I've found a location and I hope to open in February :-)
The result of a quick Google search for the phrase “Anxiety Definition” really hits the nail on the head in terms of my initial feelings towards the location search for 巨人のシチューハウス. The Result => “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”
When I first started to put my business plan together, in the back of my mind the shop location was the stand out thing I was dreading most. Let’s face it, no matter how much due diligence I do in planning or effort I put into the day to day running of the business , if the location isn't right, the business could be doomed from the outset. My meager budget, the large initial investment required and the arduous rental process in Japan really compounded these feelings. I might actually do another blog in the near future describing my experience of the rental process in more detail. If that’s of interest to anybody please let me know, if not...maybe it’s best to just forget it all ever happened and rejoice in the location I've been very fortunate to secure, which is…..drum roll please.....Togoshi Ginza! Hip, Hip, Hurray!
Before going any further I'd like to say a special thank you to my wife Ai and also our agent Chieko Matsuzawa at Plaza Homes. Without you both I’m very certain I wouldn't have been able to get this location. Gu raibh mile maith agaibh.
Introduction to Togoshi Ginza 「戸越銀座について」
The station name 'Togoshi Ginza' has a very interesting yet tragic history. At 11:58am, on September 1st, 1923 there was a large 7.9 magnitude earthquake directly under Izu Ōshima Island which sits about 100km South of Tokyo. In Japan at this time many buildings were made of wood. So when the 4 minute earthquake struck around lunchtime, as people were cooking, fires quickly began to brake out devastating the Kanto region that includes Tokyo, Yokohama and several other surrounding Cities. It is estimated that over 140,000 people lost their lives as a result. The force of the earthquake was so powerful that it moved the Great Buddha Statue in Kamakura, which weighs about 84,000 kg, by almost two feet. The popular shopping district called 'Ginza', which had several buildings made of brick, was flattened also. However a lot of the remaining undamaged bricks were taken elsewhere to construct new buildings. Many of these bricks were used in the reconstruction of the area that is now known as Togoshi Ginza. According to my online research, that's why the word 'Ginza' was included to this district's name.
「戸越」という地名は、江戸を越えた土地という意味の「江戸越え」に由来すると言われています。当時、この地に住む人々は「とごえ」 と呼んでいたそうです。その後、大正１２年の関東大震災で被害を受け た銀座（東京都中央区）から、当時ガス灯用のガス発生炉用耐 火レンガとして使用されていた白レンガを戸越の人々が譲り受 け、当時水はけの悪かった戸越の大通り等に再利用しました。現在日本には数多くの銀座と名のつく地名がありますが、こうした経緯によって日本で１番はじめに銀座という名前を譲り受け、「戸越銀座」という地名が誕生しました
Longest Shotengai in Japan? 「日本の一番長い商店街かな？」
Togoshi Ginza’s Shotengai (Market Street) is 1.3km long, making it possibly the largest market street in Japan. Since confirming the location I’ve spent many days strolling along this busy street familiarizing myself with the area. To my delight I quickly realized that a visit to巨人のシチューハウスwill also offer my future customers a chance to experience this charming community and the many wonderful little shops that lie along this busy street.
To give you an idea, I’ve taken a few photos of some shops and stalls that I found particularly interesting. 戸越銀座商店街にはいろいろな面白いお店があります。巨人のシチューハウスに来るついでにぜひ散策してみてください。これらは私の興味ある店です。
Rusty & Ginger 「ラスティとジンジャー」
After our very first viewing with the estate agent, my wife (Ai) and I took our first stroll through the market street. It didn't take long for us to realize that the Shotengai is a real pet friendly place with several shops scattered along each side of the street. When we reached the shop below we decided to take a quick look inside...after all, who can really resist playing with puppies. 戸越銀座商店街はペットフレンドリーな商店街です。たくさんのペットショップがありますが、私たちはその中のa.gareというショップに立ち寄ってみました。
As soon as we walked inside we noticed a sign saying "Yorkshire Terrier & Poodle for free" because they had hurt or injured themselves previously. As we watched them jump about playing with each other they seemed to instantly wriggle their way right into our hearts and our family. When Ai and I first started dating, we often joked that in the future we'd get 2 dogs and name them Rusty & Ginger. Now we can finally put faces to those names :-)
Model Airplanes! 「プラモデル」
I Would have gone crazy had I seen this shop as a kid. Perhaps this is were Santa Clause got the models he delivered to me all those years ago.
The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate was a single-seat fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in World War II. The Allied reporting name was "Frank". Would you believe as a kid it was my dream to become an aircraft fighter pilot. Unfortunately, that dream was dashed when I grew too tall to fit in the cockpit. True Story...ha.
Some light Snacks? 「美味しい食べ歩き」
As you make your way to 巨人のシチューハウス I've no doubt you'll get a little distracted, browsing around the many shops. If you get a little peckish as you go then I can recommend 2 nice stalls to grab a quick bite to eat.
Directly opposite the pet shop were we got Rusty & Ginger is a small Yaki Shoronpo (Fried Dumplings) stall. These are amazing and great to eat on the go. BE WARNED though, that first bite will unleash a volcano of juices that have a habit of getting everywhere.
If Chinese dumplings aren't your thing then perhaps you might be tempted by some lovely Yaki Tori (Grilled Chicken) Skewers on the move. Ai likes the chicken liver, I'm more of a traditional BBQ Chicken & Onions man myself.
A Few Other Places I thought I'd Mention「他のグッツ」
Minion socks stall, I'm covered now Monday to Friday.
Anyone interested in Photography?
A recycle shop for any thrifty shoppers.
Access & 巨人のシチューハウスLocation 「巨人のシチューハウスへのアクセス」
You'll be able to access 巨人のシチューハウス from 5 different stations as per the map below. However, the most convenient options are Togoshi or Togoshi Ginza Stations, although if you don't mind a little walk you can approach directly off the Yamanote line from Osaki station.
So here we are, outside our new premises which is directly beside a Togoshi Ginza Shotengai Gate.
Interestingly, this location was a restaurant for several years run by Takegami san who agreed to have his picture taken with me below. I will take over in January targeting a February opening as I mentioned earlier and Takegami san has kindly shared his valuable insight in relation to the local area, restaurant operation and many other helpful tips. Thank you very much Takegami san and I wish you the very best of luck for the future.
When I take over in January I hope to begin the renovation and decoration and I'll gladly keep you all updated on my progress with a "Before & After" blog. However, in the meantime if you'd like to take a trip to Togoshi Ginza just to have a look at this really cool community please feel free to stop by and say hello.