TOKYO – In Japan to cover the upcoming election and not familiar with the streets of Tokyo, I turned the wrong way out of Ginza subway station on the way back to my hotel this evening, and quickly lost my bearings. But I gained an insight into prevalent values among a segment of the Japanese population.
It was a bit of a “Lost in Translation” moment. There was I, standing on a corner puzzling over a map, trying to figure out which road I was on and which direction I should take, before deciding to ask two smartly dressed young women who were waiting for the lights to change to cross the road.
Their English was poor. My Japanese is virtually non-existent. But I managed to explain my predicament, and they pored over the map with me for a while. They couldn’t agree, though, where exactly we were nor which way I should go. None of the street names appeared to be familiar to them.
So I pulled out another map – a shopping guide to Ginza that the concierge at my hotel had given me. Suddenly their faces lit up with recognition. They knew exactly where we were in relation to the Gucci store, which was marked. All I had to do, they said, was go back past Armani, turn right, and then left at Ferragamo.
Simple, really. Who needs street names anyway, when luxury is your lodestar?