Ginza and the Moment of Melancholy

Chuo dori in Ginza is probably one of the most expensive streets in Tokyo, as for one square meter of land in that area costs over ten million yen slash IDR 1,147,664,547. Although I am not in the financial condition of easily throwing my money for (even) a scarf from Salvatore Ferragamo, I must admit this area is one of my most favorite spots in Tokyo.

Wandering around Ginza on weekend afternoons, from the edge of Chuo dori until crossing Hibiya, Marunouchi or Kyobacho, never fails to give me this melancholic feeling. People are all looking fabulous, and sometimes you can even smell their parfume. Every leading brand name in fashion and cosmetics has a presence in Ginza, and there’s a reason why they wanted a spot in Ginza. It is the place where the richest (and well, also the middle-class) spend their money. Ginza has it all: from Prada to H&M and from Sushi Jiro  (you need to reserve at least 1 year in advance) to Tsukiya. But the definition of Japan’s middle class is obviously different with Indonesia’s middle class.

I don’t know whether it’s usually because of the sunset effect (you know, the colours of dusk before everything dims), or because I am in nature is a sensitive person; but usually strolling in Ginza and passing those high-end designer brands, and passing those priviledge society always give me a moment of melancholy. Ginza feels so far away from the rest of the world. By that, I mean another part of the world where people can’t even imagine to spend four hundred yen or IDR50,000 for a cup of coffee. By that, I mean another part of the world where having a family dinner at KFC or McDonald is already counted as a luxury. By that, I mean another part of the world where not only do they think H&M is a branded goods, but they think it’s unreachable because they are the ones who work underpaid in Cambodia, Bangladesh, etc for the aforementioned brand.

So that is Ginza, where life is still good although it isn’t.

And this is the world we’re living in today, and it has always been this way. A classic story of inequality. But fortunately, although money has a strong correlation with feelings, it isn’t the only variable that defines your feelings. Who knows, maybe the afternoon they spent in Bangladesh with a cup of cheap chai tea made them a happier person, than the afternoon they spent at Manolo Blahnik in Ginza; choosing a new pair of shoes alone.

Who knows. Call me naive, because deep down I believe life is fair. It depends on how you see it.

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Ginza on weekend afternoon

 

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Yours truly at Chuo dori
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