Friday, March 1st, 2024

Navigation, Apple, and Stationery


The main success of this latest trip to Japan was my newly discovered ability to navigate around Asian cities. Large Asian cities tend to have stations with many exists and streets also feel like a maze. My forcing function was the desire to go to the Apple Store in Ginza. Now, I must say that I’m not one of those people who has an inherent desire to go to every Apple Store in the world. However, for some reason I thought a store in Japan would be different for some reason and so have always wanted to go.

So, Wednesday afternoon I have some free time and decide to have a go. Someone at work has given my a route to get there. My first task is to take a commuter train and then the subway. I manage both perfectly. Thankfully, when the world cup was hosted in Japan a number of years ago they updated all the signs to include English which is a huge plus. I remember before having to actually memorise stop names in Japanese in order to get around.

The Apple Store website listed the store as ‘Ginza 3, 1 minute walk from Ginza station’, so I felt confident. I got to Ginza station and looked at the map. To my horror we had the usual Japanese station with its many (in this case 13) exits:

On closer inspection of the map, I saw the number ‘3’ and decided (for want of a better plan) to go to the exit closest in proximity to the number. Walking up to street level I was greeted with the following image:

I was so pleased with myself ! I think the first time ever I’ve managed to go to the right exit.

The Apple Store itself was a bit of a disappointment, the only difference between other stores being a requirement to have multiple floors due to the low footprint of the store.

Next navigation success – finding stationery ! I spotted Mitsukoshi and wandered in. Couldn’t see a reference to stationery, but decided to go to the 8th floor (household) as that’s usually where the stationery department is located besides. Wandered for a bit and couldn’t find anything, so went to the information counter. Reply was ‘not sold here’, you want another store. In true Japanese style, the guy takes out his diary, rips a page out, and draws me a map:

Now you may notice that the map is pretty generic. The guy told me ‘look for a paperclip on the store’. Got onto the street and started to wander. Now you may notice from the map that there is no orientation. I started to wander up the street and after a couple of mins spotted a large red paperclip ! (frustrated I didn’t take a picture).

So, that’s 2 perfect sets of navigation ! Followed by also finding the dinner venue on Tuesday and Friday nights myself ! I feel so clever !

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