Pedestrian Only: Ginza, Tokyo

With prominent flagship stores of  Loui Vuitton-Chanel-Dior-Gucci for fashion, Sony-Apple-Leica for electronic retail and Nissan-Mini Copper for the car aficionados, Ginza is synonymous to the word “upscale”. Don’t fret if these are not your brands, Ginza offers a certain charm that will makes you want to pay a visit even with empty pockets (browsing is for free, anyway).

During weekends, they normally closed the main strip of Chuo Dori. Its a 4-way lane street shutdown for vehicles, so that everyone can enjoy a carefree day of window shopping and picture taking. Seats and tables are placed in the middle of the street, with most occupants are elderly Japanese who normally bring some snacks, relaxing and enjoying an afternoon chat. Standing at the middle of uncrowded street, I was consulting my map printout to locate the Sony Building when I was approached by Nobu-san, who is trying to help every foreigners he sees with the purpose of practicing his English.

Take the A9 exit from the train station and you will be in the symbol of the district – Ginza Wako. It is a distinct architectural landmark with signature Seiko clock making it a standout among the others expensive shops in the area (Mitsukoshi, Matsuya, Matsuzakaya). Such romantic feeling hearing the clock sound when it strikes an hour, it is either reminding you that hour had pass and still you cannot decide if you want to buy that purse or time to head to your beau rendezvous.

Passing the Bulgari shop and across the street, you will find a little museum dedicated for the mighty and honorable Japan Police. Here you can bring your kiddos to dress-up like a true Keisatsu, see the evolution of the police uniform/badges and pay respect to those who died in the line of duty. It is very seldom to see a country where little kids aspire to be a Police Officer one day and with parents encouraging them to be. I wonder if ever they decide to create a similar museum in Manila, will anyone go to see it?

There is nothing quite like the feeling of walking in the street without worrying if its red light or a speeding car will hit you. Such a nostalgic experience and I can’t help but remember the good old days in Tondo when they used to close the main street of  Abad Santos for fiesta.

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