Apple iPhone 4s Launch Tokyo – Ginza

9AM outside the Ginza Apple Store doors - from this angle, all looks almost normal

I had to go to Tokyo station earlier this morning and, because I live nearby, I thought I’d stroll back through Ginza on my way home and see what was happening outside the Apple store at the iPhone 4S launch.

I approached from the back of the line, which started way back – a few blocks from the store:

a tired-looking Apple Store staff-member resting on boxes of water

the line from the front end - looking down towards Ginza 1-chōme

After taking the shot above, I continued walking and literally a few doors down I passed the window of a small book store which really explains quite a bit about the level of Apple obsession in Japan:

magazines in the window a few doors down from the Apple Store in Ginza

Just before 9AM, the line stretched a few blocks, basically from Ginza 1-chōme station to the Apple store. The time says 9:20 because I mapped it out after I’d left the area, and I basically decided to map it out because I’m endlessly intrigued by the fact that people will actually line up overnight for consumer goods in 2011.

approximate length of the line as I strolled by

Obviously, as you can see from the map image, I’m an iPhone user, but NOTHING would motivate me to line up for an electronic device. In fact, it reminds me of the pictures from Russia that fascinated me as a kid: people lining up for scarce goods at GUM, except, as noted, people in the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras were lining up for things that were scarce. Today, in wealthy so-called developed nations, we have people lining up for items that are essentially commoditized. It’s truly bizarre.

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  • great post. Exactly as you say, people lining up for commodity items.. bizarre.