Friday, March 5, 2010

Old School Action in Shibamata

  Hello Yall! Some of you folks out there in internet land may have been wondering what the hell I have been into recently. Well, I have dealing with some deep personal crap lately. Yet, no need to worry as everything is getting back on track.
  Anyway, I have really been in need of getting in some Tokyo exploring. Tokyo is a unique city in the fact that you can always find something kick ass to check out any given day of the week. With a need to get out and about I decided to head on over to Shibamata. This place is an often over looked old-school part of Tokyo. I first found out about this little damn place during a late night web surfing session. It was one of those nights when I just got completely lost in the grandeur of the internet. So, I had some extra time on my hands and decided to feed the need to explore Tokyo a bit.
  When I arrived in Shibamata via the old ass Keisei line, I was overwhelmed with a sense of calmness and peace. The area was strangely quiet and the people more distant from what I am used to in Tokyo. Despite the odd feeling in the air, Shibamata did put my mind at ease pretty quickly. The area is a maze of back alleys and side streets; which eliminates all automobile traffic. The lack of autos didn`t  faze me much as it really chills the place out. The shop keeps were also kind of chilled themselves. They just go about their business seemly without any care if anyone actually visits their shop. They made no effort, adverts or otherwise, to hook people into their shops. Overall, the whole area was so chilled that it was kind of too good to be true. 
  Speaking of shops I ran across this one store which was like some strange time warp. I guess you could call it a Showa era candy shop. The little shop packed as much old-school Japan action into one place as humanly possible. All the cool little snacks and odd five-minute trill toys which you just don`t see anymore were in full display.. It was damn good fun checking out the stuff this place had for sale. The best part of it all was they even had games! Yes, that right old-school pinball machines! Man, I hit up the entire row of pinball machines trying my ass off the make one of them tilt the max score. They had more than just pinball. Hidden in a corner was a original Super Mario machine and a flat table space invaders game. It was a true retro wet dream and a hell of a good time! 

Despite all the good fun I had at the five and dime shop, there was something more wonderful to behold in Shibamata. The Shibamata Taishakuten Buddhist Temple proved to be a nice surprise to top off the peaceful feeling in the air. To be honest with yall, I have seen my fair share of temples and shrines in Tokyo. Yet, there are still a shit load I still want to get around to checking out. This temple I didn`t even know about until I ventured down to Shibamata. It was kind of cool to roll up on a temple unexpectedly. What struck me about this little find was how similar in design it was to Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. I guess Taishakuten was built around the same time as Meiji Shrine; or maybe not. It did carry the same feeling of oneness and calmness as Meiji Shrine. Although it shares some design features with Meiji Shrine, Taishakuten has a unique feature of having some stunning Japanese style trees growing right in front of it. I got this funny light feeling as I admired the temple. 

Another unique part of this temple was two black Buddha statues resting toward the side of the complex. They kind of jumped out at me without warning. I have never seen twin black Buddha before. I found myself staring at the damn things for a good amount of time. They were a very striking image among all the green roof tops and perfectly placed trees. I don`t know enough about Buddism to comment on the importance of these two statues but there must be an interesting story behind them for sure. 

Overall yall, checking out Shibamata for a bit was pretty cool. I have to say I really enjoyed myself. It was a nice little peaceful day trip in Tokyo. The experience was really good for me. I am gonna have to plan another little adventure to the area real soon.  


the fashionate traveller said...

I'd never heard of Shibamata, and enjoyed the pics and descriptions of the shops etc.. I'm gonna be over there next week...any recommendations of kooky pubs or places I mightn't have seen? Or if you know of any rockabilly/psyhobilly gigs on before the 28th, let me know!

Chris said...

Re: The Personal Drama.

(If it don't kill ya it'll make ya stronger.)

Fuk me if that ain't the truth!!

Whatever ill's ya will pass.

Keep ya head up ;)

The pinball machines gave me flashbacks to the old school arcades :)

TheGhost said...

@the fashsionate traveller--You should check out Jack`s in Harajuku. He has got the best rock a` billy stuff and plenty of info on rock a` billy/psycho shows in Tokyo

@Chris--Thank ya kind sir. Ya a right proper fella.

Kinakinw said...

I enjoyed reading your notes of half-day trip! Indeed it's a town of Showa.
If you say Shibamata, many Japanese over 30 years old think of "Tora-san", a leading caracter of "Otoko ha turaiyo" much-loved movie series set in there.
The model of Tora-san's family home was the Takagiya, a Japanese confectionery shop & cafe in the main street to Taishakuten from the station. Takagiya's dumpling is a must-eat specialty in Shibamata.
Have some next time!

Billy W said...

Looks like a cool afternoon.

Glad to hear things are getting back on track for you.