Shibuya Crossing

I think I am finally getting over the jet lag. Asmuch as I loved Lost In Translation, jet-lag in Japan isn’t always always full of gossamer-lovely longing. Sometimes it’s just plain knackering and involves a feeling like your head is full of silt that can come on at very random moments.

I’m here in Japan with my fiancee, and staying at her family’s house in Tokyo, which is a thirty minute train ride from Shibuya station. Shibuya is the place with the famous multi-way pedestrian crossing that you’ve probably seen a picture of at some point. Tokyo is one of the most densely populated places on earth, but you don’t really feel it until you’ve seen something like the Shibuya crossing in motion. In many countries, having that many people lining up, ready and raring to go would feel threatening – but in Shibuya there’s a controlled feeling to what happens, and sometimes, when you cross, despite being surroundd by people, you can feel quite alone – because everyone is in their own bubble… As my finacee says, the only way a station and area as crowded as Shibuya can work is that everyone knows exactly where they’re supposed to go, and when (see these before and after pictures at the bottom)…. The sociological view that Japan is a society that values (and demands?) conformity to the group might sound like a bad thing to individual Western ears, but as soon as you come to Tokyo, you get many sliver-insights into why it’s pretty much true, and also why people put up with it…

Good things are happening in the blog-o-sphere too: Boing Boing has
linked to my Sedlec photos, which is brilliant – it’s nice to have
contributed a little to such a good site as theirs.

original

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