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    Savvy Subway Goers And Ga-Ga Over Ginza!

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    During our first weekend in Tokyo, husband decided to initiate us into the world of subway traveling.

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    Having taken subways before I wasn't too worried.

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    From what I remember it's mostly about making sure you're on the right line, and checking to see which stop is closest to your location.

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    In my case, it's also about locating the nearest elevator. It's strictly forbidden for a parent to take their child down an escalator while in a stroller. I know in the States you'll see families doing this all the time, but in Tokyo it's a big no-no.

    You carry your child, you allow them to walk, or you find an elevator to take you to your appropriate subway platform. This has proven to be the biggest challenge.

    Taking the subway itself, however, wasn't! As expected the children loved it, the wee one most especially. He couldn't stop looking around with wide eyes, telling us to listen to the various sounds of the subway.

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    Soon enough we arrived at our destination-a very specific one that Husband had planned for this particular day.

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    It wasn't just to show us the routes and various stations.

    It was to visit Ginza.

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    If you want to equate Ginza to a location in the States, I'd say think 5th Avenue in New York-but as an entire city.

    From Hermès to Dior, from Tiffany's to Mikimoto, the entire area is an overwhelming and amazing metropolis of high-end merchandise.

    Emphasis on overwhelming.

    As it was the weekend, people were arriving in droves and as is typical for a Ginza weekend, the streets were shut down to accommodate the numbers swarming through them.

    Now ask yourself: Where in America would you ever see a major city regularly shut down their streets simply so people could shop?

    I couldn't see it happening anywhere. In my mind, such a thing doesn't exist. But then, no city in America has the sheer amount of people wandering through areas like Ginza.

    Once again, the crowds had an overwhelming affect, and at that time I decided I was not wild about them.

    They are so much bigger than anything we've ever encountered. I've had to face the fact that these trips to Ginza will be few and far between-at least on the weekends and until the crowds no longer intimidate this southern suburban girl.

    All of this said, it was still a very exciting outing! The crowds didn't take the enjoyment of out our day.

    We first browsed through one of my favorite stores, Hermès. Not to shop mind you, just to look. They have such beautiful eye-candy.

    I didn't take any pictures while inside (it seemed in poor taste), but trust me, it was breathtaking.

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    Floor after floor held mouthwatering items that eldest and I gleefully took in. The baby items were particularly sweet, as were their line of canvas bags inspired by the traditional Kelly.

    Husband and the wee scallywag were tailed by a nice man the entire time. He pointed things out to them, answered questions about certain items, then escorted them to the elevators for comfortable travel between floors.

    The service was impeccable. From the moment we arrived until we left, it was as if we were the only ones in the store.

    We continued our Ginza excursion down side streets, sticking close to one another as the crowds thickened substantially. Husband and eldest went into an Apple store, and the wee one and I braved the closed-off streets alone.

    We watched as shoppers claimed tables and chairs in the middle of the streets,

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    people lined up to take pictures of a small kitten placed strategically atop the Ginza sign (everyone and their grandmother-including me-took this picture)

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    and, of course, we people watched.

    This was tons of fun and a great way to kill time.

    I enjoy people watching to begin with, but this was a whole new level of observation. People were dressed in their finest, their most casual. They brought children and their pets.

    The wee one and I had a nice time taking it all in.

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    I liked seeing the various styles worn by both men and women. Children are generally dressed very casually, but the adults are different.

    During the work week the clothes are very sober and serious. It's kind of like living in the Matrix-everyone is in crisp black suits with starched white shirts, shiny black shoes, and black ties. Even the women.

    But on the weekends, adults really seem to shed their work persona's and put their personal best foot forward. They tend to be very expressive dressers, and it speaks volumes about their personalities even if they themselves do not (speak volumes, that is).

    This thought was concluded as the other half of our shopping group emerged from Apple.

    We did have a few more sights to see before our day was done, after all.

    Husband took us to a large shopping center that held stores from every clothing and shoe designer-and then some! Again, I didn't think whipping out the camera was appropriate, and considering the staggering amount of shoppers around, it was probably for the best.

    We looked through several floors, amazed at the Ginza effect: if you go out to shop, you never browse. You always buy.

    Not one person was without at least 2 or 3 bags. The word "overwhelming" once again came to mind.

    It was alot to take in.

    By this point the wee one was getting pretty antsy-and with good reason. He was out of snacks and juice, and he was bored to bits.

    We finished up our Ginza-palloza with a trip to the basement. It was nothing but one food vendor after another and for a little while longer, the little guy was taken in by the sights, sounds, and this time, smells.

    There was a bit of everything: tea rooms, coffee shops, marzipan peddlers, areas selling french pastries, areas where meats were being carved, cheeses rolled.

    This time I couldn't hold back. The camera came out to play...

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    until I was politely asked to return it to its hiding place.

    The Japanese can be tetchy about cameras. I say this after being told twice at different locations not to take pictures.

    Ah well, we were leaving anyway!

    It was a fun, if not exhausting day in Ginza. The more I've thought back on it, though, the more I can't wait to go back.

    We barely scratched the surface of this area in Tokyo and I'm looking forward to seeing what else we'll discover.

    We're very fortunate to be living in a cultural onion. With every layer we peel back, we find more to love about our new home city.

    I cannot wait to share more with you all.

    See you all tomorrow morning!

    5 Responses to “
    Savvy Subway Goers And Ga-Ga Over Ginza!

    JMW said...

    What an exciting chapter in your lives! Best of luck to you - can't wait to read more about life in Tokyo!

    Ruth said...

    Looks like a fun place to go. Wonder why they have a thing about cameras?

    Jason said...

    Love the photos and it looks like you guys are settling in well.

    Love the cat pics. She looks just like mine.

    I ran into the "no photos" problems while in Korea. Most shops are so worried about someone stealing their style. I always found that when I used my smaller camera I had no problems. Just smile and beg forgiveness.

    sara said...

    Wow, what great pictures! Thanks for taking us along on the trip - I feel like I was there with you all, taking in all of the sights and sounds!

    jette said...

    Very interesting to see this. I have just found your blog and once again feel amazed about the fact that I'm reading a blog written by a Southerner being in Japan - and then all of a sudden the Danish flag appears in your photos. :-) AND a Lego man!

    Jette in Denmark - who btw find it a bit funny that you were told to put away your camera. When we think about Japanese tourists we think about them carrying a camera, all of them and all the time! :-D