Tokyo Stories from Curious Outsiders

009 : Alice.d in Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
Born 1977 in Corsica, France, Alice.d currently works as a daydreamer. She came to Japan on a tourist visa. Why Japan? To make a childhood dream come true! She digs the following Tokyo bits: silence in the streets of Jimbocho and Ikebukuro at night, feeling lost (and found) in the multitude, feeling home and humility in temples, old Edo always lurking from behind, and city gigantism and its poetry. She, however, is a touch miffed by disrespectful tourists, when sellers and waiters don't look at you, crazy bikers on the sidewalk, and packed subways that make you feel empty and angry. For more info on Alice.d you should send an email or visit her site.

image: Alice D.

“Shibuya was like a stroke.”

I had dreamt of this place … and here I was. Shibuya was like a stroke. [1] It was noisy, invaded by too many people. Shibuya was far beyond what I imagined: all the colors, people, traffic.

I began to wade through the crowd and became part of this swarming mass. I got caught up in the frenzy of colors and consumption and bought many kawaii things that day.

Then I walked up Dogenzaka-dori. [2] A side street caught my eye.

I was drawn to one small building in particular. I remember that I even stopped breathing for a moment as I looked at this old, grey structure stuck in the middle of the modern, silver buildings of Shibuya. I was touched by its faded exterior, the crates of bottles in front. For an instant, I was transported back to the old city streets I grew up within my native Corsica. [3] Then the jetlag caught up with me, and I felt dizzy for a few seconds. I don’t know why, but I nicknamed this little building “oji-san” before I went on my way.

referenced works

  1. A stroke : Best description of Shibuya ever? We love it!
  2. Well known area for its love hotels and thumping clubs, such as Womb.
  3. All you could ever wish to know about Corsica

location information

  • Name: Dogenzaka
  • Address: Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka
  • Time of story: afternoon
  • Latitude: 35.658
  • Longitude: 139.6969
  • Map: Google Maps


  1. Daniel in Ireland thinks: I know this building, I was also struck by the fact it’s totally out of place there.

    To the right is a dinky little club where I met a special person, but I forgot about that old building.

019She laughed at my effort and responded in English, ‘Long time, no seduction.’ — Qi Rari

018In my dreamy state, oblivious to signs and announcements I often boarded the wrong train.— Momus (aka Nick Currie)

017I was fifteen years old and it was one of those nights.— Yuko Enomoto

016That ear of corn just wanted to go home— Guttersnipe Das

015With his painstakingly coiffured mane blowing in the wind— Digits Wolfowitz

014Her voice, even across languages, betraying her worry.— Olly Denton

013I saw them drawing bamboo sticks from a silver rectangular box.— Daphné Haour

012A simulacrum of someone else's home, equal parts comfort and loss.— Adam Greenfield

011Jumbled Escheresque insanity where geo­graphy in any traditional sense ceases to exist.— Joseph Badtke-Berkow

010I could hardly make out anything apart from his glowing eyes...— Uleshka

009Shibuya was like a stroke.— Alice.d

008I cried for a while and wiped the dead bracken off my karate pants.— David Cady

007Both my tie and my disposition hang limp as I calculate the remaining distance to the station.— Chris Tobber

006I once read about a Chinese maiden whose feet were unbound by a cruel man …— Claire Tanaka

005The Bad Girl strutted off and I was left with a ham egg pie.— Guttersnipe Das

004I arrived expecting an irritated Japanese person to step out of the crowd and identify himself as Hideki.— Ashley Rawlings

003The woman at the ticket window seemed surprised to see another human being. I was the only visitor.— Andrew Douglas

002Flanked on either side by adult manga shops and the like, the smell of yakitori in the air.— Jean Snow

001For two weeks the day began with this morning walk, our shared routine.— Joseph Squier


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