Monday, 14 April 2008

Day 5 Part 2 - Shibuya (渋谷)

From Geektown to Fashiontown in the afternoon - we took the train to Shibuya (渋谷).

We exited via the Hachikou gate (ハチ公). Hachikou is a purebred Akita dog that belonged to a Tokyo University professor in the 1920s. Every day the dog would wait outside Shibuya train station for his master to return from work. One day, his master died suddenly at work and never returned. The dog, however, was so loyal that he continued to wait patiently each day at the station at the appointed time for the master that will never return, and he did so every day for the next 9 years of his life.

This touching story of canine loyalty was turned into film several times - the recent effort in English and starring Richard Gere as the professor.

Incidentally, some Westerners seem confused that Hachikou is a boy dog rather than a girl dog, as they have been told that the suffix "-ko" is typically attached to females. But that is a different "ko" - girls' names typically end with 「子」 where the "ko" here means "child" - Some Japanese women like to drop the "ko" from their name as they become older because they feel they are no longer a child. Hachikou however ends with 「公」which means "Prince" and "hachi" is the number Eight, so Hachikou actually means "Prince Eight" as he was No. 8 in the litter.

Outside the Hachikou exit is a statue of the dog:

There is also a museum (a repurposed old rail carriage) dedicated to the history of Hachikou:

There is also a mural featuring Akitas:

Buildings around Hachikou Square:

Shibuya is of course famous for Shibuya 109 - a fashion mecca for young Japanese girls (and guys) - this iconic building is so notorious it has been featured in various films and even computer games:

This is the Hello Kitty store in Shibuya 109 - lots of pretty pink bling for the sophisticated sassy Kitty fan:

And this is a store called Barbie, but curiously they haven't really exploited the "Barbie" name - maybe for copyright reasons?

The intersection, featuring a pedestrian "X" crossing, is known as one of the busiest intersections in the world, if not the busiest:

We spent a lot of time at Mark City - a huge shopping centre diagonally opposite Shibuya 109:

It's so big it's spread over two buildings connected by a pedestrian bridge - reminds me of similar ones between buildings in Sydney. This photo is of us right underneath the bridge connecting the two buildings:

The trains were fairly crowded as we left Shibuya:

Map of area:

View Larger Map

Full album on Picasa:
[2008-04-11] Japan - Shibuya

[2008-04-14] Japan - Shibuya

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