August 23, 2002
Shinjuku Station basically separates the area into two regions with various characteristics. The western end is like La Defense in Paris, with legions of gray skyscrapers and sterile urban plazas. The buildings have a certain formality to them, containers for offices, shops, hotels, and museums. The gigantic Tokyo City Hall complex by architect Kenzo Tange visually anchors this area. The Shinjuku Sumitomo building has a free observation deck, and the Shinjuku NS Building has a large pendulum in its lobby.
The area immediately surrounding and east of the station seems to be the opposite of genteel, traditional Tokyo. There is a lot of flash and dash here, with neon billboards spouting scintillating colors, electronic jumbotrons showing a stream of loud videos, commercials and sports highlights. Enormous department stores like My City and Studio Alta vie for attention with fast-food outlets, clubs and bars with hefty cover charges. The Kabuki-cho area is the somewhat sketchy red light district, where there are tackily decorated "love hotels" displaying their rates by the hour. If you can keep your eyes focused after all these sensory experiences, you will enjoy some very interesting people watching in Shinjuku.
From journal Bill in Japan - modern TOKYO