Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 15 - Shibuya (Tokyo)

14th February, 2003 - Starting out from Shibuya we went in search of the greatest celebrity of this part of the city.... but it wouldn't be easy, as just about any time of the day (or night) Shibuya is full of people. Sometimes looking very busy - other times looking like they really don't have much to do at all.

So who is this great celebrity? His name is Hachiko - and he's an Akita dog. Actually - what we're really looking for is his statue. Hachiko has gained somewhat of a legend - he came to Tokyo in 1924 and always travelled to the Shibuya train station with his master... where he'd wait for his return of an evening. When one day the owner (a professor at the University of Tokyo) died unexpectedly, Hachiko still waited loyally (in the evening) for his master to return. Indeed he would escape from his new home, to wait for him - though he would never see his master again. For nine years this happened - Hachiko always returning to the station of an evening. Waiting. The statue was erected in 1934 (with Hachiko in attendance), one year before Hachiko finally died. It is perhaps this single-minded loyalty and love that so captured the natural sentimentality of the Japanese psyche - and made Hachiko a Japanese legend.

Taking our own adventure on the Tokyo  train system is easy - though the transit map may look anything but easy. There's a lot of lines - but thankfully there still plenty of signs that are in English. Also the ticket machines are pretty straight forward. Just select if you want 1 or more tickets and the price (as shown in the map) for the destination you want to get to.

If you don't get it right, there's no problem... you can always adjust the fare on the ticket once you go to leave the station at the destination. Just don't lose your ticket! And be careful... as there's some shady looking characters around....

Now... we're off to Yokohama!

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  1. I love the hustle and bustle of Shibuya. I took my son to see Hachiko's stuffed and mounted remains in the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno. He was fascinated about the legend and the statue and he got to see the dog in the fur (so to speak) at the museum. He loved it.

  2. It's an amazing story... and it really resounds with the sense of sentimentality. My wife's a sucker for this story - she won't even watch the Disney-fication of it (that was out recently).

    In fact - she's even somewhat embarrassingly cried at an episode of Futurama, Jurassic Bark (which must have been partly inspired by the Hachiko story