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Shibuya Center-gai

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Loose socks and school girls. You know you are in Center-gai now.
Loose socks and school girls. You know you are in Center-gai now.

Center-gai in Shibuya is a popular place for many to walk through, with no cars passing, as they pass through to shop at Tokyu Hands, HMV, Seibu Loft, Parco and the many other stores around.

The Center-gai has its own Shoppers Association. Music is played down the street like a local shouten-gai (商店著). Passing by in Center-gai you will young school kids, teenage girls to the more mature aged groups as well. The face of Center-gai is constantly changing. Recently, convenience stores (Family Mart) have appeared and some jewelery brand stores as well. The general feel is still young though.

Entry to Shibuya Center-gai. A few decorations up for Christmas
Entry to Shibuya Center-gai. A few decorations up for Christmas
Plenty of fashions to be seen.
Plenty of fashions to be seen.
A jewelery store in the middle of Center-gai
A jewelery store in the middle of Center-gai
Fire Inspectors checking some of the Center-gai buildings
Fire Inspectors checking some of the Center-gai buildings
Finding some bargains in Center-gai. A good place for some fashion pickups.
Finding some bargains in Center-gai. A good place for some fashion pickups.
A friendly storekeeper gives some advise on clothing
A friendly storekeeper gives some advise on clothing
Looking through a passageway of two buildings to this strategically placed billboard
Looking through a passageway of two buildings to this strategically placed billboard
Some promotion for B'z Magic album on the streets of Center-gai
Some promotion for B'z Magic album on the streets of Center-gai
Cafe Danmark has been around for a long time in this spot. I used to buy my bread here.
Cafe Danmark has been around for a long time in this spot. I used to buy my bread here.
A closer look at the Willcom campaign for mobile phones. Your choice of 512 color combinations
A closer look at the Willcom campaign for mobile phones. Your choice of 512 color combinations
Looking back at the Station area and the Scramble Crossing. Plenty of people taking pictures.
Looking back at the Station area and the Scramble Crossing. Plenty of people taking pictures.
One of the real estate companies in Center-gai
One of the real estate companies in Center-gai
Just inside Center-gai in front of Sakuraya
Just inside Center-gai in front of Sakuraya
Crossing from the station and heading to Center-gai.
Crossing from the station and heading to Center-gai.
Heading past Tsutaya into the Center-gai
Heading past Tsutaya into the Center-gai
Savoring some of Shibuya's finest ice-cream
Savoring some of Shibuya's finest ice-cream
Me in the middle of Center-gai
Me in the middle of Center-gai
Everyone has time for a few photos when waiting at the Scramble Crossing in front of Center-gai
Everyone has time for a few photos when waiting at the Scramble Crossing in front of Center-gai
One of the many places to get a quick bite.
One of the many places to get a quick bite.

If you have been to Japan, you probably spent a bit of time in Tokyo. If you have been to Tokyo, you probably got the chance to visit Shibuya, and if you visited Shibuya, no doubt you would have strolled down Shibuya Center-gai. What is your favorite memory of Center-gai? For those who have visited, keep watching the photos and start planning your trip.

  1. Jacqui W says

    Ah, Center-Gai! I love that place, despite how it seems a little bit of Kabukicho’s skeeviness is starting to creep in. I used to love sitting up in Cafe Danmark and people-watching over a cup of coffee and some of the delicious bread they’ve got there.

    1. shibuya246 says

      a very good place to be looking down from. I used to sit in the McDonalds and down an Ice-Tea while looking at people passing by πŸ™‚

  2. NekoLover says

    WOah , Is that The K-ON! girls ^_^ .

    Some wacky fashion in Centre -gai , It seems The gals aren’t afraid of the cold weather .

    1. shibuya246 says

      They don’t even look cold do they. I was wearing a down jacket and scarf, and definitely not loose socks πŸ˜‰

  3. Protocol Snow says

    Lovely photos, keep them coming!

    1. shibuya246 says

      You got it. More photos coming up πŸ™‚

  4. whipcracker says

    RT @Shibuya246: Shibuya Center-gai, Japan Single Photo | Shibuya246 http://bt.io/BEAm This is always a great read. Keep it coming. πŸ™‚ Shibuya will definately be the the 1st. place I will visit if I ever make it over. Would love to do a meet up and photo walk w/ya. Love the enterance to Center-gai they got set up. I noticed in the first pic the background was a little on the blurry side. But all the different fashions and trends that come from Japan, is what makes everything enjoyable. those 2 girls w the “Big Hair” now that’s what you call puffy hair. I also noticed in another photo that someone else is a fan of our buddy Rilakkuma. Guess I will always be able to pick him out in a crowd, no matter what. I could be there for days on end and not get tired of all the things you got going on. Looks like you’ll have to do a conbini monday from center-gai seeing they are moving in to that area.
    In closing,
    have a great rest of the weekend. πŸ™‚

  5. Neksus says

    I like this. Great!
    Could you please not refrain from snapping moe girls?
    This is an appetizer, yes?

    Joke aside, really good pic, your has a strnge feel, 3d like, whom ever took it did a great job (or is it just a tripod?).
    Colors are good as always. In the pic just above the jewelry, the old guy looks at the girls in a “are you lonesome” way… creepy.

    I wish there could be more pics liek this, as usually you achieve in getting “alive” ones.
    Maybe the 20+ years there…

    1. Neksus says

      Forgot to mention the two “glam cougars”… if it’s not dead in Japan, there’s still a chance for Motley Crue lol

    2. shibuya246 says

      Thanks. If the moe girls get too much for you on the screen and its hard to watch, I invite you to come to Shibuya πŸ˜‰ It’s a tough place to walk around. LOL πŸ™‚

      My golfing buddy took the shot of me in it. It does look a little 3D doesn’t it? I don’t normally use a tripod as it is a pain to carry around. I would like to go into the countryside and take pictures of trains. Then I will take the tripod.

      I have more pictures. My favorite area is Shibuya and I just worry that you guys might get bored of the same subject matter all the time. πŸ™‚

  6. lithiumangel says

    yay center gai ! / Shibuya is a great spot to hang out at night, including it’s center gai.
    My best Center gai memory ? hmm. Entering Shibuya Kaikan (a game center/arcade in center gai) where they have very old games for 50yen a play (unlike other arcades with the same old games like Taito hey! but for 100yen) and then getting a crowd of Japanese around me cheering me to finish that game on a single coin ! It was great fun.

    My least fun center gai memory; being harassed by Nigerians to come to buy clothes at their shops.
    Actually, they are concentrated on that very same spot you are in that self-portrait of yours at night !

    OK. Now for some photo comments as per usual a bit critical πŸ™‚
    1. For most part great framing on these pictures; I like them alot. Like the two girls crossing, the girls taking pictures on the crossing with nice bokeh, and a personal favorite; taking pictures of people interacting with other people unaware of you ! This gives it a more dynamic feel; like the picture of the girl with her B/F talking to another girl ( you so did not shoot that with 50mm that’s borderline stalker haha) If you get good at taking those kinda pictures; you will be ace. Just like the one with the girls and loose socks.Tough I would’ve re-shot the center gai shot where the guy was infront of you all of a sudden and out-of-focus. He shouldnt be the main focus of the pic but due to him being out of focus; he is. Aside from that, nice framing shot.

    2. ISO3200 in daylight ? huh ! never *ever* use more ISO than you need to to avoid grain. You downsized the images to 900x something, so the full sized shot must have had some grain in there πŸ™‚
    Looking at the metadata on ISO 3200 you usually had a shutter of 1/2000 to even 1/5000 stopped down to around F/4
    I can imagine you wanted to have high-shutter speeds to “freeze” people. But 1/500 is enough to freeze even waterdrops so you could have lowered your ISO. You can adjust your auto-iso setting if you want to to only bump the iso up to achieve a minimum shutter of 1/500 ; check out the manual. That way if your in a “hurry” you will never “over ISO”

    3. Your Sigma isn’t as sharp as it should be. I personally had a Sigma 35 1.4 and its much sharper than this.
    Do a flickr search on D700 + Sigma 50 1.4 combination to compare results.
    I mentioned the bad quality-control issues of Sigma in another post. You can test this yourself by doing the following test: http://focustestchart.com/chart.html – If you do have a frontfocus/backfocus issue on your lens, you can do two things.
    1) Use the AF focus adjustment option on the D700 to adjust the issue. +20 seems to work for most ppl according to google.
    The AF system can be fine-tuned on the D700 for up to 12 lenses, it autodetects the lens so once set. No need to re-configure.
    Look it up in the manual.
    2) Bring it back to Sigma for re-calibration; this takes 45 minutes. Bring your D700 with you so they will fine-tune it for your body.
    Should maximise it’s capabilities and you should be entitled to it if it turns out to have those issues after you do the test.

    Sorry that it AGAIN turned out into a long story LOL.
    Aside from all that, keep up the good work ! Love seeing the Shibuya shots. It’s such a fascinating corner of the world !

    1. shibuya246 says

      wow, again, great comments. From now on, I will take the pictures here in Shibuya and you can provide the commentary ;). Thank you. I am actually trying to program the blog so you can comment on individual photos as well and form a bit of a story, rather than just comment at the end of the blog post.

      Looking at today’s photos, many were taken with the Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 lens. I bought this when I was asked to take photos at the Soccer match in Yoyogi Stadium. This was the cheapest, good, lens I could buy that would have the distance to reach the players without me putting on a shirt and entering the pitch :).

      I have always found the focus quick and accurate on this 70-300mm lens and got a pleasing amount of bokeh without going overboard.

      With regard to settings, I really am a basic beginner. but love to see still moments of life on the street, so enjoy taking the photos. I would like to learn as much as I can to show everyone better shots of Shibuya as well. The first time I took the camera off automatic was to adjust the weight balance when shooting into the sun for Gundam shots. The second time was when I bought the Sigma lens and the store assistant told me to manually switch to f1.4 to test the lens. Then I read your comment and realized I had left it on f1.4 when I didn’t actually need it.

      I hadn’t realized I was shooting at 3200 ISO to be honest. I was still taking in the comments you made about aperture ;). I will check the camera setting for auto-iso. I think I read about that the other day.

      It’s great to have your comments like the other day and today. It helps me to understand and learn about the camera, lenses and taking photos. There is lots to remember, but it is worth it.

      I will check the sites you mentioned and recalibrate camera and my mind for another photo shoot in Shibuya shortly. I hope we can see some improvements over time as I get a bit more knowledgeable. As long as people want to keep seeing Shibuya Streets then I’ll keep at it.

      Thanks so much. Your comments are really helpful and I am sure the other members of the site appreciate you assisting.

  7. Neksus says

    If that’s not constructive comment…
    You got what I meant at your first (1.), freezing people is really funny and requires far more eyesigh of situation then framing relatives’ kids.

    1. shibuya246 says

      πŸ™‚ More fun for sure.

  8. salvidali says

    nice photo of you in your kingdom πŸ˜€

  9. Sara Mari says

    Oh, out of 3 trips to Japan, I’ve only made it to Center Gai one time. Basically all I did was walk quickly through it, and grabbed a bite at Lotteria. I am going to try my best to explore Center Gai more on my next trip coming up this winter^^ Your photos are so lovely, it really makes me want to get to Shibuya sooner haha. I especially liked those two ladies with the big hair, I wonder how much time they spend on it.

    Are there still girls wearing loose socks, or were those girls just dressing up?

    1. shibuya246 says

      loose socks are back in fashion, but now seem to be called “very loose socks”. the same concept but more loose πŸ˜‰

  10. Exiv96 says

    My memories of Center Gai ?

    – The noise. So much noise.

    – Walking into Sakuraya thinking it was a branch of Bic Camera ! I only noticed the difference when I saw the logo on the price stickers. I really can’t decypher hiragana !

    1. shibuya246 says

      I remember handing my BIC Camera point card to the Yodobashi guys and getting a very strange look ^_^

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