Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tokyo Day 5: Free Hugs in Shibuya

All of us were in a happy mood, having had a satisfying day of gluttony. Although we were quite tired, decided to take the train to Shibuya, 2 stops away from Shinjuku, since it was our last night in Tokyo before heading out for Kamakura/Enoshima. We wanted to see the busy Shibuya intersection, made famous in a scene from Lost in Translation with Bill Murray. The 3rd instalment of Fast and Furious also features this intersection.

From Wiki: "Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing. It is located in front of the Shibuya Station Hachiko exit and stops vehicles in all directions to allow pedestrians to inundate the entire intersection. Three large TV screens mounted on nearby buildings overlook the crossing."

See the green words on the 2nd floor of the building in the middle? That's Starbucks, and this outlet is said to be the busiest in the world.

Red light for all cars.

And vroooooom, human stampede. It was so much fun to watch! We stayed here just watching, enthralled by the electrifying atmosphere. Love this place. So much energy.

Youtube video of Shibuya intersection.

A photo to say I was there. Bad photographer, look at the unfortunate traffic-light-post head-gear I have!

We were there too, say the boys! Though it was rather late and we weren't really doing anything here, the boys didn't complain and actually enjoyed just 'hanging around'. It was a breezy cool night, so that helped.

9pm and it was time to head back to Shinjuku to catch the hotel bus shuttle (last bus 940pm). Just outside Shibuya station, yikes, it's the Free Hugs Brigade! I had spotted a couple of these free huggers (not from this group of course) in Harajuku some days earlier.

Sean heads to the girl for his free hug.

Chap on the right feigns getting his heart broken.

So Sean gives him a free hug.

PEACE!! Free hugs do brighten up our lives! Go on, hug a stranger y'all!


Alcovelet said...

That's so funny, Sean choosing his hugger and breaking the guy's heart! Best part is, it's probably 100% safe. Imagine you guys were in NYC and this bunch held the same placards!! I'd keep on the other side of the road!!

Lilian said...

In New York, we walk real fast and make zero eye contact!

Japan does feel very safe, makes travelling so much more relaxing.

Alcovelet said...

Yeah. I've been so tranquilized by this feeling of complete safety that once, I left my luggage outside the toilet cubicle. The translator travelling with us chided me in the most gentle way possible without yelling out "Idiot!".

Lilian said...

That's funny! She probably said idiot in Japanese, while smiling cutely.

My Thai friend said once, she was on the train and had a few pieces of luggage, while rushing out of the train, she left one bag behind! The most important one, containing passports and money. She didn't realise it until she was midway on another train she had transferred on. Amazingly, just by going to the station master, they were able to locate her bag and eventually return it to her hotel! How's that!

Alcovelet said...

Piang eh, you're probably right, hahahar!

Your Thai friend is lucky it didn't happen in, gasp, Singapore. Finito! It'll be embassy hell a la Lilian for the next 2 years!!

Lilian said...

She's lucky it didn't happen anywhere else in the world! It was really divine intervention that I got my passport back the last time, you won't believe how hard I prayed. And the mall's security people returned only the passport, gone were the lauyah pouch, plasticky passport holder and the few hundred rubles in the pouch.

I didn't bother asking, I was just thanking God I had my passport back; the hassle is mostly cos of it being a Malaysian passport, I don't think other countries give their citizens that much grief over stolen passports. Malaysia (tak) Boleh!

monlim said...

I love that Sean was so happy and willing to give (and get) a free hug! Awww.... Didn't Brian get one too?

Lilian said...

Brian? No way...all 3 of us stood rooted to our spots, like cha tao (wooden blocks).

monlim said...

Hahaha! See lah, only the little kid can be spontaneous!