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Ginza's Apple Store and the Buttonless Elevator

Illustration for article titled Ginzas Apple Store and the Buttonless Elevator

The Apple store in Ginza, an upscale shopping neighborhood in Tokyo, is the first Apple store to have opened outside of the US. While most Apple stores are pretty similar, with their long, blonde-wood tables filled with toys for people to play around with, some of the flagship stores have little things that make them unique, like the cube on 5th avenue in NYC. The Ginza store's no different: it has a set of glass elevators with no buttons.

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Illustration for article titled Ginzas Apple Store and the Buttonless Elevator
Illustration for article titled Ginzas Apple Store and the Buttonless Elevator
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Illustration for article titled Ginzas Apple Store and the Buttonless Elevator
Illustration for article titled Ginzas Apple Store and the Buttonless Elevator

Nope, there's no button to call the elevator, and once you get in, there's no way to tell it where you want to go. You get no control in this elevator; you're just along for the ride. Both elevators simply go up and down the four-story store, stopping at every floor. Want to go check your email on the top floor? You'll be taking a peek at a guy giving an iPhoto presentation in Japanese on floor 3 on the way. It's not exactly the most convenient thing in the world, but it forces you to scope out every aspect of the store as you make your way up. And really, you're just there to mooch their internet, so who are you to complain?

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DISCUSSION

Yeah, the lack of buttons isn't an issue. I frequented this store often while I was living near Tokyo. With 4 floors and 2 elevators running (alternating with one always going up and one going down) you never had to wait more than 15 to 30 seconds to catch one (I never actually timed it, though). After my first visit, I always got a kick out of watching other people on their first visit try to figure out the elevator. They also had a slick video based 3d diagram of each floor in a little mini-kiosk next to the elevators. After that being my 'default' Apple store for awhile, I always feel let-down when I visit the ones here in the states. :(