Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Dark, Lonely Shinjuku and Ikebukuro

It's been four days now since the quake. Our town has been very quiet. There haven't been too many trucks coming by, but the earthquake hasn't stopped the baked sweet potato vendor from coming by twice since. The shelves are still empty at most of the convenience stores and supermarkets everywhere.

Since yesterday was relatively quiet and warm, I decided to head out to Shinjuku and then to Ikebukuro.
I went around 2:30 and the trains were pretty much empty.
Surprisingly, Shinjuku Station seemed even more empty. Usually there is at least three times as many people walking through this walkway over the Marunouchi train line. As it had been a day when people were instructed to stay home, the only ones out were pretty much only foreigners and couples because it was White Day, a day in which guys give girls gifts for what they received on Valentine's Day.
I stopped by Shinjuku ALTA to buy some cosmetics for a customer. There weren't that many people in there, but there usually isn't. I took this picture of the Liz Lisa display as seen from outside. So cute!
Then I headed over to Ikebukuro. Unsurprisingly, there were still plenty of people riding the JR lines. As you can see though, the lights on these buildings are not turned on. Since it had gotten cloudy, Ikebukuro seemed like a very dark place.
There were not so many people on the street heading to Sunshine City either. Normally these streets would be filled with shoppers. But no music played as you walked through the street, there were no maids handing out fliers for their maid cafes. In fact, there were hardly any people advertising their restaurants at all! Normally the street is lined with people shouting at the top of their lungs about the special deals and services their restaurant offers, but yesterday there were absolutely none. Surprisingly the arcades were still open, but only for a limited time.
When I got to Sunshine City, most of the stores were closed shut as in the picture above. It was a bit shocking to see store after store in this condition. I went over to the ALTA side and there were still up and running, luckily. I couldn't find what I was looking for though, so I backtracked and headed outside to Animate.
Pictures of Animate that I managed to take from the outside. I got inside of it just minutes before they closed at about 5pm I think it was. A lot of stores were closing up shop at 4 to 6pm. It was the strangest thing though, since they had an anime-sounding guy come on to tell us that they were closing and hoping we could meet again. Then they played this song about parting and meeting again. They played this over and over on a loop in order to drive customers out of the store. It was a bit surprising they let us all the way up to the fifth floor though as Donki had the stairs leading beyond the second floor blocked off.
A vending machine outside of Animate. Apparently the drinks taste horrible though.

After I checked out a few other nearby stores, I decided to start heading home.

Cute advertisement of fat kitty on top of an arcade.

All of Ikebukuro was so dark it felt so strange. Normally the entire place is so lit up that you might not even notice that it's night time. I was glad I had gone back to the train station when I did though, since I managed to catch the very last train out before they shut down the trains for an hour. When I got to my station, I stopped by McDonalds and grabbed us dinner. Walking home I noticed there were a lot of restaurants closed. Those that had remained open were completely empty. The area I live in, which can be a bit bustling in its own right around the "Ginza area," kind of felt like a dark ghost town.

Today we're staying inside for the most part again. Pretty much all of the major shopping malls have been closed again, too. Luckily there were no blackouts yesterday because of everyone's efforts to conserve energy. I hope today is the same.

1 comment:

  1. hi~ this is judy! sorry i havent gotten around to replying to your email~~
    but wow, it must feel very scary when its emptier and darker than usual >"< i really hope japan can recover soon and for all those aftershocks and such to stop~ i'm praying every minute!! and im amazed at how well japanese work together to conserve energy to prevent a blackout~ they have great teamwork hehe~
    and the window display of liz lisa is insanely adorable~~~