Shibuya pedestrian bridge.
この人の体に、あなたなら何を描きますか？ 「Free paint」というサインを持って渋谷駅の前にいました。皆にマーカーで何かを描いてください、と言っていました。彼の足に「Eat me」と書きました。だれかが「バカ」と書いていましたが、かわいそうですね。「Eat me」の意味は何ですかと聞かれたので、やさしい招待ですと答えました。
At first, I wasn’t sure what he meant with his “FREE PAINT” sign outside Shibuya station on a warm summer day. He quickly invited me to photograph and to paint his body. When I wrote “eat me” on his leg, he asked about the meaning of this simple phrase. Someone had already written “stupid” on his shoulder, so maybe he was already strung by the cruelty of strangers. I explained that “eat me” was a friendly invitation to interaction. What would you draw on this young guy’s body?
It seems the Tokyu department store above the station is being demo’d. I expect it will be another mega-shopping, “cultural” and office tower like the brand new Hikarie across the street. I wonder how it will be different and even “newer.”
Another rail change is the demolition of the elevated Toyoko line to Daikanyama, Nakameguro, and on to Yokohama, which has been replaced with the underground extension of the Fukutoshin subway line. Is there a plan on how to use this reclaimed public space?
A great transit system is essential for a walkable and livable city. This frees residents from owning or using cars for most trips, and allows streets and public spaces to be used for people rather than vehicles.
What makes Tokyo’s transit system truly great? Speed, reliability, convenience, and ubiquity are remarkable. On top of that you have remarkable signage, including the steps on the Ginza line’s Shibuya station which remind me you of the sequence of stations, minutes required to arrive, and the fare. And, at the end of this post, you can see an example of outstanding art in a transit corridor, whose delight, awe, and mild terror adds an emotional level to all the functional goodness of Tokyo transit.