Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hanakoganei is Growing

I'm continually thinking about what should be done to make this area more convenient and livable for taxpayers (i.e. me!), and therefore an intense fascination and expectation starts cooking inside me every time a lot is cleared and the foundations of a new building are being built.

Naturally, I was quite concerned about the financial potential of the eki-mae (near/in front of the train station) neighborhood when the convenience store in my building closed. In retrospect, however, I think that their failure to put alcohol on the shelves might have been their undoing. And I don't know, maybe Daiwa House, the proprietor of the building, told them they couldn't sell chu-hi because the tenants upstairs would have to deal with drinkers, young and old, on all-night benders in the deck chairs below (yes, they had patio furniture out in front of this convenience store). Basically, the closure of that shop can probably be chalked up to a bad business decision (no alcohol equals no business).

Even though the shop is still empty, it now looks like there was nothing to worry about. Old businesses are being recycled all over the place. Even though one of Matsumoto Kiyoshi's (a massive chain of drug stores) branches closed at the end of last year (which also worried me), it turns out that they were just moving 150 meters up the street. They now have four times the floor space and a much better location.

The old building, which was a bit of a ghost hall for a while, now has a Docomo (cell phone provider) outlet on the first floor and an izakaya on the second floor. Not that either of those businesses are particularly convenient for me (I have an au phone, and we already have several izakaya near the station), but it's an obvious signal that there's enough potential business in the area for these companies to come in here.

I'm not saying that Hanakoganei is becoming the Kunitachi of the Seibu-Shinjuku line (although that would be nice), but it's getting nicer and nicer. My word of advice to the city planners at this point, if they're reading this (ha!), is not to forget about nature. We know there's a giant park on the south side of the station, but there are only about five or six trees in the entire eki-mae rotary on the north side.

Please dig up a few of those sidewalk bricks and plant some saplings.

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