by Jake Jacobs
10 December 2012
Back in the twenties Shibuya Station was practically suburban. A certain Japanese professor owned a Japanese Akita puppy named Hachiko, and trained it to meet him every afternoon at the station. One day the professor dropped dead and never did catch the train home. Nevertheless, for the next ten years Hachiko trotted to station every afternoon to greet his master. Hachiko became famous, a symbol of loyalty, but I don't buy it. I have a Chihuahua named Somtam who pees on the paper every morning he can get to it before I do. I used to claim that this showed how smart he was, that his was a form of "letter to the editor." Then I noticed he peed even when the paper didn't run Thomas Friedman's column, so I realized he wasn't so smart; he was a creature of habit. Ditto Hachiko, clearly a dog who never heard of Bayes' Theorem. The Japanese made a movie a few years ago about Hachiko, still the all-time champ of Shibuya Station Sitting.
These days Shibuya is a very busy place. The intersection outside the "Hachiko Exit" is reputedly the world's busiest pedestrian crossing. Half a block away is the 109 Building, epicenter of Japanese girls' fashion, a place where Paris designers come to learn what they ought to be offering next year. Turn a different way when you leave the station and in a few blocks you will find yourself passing the Shidax Tower. If it happens to be the second weekend of October, stop in and take the elevator to the second floor. There you will find something as interesting as any sight in the neighborhood: the Japan Open will be taking place.
Last month I gave an overview of the tournament; this month let's look at a few positions.
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