Michaeline: Shibuya Ramblings

Cherry blossoms illuminated in the dark by the digital billboards

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the crossing at Shibuya during sakura season must have enough to power 10,000 novels. (Picture by E.M. Duskova)

It’s easy to see why Shibuya is so popular with the tourists: it triggers a thousand stories, all in a compact space. The station at Shibuya has been known for decades as the place where loyal dog Hachiko waited faithfully for his master to come home from the university everyday . . . even after the master passed away. The exit where the dog waited is memorialized with a statue of the dog, and has become a meeting place for all sorts of people. “Meet me at the Hachiko Exit. I’ll be wearing red.”

Hachiko waits for his master, while a boy waits for . . . well, there’s another story to be told in Shibuya, under the cherry blossoms. (Picture by E.M. Duskova)

People being there attracts more people who want to see what the big deal is about. There are cute shops, and fancy shops. The street food is fun – right now, it trends towards tapioca pearl drinks and Korean cheese dogs (food onna stick! One of my favorites). And the scramble, where the traffic stops and all the pedestrian lights go green at once has to be a powerful metaphor for . . . something. I watched half a dozen people cross with selfie sticks, recording their journey with a flood of humanity, crossing the road to get to the other side.

You’ll see the cherry blossoms are beautiful right now. They’ll be here, and then they’ll be gone with the breath of the first spring wind, but in the meantime, they are gorgeous and live their short lives to the fullest. Against the digital background, they float just as beautifully as they would have in front of a row of wooden shops. Very now-ie, but also with strong roots to the past.

10 thoughts on “Michaeline: Shibuya Ramblings

    • (-: It’s an exciting city! I like the natural components, but that’s really dependent upon the weather . . . cherry blossoms were at their peak almost a week early, so I got to check it out when I was down there! But some years, the cherry blossoms are late. Still, people at Shibuya is going to be a constant!

  1. The cherry trees on my street in London are all in blossom right now and they look gorgeous. It’s quite breezy, too, so there are snowdrifts of petals everywhere. I love this time of year. Wish we could add photos to the comments.

    My husband and I are tentatively planning a trip to Japan for the year after next, so maybe I’ll get to ramble around Shibuya 🙂

    • How lovely! Of course, if you make it all the way here, let me know if you want to make the trip up to Hokkaido. (Or, I might be able to visit my daughter while you are in Tokyo.) So much modern fantasy is based on Old Japan, so I think you’ll find a ton of ideas and inspiration on your trip!

  2. We in northern California have had some nice weather, but we still seem to be waiting for a real spring. Next week? More rain. We have to be glad the drought is finally, officially over, after seven years, but I’m ready to move on to cherry trees and pollen season. Thanks for the snapshot, Michaeline!

    • Beautiful pics!

      Our cherry blossoms haven’t bloomed yet, but we have plenty of pollen. I’ve had to increase my antihistamines to keep the sneezing and itchy eyes in check. I love watching spring; just wish I didn’t have to breathe it.

      • I love, love, love spring, but as I grow older, I’m either more sensitive, or more aware of pollen problems. That part really sucks. Medication helps, but I’m not always proactive about making sure my prescription is filled. I take mine at night, so there isn’t really a drowsiness problem, but it does make my throat extra dry.

    • Yeah, pollen season comes before the cherries bloom. I had some antihistamines (my doctor prescribes them for only two weeks) during my earlier trips, but now that I’m back home, it seems that pollen season is just starting in Hokkaido!

      I’m so glad you guys got rain; it’s so important. My mom said Nebraska also got a lot more than usual, and there are so many problems associated with it. But at least the drought will be over, and I hope the almonds and other lovely California products will be abundant!

    • I LOVE orange blossoms! Well, I have two lemons and a kumquat so I can imagine that orange blossoms smell just as heavenly. No wonder they are the symbol of pure love at weddings! (-: And all the oranges you must be able to reap.

      Orange blossoms in Phoenix . . . there’s a story there.

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