Step Aside Hachiko--Tokyo's Other Iconic Meeting Place


Do you ever think back and wonder how people managed to survive without smart phones?  Some of you odigoers out there may not have had to navigate this world without one, but for some of us more *ahem* weathered individuals, we still remember quite clearly what it was like to do things without the safety net of instant communication and information.
 
 Life was different under those circumstances, and one of the big differences was the importance of meeting places.  Now, you can just call or text someone when you are in the general vicinity of a place where you are meant to link up, and that can change last minute. Before smart phones, you had to pick a meeting place and stick to it.  In Tokyo, there were a few spots that served as the consummate meeting place.  Of course, most people know about the Hachiko statue in Shibuya, but once upon a time, it was rivaled by a little bakery called...

ALMOND


Originally opened in 1964 prior to the Tokyo Olympics, Almond's pink and white awning stood out from the rest of the urban environment around it.  Because it stood out and was so easily recognizable, it became a logical meeting point for folks gathering in the downtown area.  I even remember folks who were coming from out of town would first link up at Almond and then spread out across the city after that.  Here's what it looked like for most of its existence:
via https://www.flickr.com/photos/wasted-down/1066603722/sizes/o/


Of course, Almond is more than just a meeting area--it is a cute cafe that offers tasty cakes and pastries.  The selection is pretty standard for most Japanese cafes, but the one thing you get at Almond you don't at most cafes is the vantage point from which to people watch.  Truly, Almond is probably the best place to enjoy a coffee and cake while watching the world go by.

Photo courtesy of happy153.com

Almond is located on the corner of Roppongi crossing (it's pretty impossible to miss!).  It is open 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and from 10:00 AM to 3:00 AM on Friday and Saturday (it is Roppongi, after all).

via https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenjiuchiyama/31051523744/sizes/l/

Unfortunately, the iconic pink and white awning went away in 2009 because the building that housed Almond was being torn down.  The cafe opened just two buildings over on the same corner, however, so you can still visit it and see the modern take on the traditional pink and white.  Who knows, maybe you can go meet your pals there--just like folks did back in the good ol' days!

(cover photo courtesy of Blog Nekoarena)

Mike B