Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Shimbashi SL Square, Meeting Spot for Oyaji

Steam locomotive C11292 preserved in front of Shimbashi Station

Do you have famous meeting spots in your country? Probably Times Square is the most well-known place in New York City in the US. Meanwhile, Piccadilly Circus must be famous among Londoners in the UK.

Meeting spots can also be found in Tokyo. For instance, the site of Hachiko's Statue in front of Shibuya Station is very popular among Tokyoites. Hachiko was a dog who went back and forth to Shibuya Station for 11 years to look for his master, who died in 1925. Many young people meet there, before enjoying shopping, going out for dinner, watching a movie and so on.

Meanwhile, SL Square next to Shimbashi Station is famous for "oyaji (middle-aged men)". On weekday evenings, a bunch of oyaji people meet there after office hours. The symbol of SL Square is a steam locomotive, ex-JNR (Japanese National Railways) C11292 (see the top photo).

Type C11 was launched in 1932 and operated a total of 381 units on the JNR lines. Number C11292 was manufactured in 1945, and had been used for freight transportation on the Sanyo Main Line. After retirement from the JNR, it was moved to Shimbashi and has been preserved there since 1972.

In the meantime, Shimbashi is famous as a restaurant and entertainment area, especially for oyaji people. Every night, many middle-aged company employees enjoy drinking, chatting and singing Karaoke for relieving stress from work.

SL Square is a gateway to the oasis for the stressful oyaji generation in Tokyo.

EMU JR East 233-1000 series rapid train passes through Shimbashi Station