Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ginza, Tokyo: Taxi Cabs and Luxury Shopping

Ginza in Chuo City is all about high-end luxury shopping. You can compare the atmosphere of the district to Gangnam in Seoul. It’s a combination of business and shopping opulence, a very good mix of course when you have the will and the means.

I have not seen something similar like this yet in other countries or perhaps I need to travel more, but in other major (shopping), especially western cities in the world, they have a more tamer approach when it comes to luxury shopping. Flagship stores of expensive signature brands are usually spread out in the city. Some take retail store lease contracts at large exclusive department stores, whilst others tend to group together in a specific street such as Bond Street in London, PC Hooftstraat in Amsterdam, Champs Elysees in Paris and 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue in New York City. Moreover, they do not have massive flagship stores such as the likes here in Ginza, Tokyo or in Asia in general.

Perhaps it is to say that the Japanese have a much pressing need to possess luxury items? Mostly European signature brands if I may add. Although I think that this type of expensive material slash brand preoccupation is not just a Japanese thing but very Asian-centric. I have noticed as well that in middle and lower economies of scale in developing countries there is an unhealthy need, er rather, desire to covet such luxurious items.

Nevertheless, during the weekend on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 17:00 the main shopping street of Ginza is closed off to vehicle traffic, allowing pedestrians to walk freely on the road. No wonder locals and visitors call Ginza a shopping paradise.

Shopping does not appeal much to me really. I like to look good, have nice stuff every now and then which means I do shop, but mostly they are carried out randomly - not planned shopping activities. If I were to choose between going to a food market and fashion shopping in a similar Ginza-like place, I will not, even for a split of a second, think of  going to shop for fashion/material things.

Neon sign boards are popular in Tokyo, Japan. It reminds me of a few districts in Hongkong and Seoul. I made an entry about this, here it is: Neon Signs in Samil Daero, Seoul and When Dusk Falls in Kowloon: My Fascination for Neon Signboard Lights (and Mong Kok Ladies Market)

Now taxi cabs are all over Japan and they can be freely hailed on the street, however here in Ginza, Tokyo taxis have a different rule. One can only get one by queuing up at the official taxi stands.

I also noticed that the taxi cabs are from a different make and older car model. I did a little bit of research and found out that this is the—Toyota Comfort model which debuted in 1995. The taxi emporium in Japan is managed by different taxi cab companies and they can decide on which model of car they want to run on the streets, but it seems that the Toyota Comfort is the model of choice by most companies.

You might have also been reading the news about the Uber controversy and scandals. I am all for new technology and new ways of doing business but capitalism can be harmful as well when there are no regulations in place.

Uber offices raided in Paris over ‘car-pooling’ controversy
Uber tries to mend fences with Europe

Because humans are humans. We are weak and we make mistakes and we all have the tendency to be self-serving. That is why we have laws, police enforcement and a government.

Here is a funny experience I had with a cab driver in Trinidad, Cuba: Cheeky Taxi Driver in Trinidad, Cuba

Travel Period: November 2014
Destination: Ginza, Chuo City (Tokyo), Japan

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