Any yahoo with $20 can pick up one of the commercial travel guides and head off to a foreign country to see the main sights. The first time I came to Japan, I refused to be one of those yahoos and paid the price; I had no idea where the hell anything was, nor did I know where to go, what to see, or what I was looking at whenever I finally did get somewhere. I gained an appreciation for the guides, and even went on to play a minor role in the creation of a shitty, short-lived edition by a somewhat famous company.
While guides are useful for those with limited amounts of time, they are often ineffective at anything other than shuffling you through a set of main attractions, often giving people the impression they were expecting from a trip abroad. And that’s fine, I guess, but for those who really want to see something more vital, there are few who offer other perspectives.
So much about Japan is highly underrated, especially abroad, so in order to help introduce some of these underrated aspects (which might be more accurately termed “Shit I love about Japan”), I’m starting a video series. I’ll put them up at uneven intervals, so I hope you don’t get your expectations up. I have several ideas running through my mind, so hopefully this won’t die out quickly.
Shinagawa is a great station. Lots of interesting restaurants, supermarkets, a great cinema. Highly underrated itself in the big picture. The morning rush is just insane. There is a period from 7:30am until 10am or so where the walkway out of the Kōnan Exit is just a solid, unending mass of people. I discovered it when I went to meet my dad who was staying at a hotel there. I was honestly worried that I wouldn’t be able to find him. Fortunately I found him and we were able to sit at Dean and Deluca just watching the crowd in amazement. I would definitely put it high on my “must see” list for all tourists.
Here’s what it feels like: (Warning: It’s a little slow for the first half, but give it a chance – I’m trying to set the scene for anyone who hasn’t been to Shinagawa Station before.)