After church yesterday we stayed and ate lunch with many of the people there then headed into Tokyo to see Ginza, one of the city’s famed shopping areas. It was an interesting place to browse but Ginza appears to me to be Japan meets downtown Manhattan or any of the world’s other snobbish and opulent shopping areas. It reminded me of walking Chicago’s Magnificent Mile when I attended a conference in that city some twenty years ago. The streets are lined with swanky stores like Gucci, Prada, Christian Dior, Tiffany’s and Chanel. Customers are greeted by uniformed doormen as they enter. We went into only one such store, a place where watches sell for upwards of $3000 and purses for over $1300! Needless to say, we didn’t open our wallets or stay long. It actually felt quite obscene to me!
On Sunday afternoons, many of the streets of Ginza are blocked to traffic. Seats are even set out in the middle of the street for those who want to take a break from walking or shopping. Interestingly, I noticed that, in spite of the wide open streets, the Japanese tended to stay to the sidewalks. Perhaps they feel more comfortable in a crowd!
Ginza had a much more international flavour than most of the places we’ve visited and many who were there were clearly tourists. I hope they see more of Japan than that or they really won’t have seen Japan at all!
Just before nightfall, we stopped at a luxurious little coffee shop where I enjoyed a cafe mocha and Richard sipped a maple milk latte while the sun went down. Starbuck’s seemed to be around every corner but this was a Tully’s and, with the exception of the Japanese signage, it could have been tucked into any North American city. Unlike everywhere else we’ve been recently, McDonald’s was conspicuously absent from Ginza!
Ginza was definitely a place to see lit up at night. In fact, the entire side of one tall building was an ever changing light show!