Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 87: Ginbura

Ginza is the Tokyo equivalent of New York's Fifth Avenue. A typical weekend activity is to take a stroll in Ginza - Ginza burabura or Ginbura for short. I find a $140 melon for sale at a high end fruit shop, which my friend assures me is normal.

We stroll around further, and find an interesting place - "the world's first free cafe" Harimaya is packed with people stopping by for free tea, coffee and osenbei. On a balmy Saturday afternoon, folks stop by for a rest after strolling, have some tea and rice crackers. On their way out, they purchase a few packs of rice crackers, either out of a sense of obligation or because they liked what they ate. The cash register is ringing non-stop. I ask one of the employees about their business model. The owner supposedly offers world peace and truth, and has written a book on this topic - the book is for sale for $10. Business is so brisk that they can barely keep up. The Japanese economy is hurting and people are very cost conscious. Offering free food and drinks in an airy, clean atmosphere seems to have worked.

By the time we step out, there is a line of people all the way down the stairwell and out onto the street. This business model must have applications elsewhere, if one thinks hard enough.


  1. That place is pretty!I enlarged the pictures and they are good photos. Who took them?