It’s been a busy week full of distractions outside of Tokyograph, but finally I can return to the story of my Japan trip.
Chuck and I had finished trekking all over Toudai, and we decided to check out Shibuya for the evening. Shibuya is known for its nightlife and as a popular hangout for young people. It’s also known as ground zero for the whole kogal subculture. Anyway, it was already dark when we got there (well, dark except for all the neon and electric lights), and unfortunately, it was raining again.
Right outside Shibuya Station is the famous statue of the dog Hachiko. It’s a popular meeting spot, so you can always observe lots of people there. Nearby is the Center Gai street intersection, a pedestrian scramble crossing that’s apparently known as one of the busiest in the world. It’s a rather impressive sight to see so many pedestrians crossing through the intersection simultaneously.
We crossed the intersection to reach a pedestrian street and took a look around. Chuck led me further down the street until we reached the part known as Spain-zaka, where the Tokyo FM station is. The guest schedule posted on the wall told us Yuri Nakamura of Garnet Crow was going to be on the air in an hour and half for an interview about their latest album. We thought we might as well check it out, so we needed to kill some time. Fortunately, there were plenty of shops and UFO Catchers to occupy us. We also found a family restaurant where we had some dinner (this is when I had the omuretsu with curry!).
We returned to the station, and a woman there was handing out paper numbers for people interested in watching the radio program. I guess we could’ve gotten numbers earlier, but as it was, we ended up with numbers 33 and 34. Anyway, the woman told us to go a little down the street and around the corner, where the line would be forming. At about this time, it started raining a lot harder, and I realized the cheap umbrella I had bought was slightly broken but still functional enough - it just now had one of its bars sticking out annoyingly above my head.
We were put in a two-person-wide line according to our numbers and led down the street to the station. There’s a window where you can see directly into the station and watch the people on air, but I guess for certain programs like this one, they pull out a sliding wall that blocks the view of the window. People are then brought into the space between the window and the sliding walls to watch what’s going on (no photography allowed there, unfortunately).
Anyway, I think they brought in 20 people at a time, so we were waiting in line for quite a while. They didn’t start bringing in people right at the beginning of the program, either, so I estimate we were in line for a good half hour, though it was probably even longer. It must have been rough on the guys right behind us who had no umbrellas - I was still getting wet even with one. In front of us was a man and a woman on an apparent date, and though I couldn’t really get a good look at their faces, it seemed to me like the girl was much younger than the guy. I imagined it could’ve been a case of enjo kosai, though I’m probably quite mistaken.
Well, we finally got brought in to watch the program, and the interview was already well underway. I can’t say I understood too much of it, but at least it was an experience. The girl that had been in front of us in line had actually brought a sign with her to express her Garnet Crow fandom, and when the radio host took a break to play a track from the new album, he and Nakamura stood against the glass with the sign in the background so that one of the studio staff could take a picture. I tried squeezing in closer, but who knows if I actually made it into the picture… Whatever.
We did a little more wandering through the stores in Shibuya, but eventually headed back fairly early to our hotel. We needed to get a little more rest that night because we were checking out the next morning and heading out for the next part of our adventure: Kyoto.