in Shibuya, Tokyo
You can't say you didn't find any. The
only thing that is even more frequent to come by than a vending
machine are downtown cafes... all of them more or less hermetically
sealing you away from the street ... most of the time with a panoramic
window with a view to where you just came from. An ideal place
to take a break from... whatever you were doing, and look back
from a different perspective... in many ways.
You can stay for hours if you want to, just order
the cheapest cafe latte, find a place to sit down comfortably
and... wait for that mail on your keitai, pop up your books to
study, wait with or to your friends or read the magazine you just
bought. Amazingly no one will ask you to either buy something
more or leave.
Perhaps this is the reason why all drinks and pastry cost two
times as much as normally but even so they won't exceed a couple
of hundred yens. It's probably not a good idea to try to fill
your stomach with the sandwiches either, but is a good measure
for emergencies, for there's no problem in the taste department.
With real wood tables circling around real plants
and bossanova ringing in the background, no one ever raising a
voice any louder than as of a laughter, regardless of what color
their hair is dyed. If you can find a good seat you can open your
laptop and even go online for most of them are hotspots for wireless
net connection. Count the record time in which the girls can type
a mail message in their mobiles or just gaze out the window and
if you hadn't done already, plan your next move before you descend
back to the maze.
But in fact... it's the seat that you value the
most at that point.
in Koenji, Tokyo
For nowhere in downtown Tokyo will you find a
bench. As mentioned later or before or wherever, the areas around
the most lively train stations have centered most of the entertainment,
shopping and dining facilities thus making every square meter
all too valuable for a bench... probably... if not for business
then for the people who try to approach the shops. Cafes are a
lifesaver for anyone holding more than five bags at the same time,
especially on Saturdays.
On what else to expect... well if you have seen
the images of Shibuya, that huge panoramic window overlooking
Hachiko crossing is Starbucks. And Starbucks is the ONLY cafe
you can't smoke in. At least from the selection of the three largest
chains, of which you'll encounter a shop about every hundred meters,
Excelsior Cafe, Doutor Cafe and Starbucks . Their styles are pretty
much the same with Starbucks being modeled after its American
shops, Excelsior being the most relaxed and Doutor offering the
best smoked salmon sandwich out of the three.
From time to time you'll learn to think of these
places as your alternative as a makeshift base, much like a replacement
for the "going home to rest" or "find a place where
no one bothers me" plans. Works fine when you want to stay
close to the center but don't want to aimlessly stroll around,
especially not while the afternoon crowd of people returning from
work still hasn't passed.
All in all an irreplaceable value if you'd like
to sit down for a while in downtown... for any given reason...
without being forced by your courtesy to eat.
Visa, border entry, what to bring and be prepared with
- Japanese maps,
Navi mobile navigation, easy orientation for travelers
stores, the resupply stations that sell everything
- Japanese Vending
machines, for drinks, tickets, cigarettes and more
- Japanese Food, and
all kinds of food in Japan, restaurants, fast food, cheap food...
- Tokyo - as we see it
- Budget Tokyo
apartment rental, accommodation, let go of the concern
- Tokyo Prices, the
real cost vs. western legends, how to make most of your budget
- Cheap Tokyo Stores, bargain
tips, where to find what, fashion to electronics
- Tokyo Cafe life, a
guide to Cafes serving as meeting points, hangouts and life-savers
- Tokyo Parks
and Gardens, well maintained icons of tranquility, tradition
or having fun
- The Tokyo crowd...
escaping from Tokyo to Tokyo, evading downtown rushhours