leave Genki with nothing but happy smiles on your faces.
What I liked most about Genki is that unlike the regular kaiten-zushi, or sushi train, where a plate goes ’round and ’round on the conveyor belt for hours; orders are placed on a touchscreen and sped straight up to deliver right at your seat. Well not the best sushi I had in Tokyo, the price was affordable for the cheapo in me. Definitely worth a try if you’re in the vicinity.
Have you guys been to Tokyo? What’s your favourite place to visit? Shibuya Crossing tops my list for its electric atmosphere. Next on the list would definitely be Tsukiji Fish Market. Read more here >> Nui Hostel & Tsukiji Fish Market!
Till then, have a good week ahead! : )