Tag Archives: 交番

Police Box

4 Sep

Are there “police boxes” in your country?

I have never seen a police box in America.  I don’t think that there are any there.
But, thanks to the internet, I’ve learned that the UK has them.

A police box in England. Quite different from Japan's 交番 (police boxes)!

A police box in England. Quite different from Japan’s 交番 (police boxes)!

The police boxes in England, according to what I read, are very small and simple. Just a phone that people can use to contact a “real” police station, and a small desk and a first-aid kit.
They aren’t manned by a police officer…just a way for people to contact the police before cell-phones became an item carried by everyone.

These are very different from the 交番 (police boxes (called “Ko-ban” in Japanese)) in Japan!

That particular police box in eastern Tokyo has actually become semi-famous because of a popular manga / anime.

That particular police box in eastern Tokyo has actually become semi-famous because of a popular manga / anime.

In Japan, 交番 (police boxes) are an important and helpful part of every neighborhood in Japan.  They can be seen all around Japan…especially near train stations and many major intersections.  But there are also 交番 (police boxes) at many seemingly random places too.

Unlike the ones in Europe, Japanese 交番 (police boxes) are always staffed by at least one police officer (busy areas have bigger police boxes with more officers) at all times of day and night.
The officers stationed at them make periodic patrols around the neighborhood…so small 交番 (police boxes) that only have one officer will be unmanned during those brief periods – but there will be a sign in the window that says 「パトロール中です。」 (“On patrol“).

交番 (police boxes) in Japan are probably most commonly used by the public for asking for directions. This is no problem. If you’re lost while in Japan, you can go into a 交番 (police box) and ask for directions. The officers stationed there are very knowledgeable about the neighborhood and it’s part of their duties to help people find their way.
Other helpful services provided by 交番 (police boxes) include: “Lost and Found” … if you find some misplaced property (train pass, keys, wallet, cell-phone, etc) or if you’ve lost something, go to a 交番 (police boxes) for help.
Also, of course, they are police officers, so crimes or other emergencies can be reported there.

There are some koban in Japan that are designed to resemble an owl.

Ikebukuro, Tokyo has a 'koban' that looks like an owl because of a play-on-words in Japanese.

Ikebukuro, Tokyo has a ‘koban’ that looks like an owl because of a play-on-words in Japanese (Ikebukuro doesn’t mean “owl”, but the name sounds like some type of an owl in Japanese).

A koban near Chiba train station looks like an owl, too. It's eye light up at night.

A koban near Chiba train station looks like an owl, too. It’s eye light up at night.

A koban in Shibuya, Tokyo looks like an owl, too.

A koban in Shibuya, Tokyo looks like an owl, too.

Please, by all means, leave a comment in this post and tell about your impressions / experiences with police boxes in Japan and/or other countries!

歌舞伎座さようなら公演

21 Apr

About eighteen months ago I wrote a post about the planned renovation of the historic 歌舞伎座 (Kabuki Theatre) in the 銀座 (Ginza) area of Tokyo.

(Click here to read that post.)

Well, as I mentioned in that post in 2008, the Kabuki Theatre is scheduled to be torn down on 2010 April 30 and rebuilt in a more “modern” design. (I think that’s too bad. “Kabuki” is a old traditional Japanese art…so the theater should be a traditional Japanese design—like it currently is).

It’s already April 2010. The theater will be torn down in less than two weeks! Time goes by fast.

So, I had an errand in the Ginza area yesterday so I brought my camera to take some photos of the 歌舞伎座 (Kabuki Theatre) before it’s demolished.

Posters outside the theater advertising shows now playing.

The theater's front entrance

This sign in front of the theater says:"Kabuki Theater 'Sayonara' Performance".Eleven days left"2010 April 20, 11:55:52 (the date/time I took this photo)

The famous 歌舞伎座 (Kabuki Theater) in Ginza, Tokyo...set to be demolished for renovation on 2010 April 30.

While I was in the Ginza area I decided to take photos of the Seibu Department Store since that iconic store will be closing it’s branch in Ginza later this year due to high overhead costs mainly stemming from the expensive rent for property in the exclusive Ginza area.

(I wrote about this story on an earlier post. Click here to read it.)

Unlike the Kabuki Theatre, the building that the Seibu Store is in won’t be demolished.
The Seibu Department Store is simply leaving the Ginza area after occupying that property for over 26 years.

The "Seibu" name won't be on this building after this December.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, the rent that the Seibu Department Store pays in the highest in the world.
But near that building is a 交番 (police box) that is located on the most expensive property in the world per square meter.

This 交番 (police box) in Ginza has the world's highest rent per square meter.

Here are a few more photos I took in the area:

This is "Peko-chan". Mascot for "Fujiya Confectionaries".

"Peko-chan" candies

A "Hato Tours" bus with "Hello Kitty" design.