|"Ikebukuro" - September 8th, 2006
- by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass
When I lived on the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line, I used to go through Ikebukuro nearly every day (usually just changing trains, but I explored the area a bit as well), so I got a slight case of nostalgic blues when visiting there for a computer user group meeting on September 8th. Since I (forgetfully) came without the address or a contact number for the meeting, I spent the time I would have been at the meeting wandering around the area taking pictures instead.
I use the area name "Ikebukuro" to refer to the entire area around Ikebukuro Station, but the specific areas I walked through are in Toshima-ku (remember that there is no such thing as "Tokyo City" - "Tokyo" is something like Los Angeles *County*, comprising a group of several cities with names ending in various confusing suffixes, like -ku, -shi, -machi, -mura), the subsections of which were Minami-Ikebukuro (South-Ikebukuro), Higashi-Ikebukuro (East-Ikebukuro), Ikebukuro, and Nishi-Ikebukuro (West-Ikebukuro).
Ikebukuro has upscale department stores, a concert hall, a huge bookstore, movie theaters, and is convenient to several train lines, but still it seems to many people a kind of poor cousin to Shinjuku, just four stops away on the Yamanote Line.
(Above) - One of the lonelier streets in Higashi-Ikebukuro.
(Below - far right) - A used bookstore. Bookstores are not doing very well in general these days - what with people spending what would have been their reading time on the Internet or writing e-mail messages on their cell phones on the trains (and everywhere else for that matter!). Personally, I still buy books, but I stopped buying magazines once I started getting news on-line (with the exception of the National Geographic, which I still buy).
(Below - far right) - The Sunshine City Building - at 60 stories high, was the tallest building in Japan until they built the Landmark Tower in Yokohama (which is 70 stories high I think - let me know if I'm wrong), and now I'm not sure what building is the highest in the country. What with earthquakes, I don't think anyone is aiming for much more than 70 or 80 floors.
An old area of Ikebukuro with two-story buildings being right next to the 60-story tower, it's a favorite view of photographers who breathlessly show us the "amazing contrast between new and old in Japan". I know - I'm not innocent of doing that myself, but I'm sick of it all the same!
(Below, left & middle) - Maybe due to there not being residences near this main street, there were several musicians out performing, with a few listeners, but most just walking past. What with good reproduction from cheap audio equipment, people just don't appreciate live music like they would if they weren't already listening to recorded music all the time....
(Below - right) - The woman in the middle of the photo is handing out tissue packs with advertising on them. These are often targeted at certain groups (young women in particular) and not necessarily handed out to anyone who wants one.
(Above) - The main street here forms the borderline between Higashi-Ikebukuro and Minami-Ikebukuro. (Below) - Ikebukuro Station is below the Parco Building.
In front of Ikebukuro Station
In front of Ikebukuro Station
(Below left & center) - Crossing under the Yamanote Line tracks from Higashi-Ikebukuro to Ikebukuro. (Below right) - Going straight ahead in the direction of this view, would take you to a fairly large drinking area - something like Kabukicho in Shinjuku.
(Below) - In front of the West Exit of Ikebukuro Station.
Of the two bands shown here (one above and one below), I preferred the music of the band below.
(Above, far right, & below) - Trying on sunglasses in a shop with a date... this brought back fond memories of doing the same thing many years ago....
(Below - far right) - Back at Ikebukuro Station, waiting for the Yamanote Line, which is never much of a wait, as they run the trains every two or three minutes in the busy hours and every five to seven minutes for most other hours.
Copyright 2006 by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, Images Through Glass, Tokyo - All rights reserved