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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

PaGA: Day 2B Hachiko and the New Shibuya Station

By now you must have learned that, on Pat's Global Adventure 2017 (PaGA 2017) I've decided to keep postings to one subject and send you, on some days, more than one.  Today, I'll have four, with Day 2A in the next article below as Japan Rail Pass.

I stopped through Shibuya Station to go shopping at Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing store that just appeared in 2005 and is now completely international and the largest in all of Asia.  I originally enjoyed coming here because it was innovative and offered items you couldn't find anywhere else.  Unfortunately, it has become just like all the other major outlets.  However, it does sell one kind of underwear I like.   While gazing at all those people crossing outside the station, I noticed a dog statue to the bottom left.

I went down and saw it was the famous Akita dog who from 1923 to 1935 continued to wait for his owner, University of Tokyo Professor Hidesaburo Ueno, every day at the same time, even though he had passed away.  Hachiko was being cared for by the professor's gardner, but after a while, people fed him.  The Hachiko Exit here is the most popular, and his loyalty and fidelity is remembered as a trait of Japanese character.  

Some of you might have seen the 2009 movie:  Hachi: A Dog's Tale (Rotten Tomatoes:  62/85) with Richard Gere.  There is now also a bronze statue of Hachiko at the Woonsocket Depot in Rhode Island where the American film was produced.

That was a remake of Hachiko Monogatari, a 1987 Japanese film, which Rotten Tomatoes gave an audience rating of 95.  Tatsuya Nakadai played Shujiro Ueno (I guess they gave him another first name).  Nakadai was a popular actor, perhaps best known for his samurai films.  You'll miss him, but he made an appearance in the 1954 Seven Samurai.

Shibuya Station is being re-engineered as an international business center for the 21st century.  Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe said:  It may sound presumptuous, but I want people to think of Shibuya in the same way they do London, Paris and New York.  To prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo is redeveloping.  The scene to the left in 2027 will be a new Shibuya, exactly over the statue of Hachiko, and will be called Hachiko Square.


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