Shimamachi, on the outskirts of Tokyo, is really famous with the Japanese. It’s not because it’s quaint, or because it’s old-fashioned, or because it’s kitschy (although it’s all those things!). It’s because it’s where the movie series “Otoko wa Tsurai yo” (It’s tough being a man) was filmed. The series is about, the kind of down-on-his luck traveling salesman Taro, who always seems to fall in love with the wrong girl.
There are 48 movies in this series, all with the same actor playing Tora-san!! 48!!! To be honest, the Tora-san series isn’t my cup of tea, but I saw a few of the movies and they were semi-amusing. It’s just that I don’t buy the “woe is me, I can’t get women, and it’s because I am unlucky.” Nope, it’s because you treat them like objects, bro. 😛 It’s cute in it’s own way, though. The series continued until the lead actor died of cancer, sadly. If you want to read more, check out Wikipedia here.
The series is famous enough that there is a statue of Tora-san right outside of Shimamachi station, right there in the plaza. In case you don’t know where to go, I guess, lol.
Marianne with Tora.
Me with Tora.
Here on a building next to the statue, an advertisement for a Tora-san museum.
Inside the same store, I glimpsed some penguins!
And some coffee, yum!
And some fun posters. The top one says, in the big yello letters, “Please give me some money.”No, it’s not advertising an old-fashioned prostitute service; it’s advertising lucky gold-plated poo! Beneath that is a Tora-san Hello Kitty.
As if golden poo (really!) wasn’t terrifying enough, would you like some of.. these? According to the yellow sign, it’s only available at this store! Would you buy one? If you don’t, you’ll miss your chance forever to own, um.. evil baby peas.. forever!
I was not kidding about the golden poo! It was so tempting to buy one just for the novelty factor, but I had to ask myself, “what would I ever do with a golden poo in my house?” Thinking back, I should have bought one and put it on a shelf in the bathroom. I got a few of the tiny $1 ones to give away. Aww, darn, now I want a big one, though.
Marianne and I turned left and headed towards the main street. Shimamachi’s attraction is just one narrow street, full of old-time vendors and shops. Visually exciting and tummily exciting!
Old ladies with rolling shopping bags (gotta get me one of those!) like Shimamachi too. Maybe she came to buy some natto?
We passed a shop selling snacks, and I stopped to take a picture of an advertisement. Even Harrison Ford wants in on the action, it seems! No kidding, Harrison Ford! I wish that this poster had been for sale at the time, because I would have bought it and put it up in my kitchen. No joke. By the way, it says that this Orangina is from France. Can anyone from France confirm? (Just leave a comment!)
Next to that was chilled cucumbers-in-a-bucket, on a stick! Not only that, but “the best brand of cucumbers,” if one believes the sign. Now I want some pickles, darn it!
If you like beer, there is that, too. I don’t drink alcohol, so I’ll pass.
And now, HERE is my vice! Candy! Candy in old wrappers and in old machines!!! YUM!!! I didn’t know what to buy, though, so I didn’t. ToT Next time, I’ll buy a giant golden poo and some old candy. There we go.
And inside the candy shop, there was also this. I thought that it was a little bit scary.
CANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE CANDY! Actually, I used to. Now, I actually prefer fruit. My better diet really changed my taste buds.
Outside of the candy store was some graffitti.
I turned around and looked back at the cucumber/beer/Harrison Ford stand.
But the kid and the dog wanted me to go back in the candy store.
Marianne saved me by pulling me off down the street.
And then she said, “Hey, look at the monkey sunning itself on the rock!”
What the– it was a stone monkey!
After the monkey, we kept walking.
This Taro-san sat in the window of an Eel-bowl shop. He was not for sale, unfortunately.
Eventually we came to a street crossing. “Teisekiten Street,” or “Heavenly Emperor’s Explanation” street, if I am reading it right. Anyone else know?
And then, because this is Japan, there were toy vending machines across the street. Man, I loved these as a kid, but if we’d had something as awesome as Silly Buddha amulets, I might have gone insane!
Scary things were in the same shop..
There were also cool signs.
And it seems that this was the part of the street that sold the munchies. All sorts of old-fashioned munchies, like pickled radish and balls of mochi.
One of the restaurants proudly proclaimed that it was the setting for Tora-san’s travels in the first four movies.
Not too exciting for this young couple on their hot date, since they were at the store next to it.
More shots of the street followed..
Yes, and of course, toy guns. No shopping street is complete without toy guns, I guess.. Can someone explain the logic to me?
Across the street was a temple where you could pour water on a goddesses’ head, with lots of the usual wooden tablets to write wishes on. Of course we went inside.
This guy was having more fun than us.
This is inside of that big archway.
These are fortune-telling dispensers.
There’s even a Taro-san one. I’ll get one next time, to go with my golden poo and candy!
This wish is from a class of elementary school kids, I think.
And this one was particularly cute, from a little girl who wanted to have luck making friends when she started elementary school. How cute!!! *^^*
As we were leaving the shrine, which was conveniently the end of the street, we found a map that explained the area. After we’d seen it all already. After we had walked the way most people would walk (coming from the train station). Again, explain the logic of this to me?
It was getting late, though, so we headed out.
And had some yummy on the way! That’s lemon-flavored bean paste on top of mochi balls on the left (it tastes better than it sounds!), and deeo-fried Okinawan brown sugar dough ball (tastes about how it sounds).
Bai-bai! Did you enjoy walking through Shimamachi with me and Marianne? Let me know by commenting, so that I know what to post more of! ^^