Monday, December 3


So, here is Hachiko writing exercise #1 (unedited).

The challenge: Describe Shibuya's Hachiko Crossing. Plus, personify one thing from the hectic intersection.
Hachiko Crossing, Shibuya, what could be called the throbbing centre of the sprawling city of Tokyo, is its typical mass of people at 12am on a Friday night. But it isn’t the significance of it being a Friday night that makes it busy – it’s simply always that way, regardless of the time or day.

Every few minutes the mammoth crossing’s lights blaze green, and literally thousands at a time swarm across, zigging and zagging out of each other’s way without fuss or conflict. From on high they would look like ants, of course, as do most areas of Tokyo at any given moment. 

After the kind little green man’s 30 or so seconds of midori, he turns irate, and starts flashing his warning, "kuruma kuru kara hayaku shina," – or "hurry up, cars are coming soon," if the little red-green silhouette with the trilby speaks English – which he probably does. But I’ve never asked him.

And a few stragglers are always to be seen trotting into the near-empty square moments before the man turns red. But in response, the taxi drivers are never too volatile, simply a few honks of the horn from them every now and then. But most drivers are more than happy to wait for their fellow Tokyoites to gallop across the road and gain that few extra minutes on the way to work.

From on high, a colourful 360-degree pantomime of videos, adverts, and music, surveys the mess below. It depicts a world it only tangentially embodies, and that world showers the people in and upon bicycles, cars, trucks and buses that traverse the roads subordinate. The din of pop gods and goddesses rains endlessly upon all those that zig, zag and negotiate through there, whether it be day or night. Yes, it is all seen, but not all of it is noticed.

Leading off from the colour and frenzied scramble of Hachiko, you’ll find a street snaking its way westward, away from the station. If one were so inclined you could follow this road and connect to Kyoto by way of an endless stream of cityscape and townships.

Tomorrow: Hachiko writing exercise #2 - Describe Hachiko crossing from a dog's perspective.

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