Shibuya was one of the first places I headed to upon landing in Tokyo. I was most curious about this legendary intersection used in the of the Resident Evil franchise for the Afterlife and Retribution installments where a massive wave of people cross from all directions in utter chaos. This is where, in the said movie, the infection spreads in Japan.
This intersection is truly as crazy as in the movie, minus the zombies. Once the pedestrian signal comes on, it’s every man for themselves. Now this intersection in most South East Asian countries would be most difficult to navigate and doing so would be asking for trouble, but with this being Japan, it does naturally keep a semblance of order. I wonder if order is in their genes.
As orderly as this chaotic intersection can be, it remains an unusual sight. A good viewing point of this migratory phenomenon is the Starbuck across the metro station, which is conveniently located on the second floor. You can watch the magic happen while comfortably sipping a coffee (if you can find a seat). With its screens on buildings, the intersection reminded me quite a bit of Time Square.
After viewing the intersection, I proceeded with my friend Y to an arcade. They were quite difficult to find, as most arcade are actually solely made-up of coin machines. They are gambling nests where people go lose both their time and their money after work. They also lose their health there, residing in a cloud of cigarette smoke. They are supposed to be quite a problem in Tokyo. The arcades we were looking for were called Game Centers, if I remember correctly, and that was where you could actually find the good old fighting, shooting and driving games. We spent some time there before moving on to a karaoke place.
They have a pretty neat set-up for their karaoke, which is surprisingly popular here. You can rent these karaoke salons by the hour with your friends. They are equipped with couches, a screen, a sound system, two microphones and a tablet from which you set the playlist – you have everything you need to sing the night away in full privacy. The rooms are also equipped with a tablet from which you can order different foods and drinks to be brought up to you, from beers, sakes and gin tonics to fried chicken, fries and other finger foods.
This was a great night and when I wanted to learn to navigate the metro on my own, I decided to make my way to Shibuya, since I figured it would be best to start with familiar terrain. On this outing on my own I found this delicious little sushi joint. Nothing complicated, it’s a bar with no chair and you order and eat standing up. This was the best sushi I ate in Tokyo and, surprisingly, the less expensive.
It goes without saying that once J got here, we came back often to Shibuya for sushi, arcades and karaoke. We spent many post-exploring nights in this neighborhood.