Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Togoshi-Ginza & the Grocery Store Under Hachiko"

The name Togoshi-Ginza can be confusing, as it is not in Ginza, or even near Ginza, but rather one of the old-style shopping streets that used to be all over Tokyo and its surrounding suburbs. They are in decline now, with more people shopping at large discount stores, but some of these old style shopping streets are still doing relatively well, with locals happy for the convenience of being able to shop a few minutes (on foot) from home. As "Ginza" was synonymous with "shopping" (now "fashion" and "art" would be better key words), some shopping streets used the name - thus "Warabi-Ginza", "Togoshi-Ginza", etc. This video was taken around 5:00 p.m., still a little early - it gets more crowded around 6:00 p.m.

Under Hachiko?

Department stores in Tokyo typically have a grocery store and/or food section on the B1 level underground (usually there is both a section selling prepared food and another section more like a regular grocery store). Shibuya is "Tokyu Town" (spelled with a "u" on the end, not "Tokyo"), with Tokyu Department stores (plural), Tokyu Inn (hotel), Tokyu trains, Tokyu buses, Tokyu Taxis, etc. So there's no surprise that the Department stores built over and around Shibuya Station are Tokyu department stores, and it's no surprise that they have food sections in the basement. What surprised me (for what reason, I'm not sure), is that part of the food section is beneath (part of ) the Hachiko Plaza. I guess I've visualized building basements as staying within the walls of the building above, but when you've got underground shopping malls and underground trains, it's easy enough to connect things underground.

This video starts with a view of an old Tokyu train car that is now sitting in Hachiko Plaza not far from the famous Hachiko dog statue. There is a brief view of a Yamanote Line train passing, some people waiting, leaning against one of the round sort-of-seats that are part of the large planters for the trees in the plaza, and then the trip through the crowd to the department store, down an escalator, and into the food section. The last scene is back out on the street on the other side of the overhead(!) Ginza subway tracks. (The Ginza Line runs below ground level everywhere but in Shibuya.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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