So I think it's time for a photo walk through the streets of North and West Ikebukuro Station before to say good-bye.
Getting out of the train in the morning I cross the station to reach the north exit. Usually still half sleeping, the chocolate (surely fake) aroma coming from Stella's kitchen starts to awake me...
Next is a little book store where I do "tachinomi tachiYOMI" (ç«‹ã¡é£²ã¿ ç«‹ã¡èªã¿ï¼šstanding reading and not standing DRINKING) sometimes like the guys on the picture. [ thanx Alban, for the comment :)]
Once outside you can see this tall thin white tower, it's not 2001 Space Odyssey, it is real, but I am not even sure what it is, even after 2 years! ah! (Edit : Luke from JapanSoc send me a good link from the Washington Post, which explains what is the white thin tower : the Toshima Incineration Plant and how they integrate it in the city.)
If you don't know Ikebukuro, let's say that near North exit is a kind of red district.
So, yes, you can find adult DVD shops,
Soap Lands (next to a pawn shop... ),
Sex shops (on the right...left is a pharmacy),
And a load of Love Hotels!
And if you still have some money you can then lose it all at one of the pachinko.
The neighbourhood is quite "colorful", this is the kind of place where you can meet guys looking like coming straight from a Kitano "Beat" Takeshi movie.
The conbini where I grab my orange juice, here also some dudes reading manga and magazines. Arriving in the morning, day workers, like me, meet the night ones,
host(ess) or musicians who rehearsed all night long. It's kind of funny to see in the conbini the ones that are ready for a new day and the ones who are on the way to bed (or futon)! You can tell easily who is who just by the clothes/fashion. It's like the French song "Il est 5 heures, Paris s'éveille" but a Tokyo version of it.
At lunch time the easiest food to find is ramen (ãƒ©ãƒ¼ãƒ¡ãƒ³), many ramen restaurants here. One reason I've heard, is that there's a big Chinese community in this part of Ikebukuro.
As a matter of fact, one of my favorite lunch place was a Chinese "vicking" : we pay for 70mn and eat all we want. Little bit pricey (1600 yens) but I really liked it.
I will miss it... snif ... (It is located at the 8th floor of the Metropolitan Plaza).
Short walk to go back to work,
An "Ad guy",
A Bic Camera seller trying to catch people attention on current sales. Ikebukuro is the Bic Camera playground no Yodobashi in the area!
The line of taxis in front of the station.
A really nice fixed gear bike, property of a ramen restaurant staff.
A used book shop I liked to visit sometimes, they have a lot of old samurai or yakuza movie posters... and old ero magazines(which I've never checked of course :) actually we can't as they are covered of plastic...
And an unexpected and interesting spot : a green oasis in the middle of the city, just near our office : a garden with a swamp, frogs, cats, fruit trees (kaki) and even grape!
Sayonara Ikebukuro! (well, I think I will have to come back for much better photos...)