August 2018


Our monthly online newsletter,"L'ESPACE".
L'ESPACE is a diverse French word that means place,area,cosmos,and gap.

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Exploring the underground passages of Tokyo!

Pauline and her coworker, Risa, are enjoying lunch at a cafe near their office.

Hey, Pauline. We have plans to go to the Kabukiza Theatre together this Sunday, right?
Risa
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it! Most of all because it will be my first time seeing Kabuki.
Pauline
As for our meeting time on the day, how about making it a little bit earlier? I'd also like to change the meeting place to Otemachi if that's okay.
Risa
Going early is fine, but why do you want to meet in Otemachi? Higashi-ginza Station is the closest one to Kabukiza Theatre, isn't it?
Pauline
Actually, there's something I just found out about recently. Apparently there's a path you can take connecting Otemachi to Higashi-ginza that's completely underground.
Risa
I had no idea! That's a really long underground passage.
Pauline
A straight line from Otemachi to Higashi-ginza is about 2 kilometers. There are a couple of different routes you can take in the underground passage, but the longest one is about 4 kilometers. Apparently it's the longest underground passage in Japan.
Risa
I see. And you want to walk it from end to end! Nice. That sounds so fun!
Pauline
I thought you'd say that! Alright, so we're doing that!
Risa

On Sunday, the two of them meet at the entrance to the Otemachi subway station and start walking along the underground passage.

It's incredibly hot again today! On days like this, using underground passages to get around is the best way to go.
Risa
This area is packed with office buildings. Lots of them are directly connected to the underground passage, so I'm sure that's convenient. It's quiet today since it's Sunday, but I wonder how crowded it gets down here on weekdays.
Pauline
It's probably especially packed during rush hour.
Risa
Oh, there's a passage to Tokyo Station branching off to the left.
Pauline
Yeah. But today we're going to keep going straight ahead, walking underneath Hibiya Dori and passing by the Imperial Palace. Nijubashimae Station is ahead, and I can see Hibiya Station further ahead as well.
Risa
Otemachi, Nijubashimae, Hibiya. That's two stops on the subway, but it seems a lot closer than I expected. You can take this underground passage to Tokyo Midtown Hibiya if you keep going this way.
Pauline
That's right. But this time, we're turning left and heading for Yurakucho and Ginza.
Risa
There are a lot more people now. This is a lively area that gets a lot of tourists and other visitors.
Pauline
Yeah, that's true, but still... This goes beyond just being a high-traffic area. The underground passage is suddenly crowded, don't you think?
Risa
Look! People are running down from the street! Everyone's soaking wet!
Pauline
It must be a sudden thunderstorm! It's a good thing we decided to walk underground.
Risa
Seriously! The underground passage is really convenient at times like this, too.
Pauline
As we were chatting, we've gotten closer to Higashi-ginza now. We're almost at the end of the underground passage.
Risa
That was so fun! It felt like we were exploring. Yeah. How about exploring the underground passage in Shinjuku next time?
Pauline
Sounds great! The Shinjuku passageway goes from Tochomae Station in the west to Shinjuku-sanchome Station in the east, and there are so many entrances and exits that it's like a maze.
Risa
Actually, in my hometown, Toronto, there's a big underground area downtown. There's about 30 kilometers of underground passages expanding out like a spiderweb.
Pauline
Whoa!
Risa
It's in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest underground area. I'll show you around if we have the chance to go to Toronto together sometime.
Pauline
I'll definitely take you up on that!
Risa

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