Here is Part 2 of my Random Observations posts where I post about things I’ve encountered in Japan.
– I read this in my guidebook, but the height of Tokyo Skytree (634 meters) was chosen because different ways to pronounce 6, 3 and 4 (normally roku, san and shi) are mu, sa and shi. Together, they spell Musashi, the old name of the area where Tokyo Skytree currently stands. The tower alternates colors every night (between blue and purple). It really is fascinating to see from across the river.
– Shibuya, the youth cultural hub of Tokyo, is something else. Exiting the train station itself is an adventure, but the sight awaiting outside is basically a jungle of neon lights. I went there last night to experience the famous scramble crossing in front of the station. This crosswalk stops all directions of traffic every few minutes to allow literally thousands of people to cross.
Once the crosswalk signal turns green, it’s a literal scramble to dodge people and bicycles to reach the other side. There is a Starbucks on the 2nd floor of a building overlooking the scramble, and is a popular spot for viewing the bustle. Fun fact: this Starbucks, one of the most profitable in the world, offers only the smallest drink size so customers don’t linger too long watching the crowds below.
– Moving on, another thing I’ve observed is the Japanese seriously love sweets. I have never seen so many candy shops, doughnut stores, ice cream stands, Japanese sweet dumpling stalls, and the like in my life. All of them are almost always full of groups of school kids itching for a sugar fix they most likely do not get at school or home.
– Getting lost in Tokyo is always interesting and never stressful or dangerous. I took one of the subway lines today (there are 13 in Tokyo), and got off at an area that seemed interesting. I didn’t know much about it, but it had a main cobbled-street full of small French cafes and boutiques. It was great just walking around, and even though I didn’t know which direction I had gone from the station, it’s never a problem to find a subway entrance. One will eventually turn up, and they are easy to spot since streams of people are always heading to them.
That’s it for now, thank you!
Some more pics: