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blog-L - (2012b)


"December Illumination: Marunouchi, Ebisu, Shinjuku, Etc.; Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Shibuya, Etc."

The main theme of this batch of clips is "end-of-the-year" and "colorfully-illuminated-areas".  Through promotion, the Marunouchi area gets a lot of attention, but (this year included) it's never been my favorite.  Also well-known is Ebisu Garden Place, and I enjoyed it a lot this year, although I don't personally think the central illuminated chandelier is very interesting, but it provides a kind of focal point and reason to walk by the more interesting areas.  A surprise for me this year was just accidentally stumbling upon a rather nice display in the alley-like path that leads by shops and restaurants between the south and west exits of Shinjuku Station.  Mid-way through the complex was a sign that said "Shinjuku Terrace City - Illumination '12 - '13", so I guess that walkway is called "Shinjuku Terrace City".  I've been walking on it from time-to-time for 28 years now, but I never knew the name!  Let me verify the name... [Google...] According to Wikipedia: "Shinjuku Southern Terrace is the southern portion of Shinjuku Terrace City, a continuous piece of real estate property owned by Odakyu Group in and around Shinjuku Station."  Continuous?  I guess... except there's a four lane main road that runs between one part and the other!  That doesn't seem very "continuous" to me....

Another pleasant discovery this month was Tokyu Plaza Omotesando-Harajuku, which has a very nice roof that is kind of a park in the sky, with trees and a nice atmosphere.

And of course there are various views of trains, and views of the station areas near Otsuka, Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Shibuya, Ebisu, Tokyo, and Yurakucho.  With that initial introduction out of the way, here are the videos (with additional comments for some of them).

Shinjuku - South Exit to Odakyu Illumination Area 新宿光 (121227g)

I had a meeting on the west side of Shinjuku Station, so since I exited the station via the south exit, I walked through this passageway simply to get to the west side, and was very pleasantly surprised to come upon one of the best illuminations I've seen this year.  This is the type of thing that keeps Tokyo interesting.  You can never quite learn the whole city.  You get used to an area, and know it pretty well, and then you don't go there for a few months or a few years, and when you return - generally things have changed.  Of course, in this case, it's not exactly a change really, just a seasonal thing, but I had no idea they would use the area for that kind of illumination.

This video begins near the south exit of Shinjuku Station and then I walk through the narrow passage that has various small shops and whatnot towards the other end of the passage (which opens onto the west side station-front plaza).  (I think the first part is basically a kind of tunnel through a building and then the rest is a narrow passageway between buildings, with shops along one side.)  I had never noticed the name of this area before, but apparently it's Shinjuku Terrace City, and the "Shinjuku Southern Terrace" (which is located in Shibuya-ku actually!) is considered an extension of it - although the two parts are separated by a main road.  (The passageway part is along buildings owned by Odakyu and the Southern Terrace part is a large platform built over Odakyu Railway tracks.)

Shinjuku Twilight - Raining LED Illumination 新宿LEDライトアップ (121227)

Illuminated 1914 Tokyo Station Building and 360 View 東京駅冬光 (121227g)

The "illuminated" part of the title above refers to standard illumination of the building, by the way, not the recent light show that was canceled after only a few performances due to its being overly popular!  For that, you might want to check out this video (from another YouTube poster, not from me BTW), which was recorded before things got crazy and the event was canceled:

Tokyo Michiterasu (東京 ミチテラス) 2012 HIKARI VISION (high contrast version)

After looking at the standard illumination of the 1914 Tokyo Station building, I went over to the Shin-Marunouchi Building and the Marunouchi Building to sample the bonenkai atmosphere and then had a look at the Marunouchi illumination exhibition.

Marunouchi - Tokyo Station at Night, Etc 丸の内夜の東京駅など (121227g)

Marunouchi Night View (Tokyo) 丸の内夜風景 (Marunouchi Terrace) 121227g

Bonenkai can be translated in different ways - a fairly direct translation is "forget-the-year party", but I think I prefer "end-of-year party", although it's not exactly a party, but more "going out for drinks at an izakaya", so... why not just use "bonen-kai" (party)!  Anyway...

Bonenkai Mode - Marunouchi 忘年会モード丸の内 (121227g)

I was initially unhappy to hear that the original Marunouchi Building had been torn down, but I've since (some ten years after the new one opened!) warmed up to the replacement with the same name.  In the case of the Shin-Marunouchi Building (where the video above was taken), I rather liked the new building from the first time I went inside, and I (unfortunately) never had an opportunity to go inside the original Shin-Marunouchi Building, so - not knowing what disappeared - there's nothing in my memory about it other than the outside shape.  With the original Marunouchi Building though, I went inside and thought the building had a lot of character.

Anyway - the Shin-Marunouchi Building - with its collection of restaurants and izakaya places (in the lower retail section of the building) is a very nice modern version of the old small izakaya places that Japan does so well.  The Marunouchi Building has a more settled, majestic atmosphere, and I've finally accepted it as an inevitable part of what Tokyo is - a constantly evolving city.

That said, I think (and I hear the same opinion from many of my Tokyo friends) that a little more effort should go into preserving what remains of historical Tokyo.  To highlight this concept, I think just about everyone would agree that if the 1914 Tokyo Station building had been demolished, and if the old Central Post Office building had been completely demolished (the rear part of the building was demolished, but the front part of it was preserved and incorporated into a new office tower), and... (there's one more building that they preserved the facade of that I don't know the name of), then the area would be much less attractive.  The combination of old and new is important - giving a sense of time and history.  When *everything* is new, it's mundane due to lack of contrast.

Marunouchi Building Night Walkabout 丸の内ビル散歩 (121227g)

Marunouchi Building Night Stroll 丸の内ビル夜散歩 (121227)

Marunouchi Mode-2012 丸の内モード2012年 (121227)

Exiting Marunouchi Building-2012 丸の内ビルを出る2012年 (121227)

I've mentioned this before, but here's the link again for my 1991 visit to the old Marunouchi Building.  At the end of this 1991 video, I walk out of the original Marunouchi Building in the same place that I come out of the new version of the building in 2012, so it's a way of seeing how radically the area has changed.

Marunouchi Building - March 1991

Marunouchi Starlight Walk-2012 丸の内スターライトウォーク (121227)

After taking in the visually beautiful Marunouchi area, this was interesting, but seemed like... desert after the main course?  The main course being the 1914 Tokyo Station building, the facade of the Central Post Office, and the various new buildings in the area.

Kanda Lights and Reflections 内神田光と反射 (121227g)

I was sitting on a Chuo Line train, and when I turned and looked out the window, I saw this view.  I'm not sure how this looks to other people, but it seemed quite beautiful to me at the time.  The clear winter air makes the lights look so clear and... sparkling maybe (for want of a better term)?  I don't know what term to use to describe it, but you can have a look at the video and see what it looked like for yourself.

Shinjuku Station - Chuo Platform to South Exit 新宿駅南口 (121225)

Under-Construction Shinjuku Bus Terminal (South Exit) 新宿駅 121225

It depresses me that so much effort is going into promoting travel by internal combustion engine machinery.  I really wish the same effort were going into promoting rail travel!  It's gotten to the point where the first method people think of when wanting to travel to another city in Japan is by an all-night bus, which is currently the cheapest way to get to other cities.  I used one myself (to get to Nagoya to take pictures of the 2005 Aichi World Expo) for the same reason everyone does - it was cheaper than rail - but I really hated it.  You're stuck in a narrow seat (some more expensive buses have individual seats, but not the cheapest ones) and they curtain off the entire seating area, even the front, so you can't see forward!  It gives me a feeling of claustrophobia and after that one trip to Nagoya, I will try my hardest to never ride on one of those things again!  "Never say never" they say, and if you *have* to be somewhere and the *only* thing you can afford is a horrible curtained-off narrow seat on a bloody bus, then you do what you have to do, but I think it's a horrible mistake to promote fossil-fuel-burning internal combustion engined buses over trains.

Shinjuku Shin-Minamiguchi (Under Construction) 新宿新南口 (121225)

Exiting Shinjuku Station via Shin-Minamiguchi 新宿新南口 (121225na)

Bridge to Southern Terrace 新宿サザンテラス橋 (121225)

Shin-Minamiguchi to Narita Express Platform (Shinjuku) 新宿新南口 (121225)

Narita Express (NEX) to Shin-Minamiguchi and Southern Terrace (121225)

This is basically an update to a video I posted in November 2009 showing the route to Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku (ホテルサンルートプラザ新宿) from Shinjuku Station (assuming that you go to Shinjuku via the Narita Express train and exit via the Southern Terrace Exit).  The basic route hasn't changed, but there is now a new exit called Shin-Minamiguchi Exit (新南口) [New-South Exit].  Even if you take it though, it still leads you (after turning to the right after going through the ticket gates) to the Southern Terrace Entrance/Exit (サザンテラス口) which is shown in this video.  So either way, you come out in the same place.  (For reference, I'm also including the 2009 video below):

Shinjuku Station to Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku (ホテルサンルートプラザ新宿) - (2009)

Also for reference, here's the hotel's address and website (click on "English" at the site for English):

Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku
2-3-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053

Ikebukuro - From Central Exit (JR) to Seibu-Ikebukuro Line JR池袋駅中央改札から西武池袋線まで (121225)

Evening Stroll by Ikebukuro Station 池袋駅前夕方散歩 (121225)

Ikebukuro Station Walk-through 池袋駅12月内部 (121225)

Ikebukuro Station Connection Tunnel 池袋駅 (121225)

Ikebukuro is a large station, and has a couple of large east-west concourses - with north-south passages that connect the large concourses - this video shows one of the connecting passageways that I called "tunnel" for some reason....

Ikebukuro Station on Christmas Day (121225)

Shinjuku - Yamanote Platform to South Exit Concourse Area 新宿駅 (121225)

Shinjuku Yamanote Line Daytime Platform Walk 新宿山手線ホーム散歩 (121225)

Shinjuku Station - Borderline With Shibuya-ku 新宿駅 (121225)

Areas in central Tokyo generally go by the name of the nearest train station and so the area around Shinjuku Station is referred to as "Shinjuku", but once you cross over the main road by the South Exit, you're in Shibuya!  In fact, the new Shinjuku Station exits that connect to the Southern Terrace are in Shibuya.  In this view, I start off standing in Shibuya (with the Southern Terrace behind me), looking across the street towards the South Entrance to Shinjuku Station, which is just inside Shinjuku-ku.  When the light finally changes, I walk over into Shinjuku.

Harajuku Station - Inside View (Main Exit) 原宿駅内部表参道口 (121225)

Walking to Entrance of Takeshita-Dori 原宿の竹下通り入り口 (121225)

I had originally planned to walk down the full length of Takeshita-Dori, but after seeing how densely packed the street was (see below), I changed my mind and headed off in another direction.  Narrow shopping streets are more interesting with more people... up to a point, and beyond that, you can't do anything but shuffle along in the crowd.  You can't see what's in the stores, you can't see anything well enough to take pictures (other than pictures of the mass of people by holding a camera up high over your head), and you can't stop.  In the old days, when people did all their shopping from physical stores (as opposed to ordering things on-line), then the shops did good business when it was crowded, but these days, it seems to me (after a few experiences of crowd-diving into dense conditions like this) that most of the people are there to experience the *event* of the street being crowded and could care less about shopping.  The result is the shop owners are stuck in their shops looking at a dense river of people flowing by, but not doing much in the way of business....

Harajuku Takeshita-Dori Crowds (Long View) 原宿竹下通り望遠ビュー (121225na)

Harajuku Jingumae Main Street Winter Stroll 原宿神宮前散歩 (121225)

Approaching Jingumae Intersection 神宮前交差点に近づく (121225)

What was otherwise a nice day was marred somewhat by a religious group advertising their particular religion from very loud and very obnoxious speaker trucks.  This sort of public harassment via speaker trucks ought to be illegal.

Entrance to Tokyu Plaza (Omotesando Harajuku) Mirror City (121225na)

I'm not sure how to write the name of this place.  I've seen it as "Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku" and "Tokyu Plaza Omotesando / Harajuku"... but it could also be "Tokyu Plaza Omotesando-Harajuku" or "Tokyu Plaza (Omotesando Harajuku)" etc.  In any event, it's a Tokyu Plaza that is located near to both Omotesando Station (subway) and Harajuku (JR).  People tend to refer to much of the area as "Omotesando", but - looking at a map - the address appears to be "Jingumae".

Jingumae Intersection (River of People) 神宮前交差点人間川 (121225)

Inside of Harajuku Retail Store - December 2012 (121225)

People Waiting for Light Show in Rooftop Park in Harajuku (121225)

Sidewalk in Front of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (121225)

Shibuya Station and Hachiko Plaza 渋谷駅と駅前ハチ子広場 (121225)

Shibuya Evening Stroll 渋谷夕方散歩 (121225)

Shibuya - Crossing Over to Hachiko Plaza 渋谷ハチ子広場へ向かう (121225)

Ebisu Christmas Cake, Etc (Near Ebisu Station) 恵比寿駅クリスマスケーキ (121225)

Ebisu Garden Place - People Photographing Chandelier Display (121225)

Ebisu Station - Upper Level Ticket Gates to Yamanote Line Platform 恵比寿駅 (121225)

Bipedal Shadows in Jingumae 神宮前の影 (121225)

Shibuya Station Walk-through (West to East) 渋谷駅 (西側から東側へ) 121225g

Shibuya Station and the area around Shibuya Station is always interesting to walk around in.

Entering Shinjuku Station via South Entrance 新宿駅を入る南口 (121225g)

Crisscross Shadows in Shinjuku 新宿のマルチ影 (121225g)

Shinjuku Illuminated Walkway - Winter Lights (121225)

Entering Shinjuku Station via Temporary New South Entrance (121225)

Shinjuku to Yoyogi (Yamanote Line) 新宿から代々木まで (山手線) 121225

Yoyogi to Harajuku (Yamanote Line) 代々木から原宿まで (山手線) 121225

Rooftop Winter Shadows (Harajuku Omotesando) 原宿 (121225)

Looking Into the Distance from Rooftop (Harajuku Omotesando) 原宿 (121225)

Harajuku Jingumae - Walking to Station 原宿神宮前 - 原宿駅へ向かう (121225)

Harajuku to Shibuya (Yamanote Line) 原宿から渋谷まで (山手線) 121225

Shibuya Scramble Crosswalk and Hachiko Plaza 夕方渋谷ハチ子など (121225)

British Pub in Ebisu (121225)

This British style pub in Ebisu is a good place to experience a completely different atmosphere than most pubs and izakaya places in Tokyo.  If I worked in the area, I'd probably come here more often.  They also often have live music.  Here's a view of the place in 2007:

Dancing Tokyo Man in Ebisu - (2007/04)

Back Onto the Streets of Ebisu (121225)

Walking Towards Ebisu Station 恵比寿駅へ向かう (121225)

Ebisu Garden Place (Lights at the Back) Christmas Day 2012 (121225)

Moving Walkway Ride/Walk Back to Ebisu Station 恵比寿 (121225)

Evening Yamanote Line Side Window Night View (Shibuya) 渋谷山手線 (121225)

Otsuka Station - One Cold Evening 大塚駅 - ある寒い夜 (121225)

Zebra Streetcar Passing in Otsuka 大塚市電 (121225)

New Building Construction in Otsuka 大塚駅あたりの工事 (121225)

Blue Light Tree in Otsuka 大塚青い光の木 (121225)

Entering Otsuka Station to Board Yamanote Line 大塚駅改札 (121225)

Exiting Yamanote Line at Shinjuku 新宿駅で山手線を降りる (121225)

Boarding Yamanote Line at Ikebukuro 池袋駅で山手線を乗る (121225)

Shinjuku Out-of-Tune Singer - Southern Terrace Etc 新宿駅南口の音痴など (121225)

Shibuya-Shinjuku Border Walk 渋谷から新宿へと西新宿 (121225)

Walking down the border street between Shibuya and Shinjuku - on the Shibuya side, and then crossing over to Shinjuku, and then to Nishi-Shinjuku (formerly Yodobashi - 淀橋).

Shinjuku Southern Terrace End-of-Year Light-up (新宿) 121225

I rather liked the light-up on the Southern Terrace this year.  I guess it pays to not have high expectations, since then you're easier to please!  I just had a vague picture in mind of lights on trees and wasn't initially very enthusiastic about going to see the illuminated areas, but when I did, I really enjoyed the experience and found the various types of illumination to be quite nice.

Illuminated Walkway - Shinjuku Southern Terrace 新宿の冬光 (121225)

Lucky Pyramid - Winter Shinjuku Southern Terrace (新宿) 121225

They gear many of these type of things towards young couples and this pyramid was set up so couples could go through, one couple at a time, holding hands.  In the middle, each person put one hand onto a plaque and made a wish as a "wish-being-granted" type of sound came from speakers somewhere and an electric light masqueraded as a shooting star....

Harajuku Station and Platform Walk 原宿駅とホーム散歩 (121225g)

Shibuya Center Street (Evening) 渋谷センター街 (夕方) 121225g

This street kind of draws you in when you cross the big scramble intersection in Shibuya - and since the side streets lead off to wherever, it's as good a place to start as any if you want to explore Shibuya by walking around.

Shibuya to Ebisu (Yamanote Line) 渋谷から恵比寿まで_夕方山手線 (121225g)

Ebisu Shopping Mall - Dash to Ebisu Garden Place 恵比寿散歩 (121225g)

I began recording this one in the shopping mall that is level with the upper exit of Ebisu Station, and then hurried along the Yebisu Skywalk (恵比寿スカイウォーク) that leads to Ebisu Garden Place (恵比寿ガーデンプレイス).  (The video ends once I get over by the Christmas tree and the illuminated area.)

Ebisu Garden Place Christmas Tree and Lights 恵比寿ガーデンプレース (121225g)

Ebisu Garden Place - Night Lights Walkabout on Christmas Day (121225g)

Cameras-Cameras at Ebisu Garden Place (Walking Up Hill on Christmas Day) 121225g

Just about everyone seemed to want to take pictures of the big chandelier - I'm not sure sure why really, but it did provide a focal point for the event as a whole.  "I have reached the chandelier!  Goal accomplished!" - or something!

Christmas Tree Lookaround - Ebisu Garden Place on Christmas Day (121225g)

Ikebukuro Station Area (East Side Sidewalk) 池袋駅東口の道 (121225g)

Shinjuku Station Quick Views (South Exit) 新宿駅南口急見回り (121225g)

My familiarity with Shinjuku lead me to try something a little different with the camera than my usual style.  Basically it's [scene]->whoosh!->[scene]->whoosh!->[scene], etc.  I like the way the first 25 seconds turned out.

Pedestrian Shadows in Shinjuku (121225g)

Omotesando Multi-Mirror View 鏡鏡鏡 (121225g)

Mirrors are always fun!  And the arrangement of so many of them at this store is quite visually entertaining/interesting.

Rooftop Park (Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku) 121225g-hd

Checking out a very nice rooftop of a new building in Harajuku - the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando-Harajuku building.  (4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 http://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/en/)

Chuo Line Arriving and Departing from Shinjuku Station 新宿駅中央線 (121227)

Southern Terrace Illuminated Tree Path in December 2012 新宿サザンテラス (121227)

Closeup Look at Illuminated Trees - Shinjuku Southern Terrace 新宿サザンテラス (121227)

Entering Shinjuku Station (South Side) 南口から新宿駅を入る (121227)

Shinjuku South Entrance to Inbound Chuo Line Platform 新宿駅南口から中央線まで (121227)

Tokyo Station Evening Walkabout 東京駅夕方散歩 (121227)

Tokyo Station - Right-Side Dome Space Lookaround 東京駅ドーム内部 (121227)

Tokyo Station - 360 in Front of Station (Brief Look) 121227

Entering Tokyo Station from Dome Area 東京駅ドーム改札口 (121227)

Outbound and Inbound Chuo Line Trains Arriving at Kokubunji (121227)

Nishi-Ogikubo to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 西荻窪から新宿まで (中央線) 121227

Seibu-Tamako Line (Late at Night) 西武多摩湖線 (夜遅く) 121227

December 27th 2012 Hallways (121227)

December Illumination - Yurakucho Plaza 12月の有楽町駅前イルミネーション (121227)

Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon



"Tokyo Station (HD), Uenohara Station, and Old-Type JR Train"

The first few videos are of Tokyo Station (in HD), basically covering the inside from the Chuo Line platform to the Yaesu Exit area, with a quick look at the front of the Yaesu side from the street, showing the construction cranes, etc.  (That particular construction project has been going on for a loooong time!)  There are early morning views of Uenohara Station, and views from one of the old-type JR trains that runs between Otsuki and Takao.

Chuo Line Train Departing Tokyo Station 中央線東京駅から出発 (121222hd)

Tokyo Station - Chuo Line to Yaesu Exit 東京駅中央線から八重洲出口まで (121222hd)

Tokyo Station as shopping mall.  I'm still not quite used to the combination of station and sparkling department store food section, but it does give the station a more interesting atmosphere.

Temporary Pedestrian Tunnel (Tokyo Station Yaesu-Guchi) 東京駅八重洲口 (121222hd)

The white tunnel goes through the construction zone.  Periodically, the location of these temporary tunnels changes as they proceed with the large construction project on that side of the station.

Waiting for Chuo Line Train to Depart Tokyo Station (121222hd)

Glimpse of Ginza-One Exhibition Closing Party - December 2012 (121222)

1115 PM Tokyo Station Concourse 東京駅夜遅く (121222)

A late-night view of the inside of Tokyo Station.  With all the stores closed, this is similar in a way to how most train stations were before.

Uenohara Station Walkabout (515AM) 山梨県の上野原駅 (朝早く) 121223

Uenohara Station is in Yamanashi Prefecture - just over the border with a narrow arm of Kanagawa Prefecture which the Chuo Line cuts through.  Coming from Tokyo, you pass through Kanagawa Prefecture (Sagamiko and Fujino Stations) and cross into Yamanashi Prefecture just before Uenohara Station.

Uenohara Station Platform View (Early Morning) 山梨県の上野原駅 (始発電車) 121223

This is a good example of how most stations used to be - with the central area of the platform roofed and well-lit, while the extreme ends of the platform are out in the open air and sparsely illuminated.  I generally like this layout better than the new ones.  With this arrangement, you can wander around and go into different atmospheres while waiting for the train to arrive.  The more modern arrangement with 100% over-lighting of every centimeter of the platform and with all areas roofed (and even walled) cuts people off from the world.  It's good to be able to walk out under the stars and away from unpleasant over-lighting....

Uenohara First [of the day] Chuo Main Line Train 中央本線始発電車が遣って来る (121223)

Watching the first train of the day arrive.

Old Type JR Train Departing Uenohara (Inside View) 懐かしいJR電車 (上野原駅) 121223

Speaking of liking an old design better than newer ones - the design, layout, sounds, and general feel of these old JR (put into service when it was JNR) trains I much prefer to the newer, poorly ventilated, over-illuminated trains.  The seating arrangement I can't complain about too much, as it's obviously more practical to have the long bench seats along the windows than to have them in cubicles (to better handle large numbers of people riding the trains), but the direct, harsh, overly powerful lighting and poor ventilation (no ceiling vents, fewer openable windows, etc.) doesn't seem to me to be really necessary.  Regarding lighting, I can tell you - as a photographer - that blasting bright light directly into a camera lens doesn't make for good pictures, and the same principal applies for eyes.

Fujino to Sagamiko and Takao 藤野から相模湖と高尾まで (中央本線で) 121223g

The variety afforded by different types of seats, openable vents in the ceiling, openable windows, and more interesting noises makes riding in these old type trains a more enjoyable experience than riding in the new ones.

Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon



"Time; December Lights in Shinjuku, Ginza, etc.; Ogikubo Shotengai, Etc."

So it's December... and another year is almost over.  This year has gone by very quickly for me, so I find myself looking at "December" (12月) on my calendar and feeling a sense of disbelief.  ".....  Is it really December?  It feels like I mistakenly tore off an extra page of the calendar.  An entire year has passed since last year's holiday season?  Really?  ....."

Actually, last year (2011) was one with a number of changes, and it actually felt like it was a pretty long year - and I think that's the key.  If there are a lot of new things in any given year, then it feels like a long year, but if a year is basically a continuation of the previous year's activities, then the brain doesn't need to do a lot of updating, and so when you get to the end of the year and look back, since the daily pattern is stored under the category/template of previous years, the current year gives the sensation of having a paucity of events, and thus "What?!  A whole year has passed already?!  Seriously!!?  But where did the time go?"

Not to get too wrapped up in this line of thinking, but the issue of people saying that "Time seemed to slow down" when they encountered some momentous or dangerous event, is related, although for slightly different reasons.  Since the brain allocates information processing resources in a variable manner - depending on where they are needed, when you are in danger, and being able to respond speedily to fast-moving objects can mean the difference between life and death, a lot more resources go into visual processing than usual in times of emergency.

And then you end up - when thinking back on an emergency situation - replaying events at the usual playback frame-rate, resulting in a perceived lengthening of time.

On to the videos!  The main thing that stands out in the Ginza and Shinjuku views are all the seasonal lights installed along major roads, etc.  I also spent some time exploring shotengai shopping streets in Ogikubo, and I'm afraid I came away with a reinforced feeling that times are hard and small businesses are not doing well.  Most people either have less money to spend and/or are very worried about having enough money to spend in the future, and so the focus is on "Spend less!  Spend less!  Spend less!!"  This being a prevalent reality for a lot of people spells disaster for small shops, who nearly always get undercut price-wise by larger stores.

Entering Shinjuku Station via East Entrance 新宿駅東口を入る (121217g)

In nearly three decades of living in Tokyo, Shinjuku has always been part of my schedule for one reason or another.  In the early days, I went there in order to get English language books at the Kinokuniya Bookstore on the east side, and it was a good place to meet friends for dinner and movies... and then there was the Dug jazz coffee shop, which was a great place to meet people to discuss whatever.

I really miss the Dug coffee shop - the following video is what it looked like late at night - when it functioned as a pub.  I recently had to meet someone in Shinjuku, and we ended up going to a soulless and smokey coffee shop... too bad we couldn't have gone to the good-old Dug.

1990 Dug Jazz Coffee House (Original Dug, Bubble Shinjuku) 901122g

Tokyo Station - Typical Busy Evening いつもの忙しい東京駅 (121217g)

Back when I first encountered Tokyo Station in the early eighties, it was sort of a sleepy station in a way.  There was no Keiyo Line, the northern Shinkansen trains only went as far as Omiya, there was no Narita Express train to the airport, etc.  So while it served as the gateway to the Marunouchi business area and was one of Tokyo's central hub stations (and was/is the terminal station for both the Tokaido Line and the Chuo Line), it seemed somewhat like a relic from the past in a way.  Now that they've rebuilt so much of the Marunouchi area, made Tokyo Station basically into a shopping mall, and there are more train lines going there, etc., it feels like "The Central Station" for the city in a way similar to how I imagine it originally did.  This video captures the atmosphere somewhat.

Ogikubo - South Side Evening Stroll (Shotengai Etc.) 荻窪南側散歩 (商店街) 121218g

Kanda Station - Ride to Yurakucho 神田駅から有楽町駅まで (121218g)

I began this clip (above) with the intent of just showing the transfer from the Chuo Line to the Yamanote Line, but since a train came fairly quickly, I left the camera on and recorded the ride to Yurakucho (stopping at Tokyo Station along the way).  Also of note is how Kanda Station is under construction.  Pay attention to that one quick glimpse up the stairs towards the middle platform, as that view is one that hasn't changed in decades, but will probably radically change in the not-too-distant future.

Personally, I think they'd be doing everyone a big favor to leave some parts/elements of the station alone as they rebuild/remodel the rest.  It's disorienting and - dare I say - boring when everything is new-new-new!  New next to new is just monotony, but new next to old accentuates both the old and the new and gives context to each.  I really think there should be a little more effort in Tokyo not to eradicate everything old; and to stop building forever more roads and parking lots....

Exiting Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅を出る (121218g)

Yurakucho Under-Bridge Train Noises 有楽町橋下の電車音 (121218g)

When I lived in San Francisco, I loved the sound of the fog horns emanating history and mystery into a foggy night - which were that much better if you were on a street with a cable-car cable moving along, making its metallic sounds in the street....

And since crossing the Pacific and living here in Tokyo, I find the metallic echoing sounds heard under old steel bridges in central Tokyo to be my favorite timeless/historical/time-slip/something symphony-of-noises. (The sound fidelity of the camera I used isn't all that wide, so some (low) elements of the symphony are missing, but you can get the general drift from this clip nonetheless.)

Ginza Chuo-Dori December Lights 銀座中央通の十二月夜光 (121218g)

There are lights put up at various places all over the city every December (much more so since LED lights were invented, since they require so little power), but Ginza is one of the best places to see them.  You get the ambiance of Ginza's interesting history, and the place still has class, although an awful lot of the area has gone over to low-class, overpriced "brand" stores that have thuggish looking men standing just inside the doors - looking out, projecting the impression that they own not only the bloody "brand" store/building, but the sidewalk and street outside and you're trespassing by walking past the building.

Personally?  I think the world would be a vastly better place if all of those snooty over-priced "brand" companies went out of business.  Those "brand" bags make me sick - they're hideously ugly for one thing.

Oops!  Sorry to have gone off on that tangent, but unfortunately, that's also a part of what Ginza is today.

Yurakucho-SB - 1000PM 有楽町-SB (121218g)

It's hoped that this scene can continue into the future, but watching one small shop after another being driven out of the area, it may get to a point where there are nothing but chain stores there.  If that happens, Yurakucho will probably become a drab place.  A sparkling clean, spiffy drab place, but a drab place nonetheless, because the small shops give the area its soul, so if they're driven out, then....

Takadanobaba Tozai Line (Platform Walk) 高田馬場東西線 (121215)

Otemachi to Nihonbashi (Tozai Line) 大手町から日本橋まで (東西線) 121215

Iidabashi to Takadanobaba - Front Cab View (Tozai Line) 飯田橋から高田馬場まで (121215)

Suburbs from Train Window (121215)

Night View of Suburbs from Train Side Window (Vertical) 121215

Kodaira to Ogawa (Seibu Line) 小平から小川まで (西武線) 121215

Entering Nihonbashi Station (Platform Walk) 日本橋駅を入る (121215)

Large Construction Site in Nihonbashi 日本橋の大きい工事現場 (121215)

The construction industry never sleeps, and two of the areas being energetically rebuilt these days are Nihonbashi and Kyobashi.  The above and below videos are a few glimpses of this construction fever.

Nihonbashi Construction 日本橋の工事 (121215)

Kyobashi Construction 京橋の工事 (121215)

Nihonbashi to Takebashi (Tozai Line) 日本橋から竹橋まで (121215)

Onodera Sumino Exhibition at GOBP-306 小野寺純乃 (銀座奥野ビル306号室) 121215

This installation had an interesting element - the artist used an old out-of-ink pen to write invisible things onto the white strips of paper.  After she explained that, I contemplated what I would do if I were writing something that no one would ever read, and I said something to the effect of (I remember the concept of what I said very well, but not the exact wording), "If I did that, I would write the kind of things that I'd like to say to people, but cannot for whatever reason (desire for world peace, etc.).  What did you write?", and she confirmed that she had indeed written the type of things that feel good to write, but not to have someone read!

Tozai to Ginza Transfer at Nihonbashi (Ride to Kyobashi Station) 121215

Takadanobaba Station (Saturday Night) 土曜日の夜の高田馬場駅 (121215)

Since Waseda University is just down the road from Takadanobaba (closest to Waseda Station on the Tozai Line, but walkable from Takadanobaba), there tend to be a lot of college students at the station - especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

Takadanobaba Saturday Evening 高田馬場駅あたり (121215g)

Seibu-Takadanobaba Station Platform Walk 西武高田馬場駅散歩 (121215)

I would have preferred to have just gotten straight onto a train, but since I had to wait a few minutes before the next one arrived, I decided to walk the length of the platform while I waited.  Ten train cars may not sound like much, but each one is fairly long and so it's a bit of a hike walking past ten long ones.  Still, it's much easier than the 15 cars of some lines, like the Tokaido Line, the Joban Line, and the Yokosuka Line, etc.

Shinjuku Station - Lower Concourse and Chuo Line Platform (121217hd)

Shinjuku - East Exit Plaza (Light December Rain and Wind) 121217hd

Arriving at Shinjuku Station (Chuo Line) 121217hd

Outbound Chuo Line Train Arriving at Kokubunji Station (121217hd)

Gallery Ginza-One Opening Party - December 17th, 2012A (121217hd)

Several clips of the opening party for a group exhibition at Gallery Ginza-One (taken with two different cameras).

Gallery Ginza-One Opening Party - December 17th, 2012B (121217hd)

Gallery Ginza-One December 2012 Exhibition (A) 銀座ワン展示会 2012年12月 (121217)

Gallery Ginza-One December 2012 Exhibition (B) 銀座ワン展示会 2012年12月 (121217)

Gallery Ginza-One - December 2012 Exhibition Preview (121215)

Shinjuku Sidewalk Stroll (East Side) 121217hd

Some thirty years ago, this sidewalk was really narrow and it was hard to walk on this street, but they (very sensibly I think) did away with two of the fire-breathing machinery lanes and made the sidewalks wider.

Tokyo Station Construction Zone and Bus Area on Yaesu Side (121217hd)

Tokyo Station Walkabout - Food Retail Section, Concourse, Etc. (121217hd)

Tokyo Station as shopping mall!  Thinking about how convenient the station has become for shopping, I find myself wondering what effect this has on local area businesses - who are at a real disadvantage logistically.  Most people use the stations, so they're already there (no need to get people to come to the area).  For businesses around the stations, people have to walk to them - through the weather and whatnot.  Probably a lot of people never bother to even see what's available around the stations when they can get what they need in the stations.  Work over - just go straight to the station, and once there you can eat, drink, shop for clothes, food, souvenirs, etc., and then walk another 60 seconds or so and get on your train.

Shinjuku Station East Ticket Gate Area (Lower Concourse) 新宿駅東口 (121217hdg)

Ogikubo Bright Light Shotengai 荻窪北口駅前通商店街 (121218)

Above and below - shotengai shopping streets in Ogikubo - not appearing to be doing a lot of business.  I hope these small shops can stay in business, but having a tight budget myself, I also focus on how to not spend money... and then idly fantasize about making a pile of money so I can try out old-style coffee shops and shop wherever I want to, without worrying about going over-budget.  In the meantime, I wander around and watch the decline of the once thriving streets of small shops and wonder about what kind of city Tokyo will become in the future....

Ogikubo-Ginza Shotengai (A) 荻窪銀座商店街(飲食など) 121218hd

Ogikubo Sanpo (Ome-Kaido, Etc.) 荻窪散歩 (青梅街道など) 121218hd

Exiting Kokubunji Station 国分寺駅のJR-改札口 (121219)

Asakadai Station Platform View 朝霞台駅ホームビュー 武蔵野線 (121219hd)

Basically a transfer station - with the Musashino Line crossing the Tobu-Tojo Line here.

Kawagoeshi Station Platform View (Train Going Out of Service, Etc.) 川越市駅 (121219)

1145 PM Waiting for a Train at Tokyo Station 東京駅 (中央線電車が遣って来る) 121218

11:45 p.m.... this is about as late as you can still catch a train to go home from central Tokyo.  If you miss the last train, there are basically two main options: 1) Take a taxi home (if you're rich and/or your company will pay for the very expensive ride, or 2) Find somewhere (coffee shop, restaurant, pub, etc.) that's open until 5:00 a.m. - when the trains start up again.  There is also the option of checking into a hotel, but that's for either rich people or people who need a hotel.  Finally, there's the option of wandering around on the streets for four or five hours, which is a viable (although not recommended) option in the summer, but not a very good idea in the winter.

Late Night Chuo Line - Looking Around from Inside Train 夜遅く中央線 (121218hd)

Ginza Chuo-Dori Christmas Lights 銀座中央通の12月光 (121218)

People Photographing Christmas Tree on Ginza Chuo-Dori (Ginza 4-Chome) 121218

Inbound Chuo Line - Kokubunji to Mitaka 中央線国分寺から三鷹まで (121218)

Inoue Baku (井上麦) Exhibition/Installation - Gallery Kobo (巷房) December 2012 (121217)

An interesting exhibition/installation consisting of stone artwork and the shadows the pieces cast (from a single spotlight placed on the floor near the door).  This exhibition was (*is* actually - it's still taking place as I write this) in all three of Gallery Kobo's exhibition rooms, but I only the saw the two in the basement.  (Hopefully I can check out the third-floor space before this exhibition is over.)

From Ogikubo Station to Kyokai-Dori 荻窪駅から教会通りまで (121218)

Kyokai-Dori is another shotengai shopping street - not far from Ogikubo Station.

Arriving and Departing from Yotsuya Station (Midnight Chuo Line) 121218

Inside Midnight Chuo Line Train at Shinjuku Station (121219)

530 a.m. - Hachioji Station Platform (Narita Express) 成田エクスプレス (121219)

Shinjuku Evening Sidewalk Stroll (East Side) 新宿夕方散歩 (東口) 121217

Mitaka to Ogikubo (Chuo Line) 三鷹から荻窪まで (中央線) 121218

Symphony of Recordings in Empty Discount Shop (121219)

This was a kind of weird experience - I was looking around in a discount store and going from floor to floor.  When I got to this floor, I suddenly realized there were an amazing number of recordings all playing simultaneously!  I stopped, listened and couldn't help but laugh.  It was a bizarre atmosphere.  Nobody there but me - me and an army of recorded voices....

Waiting for and Riding Inbound Chuo Line Train (121218)

Shinjuku Station - East Ticket Gate Area Walkabout 新宿駅東口改札 (121217)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Night Right-Side Window View) 夜の中央線中野-新宿 (121218)

Yurakucho to Tokyo 夜中の京浜東北線 (有楽町から東京まで) 121218

Late Night Chuo Line Train - Tokyo to Kanda 夜中中央線 (東京-神田) 121218

Vertical Flags in the Wind 荻窪 (121218)

Ogikubo Food Section Near Ticket Gates 荻窪駅にあるフードコート (121218)

Yurakucho Under-Track Stroll (Small Shops Disappear) 121218

Ginza Side Street Lights (A) 銀座横道の夜光 (121218)

Ginza Side Street Lights (B) 銀座横道の夜光 (121218)

Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon



"2012 Chuo Line, Kami-Nakazato, Etc.; 1990 Shinjuku, Hibarigaoka, Omiya, Etc."

This batch of video clips includes typical 2012 scenes of Tokyo, riding around on trains, etc., and I visited Kami-Nakazato for (I think) the first time ever, but after nearly three decades of going here and there in Tokyo, I'm not entirely sure.  Being December, there are Christmas decorations here and there.  And there are several views from 1990 - mostly taken around Shinjuku, although there are a couple of short clips from Omiya (in Saitama).  In one clip, I visit the old Dug coffee shop and bar, which was going strong at the time, but has mostly disappeared (only the basement remains).

Tokyo to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 東京から新宿まで (中央線) 121211g

Looking out a side window (at night) of a Chuo Line train as it rolls from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station.

Marunouchi Building Lobby and Area in Front of Building (121211g)

After walking through the Marunouchi Building and finding myself on the front sidewalk, I looked off to the left and had a flashback to visiting the original Marunouchi Building....  At the time, it seemed like such a solid piece of Tokyo that I never imagined that they would tear it down.  When they did, I was busy with other things and didn't find out until it was gone.  Looking down that same sidewalk today, almost all the buildings that were visible at the time have been demolished and new ones built in their place.  Fortunately the Tokyo Station Building was repaired/rebuilt (some parts of the original structure remain) and the front part of the former Central Post Office was preserved, so in looking straight ahead and to the right there's some form of visual reference that ties the present to the past.

Actually, I can show you one of my 20th century visits to the original version of the building - here's a video I took back in 1991:
"Marunouchi Building - March 1991"

The point where I walk out onto the street in 1991 is the same spot I walk out onto the street in the 2012 video.  So much has changed since then - and so the facade of the old post office building and rebuilt Tokyo Station are much appreciated!  Without those, it would be disorienting/depressing for anyone who remembers how it was before.  I think it's important to have at least a few links to the past.

Kanda Central Platform Stroll 神田駅真ん中ホーム散歩 (121211g)

Walking around on the middle of Kanda Station's three platforms.  The old platform roof pillars and beams are a welcome change from newer designs.  It's hard to conceptualize the exact reason, but there's something quite nostalgic about the remaining old structures in Tokyo.  Is it simply because there is so little of anything old in Tokyo, and/or is there something of the past that emanates from the old iron - providing a needed time reference and a kind of anchor to maintain balance while change swirls all around?

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (121211g)

This construction has been going on for a long time... and seems to be related to the construction of new Shinkansen line tracks over the station, but (based on what has been done with other JR stations in Tokyo), they are probably converting the station into a mini-mall/restaurant complex.  I've been told that JR makes more money from it's retail operations in the stations than it does from running the trains, and - judging from the way more and more stations are becoming mini-shopping malls - this may indeed be the case.  In which case, Kanda Station may end up being completely transformed into something different than what it is now.

New Track Construction Beside Kanda Station (121211)

1990 - A Night on the Town (Bubble Era Shinjuku) 新宿の夜 (901122)

Taken on Thursday, November 22nd, 1990 - towards the end of the "bubble" era, a time when a lot of money was being spent on after-work entertainment, etc.  I was just recording my own evening, but a little of the atmosphere of the time is perceptible in this.  There are also some scenes from inside the legendary Dug coffee shop and bar - from inside the above-ground section, which was closed some years ago, leaving only the basement as a bar.  It was a great place to go for coffee, jazz music and conversation with friends.

1990 - Hibarigaoka to Shinjuku ひばりが丘から新宿まで (901122)

1990 - Omiya, Miyahara Car Ride 大宮市宮原 (埼玉県) 901121

1990 - Bus Ride Near Omiya 大宮あたりのバス (901121)

Historical now that they've introduced lower-riding buses and these old ones are off the roads (in Tokyo anyway).

1990 - Train Scenes from Trip to Saitama (901121)

1990 - Late Night Transfers and Trains, Etc. (901120)

1990 - Shinjuku to Ikebukuro (Saikyo Line) 埼京線 (901120)

1990 - Saikyo Line Platform Walk (Under Construction) 901120

It was around this time that they began running Takasaki Line and Utsunomiya Line trains through to Shinjuku, and I think the signs of construction you can see on the Saikyo Line platform in this clip were connected with the extension of the platform to handle the 15-car trains from those two lines.  Also they were working on the new exits (at Shinjuku Station) that are on the Shibuya side of the station - across the main road from the South Exit.

1990 - Shinjuku Station - Lower Concourse (Late at Night) 901120

1990 - Shinjuku Manual Ticket Gates 新宿手動改札口 (901120)

Before they installed the automatic ticket gates, it was just a part of riding the trains in Tokyo to have a station employee manually punch your ticket at the ticket gates.  Some other cities in Japan had automated ticket gates sooner than Tokyo - probably the vastness and complexity of Tokyo's rail system prevented it from becoming automated until computers caught up with the complexity.

1990 - Shinjuku Izakaya, Etc. 新宿居酒屋など (901120)

1990 Walking Into Nishi-Shinjuku 西新宿に入る (901120)

1990 - Shinjuku Station (South Exit) 新宿駅南口 (901120)

1990 - Hibarigaoka Station Area at Night (901119)

1990 - Hibarigaoka to Ikebukuro (901120)

1990 - Ikebukuro Station - Evening Rush 池袋駅 (901120g)

Ikebukuro Station is similar to Shinjuku in that there are a number of train lines that converge on the station, and large numbers of people who use the station every day.  This clip shows how the station is during a busy period.

1990 - Nishi-Ikebukuro 西池袋 (901120)

1990 - New Automatic Ticket Gates (Ikebukuro) 池袋新改札口 (901120)

In 1990, they were just beginning to install the automatic ticket gates, and there were a lot of ticket types that couldn't be used in the machines, so they had people standing by the early installations to help people out - directing people without magnetic tickets to the window were a person manually checked tickets, and telling others to just insert their tickets into the machine, etc.

1990 - Ikebukuro to Shinjuku 池袋から新宿まで (901120)

Small Park with Water Fountain Geyser (121211)

The type of water fountain shown in these two clips (above and below) I really like, but there are fewer and fewer of them as they replace them with ones that only allow a very low flow rate.  Aside from it being fun to crank one of these open and see the water shoot up high in the air, you can quickly get the hot water out of them in the summer and then drink cooler water.

Geyser Water Fountain Explanation (121211)

Kanda to Kami-Nakazato 神田から上中里まで (山手線と京浜東北線) 121211

In the non-rush afternoon hours, they run the Keihin-Tohoku Line trains as kaisoku (rapid) trains that skip several stations (meaning they are basically express trains), and so I took a Yamanote Line train to where I could transfer to the faster Keihin-Tohoku Line (and I needed to be on the Keihin-Tohoku Line anyway in order to get to Kami-Nakazato Station).

Kami-Nakazato Station (Afternoon) 上中里駅 (午後散歩) 121211

Kami-Nakazato Station Area 上中里駅辺り (121211)

Kami-Nakazato Residential Area (121211)

Hiratsuka Shrine Kami-Nakazato 平塚神社 (上中里) 121211

Train Arriving at Kawagoeshi Station (Tobu-Tojo Line) 121212

Shinjuku Station South Exit 新宿駅南口 (121211)

Outgoing Chuo Line Platform (Shinjuku) 中央線 (新宿) 121211

Nishigahara Side Street 西ヶ原横道 (121211)

Walking to Kami-Nakazato Station 上中里駅に向かう (121211)

Kami-Nakazato to Tabata 上中里から田端まで (121211)

Tabata to Ueno (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 田端から上野まで (京浜東北線) 121211

Ueno to Tokyo 上野から東京まで (快速京浜東北線) 121211

Tokyo to Yurakucho (Elevator) 東京から有楽町まで (山手線) 121211

Normally I don't take elevators just one level down like this, but I had never used an elevator at Yurakucho Station before, so I wanted to try it out (there didn't use to be elevators or escalators at the stations).

Ginza Evening Side Streets 夕方の銀座 (121211)

Yurakucho Lottery Ticket Line (121211)

When they are selling lottery tickets, this location in Yurakucho tends to be crowded - I hear that lottery winners in the past are reported to have bought their lottery tickets here, and so people think it's a lucky place to buy the tickets?  Something like that.  In any case, it's often crowded like this.

Yurakucho Plaza - Evening of December 11th, 2012 (121211)

Yurakucho Station (Waiting for a Train) 121211

Tokyo Station (Yamanote Platform and Concourse) 121211

Ramen Stand Between Tokyo Station and Marunouchi Building (121211)

This kind of thing dates back to a completely different era.  I hesitate to comment on what that era was, although I feel that I witnessed a tiny part of it when I first came here in the early eighties.  Whatever it was, it's at least partly (maybe mostly?) a nostalgia trip now.  As I walked by, I noticed a bowl of ramen was being sold for Y700 - which isn't the cheapest ramen out there... but you get the time-trip aspect and that makes it worth it probably.  (I've always wanted to try out one of those portable restaurants, but have never actually done so...)

Marunouchi Illuminated Trees and Marunouchi Building Lobby (121211)

Since both the Marunouchi Building and the Shin-Marunouchi Building were torn down and new buildings with the exact same names were constructed where the old ones were torn down, I've often visited the Shin-Marunouchi Building, but not the Marunouchi Building, so when I looked over and noticed that I was standing by the back side of the Marunouchi Building, I decided to walk through.  The new one depresses me a little, because the old one had a lot of character and was one of those buildings in Tokyo that I wish was still here....



"Saikyo Line (Itabashi, etc.), Hibiya Fall Colors, Ikebukuro, Kawagoe; 1990 Kurihama, Etc."

Another batch of video clips - views of stations on the Saikyo Line; fall colors in Hibiya Park; traditional performers in Yurakucho; a cool independent band (Kiki) in Hamamatsucho; the bridge-station Kita-Akabane; Ikebukuro; an art exhibition in Ginza; a stroll through Nishi-Shinjuku; a stroll through a part of Kawagoe that I hadn't been to for a long while (if ever); a ride on the Hibiya Line (the sounds being more important than the view of the tunnel wall going by); Shinbashi with the steam locomotive on display there set up with a Santa Claus in the driver's seat(!); and some 1990 views of Kurihama and views of going from Kurihama to Shinagawa, and then from Shinagawa to Ikebukuro, etc.

Itabashi to Akabane (Saikyo Line) 板橋から赤羽まで (埼京線) 121204g

Hamamatsucho to Shinbashi (Yamanote Line) 浜松町から新橋まで (山手線) 121206g

Shinbashi Evening Izakaya Walkabout 新橋夜居酒屋散歩 (121206g)

Hibiya Park Fall Colors 日比谷公園の秋風景 (121204g)

This year, I didn't go in search of a site to see the colors of autumn, but stumbled upon a couple of good places nonetheless - one an old Japanese garden and the other Hibiya Park (clip above and several below).

Hibiya Park Stroll (Late Fall) 日比谷公園散歩 (秋) 121204

Pond Reflections and Beautiful Sky (Hibiya Park) 日比谷公園 (121204)

Hibiya Park Fountain Square Water Reflections 日比谷公園の噴水 (121204)

Water Reflections and Clouds (Hibiya Park) 日比谷公園 (121204)

Hearing Kiki Sound Check on Walk to Hamamatsucho Station (121206)

As I approached Hamamatsucho Station, I turned my camera on in order to record the sequence of entering the station and walking up the stairs to one of the platforms, but just a few seconds after turning it on, I heard a beautiful voice on the December wind and changed direction - heading towards what turned out to be the group Kiki making a sound check for a later outside performance.  Getting the information regarding when they would start, I came back later and took the following clips of two of their songs - one from their first performance that evening, and one from the second.  They seem to be a nice, tight band, and the singer has a beautiful voice.

Kiki - Hamamatsucho Live (Set-1, Song-4) 121206

Kiki - Hamamatsucho Live (Set-2, Song-4, Tonight) 121206

Stumbling Upon Kagura Performance in Yurakucho (121204)

Introduction to Kagura Performance from Miyazaki in Yurakucho (121204)

Traditional Kagura (神楽) Performance in Yurakucho Square (121204)

Final Applause for Yurakucho Performance (121204)

Looking Up (Autumn) 121204

Chuo to Saikyo Transfer (Shinjuku) 中央線から埼京線までの乗り換え (121204)

Shinjuku to Ikebukuro (Saikyo Line) 新宿から池袋まで (埼京線) 121204

Ikebukuro to Itabashi (Saikyo Line) 池袋から板橋まで (埼京線) 121204

Itabashi Station 板橋駅-2012 (121204)

I think this is the first time I've ever been to Itabashi Station.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it's a largely old-style station that hasn't been made boring-modern.

Itabashi Station - East and West Sides 板橋駅 - 東側と西側 (121204)

Itabashi Station - West Side to Platform 板橋駅 - 西側からホームまで (121204)

Departing Akabane 赤羽駅を出発 (121204)

Kita-Akabane Station 北赤羽駅 (121204)

This station is built on a bridge over a river.  Exiting the station and crossing the river on a neighboring bridge (following videos) I was able to record what it looks like from the side.

Ukima Bridge (Next to Kita-Akabane Station 浮間橋 (北赤羽駅隣) 121204

River Under Ukima Bridge 浮間橋下の川 (121204)

Walking to Southeast Entrance of Kita-Akabane Station (121204)

Kita-Akabane to Jujo (Saikyo Line) 北赤羽から十条まで (埼京線) 121204

Jujo Station (East and West Sides 十条駅_東側と西側 (121204)

Kami-Ikebukuro Sidewalk Look-around 上池袋 (121204)

Kami-Ikebukuro Stroll (East Side) 上池袋散歩 (東側) 121204

Ikebukuro Station (Walk to East Side) 池袋駅 (東口まで散歩) 121204

Saikyo Line Window View (Winter Heat) 121204

Another sauna ride. This train was extremely hot and uncomfortable - with the windows (and my camera lens at one point) fogged up with moisture.

Jujo - West Side Ticket Gates to Platform 十条駅 (121204)

Yamanote Line - Departing Ikebukuro Station 山手線_池袋駅 (121204)

Tokyo to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 東京から有楽町まで (山手線) 121204

Yamanote Line Departing Yurakucho Station (Platform View) 121204

View from Platform Seats at Yurakucho Station (121204)

I took the above clip to show the view from the platform seats on a Yurakucho Station platform where I sat down after getting off of a train in order to finish writing something in my notebook.

Exiting Yurakucho Station (Hibiya Side) 有楽町駅 (日比谷側) 121204

Yurakucho Under-Railway Izakaya Alley 有楽町ガード下居酒屋 (121204)

Ikebukuro - Seibu to JR Transfer 西武池袋線からJRまで (121204)

Shinjuku Station - South Exit to Inbound Chuo Line (Near 10:00 p.m.) 中央線 (121204)

Yokoyama Mitsunobu Exhibition at Art Gallery Ishi (B) よこやまみつのぶ アートギャラリー石 121204

Yokoyama Mitsunobu Exhibition at Art Gallery Ishi (C) よこやまみつのぶ アートギャラリー石 121204

Nishi-Kokubunji - Trains in the Night (Rail Bridge Noises, Etc) 西国分寺 (121204)

Midnight Chuo Line Train Arriving at Nishi-Kokubunji 西国分寺夜中の中央線 (121205)

Ginza Chuo-Dori - Santa Coca-Cola Truck at Night (121204)

Ginza Side Street - Headed Towards Yurakucho (121204)

Entering Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅を入る (121204)

Yurakucho to Tokyo 有楽町から東京まで (121204)

Tokyo to Kanda (Chuo Line) 東京から神田まで (中央線) 121204

Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform Walk 新宿中央線プラットフォーム散歩 (121204)

Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho 新宿思い出横丁 (121204)

Shinjuku - Walking Under Railway Bridge (Trains Passing Overhead, Etc) 121204g

Someone asked me when this was taken - commenting that it seemed as if it were from another world.  That's basically a commentary on how modernized and rebuilt Tokyo has become - since this sort of atmosphere used to be in more places.  It's true now though, that the space under the rail bridge has a  pretty radically different atmosphere than most parts of the city.

Shinjuku West-Side Nighttime Stroll (121204)

Tokyo Station - Chuo Line to Shinkansen Area (Restaurants, Etc) 121204

Passing Countryside (Saitama) 121205

Manual Transmission Bus (Interior View From Back of Bus) 121205

I liked the sounds of this bus. Increasingly the buses have automatic transmissions, but there are still some manual transmission ones running around.  (Some bus lines use predominately one or the other.  Every time I've used this bus line before, the bus was an automatic, so I was surprised that this one was a manual.)

Late Autumn (Trees and Bird Sounds) 121205

Kawagoe Temple Grounds (Fall Colors, Bare Trees, Birds, Aircraft) 川越 (121205)

I think... I've been to this complex of old temples in Kawagoe before, but I'm not certain.  Kawagoe has a special role in the Tokyo area since it wasn't bombed in WW-II, resulting in it having just about the only pre-war wooden historical buildings (in the greater Tokyo area) that pre-date Japan's modernization.

Kawagoe - Temple on a Hill (Evening Melody) 川越 (121205)

Kawagoe Temple Lookaround (A) 川越 (Bridge to Island) 121205

Kawagoe Temple Lookaround (B) 川越 (Water, Reflections, Etc) 121205

Kawagoe Temple Lookaround (C) 川越 (360, Construction Sounds) 121205

Shinjuku to Shibuya (Shonan Shinjuku Line) 湘南新宿ライン 新宿 渋谷 (121206)

Shibuya Station - Tracks 3 and 4 Platform Walkabout 渋谷駅P3とP4の散歩 (121206)

Shibuya to Ebisu (Window View) 渋谷から恵比寿まで (121206)

Ebisu Station - Upper Exit (Walk to Hibiya Line) 恵比寿駅 (121206)

Hibiya Subway - Ebisu to Hiro (Sounds, Lights, Etc) 日比谷線 (恵比寿, 広尾) 121206

Hamamatsucho Sidewalk Stroll 浜松町駅に向かう (121206)

Keihin-Tohoku Line Train Departing Shinbashi (121206)

Shinbashi to Hamamatsucho 新橋から浜松町まで (京浜東北線) 121206

Shinbashi Plaza - Santa Train 新橋SL広場サンタの汽車 (121206)

Normally I wouldn't like this sort of thing very much, but the Santa and decorations they gave the old steam locomotive in Shinbashi's SL-Plaza turned out pretty cool.  Somehow I like the idea of Santa coming via a steam locomotive better than a sleigh....

Shinbashi December Evening Stroll (Christmas-SL) 新橋12月雰囲気 (121206)

Hamamatsucho Station Platform 浜松町駅 (山手線が遣って来る) 121206

Yurakucho Evening - Izakaya Bound Group 有楽町夜 (居酒屋に向かう人々) 121206

Yurakucho Station (Waiting for Train) 有楽町駅 (電車に来るまで待っている) 121206

1990 - Late at Night (901117)

1990 - Ikebukuro Station 池袋駅 (901117)

1990 - Bus (Ferry Terminal to Kurihama Station) フェリーから久里浜駅 (901117)

1990 - Kurihama Station Area 久里浜駅あたり (901117)

1990 - Kurihama to Shinagawa (Keikyu Line) 久里浜から品川まで (京浜急行) 901117

1990 - Shinagawa Station Interior 品川駅内 (901117)

1990 - Shinagawa to Ikebukuro 品川から池袋まで (901117)

I've been thinking that I haven't been writing enough, so I wrote some things out (by hand into a notebook) on the train system - which I'll go to now.  I was going to put this text at the top, but in reading it over, it seems pretty boring, so I'm putting it at the bottom instead.

2012/12/04 (火) [Inbound Chuo Line train.]  Realizing that I haven't been writing much of anything, I leaned back from my computer and wordlessly asked myself why.  Images of Facebook blurbs (ingoing an outgoing); walking around taking videos; and either looking out the windows of trains (or reading a magazine) came to mind.

The first verbal thought I had was "Facebook! - the early 21st century chat room!  I should stay away from there and write something coherent!"  But deeper reflection indicated that that wasn't the answer.  Time and again, I've had a powerful urge to write about something while outside, but once I'm sitting at the computer hours (or days) later, the concept seems overly grandiose and I put it on hold, where it invariably fades away.

So what's left?  Writing outside!  Direct input to a computer would be nice, but more often than not, I have to stand up (as I am now) and so writing into a small notebook - old reporter style - is the only practical way to go.

As this train speeds towards Shinjuku, another realization/memory comes to me.  Writing by hand takes time!  The extra time helps for carefully thinking about something, but when you have a lot to say, it takes so long to say it!

Train note: It's HOT!!  Just when everyone is wearing their warmest clothing - the trains are the hottest and stuffiest.  They really should lower the temperature a bit!

[Shinjuku... transfer to the Yamanote Line]  I'm finally on a train that isn't too crowded (I'm actually sitting down!) and isn't as hot as a sauna with the windows steamed up - just like a sauna!  The old trains were much nicer in that they had ventilation independent from the train's air system.  There are a few central windows that open in most of the newer trains, but as people hardly ever open them, the train cars are essentially sealed boxes, with the goldfish-like passengers at the mercy of the train's motor-driven air system.

Huh... the driver overshot the platform and had to back the train up.  That doesn't happen very often - it must be a new driver.

The English-language announcements... are seriously irritating, although they improved them a little; at least the amateurish reading/announcement recordings don't include horribly mispronounced station names, the way they used to.

Heading for Ginza - so much to report on there and so little time.  Practically speaking, video may be the only way to actually regularly do it, but artists (and most other people for the matter) don't like to be on-camera very much.

Not far from Yurakucho now... it's amazing how quickly time goes by when you're writing something!

At Yurakucho Station, sitting on a platform seat now.  So much to do - while juggling photo, video, notebook, and pen, I find myself wishing I could clone myself and have a team of three working together - one to take photos, one to take videos, and one to write.

[Inbound Chuo Line]  Back on the Chuo Line.  "Interacting with people."  The same thing happened today that typically happens when I spend several hours focusing on pictures and then re-enter the world of interacting with people verbally.  The initial contacts are awkward and then - after I've spoken with a few people, I finally get back into interaction mode and wonder why it took so long.

I used to work with a guy about ten years older than I am, and he surprised me once when he said "I don't like young people", but now I'm getting closer to the age he was when he said that, I sometimes remember those words when I meet a young person who appears to be making fun of me because I'm old.  I'm still working on figuring this one out, but in any case - I met two young people today (separately, in different locations) who were quite rude and nasty to me, and there seemed to be an age issue in the air....

[Outbound Chuo Line]  If the trains ran 24 hours a day (they don't - the entire system in 30,000,000-people Tokyo (greater area, including Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba) shuts down every night between (roughly) 12:00 midnight and 1:00 a.m.  I'd stay out a little later taking pictures, but with the (effective) curfew, it's time to either head home for the day or end up stranded in central Tokyo with about four hours to consume before going home on the first train in the morning.

[2012/12/05 (水) - Outbound Seibu Line train]
"Good to be Selfish"?  I don't actually think so, but a couple of friendly acquaintances (separately and at different times yesterday) displayed a self-interest-first side that I (thinking about it silently) couldn't really condemn (people do need to look out for themselves after all) but it also made me think "Well okay, I'll remember this and the next time there's a point where my self-interest is different from something you would prefer I do - I think I'll cold-bloodedly look out for my self-interest in the same way you are now and not worry about how that makes you feel".

Mind you, this is just regarding relatively trivial things, but still, you have to make choices, and in the gray areas that could go either way, this sort of thing influences the decision-making process.

[Outbound Tobu-Tojo Line train]
What to write about now....  Less than wanting/needing to write something, I'm stuck standing and need something to say (since I decided to write something...).

I've been told before (by a local) that perceived-of-as-rude behavior seems much worse when the perpetrator is a foreigner (keep in mind how much non-Asian faces stand out here), but I didn't think about it much - until this morning, when I watched some different race bozo unnecessarily pushing to get off the train sooner.  As I watched him, I thought, "You idiot!  What are you doing that for?  It's not going to get you off the train any sooner, and you look really rude!"

So... I guess it's true.  As an outsider, you have to be - basically (in a way) - better behaved than the locals.

But speaking of the trains and disembarking at the end of the line - people have a rather irritating habit of fanning out and all walking slowly - at the same speed!  If you're in a hurry, you can't help but wonder "Why does everyone need to walk at the same speed in parallel?", and conclude that the only way not to get stuck in the crowd is to be in front of everyone.



"Yumenoshima Greenhouse, Tonogayato Gardens, Kasairinkai-koen Park, Shin-Kiba, Etc."

There are three parks I visited this past week: The Kasairinkai-koen Park (葛西臨海公園, 1989), Yumenoshima Park (and greenhouse - 夢の島公園, 夢の島熱帯植物間), and Tonogayato Gardens (殿ヶ谷戸庭園).  Of the three, only Tonogayato Gardens could be said to be historical (the other two are built on reclaimed land).  Tonogayato Gardens dates back to 1913-15, when the garden was first constructed.  It was a privately owned garden until 1974, when Tokyo bought it and made it a public garden.  Other videos include scenes from the Keiyo Line, the Chuo Line, Shinjuku; art exhibitions in Ginza, etc.

Shin-Kiba Station (Platform Cafe Etc) 新木場駅ホームカフェなど (121127g)

Entering Yumenoshima Greenhouse 夢の島熱帯植物間を入る (121127g)

Ginza Passageway (Side Street to Chuo-Dori) 121127g

Shinjuku Station (Chuo Line and Upper Concourse) 新宿駅 (121127g)

Bus Ride in Western Tokyo 東京の西側のバスを乗る (121129g)

Entering Tonogayato Gardens 殿ヶ谷戸庭園を入る (121129)

Tonogayato Gardens (A) Autumn 殿ヶ谷戸庭園 (秋) 121129

Tonogayato Gardens (B) Autumn 殿ヶ谷戸庭園 (秋) 121129

Tonogayato Gardens (C) Autumn 殿ヶ谷戸庭園 (秋) 121129

Tonogayato Gardens (D) Autumn 殿ヶ谷戸庭園 (秋) 121129

Tonogayato Pond Reflections 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の池 (121129)

Tonogayato Gardens (A) Looking Around 殿ヶ谷戸庭園を見回る (121129)

Tonogayato Gardens (B) Looking Around 殿ヶ谷戸庭園を見回る (121129g)

Tonogayato Gardens (C) Looking Around 殿ヶ谷戸庭園を見回る (121129)

Tonogayato Gardens (D) Looking Around 殿ヶ谷戸庭園を見回る (121129g)

Tonogayato Gardens (E) Looking Around 殿ヶ谷戸庭園を見回る (121129)

Ebisu Station (JR to Hibiya Transfer) 恵比寿駅 (JRから日比谷線まで) 121129g

Tokyo Station (Busy Late Night Chuo Line Platform) 東京駅夜遅くの中央線ホーム (121129g)

Lines and Shadows at Kasairinkaikoen 葛西臨海公園での線と影 (121127g)

Kasairinkai-koen Park Bus-Train 葛西臨海公園バストレイン (121127)

Yume-no-Shima-Koen Park (Autumn) 夢の島公園 (121127)

Yumenoshima Marina and Greenhouse 夢の島マリーナと熱帯植物間 (121127)

Yumenoshima Greenhouse HD-Stroll 夢の島熱帯植物間 (121127)

Yellow Leaves in the Wind (121127)

Chuo Line Arriving at Kokubunji Station (121127)

Kanda to Tokyo (Chuo Line) 神田から東京まで (中央線) 121127

Chuo Line to Keiyo Line Transfer (Tokyo Station) 中央線から京葉線まで (121127)

Keiyo Line Departing Tokyo 東京駅から京葉線が出発 (121127)

Keiyo Line Hatchobori and Etchujima 京葉線の八丁堀駅と越中島と潮見 (121127)

Ride to Kasairinkaikoen Station (Keiyo Line Cab View) 葛西臨海公園駅まで (121127)

Kokubunji to Nakano (Chuo Line) 国分寺から中野まで (中央線) 121129

Kasairinkaikoen Station (Afternoon Platform View) 葛西臨海公園駅 (京葉線) 121127

Kasairinkaikoen Station (Inside) 葛西臨海公園駅内部 (京葉線) 121127g

Kasairinkaikoen Station (Daylight in Front of) 葛西臨海公園駅の前 121127

Kasairinkai-Koen Park Entrance 葛西臨海公園入口 (121127)

Kasairinkai-Koen Bus-Train (Umi-Go) 葛西臨海公園 (観光バスうみ号) 121127

360-View by Tokyo Bay at Kasairinkaikoen 葛西臨海公園 (東京湾の隣) 121127

Tokyo-2020 Candidate City Flags in Wind (121127)

Dry Fountain by Kasairinkaikoen Station 葛西臨海公園駅隣の空噴水 (121127)

Kasairinkaikoen to Shin-Kiba 葛西臨海公園駅から新木場駅まで (121127)

Shin-Kiba Station - Looking Out onto Platform 新木場駅店からホームを見る (121127)

Cafe in Middle of Platform (Shin-Kiba) 新木場駅店からホームの真ん中の店 (121127)

Shin-Kiba Station 新木場駅 (121127)

Truck Road (Shin-Kiba) トラック通り (新木場駅前) 121127

Blades of Grass in the Afternoon Sun 午後の公園の草 (121127)

Yumenoshima-Koen Park Stroll 夢の島公園散歩 (121127)

Yumenoshima Greenhouse (Detailed Stroll) 夢の島熱帯植物間の散歩 (121127)

Shin-Kiba (Twilight Platform View) 新木場駅 (夕方) 121127

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Front Cab View at Night) Yamanote Line (121129)

MIZU December 2012 Exhibition at Gallery Kazuki 画廊香月 (121127)

Kammer December 2012 Exhibition at Gallery Camellia ギャラリーカメリア (121129)

Kawara Akira 河原明 2012 Sculpture Exhibition at Gallery Kobo 巷房 (121129)

Art Exhibition at Ishi Gallery in December 2012 (121129)

Tokyo to Yurakucho (Side Window View) 東京から有楽町まで (121129)

Yurakucho Plaza in a Light Rain (121129)

Yurakucho to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 有楽町から東京まで (山手線) 121129

Tokyo Station at 5:00 p.m. (Yamanote Line and Station Concourse) 121129

Greenhouse Stream (Yumenoshima 夢の島熱帯植物間) 121127

Greenhouse Movie Theater (Yumenoshima 夢の島熱帯植物間) 121127

Greenhouse Cafe (Yumenoshima 夢の島熱帯植物間) 121127

Yumenoshima Greenhouse Side Entrance Stroll 夢の島熱帯植物間 (121127)

Greenhouse Late Afternoon Stroll (Yumenoshima 夢の島熱帯植物間) 121127

Subsection of Greenhouse (Yumenoshima 夢の島熱帯植物間) 121127

Yumenoshima Marina 夢の島マリーナ (貯木場) 121127

Evening Truck Road Intersection Near Shin-Kiba 新木場駅隣のトラック通り (121127g)

Entering Shin-Kiba Station (Evening 夕方の新木場駅) 121127

Twilight Sanpo on Shin-Kiba Platform 夕方の新木場駅 (121127)

Tokyo to Kanda (Chuo Line) 東京から神田まで (中央線) 121127

Ochanomizu to Yotsuya (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水から四ッ谷まで (中央線) 121127

Exiting Shinjuku Station via South Exit (121127)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅から新宿駅まで (中央線) 121129

Departing Shinjuku via Tokaido Line Train 新宿から東海道線で出発 (121129)

Tokaido Line (From Near Shinjuku to Ebisu) 東海道線 (新宿から恵比寿まで) 121129

Empty Train Passes Through Ebisu Station (121129)

Children's Play Area Beside Tokyo Tower (121129)

Shibakoen Park (Twilight) 夕方の芝公園 (121129)

Entering Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅を入る (121129)



"Hamamatsucho, Kichijoji, Ukima-Koen, Musashino Line, Midnight Takao, Etc."

This batch of videos opens with street views of Hamamatsucho, Ginza, and Kichijoji.  There are also views of Tachikawa Station; the Saikyo and Musashino lines; Ukimafunado Station (浮間舟渡駅), Ukima-Koen Park (浮間公園); nighttime Kichijoji (including the station under construction); Musashi-Urawa Station (武蔵浦和駅); a couple of Ginza art exhibitions; Takao Station (高尾駅) closing up for the night; evening in Shibakoen (芝公園); Ginza (銀座), the Chuo Line, etc.

Evening Twilight Walk to Hamamatsucho 浜松町夕方散歩 (121122g)

I'm not sure how well this concept comes through the screen if you haven't lived the situation, but there's a very positive aspect to living in a train-culture city (although vast areas of Tokyo are buried beneath car-culture bloody asphalt now, and the Godzilla construction industry wants to ruin yet more of the city by burying it under still more lifeless asphalt - never mind the future - nothing is more important than short-term profits) that you miss out on if you go straight to a car in a company parking lot after work. In Tokyo, you walk through the twilight (on the way to the nearest station) with coworkers and often end up going to an izakaya (riding the trains doesn't require driving, so your behavior is [nearly] totally free in that regard) on the way.

I remember some pleasant evening drives from my car-culture days - listening to music with the windows open - watching the road and secondarily perceiving the reflections off the hood, changing light patterns, and wind whipping through the car, etc.  There were some wonderful times on the road, but only on open (or mostly open) roads with little traffic, nice scenery, and clean air.  On the flip side of car-culture life are financial worries about needing to replace worn parts, frustration with traffic, parking woes, insurance, gasoline bills, party attending limitations, etc.  Basically, with a sparse population, cars are nice, but in cities with high-density populations, personal cars should be illegal.  They're a hazard to the future of humanity and ruin the quality of life.

Ginza Chuo-Dori Night Stroll 銀座中央通夜散歩 (121122g)

Kichijoji Izakaya Section Stroll 吉祥寺赤提灯飲み街散歩 (121120g)

There are not so many izakaya places in this section of Kichijoji, but it has a lot of atmosphere nevertheless.  The plastic curtains are kind of depressing though.  Young people seem to have become really weak to the cold.  Being slim is nice, but being so slim that you're anemic means losing the ability to self-heat and these anemic new-generation-people seem to think they'll get frostbite if the temperature is less than about 28C-degrees.

Kichijoji Station Under Construction 工事中の吉祥寺駅 (121120g)

Many (most?) of the train stations in Tokyo are integrated with buildings, typically retail-based, but also office buildings, etc., so when they tear down a building for reconstruction (the Godzilla construction industry must be continually fed), it creates some logistical issues at train stations, requiring temporary tunnels to get people through the construction zone.

A quick note about construction in Tokyo.  I suppose, on the whole, it's a good thing - giving the city its constantly new feel and keeping things from going stale, but it would probably be in the city's overall best interests to preserve some structures rather than sticking to the "everything slightly old must be destroyed!" theme that is currently employed.

Kichijoji (North Side Stroll) 吉祥寺散歩北側 (121120)

Kichijoji Shop Section Stroll 吉祥寺商店街散歩 (121120)

1990 Kanaya to Kurihama (Tokyo Bay Ferry) 金谷から久里浜まで (東京湾フェリー) 901117

This clip from 1990 comes from my trip out to the tip of the Boso Peninsula that I posted several clips from recently.  My 1990 analog video camera had an f1.8 lens, which is good, but wasn't particularly strong in low-light situations, so the image sensor probably needed a bit more light than the ones more modern cameras have.  (The lens barrel says: "10x Variable Zoom 1:1.8 f-8-80mm" - are there any other kind of zoom lenses than "variable"?  I've never heard of a "fixed zoom lens"...)  In any case, since this was taken at night out on Tokyo Bay, and the camera wasn't very good at recording in the dark, there isn't much to see other than the on-board scenes.

Bus Ride (121113)

Tachikawa Station (Evening) 夕方の立川駅 (121119)

Saikyo Line Train Departing Musashi-Urawa (121120)

Saikyo Line Train Arriving at Musashi-Urawa (121120)

Ukima-Koen Park 浮間公園 November 2012 (121120)

This is a fairly nice park out on the northern edge of Tokyo.  I bought food at a local grocery store and had a relaxed lunch here.  While sitting on a park bench having lunch, I was visited by pigeons, crows, and a mysterious cat.  It's one of those things that don't make much sense in words when you try to explain them to others later, but there was a kind of "we're-all-connected" feeling while I was sitting there - first with the cat, then the crows, and to a very small degree - with the pigeons (I'm not a great fan of pigeons).

Shimmering Water (Ukima-Koen Park) 浮間公園 (121120)

Kichijoji Side Street Lights (121120)

Passing Countryside (Double-Speed, No-Sound) 121121

Musashino Art University Outdoor Art Exhibition (KCK) 121118

This is part of an outdoor exhibition that Musashino Art University holds every year in a park not far from the university.

Kokubunji to Nishi-Kokubunji, Freight Train, Etc. (Sound Issue in First Half) 121120

This shows the ride from Kokubunji to Nishi-Kokubunji and then the transfer from the Chuo Line to the Musashino Line.  (I appear to have inadvertently been blocking the sound with the way I was holding the camera for the first part of this video, but the sound returns to normal for the last half.)

Nishi-Kokubunji Station Small Oasis Shopping, Etc. (121120)

I stumbled upon this small oasis (in the middle of the station) for the first time when taking this video.  The sharp contrast with the platform makes it seem all the nicer.  I'm not an expert on in-station shopping malls, but this one struck me as one of the nicest such spaces I've yet seen - and with its own fountain no less!

Musashino Line Front Cab View (Nishi-Kokubunji to Musashi-Urawa) 武蔵野線 (121120)

This is a fairly long clip alternately looking out the front cab and a right side window of a Musashino Line train.

Ukimafunado Station (Waiting for Train) 浮間舟渡 (121120)

Train Arriving and Departing at Ukimafunado Station (121120)

Musashi-Urawa Station 武蔵浦和駅 (Musashino and Saikyo Lines) 121120

Shinkansen Passing Musashi-Urawa (Waiting for Train) 武蔵浦和駅 (121120)

This section of the Saikyo Line runs in parallel with a Shinkansen line, so it can be a good place to watch Shinkansen trains passing.

Musashi-Urawa to Ukimafunado 武蔵浦和から浮間舟渡まで (埼京線) 121120

Side and rear cab views on a Saikyo Line train running from Musashi-Urawa to Ukimafunado.

Ukimafunado to Akabane 浮間舟渡から赤羽まで (121120)

Side and rear cab views on a Saikyo Line train running from Ukimafunado to Akabane.

Keihin-Tohoku Platform Views at Akabane Station 赤羽駅 (121120)

Takao Station 2:00 a.m. (Last Train and Station Lockup for Night) 121123

The last batch of outbound trains on the Chuo Line dead-end at Takao Station, and invariably there are several people who fell asleep on the train (one disadvantage of sitting down when you think you are lucky to get a seat!), and then wake up at the end of line - Takao - at a time at night when there are no trains running in the opposite direction, so people who can afford to throw cash at a taxi, go home that way, while people who can't afford that [cough] burn off a few hours and take the first train out in the morning (which is at 4:28 a.m. at this station).

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Yamanote Line) 121122

Ginza Art Exhibition - Gallery Murata (121122)

Group Exhibition - Ginza 1-Chome (121122)

Gallery Floor (121122)

Entering Hibiya Subway at Ebisu Station (121122)

Evening Park Look-around (Shibakoen) 芝公園 (121122)

I was just passing by when I realized I wanted to stop and contemplate where to go next, so I bought something to eat at a nearby convenience store and sat for a while in a park that was surprisingly nice, given it's near proximity to a major asphalt fire-breathing machinery pathway.  (Sometime in the future, when humanity is finally free of the curse of the internal-combustion engine, people will look back and wonder "How/why in the world did people put up with those horrible machines in the past?".)

Shibakoen Evening Tune 夕方の芝公園 (121122)

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho 浜松町から有楽町まで (夕方) 121122

Ginza Side Street Stroll 銀座横道 (121122)

Waiting for Light Near Tokyo Station (121122)

They've been working on the foundations of new buildings on the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station for many years now, so towers will probably begin arising there in the not very distant future.

Late Night Tokyo to Yurakucho, Etc. 夜の東京から有楽町まで (121122)

Late Night Yurakucho to Tokyo 夜遅く有楽町から東京まで (121122)

Waiting for Late Night Chuo Line Train (121122)

Tokyo Chuo Line Platform Late at Night (121122)

Late Night Chuo Line Train Arrives at Takao (121123)

Early Morning Takao Station (121123)

Early Morning Chuo Line Train (Waiting to Get Underway) 121123

Empty Early Morning Train Cars (Chuo Line) 121123

First Chuo Line Train of the Day Gets Underway (121123)

Looking Out on Platform While Departing Station (121120)

Omori to Yurakucho 大森から有楽町まで (121120)

Art Exhibition - Gallery Rondo 121120

Entering Tokyo Station (Yaesu Side) 121120 東京駅八重洲口

Getting In Line for a Chuo Line Train at Tokyo Station (121120)

Departing Yotsuya Station (Chuo Line) 121120



"1990 Trip to Boso Peninsula; 2012 Kokubunji, Shinbashi Book Festival, Etc."

The first batch of video clips are from November 17th, 1990 - twenty-two years ago.  All of the clips are from a single trip I took out to the tip of the Boso Peninsula.  The batch starts with an early morning view of central Tokyo and continues through several train rides out to the end of the peninsula, and then ends after taking more trains to Kanaya, where I board a ferry to ride across Tokyo Bay to Kurihama in Kanagawa.

In 2012 I stumble upon the annual used book fair held in SL Plaza in front of Shinbashi Station.  In years past I've bought some great reference books at good prices at this festival, but I have so little space in my apartment now that I'm reluctant to buy books these days, unless I think I really need to read them or have them as reference material.  Of course, the Internet is what enables avoiding buying books, since there is so much material available to read on-line.

Incidentally - recently Shinbashi is often being spelled "Shimbashi", but I strongly feel that's a mistake, since "ん" in Japanese most closely corresponds with "n" in English.  The theory is that the pronunciation changes to "m" when "ん" precedes certain sounds, but it sure doesn't sound that way to me, so I'm sticking with what I feel is the correct way to write (and pronounce) the name: "Shinbashi" - [新橋 しんばし shi-n-ba-shi].

1990 Sobu Line - Ochanomizu to Kinshicho 御茶ノ水から錦糸町まで (901117)

1990 Kinshicho to Tsudanuma 錦糸町から津田沼まで (901117)

1990 Tsudanuma Morning Rush 津田沼朝のラッシュ (901117)

This was taken around 7:30 a.m. - and so the people running to catch the train are likely aiming for getting to Tokyo offices before 9:00 a.m.  This video reminds me of the phrase the railways used a lot at the time urging people not to run for the trains: 駆け込み乗車を止めましょう (Kakekomi-josha-o-yamemasho) which is composed of 1) run to board a train, 2) stop/cease/not, and 3) let's.  This could be translated in various ways, but I think a fairly close English equivalent-meaning sentence would basically be: "Don't run for the trains!", although that's a bit more direct than "Let's not run for the trains" which is closer (as a "direct" translation) to the Japanese original, although unnatural in English.

Always remember - when you read the popular lie "a direct translation" - that there is very nearly no such thing as a direct translation, just varying degrees between slavishly following word order and word-by-word (attempted) equivalences on the one hand, and aiming for the same end result/impression/image with free use of whatever words on the other.  Both have their advantages and problems.  (Once in a while there is something that can be directly translated, but that's usually just nouns.)

1990 Tsudanuma to Chiba 津田沼から千葉まで (901117)

1990 Chiba Station (Morning) 朝の千葉駅 (901117)

This is both further away from Tokyo and later in the morning - beyond the point where people would be able to get to Tokyo offices by 9:00 a.m., so it's a bit more relaxed than the 7:30 a.m. scene at Tsudanuma was.

1990 Chiba to Awakamogawa 千葉から安房鴨川まで (901117)

This reminds me of the pleasures of travel by rail in Japan before - on trains with windows that properly opened, rails in short sections that made the traditional clack-clack - clack-clack-clack sounds, passenger-controlled ceiling air vents, and booth seats.  When you went out into the countryside on a train that wasn't crowded, it was a really pleasant ride.

1990 Awakamogawa in Chiba 千葉の安房鴨川 (房総半島) 901117

I exited the station at this stop and walked around the town a bit, taking videos.  Watching it now, it looks like a different era - which it was, but it looks like it was from some distant time in the past - long-long-ago, etc.  Change comes to large cities first, and so I guess this really is from the past in more ways than simply being from twenty-two years ago....

1990 Awakamogawa to Hamakanaya 安房鴨川から浜金谷まで (房総半島) 901117

1990 Kanaya Walkabout 金谷散歩 (901117)

1990 Nokogiriyama Cable-car (Up) 鋸山ロープウェイ (上) 901117

1990 Nokogiriyama Walkabout 鋸山散歩 (901117)

1990 Kanaya at Night 夜の金谷 (901117)

1990 Boarding Tokyo Bay Ferry 夜で東京湾フェリーを乗る (901117)

Kokubunji Night Streets (A) 121112

Kokubunji Night Streets (B) 121112

Kokubunji Night Streets (C) 121112

Kokubunji Night Streets (D) 121112

Yamanote Line Train Leaving Shinbashi (Book Festival) 121115

Shinbashi Used Book Festival (A) 新橋古本まつり (新橋SL広場) 121115

Shinbashi Used Book Festival (B) 新橋古本まつり (新橋SL広場) 121115

Shinbashi Used Book Festival (C) 新橋古本まつり (新橋SL広場) 121115

Shinbashi to Yurakucho (Twilight) 夕方新橋から有楽町まで (121115)

Between Ginza and Yurakucho (Twilight) 121115

Gallery Ginza-One November Exhibition (121115)

Evening Ginza Side Street Stroll (121115)



"Yurakucho Trains, Hamamatsucho, Nakano, Nishi-Ogikubo, Kawagoe (HD), Etc."

This batch of clips gets started with a look at a train typhoon in Yurakucho - with the trains running in close frequency mode, but before the evening rush really got going, so they're not very crowded.  There are also views of Hamamatsucho, Kokubunji, Nakano, Nishi-Ogikubo, Ginza, Shinjuku, etc.

Yurakucho (Pre-Rush Train Typhoon) ラッシュ前の電車台風 (121108)

Yurakucho Station Platform Walk 有楽町駅散歩 (121108)

Hamamatsucho Station (121108)

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Twilight Skyline) 浜松町から有楽町まで (121108)

Yurakucho (Under Bridge Sights and Sounds) 121108

Old all-steel bridges like the one in this video make a kind of symphony of industrial noises that bring to mind decades of industry and the history of technology and infrastructure.

Entering Kawagoe-shi Station 川越市駅 (121107) Tobu-Tojo Line

Tobu Tojo Line (Side Window View in Saitama) 121107

Quick Saitama Countryside View (121107)

Birds Singing in Saitama Woods (121107)

This is more about the soundtrack than the visual images - but it shows a radical contrast with the typical Tokyo city scenes I record.

Kokubunji (Short Night Stroll) 国分寺夜の散歩 (121107)

Walking on Concourse in Tokyo Station (Short Stroll) 東京駅 (121106)

Nakano Izakaya Back Streets (121106)

Nakano Station 中野駅 Ticket Gates to Platform (121106)

Exiting Shinjuku Station South Exit (121106)

Misty Night (Shinjuku South Exit Bus Terminal Construction) 121106

Shinjuku Late Night Platform Walk (Chuo Line) 夜の新宿駅 (121106)

Nishi-Ogikubo Station 西荻窪駅 Night View (121106)

Nishi-Ogikubo Izakaya Alley 西荻窪居酒屋道 (121106)

One of the increasingly rare time-slip izakaya zones in Tokyo.

Kanda to Yurakucho 神田から有楽町まで (121106)

Nighttime Ginza Chuo-Dori (In and Out of Focus) 121108

Nighttime Ginza 4-Chome (In and Out of Focus) 121108

Entering Yurakucho Station (In and Out of Focus) 121108

Asphalt Without the Cars (Festival) 121020

With the fire-breathing engined machines blocked for a festival, you get a sense of a vast amount of land buried under asphalt as you look off towards the horizon and the asphalt goes on and on and on....

Kawagoe Matsuri (Street Full of People) 121020

Kawagoe Matsuri by Hon-Kawagoe Station (121020)

Kawagoe Matsuri Food Stalls (Early in the Day) 121020

Kawagoe Matsuri (Afternoon Crowds) 121020

Kawagoe Matsuri (Old Section of Town) 121020

Tokyo Tower Children's Play Area (121108)

Yurakucho-SB - Autumn 2012 - (121108)

Yurakucho-SB - November 8th, 2012 - (121108)

Ginza Stroll (Fire Drill Maybe) 銀座 (121108)

I'm not sure what was going on, but I presume it was some kind of drill.



"Nishi-Oi, Osaki, Shinbashi, Ukimafunado, Kita-Akabane, Hamamatsucho, Etc."

Among typical train views from various lines in Tokyo, I visited a few stations on the Saikyo Line out in Kita-ku (Ukimafunado, Kita-Akabane, etc.), as well as (in the opposite direction) Nishi-Oi on the Yokosuka Line.  From Nishi-Oi, I was originally intending to take a Yokosuka Line train up to Shinagawa Station, but mistakenly got on a Shonan-Shinjuku Line train and so got off in Osaki instead.  In central Tokyo are walking street views of Hamamatsucho and Shinbashi, etc.

Arriving at Tokyo Station (Afternoon Chuo Line) 121030

Chuo to Yokosuka (Express Interior) Tokyo Station (121030)

Tunnel Trip (Tokyo to Shinagawa) Yokosuka Line (121030)

Ride to Nishi-Oi (Yokosuka Line) Outbound (121030)

Nishi-Oi Station (Afternoon) 121030 西大井

Nishi-Oi Walkabout (Afternoon) 121030 西大井散歩

Nishi-Oi Empty Platform Walk (Boarding Inbound Shonan-Shinjuku Line) 121030

Nishi-Oi to Osaki (Inbound Shonan-Shinjuku Line) 121030

Osaki Station (Platform to Exit Gates) 121030

Osaki Station to Gate City Osaki Building (Outside Plaza Poplar Trees) 121030

Osaki Gate-City-Osaki Indoor Plaza at Lunchtime (121030)

Osaki Gate City Building (Indoor Plaza Walkabout) 121030

Osaki Gate City Building (Garden Stroll, Bird Sounds, Etc) 121030

Exiting Osaki Gate City Building (121030)

Elevated Plaza by Osaki Station at Lunch (121030)

Osaki Station Northeast Entrance (Elevated Plaza to Platform) 121030

Osaki to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line, Afternoon) 121030

Yurakucho Plaza (Shochu Exhibition and Sampling (121030)

Walking into Ginza (121030)

Kyobashi Art Exhibition (121030)

GOBP-306 Installation (A) 121030

GOBP-306 Installation (B) 121030

Walking to Tokyo Station via Underground Mall (121030)

Silver Bell Waiting Area in Tokyo Station (121030)

Shinjuku Evening Chuo Line Platform (121030)

Entering Nishi-Shinjuku (Evening) 121030

Nishi-Shinjuku Sanpo 淀橋散歩 (121030)

Chuo Line Platform Walk, Shinjuku (Late Night) 121030

Inside Outbound Chuo Line Train (Late Night) 121030

Cab-to-Cab Inside Connecting Hallway, Tobu Line Train (Old Type) 121031

Kokubunji to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 121101

Oji to Otsuka via Streetcar (121101)

Boarding Midnight Chuo Line Train in Tachikawa (121102)

Entering Otsuka Station (121101)

Yamanote Line Platform Walk (Shinjuku Afternoon) 121101

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Yamanote Line, Left Side) 121101

Yamanote to Hibiya Transfer at Ebisu (121101)

Open Air Tourist Bus Drives By (121101)

Zojoji Temple (Quick 360) 増上寺 (121101)

Twilight Parking Lot and Hamamatsucho Street Scenes (121101g)

Twilight Trains at Hamamatsucho Station (121101g) 浜松町夕方電車

Entering Hamamatsucho Station (Evening) 121101g 夕方浜松町駅

Walking Towards Hamamatsucho (Twilight) 121101 浜松町

Hamamatsucho to Shinbashi (Twilight) 121101 浜松町から新橋まで

Exiting Shinbashi Station (Shinbashi Plaza Event) 121101 新橋駅

New-Shinbashi-Building (A) ニュー新橋ビル内 (121101)

New-Shinbashi-Building (B) ニュー新橋ビル内 (121101)

Shinbashi Streets (Evening) 121101g 新橋夕方道

Shinbashi - Under the Tracks, Etc (121101) 新橋ガード下など

Shinbashi Rail Bridge Near Station (121101)

Edge of Ginza Near Tracks (Restaurants Just Before 6:00 p.m. (121101)

Edge of Ginza Early Evening Restaurant Stroll (121101)

Ginza Chuo-Dori Evening Stroll (121101) 銀座夕方中央通散歩

Edge of Kyobashi (Headed for Tokyo Station) 121101

Kita-Akabane Platform Walk and Ride to Akabane (121101)

Akabane Station Keihin-Tohoku to Saikyo (121101) 赤羽駅京浜東北線と埼京線

Night Train to Ukimafunado 浮間舟渡 埼京線 (121101)

Ukimafunado Station at Night 夜の浮間舟渡駅 埼京線 (121101)

Evening Supermarket Stroll (121101)

Ukimafunado Station Area (B) 浮間舟渡駅あたり (121101)

Ukimafunado Station Area (A) 浮間舟渡駅あたり (121101)

Ukimafunado to Kita-Akabane 浮間舟渡から北赤羽まで (121101)

Kita-Akabane Station 北赤羽駅 (121101)

Kita-Akabane Station Area (A) 121101

Kita-Akabane Station Area (B) 121101

Entering Kita-Akabane Station at Night (121101)



"Asakusabashi, Ryogoku, Koiwa, Shin-Koiwa, Kameido, Kinshicho, Hirai, Etc."

For this batch of video streams, I focused on the Sobu Line (総武線) stopping at several stations east of Akihabara, from Ryogoku to Koiwa (the last station in Tokyo before crossing over into Chiba).  Two days are involved - the first showing Ryogoku and Koiwa in the afternoon, and the next showing Shinbashi in the early evening (including the twilight zone of the day), and then several nighttime walk-around views out in Koiwa, Shin-Koiwa, Hirai, Kameido, Kinshicho, Etc.  I've written some comments by the individual videos below, but mostly I'm leaving the video titles to speak for themselves.

Ogawa to Higashi-Murayama (121020)

Out on the Seibu Line.

Akihabara to Yurakucho (Afternoon) 121023

Ginza, Walking Towards 4-Chome Intersection (Noisy Truck) 121023

The noisy beep-beep-beep noise is tied in with the truck's turn signal - the idea being that it's safer to blast the air waves with irritating sound every time it turns so people don't get run over... which might be a good idea, but it seems to me it might be a good idea (in the interest of not overly disturbing the sound mix of the area) to turn the turn signal off while sitting there waiting for the light to turn green.

Edge of Ginza at Night (121023)

Kyobashi Construction at Night (121023)

This construction is probably tied in with the high-rise 180-degrees behind the camera angle (not visible in the video).  Since a subway line runs under the street there, they're probably doing the connecting construction that will tie the subway in with the B1 level of the building (easy access to the building when the weather is bad, etc.).

Tokyo to Yurakucho (At Night) 121023

Yurakucho to Tokyo (At Night) 121023

Tobu Line Two-Cab Junction (121024)

Often long trains that split into two parts for branch lines further down the line have cabs in the middle of the train, where the split takes place.  Also, there are some long trains (10-15 cars) that appear to end up with cabs in the middle just because that was the type of train car available when they made up the train.  In any case, generally a pair of cabs in the  middle of the train forms an internal barrier so you can't walk through the train past that point, but the Tobu-Tojo Line has (some?/all?) trains in which an internal passageway can be formed that leads through the two cabs.  This video shows that type of passageway.

Tobu Line Afternoon Window View (121024)

Tokyo to Asakusabashi (Daytime) 121023

Main Street 360 Near Asakusabashi Station (121023)

Asakusabashi Subway Entrance (Street Level) 121023

Shrine in Asakusabashi (121023)

Side Street Walkabout Asakusabashi (121023)

Asakusabashi to Ryogoku (121023)

Ryogoku Station (Exiting South Side) 121023

Ryogoku Walkabout, South Side, 3-Chome (Afternoon) 121023

Ryogoku, Inside of Old Station Building (Quick Look) 121023

Ryogoku Station Entrance (Early Afternoon) 121023

Ryogoku to Koiwa (Daytime) 121023

Exiting Koiwa Station (Afternoon) 121023

Koiwa, South Side Walkabout (Afternoon Izakaya Street) 121023

Koiwa Side Street (Early Afternoon) 121023

Koiwa to Akihabara (Front Cab View) Afternoon (121023)

Ryogoku - Front of Old Station Building (121023g)

Kameido to Kinshicho (Sobu Line) 総武線亀戸から錦糸町 (121025)

Exiting Kinshicho Station (North Side) 錦糸町駅 (121025)

Kinshicho Station Plazas (North and South Sides) 錦糸町駅広場 (121025)

Kinshicho to Ryogoku (Nighttime Sobu Line) 錦糸町から両国まで (121025)

Asakusabashi to Akihabara (Late Night Train) 浅草橋から秋葉原まで (121025)

Akihabara to Kanda (Kanda Under Construction) 秋葉原から神田まで (121025)

Kanda Station Platform (Late at Night) 夜の神田駅 (121025)

Twilight Shinbashi SL Plaza (October) 新橋駅 (121025)

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Afternoon Saikyo Line) 新宿から恵比寿まで (121025)

Entering Hibiya Line (Ebisu Station) 日比谷線の恵比寿駅 (121025)

I considered titling this "JR to Hibiya Line Transfer" but the video only begins already halfway to the Hibiya Line and so only shows the exit area of the JR part of the station.  The subway entrance area was under construction for some time - I think this is the first I've seen it since it was extensively renovated.

Ebisu to Hiro (Hibiya Line) Window Reflections 恵比寿から広尾まで (121025)

Looking out a side window while the subway train runs through its tunnel, there's not much to see of course, but I think it's important to record some clips like this to get the *sound* of the train recorded.  Much of the ambiance of places is provided by the sounds there, and they often change a lot with time.

Small Shrine in Central Tokyo (121025)

Construction Groundwork in Shinbashi 新橋 (121025)

Shinbashi Evening Side Street Stroll 新橋夕方散歩 (121025)

Shinbashi Izakaya Side Street (Early Evening) 新橋居酒屋 (121025)

Twilight Shinbashi Streets (Izakaya Etc) 新橋居酒屋 (121025)

Shinbashi (Twilight Sidewalks Izakaya Etc) 新橋居酒屋 (121025)

Shinbashi to Yurakucho 新橋から有楽町まで (121025)

Tokyo to Akihabara (Window Reflections) 東京から秋葉原まで (121025)

Akihabara Station (Early Evening Rush - Platform Walk Etc) 秋葉原駅 (121025)

Akihabara to Ryogoku (and Departing Ryogoku) 秋葉原から両国 (121025)

Departing Kinshicho (Towards Kameido via Sobu Line) 錦糸町総武線 (121025)

Koiwa (North Side Sanpo) 小岩駅北側散歩 (121025)

Nishi-Koiwa Side Street (North Exit) 西小岩北側 (121025)

Koiwa Izakaya Street (Evening) 小岩夕方居酒屋道 (121025)

Koiwa Quiet Evening Sun Road Shotengai 小岩サンロード商店街 (121025)

Koiwa South Side Walkabout (Night) 小岩南側夜散歩 (121025)

Koiwa Station (Both Sides of Ticket Gates) 小岩駅 (121025)

The purpose of this video was to show Koiwa Station during the evening rush, so I walked around inside the station a bit - showing both the inside and outside of the ticket gates.

Koiwa to Shin-Koiwa (Sobu Line) 総武線の小岩から新小岩まで (121025)

Shin-Koiwa Platform to Blue Light Passageway (Nishi-Shinkoiwa) 121025

Nishi-Shinkoiwa Walkabout (at Night) 西新小岩散歩 (121025)

Shin-Koiwa Station Walkabout 新小岩駅 (121025)

Shin-Koiwa Shotengai Stroll 新小岩商店街散歩 (121025)

Mostly Quiet Street Under the Moon 月の下 (121025)

Entering Shin-Koiwa Station 新小岩駅 (121025)

Shin-Koiwa to Hirai (Night) ETS-Button 新小岩から平井まで (121025)

Towards the end of this video, you can hear the emergency buzzer going off (which I have named "ETS" for "Emergency Train Stop" - I'm not sure what the official name is... maybe the same?).  I watched a train come in (recorded in this video) and was about to head down to the exit gates when I noticed the buzzer had gone off, so I turned around to see what was happening.  It turned out (not exactly recorded in the video, although you can hear the voices a little) that two women were accusing an obviously drunk man of having done something wrong on the train.  I figured it would be rude/wrong to stand and watch, so I resumed my original course for the exit gates as the drama was still underway.

Hirai Late Night Walkabout (Lonely Shotengai) 平井夜の商店街 (121025)

Lonely Streets in Hirai (Moon Through Clouds) 平井 (121025)

Hirai Night Stroll 平井の夜散歩 (121025)

Entering Hirai Station (South Entrance) 平井駅南口 (121025)

Exiting Kameido Station 亀戸駅 (121025)

Kameido Side Street off Main Street 亀戸 (121025)

Kameido Izakaya Side Streets (North Side) 亀戸北側居酒屋道 (121025)

Kameido Late Night Shotengai 亀戸 (121025)

Kameido (Walking Towards Station) 亀戸 (121025)

Kameido Izakaya Street (South Side) 亀戸南側居酒屋 (121025)

Kameido Main Street Intersection 亀戸大通 (121025)

Elevated Train Passes Main Street (Kameido Sounds) 亀戸電車の音 (121025)

There's nothing particularly unique about the individual elements of this video, but I think it captures fairly well a certain feeling/atmosphere of life in Tokyo.  Life here is tied in with the train system, and after finishing work and/or leaving a restaurant/izakaya in the evening, these are the typical sights and sounds you tend to see and hear while walking to the station to head for home for the day.  (Reviewing this video again after writing that, I should say that what I particularly had in mind was the last third of the video, in which I walk under the rail bridge while heading for the station entrance.)

Tagami Masakatsu (October 2012) Exhibition at Gallery Kazuki (画廊香月) - 121023



"Kawagoe Matsuri 川越まつり- 2012"

This whole batch is of my visit this year to the Kawagoe Matsuri (川越まつり).  The video clips are arranged in chronological order, so if you watch them that way (from one to twenty-six), you can get some idea of the progression of the event over several hours.  I got there in the afternoon and left not long after darkness fell.  I considered staying a little later, but a lot of new people were pouring into the event for the after dark segment and it was getting to the point where you couldn't move about very freely.

When there are very few people at a festival, it feels lonely and neglected, and then, as more people arrive, it gets livelier and more interesting (a feeling that gets stronger with more people still), but when it gets to the point where you can't freely navigate around the event, it becomes less fun and a feeling of wanting to be free of the crowds sets in.  It was basically at that point that I headed for the station and took a train towards home.

When I arrived in Kawagoe for the festival, the first thing I did was get some food at a couple of the many food stalls set up for the event, and then I began walking around - exploring the different streets, watching the traditional floats and listening to the live music played from people on each float.

I think my favorite aspect to the event is that they close off several blocks of the city to all motor vehicles, and people on foot take over the streets.  Were that this was the constant state of cities the world over!  I understand how important cars are out in the countryside, but in the city, they're a curse.  (Incidentally, I don't think the degree to which Japan has become a car culture is fully understood outside Japan.  While Tokyo simply would not function without mass transit, it's a point of pride with many people in the countryside to never set foot on any kind of public transportation.)

Kawagoe Matsuri (A) Food Stalls by Hon-Kawagoe Station (121020) 川越まつり 01

Early Afternoon Food Stalls (121020) 川越まつり 02

Food Stall Stroll (Early Afternoon) 121020 川越まつり 03

Return Walk (by Food Stalls) 121020 川越まつり 04

Kawagoe Matsuri (B) Entering Main Festival Area (121020) 川越まつり 05

Kawagoe Matsuri (C) Festival Walkabout (121020) 川越まつり 06

Kawagoe Matsuri (D) Temple Food Stalls, Etc. (121020) 川越まつり 07

Kawagoe Matsuri (E) Side Street (121020) 川越まつり 08

Kawagoe Matsuri (F) Middle of the Road (121020) 川越まつり 09

Kawagoe Matsuri (G) Side Street Temple, Etc. (121020) 川越まつり 10

Float Parade (Walking with Float) Kawagoe Matsuri (121020) 川越まつり 11

Back and Front Sides of Float (121020) 川越まつり 12

Watching Festival Floats (Kawagoe Matsuri) 121020 川越まつり 13

Float and Side Street (Kawagoe Matsuri) 121020 川越まつり 14

Float Passes Down Side Street (Kawagoe Matsuri) 121020 川越まつり 15

Kawagoe Matsuri (H) Candy Area (121020) 川越まつり 16

Kawagoe Matsuri (G) Float, Crowds, Etc. (121020g) 川越まつり 17

Old Kawagoe Festival Time (121020) 川越まつり 18

People Walking by (in Old Kawagoe) 121020 川越まつり 19

Kawagoe Matsuri (H) Evening Calm (121020) 川越まつり 20

Twilight at Kawagoe Matsuri (121020) 川越まつり 21

Twilight Illuminated Floats (Kawagoe Matsuri) 121020 川越まつり 22

Twilight Crowds at Kawagoe Matsuri (121020) 川越まつり 23

Kawagoe Matsuri (I) Walking Towards Station (121020) 川越まつり 24

Kawagoe Matsuri (J) at Night (121020) 川越まつり 25

Kawagoe (Walking to Station Through Festival Crowds) 121020 川越まつり 26

Hon-Kawagoe to Minami-Otsuka at Night (Seibu Line) 121020



"Mikawashima, Kanamachi, Toneri Line, Shibuya, Tokorozawa, Etc."

Part of this batch overlaps a previous batch (in location content that is, there are no verbatim repeats), due to pulling some video clips from a secondary camera that I use on and off and only vacuum the images out of from time-to-time.

New material this time is primarily from the Joban Line, and (confusingly) there are a couple of revisits to places (Kawagoe, Nippori, and the Toneri Line) to take additional picture-streams.

In Kawagoe, I recorded the candy section of the old town (that I missed before) as well as a couple of typical street views.  The old section of Kawagoe is a bit different from anything I know of in Tokyo, so it's always interesting to wander around a little there when I'm in the area.

At Nippori Station, I recorded an old section of the station that probably won't be there for long (they're leaving it unpainted and rusting, so I presume they have plans to demolish it before long).  Previous generations of train station design in Japan (with some notable exceptions, like Tokyo Station) have been heavily pragmatic in both design and material use (reuse of old railway rails for I-beams, function over form, etc.), so you wouldn't call most of the old designs elegant, but there was (and still is, although in rapidly decreasing numbers) something quite likable about the straightforward honesty of the old designs.  Beams out in the open (not hidden in the walls), steel and wood construction, and open-air layouts (so you feel a part of the city while standing on an open platform waiting for a train - instead of claustrophobic in an enclosed space).

(And not specifically related to station design, but an unfortunate part of the times - are the infernal sound recordings that torment people with exactly the same bloody recordings over-and-over-and-over again, day-after-day-after-day, week-after-week-after-week, month-after-month-after-month, year-after-year-after-year.  They used to have real, live, human beings make the announcements - imagine that.)

Also in this batch are a couple of videos showing the entire route of the Toneri Line ("Nippori-Toneri Liner - 日暮里舎人ライナー"), from Nippori to Minumadai-Shinsui-Koen Station (見沼代親水公園駅), where I got off and wandered around a little, and then used the same line to return to Nippori.  On the trip out I rode in the front, and on the return trip, I rode in the back.  I would have ridden in the front on the way back, but there were several people crowded into the front section (popular with children, camera geeks and weird foreigners [cough-cough].

Walking Towards Kanamachi Station (121016)

Walking towards Kanamachi Station in the afternoon.

Front Cab View (Chiyoda Subway Train on Joban Line) 121016

This type of train is getting old and they've begun replacing it with a newer type.  It's basically a Chiyoda Line train, but since the Chiyoda Line connects seamlessly with the Joban Line on one end, and the Odakyu Line on the other, you regularly see trains from one railway running on the tracks of another in a kind of exchange operation.

Tokyo to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 121016

The advantage to standing by the door on an inner city train ride, is you get a window to look directly out of (in contrast to sitting with your back to the windows and having to look through the train and everyone in it for glimpses of the outside world through the windows on the far side of the train).

Nippori to Mikawashima (Joban Line) 121016

Mikawashima (三河島駅) is the next stop out from Nippori on the Joban Line.

Mikawashima Platform (Joban Line) 121016

Looking Through Advertising Flags (121016)

Taken on a shotengai shopping street not far from Mikawashima Station.

Mikawashima to Matsudo (Joban Line) 三河島駅から松戸駅まで (121016)

A fairly long ride on the Joban Line - looking out the side windows at the scenery going by.  As it's an elevated line, there's a pretty good view of the area of the city it passes through.  This is one of the most attractive aspects of train travel - having a view of the world smoothly flowing by outside the windows.

Nippori to Yurakucho (Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku) 121016

From the Yamanote Line to the Keihin-Tohoku Line and then back to the Yamanote Line.  The idea was to jump ahead via the Keihin-Tohoku Line (since it stops at limited stops in the daytime) but since I ended up back on the very same Yamanote Line train that the Keihin-Tohoku Line passes in the clip, the exercise of changing trains had amusement value only (change of scenery) and provided no time savings.

The interesting thing for me - with the camera rolling - was getting on the very back of the Yamanote Line train, riding a few stops, and then walking across the platform at Ueno to get on the back of the Keihin-Tohoku Line train, passing the 11-car Yamanote Line train (the one I had just gotten off of), and - at Tokyo Station - watching the full length of the same Yamanote Line train come into the station and getting back on (at the end of the train) where I had been in the first place.

So - visually - it was definitely worth transferring twice to get back to the same spot on the same train!  (In case that's confusing, keep in mind that the section of the railways I was on has the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tohoku Line running in parallel and stopping on opposite sides of the same platform.)

Old Shop in Kawagoe (121017)

Looking at one of the shops in the old section of Kawagoe.

Old Park-A - Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Garden 旧芝離宮恩賜庭園 (121009)

Water Reflections-A (121009)

Water Reflections-B (121009)

Old Park-B - Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Garden 旧芝離宮恩賜庭園 (121009)

The four clips above were all taken in Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Garden 旧芝離宮恩賜庭園 - which turned out to be quite a nice traditional garden to wander around in (as I mentioned in another post with different video from the same visit there).

Old Kawagoe Bell (Mechanized) 121017

This bell tower is one of the symbols of old Kawagoe.  Looking it up, I see it's called 時の鐘 (Toki-no-kane) which the Wikipedia article I'm referencing translates as "The Bell of Time" but that seems wrong to me... wouldn't just "The Time Bell" be better?  "Toki" is time, "kane" is bell, and "no" connects them, so a sort-of-direct translation (actually direct translations are usually impossible) would be "Time's Bell" which is weird, so "The Time Bell" as in "The bell that chimes out the time"?  In any case, "The Bell of Time" conjures up images of "All Time" and I don't think that's the idea in Japanese.  Doing a more non-literal translation, something like "The Time Bell Tower" might not be bad?  (The three-story tower is specifically for that bell, and nothing else, after all.)

Anyway!  What I actually wanted to say about the bell in its three-story tower (can "tower" refer to a narrow three-story structure? - at the time it was built, the surrounding buildings were only two-stories high...), is that it's a traditional type old temple bell, with a log-sized hanging piece of lumber to ring it.  So - I expected some soul to climb up in the tower to swing it against the bell in order to ring it.  I was then rather disappointed to hear whirring noises and see the lumber moving jerkily and slowly backwards (via machinery, with no human form present), from where it was released to swing forward and hit the bell.  Functionally, it works great.  The force the old bell is rung with is predetermined and it's run off a timer so no one has to do anything but supply the tower with electricity for the ringing mechanism and its internal clock.  But... it would have been much more interesting and... authentic(?) if a real live human being had rung it.

Having just ridden on the fully computer-driven Toneri Line, and then watching the machine-driven old bell, I'm beginning to feel lonely or something.  "Lonely" may seem like an inappropriate word to use here, but I can't think of a better word (not at the moment in any case) to describe the feeling of having machines doing *everything*.  I would never want to return to the pre-motor days of no machines and people having to do everything, but I think I would like for there to be at least one human being in charge of each train.  It seems like the science fiction tales of humans designing robots so good that the robots are independent, and ultimately decide to get rid of pesky humans at some point could actually happen - at least that's how it feels when you enter a station with no people running it in sight, and then board a train with no human driver, and ride along to another stop - all handled by computerized machinery, with no human intervention.

Group Watching and Listening to Kawagoe Bell Tolling (121017)

Another angle to the old bell being rung.

Old Kawagoe Main Street (121017)

Shibuya - View from Shibuya-Hikarie (121011)

After watching - for many years - construction on this building, it's interesting to go inside and see the views from the completed building.  From what I've seen of the building, it's pretty nice.

Matsudo Station 松戸駅 (121016)

Matsudo to Kanamachi (121016)

Bicycle Parking by Kanamachi Station (121016)

A looonnng row of bicycles next to Kanamachi Station.

Joban to Yamanote Transfer (Nippori Station) 121016

Walking from the Joban Line area of Nippori Station over to the Yamanote Line (and Keihin-Tohoku Line) side.

Gallery Ginza-One (Exhibition Opening Party) 121016

At the (one-day late) opening party for the October 2012 group exhibition at Gallery Ginza-One.

Evening Platform (Shinjuku Chuo Line) 121016

Inside an Evening Outbound Chuo Line Train (121016)

Preparation for Festival in Kawagoe (121017)

This was taken on October 17th, when preparations were well under way for a big festival to be held in Kawagoe on Saturday and Sunday (October 20th and 21st).

Overgrown House and Well (Kawagoe) 121017

This house appears to have gone to ruin.  It seems like a waste.  If it had been maintained, it seems like it could have been an interesting place to live - and with its own well no less.  I later tried walking around to the other side of the house, but there's no access to any side of it!  From seeing that, presumably one of the houses blocking access owns the property?  It's hard to figure out.  In any case, it's in such an advanced state of ruin, it would be extremely difficult (and expensive) to fix it up now probably.

Kanda to Nippori (Yamanote Line) 121016

Nippori Station (Old Section) 121016

Steel and Wood (Nippori Station) 121016

This side of Nippori Station is all that's left of the older version of the station.  New is nice, I guess, but there's something quite familiar feeling and appreciated about this older part - built of steel and wood.  It would be nice if they could preserve this part.  The combination of older things like this together with squeaky-new things enhances things in both directions.  The new enhances/highlights the old historic design, and the old accentuates the newness of the new.

Nippori Station (Newer Section) JR to Keisei Transfer Point (121016)

It used to be that the only speedy rail service to Narita Airport was via the Keisei Line's "Skyliner" reserved seat express train, but then JR set up the Narita Express trains and they ended up with a lot of competition.  Back in the eighties, Keisei advertised the Skyliner as taking only 60 minutes from Ueno to Narita (or was it from Nippori?, and was the figure 59 minutes?).  Now they're advertising 41 minutes from Ueno (and 36 minutes from Nippori).  As I remember the train when I used it back then, the tracks were pretty rough and they couldn't run trains very fast on them.  There's been a lot of construction since then, so the rails are presumably much improved now and the trains more advanced as well.

Wait a second... there's "Skyliner" on the Keisei Line, and then there's the badly named "Nippori-Toneri Liner" also leaving from Nippori (and we knew that without "Nippori" being enshrined in the name).  Suddenly I think I see the whole picture.  Someone probably thought "Gee, the Keisei Skyliner is a cool name!  And this new line we're opening begins from one of the same stations that the Skyliner uses... let's call the new line the 'Nippori-Toneri Liner'!".

Oh boy.  Where to begin with explaining all that's wrong with this picture?  First off, just ripping off "[Something]-Liner" is bad all on its own due to mindless copying being evil.  And then there's the history of transportation machinery using the name "liner", as in "ocean liner" and "airliner".  The image was one of speed, and in the case of the Keisei Line "Skyliner" train - it was a pretty good name to pick for the train, as it was fast (faster than the local trains at any rate), and was primarily for people going to Narita Airport to get on airplanes.  Skyliner - yeah, I'd say they named that one pretty well - certainly the Japanese version of the name, スカイライナー (which is the Japanese phonetic version of the English-based name) has a nice ring to it.

Now, as for the *meaning* of "liner":  "a ship or airplane operated by a transportation or conveyance company" - it's obviously used for the transportation device itself, not the route or company, which is a line.  So naming the *line* the "Nippori-Toneri Liner" is... may I say offensive?  And there's more....

It's not absolute, but since "liner" conjures an image of speed for many people ("ocean liner", "jet liner", etc.), is the Toneri Line fast?  Well it's faster than a bus caught in a traffic jam for sure, but what it is essentially, is a slow-moving train with wheels wearing rubber tires - sort of a bus train, if you will.

So, putting everything together, the name "Nippori-Toneri Liner" is grammatically wrong, too long, misleading, unoriginal, rude (to the Keisei Railway company), and basically offensive to anyone with good sense.  Considering how very badly it was named, there have just got to be politicians involved.  Who else could screw things up so badly?  Anyway, there's a solution.  People can just ignore the offensive "Nippori-Toneri Liner" name and call it the "Toneri Line" which sounds like a proper name for a short commuter line.

Nippori to Minumadai-Shinsui-Koen (Toneri Line) 121016

Let's see - using the full names, that would be taking a Nippori-Toneri Liner Line (日暮里舎人ライナー線) train from Nippori Station, and riding it all the way to the last stop, which is Minumadai-Shinsui-Koen Station (見沼代親水公園駅).  As I was just going on (and on and on) about - this line has a serious problem with overly long names, not to mention that the line is erroneously called a name that could only refer to the trains themselves ("liner" and "line" are not one and the same meaning).  Anyway, it's a nice enough little commuter line and I don't mean to be poking fun of it, but I think someone dropped the ball when it came to naming the train and the stations (see rant further up the page).  They should have just named it the "Toneri Line", so that's what I intend to call it.

Birds Singing in the Suburbs (121016)

At a nondescript place in the suburbs, I stopped to look around and this area was strangely relaxed and nice... with the green of the trees (very near to autumn) and the singing of the birds.

Approaching Minumadai-Shinsui-Koen Station (on Foot) 121016

Entering Minumadai-Shinsui-Koen Station 見沼代親水公園駅 (121016)

Minumadai-Shinsui-Koen to Nippori (Toneri Line) 121016

Toneri-Line Nippori Station Platform (121016)

Candy Section of Old Kawagoe (121017)

I didn't get to this section of old Kawagoe on my visit before this (when I recorded a number of videos of the old area of the city), so this fills in that blank somewhat.

Street Machine Reflections (121017)

A confusing title - to put it in plainer English, "Views of a street as seen between two machines - with reflections (of the street) on the sides of the machines."

Colorful Carp in Kawagoe (121017)

I think these carp are probably the most colorful ones I've ever seen!  I've seen carp with this type of coloring before, but never this many all together.

Kawagoe Jinrikisha and Reflections (121017)

Tourist areas of Japan (Kyoto, Takayama, etc.) usually have jinrikisha like this specifically geared towards tourists (both domestic and foreign).  The only place I've ever ridden in one though was at Takayama, but from that one experience, I'd say they are a good way to have historical points of interest explained.  Unlike in a car, it can stop just about anywhere, and also go places cars can't (provided, of course, you don't need to cover a very large area).

Vertical Kawagoe Flags in a Breeze (121017)

Tokorozawa Exit Search (Construction Etc.) 121017

The exit I was searching for when I took this has ceased to be!  There used to be a street-level exit at Tokorozawa Station where you could just walk horizontally from the platform, through the ticket gates, and out onto the street in front of the station where taxis etc. were waiting.  It looks as though they filled in the former exit area with a chain coffee shop.  This is in line with the general trend of (basically) converting train stations into shopping malls that have trains running either under or over the shopping area.  There's more money to be made in renting out the space to retailers than in running the trains apparently (from things people have told me and from what I've seen).  That's okay I guess, but I was disappointed to have to go to the end of the platform, then up to the second floor, over to the side, back down to the first floor by another flight of stairs, and then back to where the middle of the platform is on the outside.  It's considerably less convenient than it used to be.  It was about a three minute hike compared to ten seconds to just walk straight out the gates (as they used to be).

Tokorozawa Propeller-Dori in Rain 雨の所沢プロペ通り (121017)

There used to be an airport nearby, which is the reason for the name of this shotengai shopping street.

Evening Rain in Tokorozawa (121017)

Entering New Section of Tokorozawa Station (121017)

Another sparkling-new train station.  Fully enclosed, it'll be warmer in the middle of winter, but I think I liked the old open-air version of the station better.  As I walked in, I noticed the next-train/destination boards (proper name?) looked striking.  Pausing to look hard at them, I suddenly realized that they were (I'm pretty sure) standard large-screen LCD monitors!  I think this is the first train station I've seen those used that way in (I've seen some information displayed this way - in Shinjuku for example - , but not for the main display boards).  They look pretty good actually, but I hope they keep spares on hand for when back-lights burn out, etc.  (I wonder about energy efficiency?  It seems like that would be more wasteful than the types that only illuminate the data fields instead of the whole screen, but maybe not.)

Tokorozawa to Higashi-Murayama (121017)

Mikawashima Station 三河島駅 (121016)

Higashi-Nippori Shotengai Shopping Street 東日暮里 (121016)

Sunlight and Shadows (Higashi-Nippori) 121016

Watching Passing Trains at Kanamachi Station (Joban and Yokosuka Lines) 121016

Kanamachi Station 金町駅 (121016)

And that's it for this batch.  This week I'm struck with how much I find myself missing the old station designs.  I don't dislike the new designs really - and in fact appreciate most of them, but I have never liked being in overly enclosed spaces and so the new fully enclosed station designs seem a little claustrophobic to me.  I also wonder what the effect is on businesses outside the ticket gates.  With more and more shopping available within the ticket gates, businesses near to the stations may suffer?  Well - that's progress I guess.  You can't stand still, and for every improvement, there's also something lost.  Generally, the better aspects of old designs aren't really appreciated until they are almost extinct.



"Nippori, Uguisudani, Negishi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Etc."

Everything is from 2012 this time.  In fact, this whole batch is from Thursday, October 11th, 2012.  There are recordings from several locations (I use the term 'recordings' because it seems more accurate than film terms when referring to digital recordings of visual material - which include audio after all), but the main areas I spent some time in are Shibuya, Uguisudani (Negishi), and Nippori.  I'll make a few additional comments after some of the video titles/links below, but mainly the titles are fairly self-explanatory.

Twilight Ride - Nippori-Toneri Liner 日暮里舎人ライナー (121011g)

A view from the front of this computer-driven (no human driver) train (with rubber tires - not steel wheels) in the twilight.  I generally don't like acronyms, but this train probably ought to have one.  "Nippori-Toneri Liner" is a bit over the top - "NTL Line" would make more sense, especially since, if you put "Line" into the name, you would end up with "Nippori-Toneri Liner Line", which a bit ridiculous.  I think the old system of basing the line on two (and sometimes three) kanji would have been best: 東海道 (Tokaido), 山手 (Yamanote), 東西 (Tozai), 銀座 (Ginza), 東武 (Tobu), 西武 (Seibu), 京王 (Keio), 小田急 (Okakyu), 東急 (Tokyu), 東横 (Toyoko), etc., "日暮里舎人ライナー" is way too long - it's more like a sentence than a name....

Platform Stroll - Nippori-Toneri Line 日暮里_舎人ライナー (121011g)

Twilight at Nishi-Nippori (Nippori-Toneri Line) 121011g

Watching Trains by Nippori Station One Evening (121011g)

A lot of trains pass by this area, so it has quite a busy feel to it in the evening.

Shibuya Afternoon Walkabout 渋谷昼散歩 (121011g)

A look at Shibuya in the early afternoon - which has a bit different feel to it than at night (but of course...).  In the plaza were three different amplified sound sources competing for ears....

Tokyo Station (Chuo Line to New Dome Interior) 121011g

Nishi-Nippori Station 西日暮里駅 (Boarding Yamanote Line) 121011

Nishi-Nippori - Walking Towards Station (121011)

Side Street by Nishi-Nippori (121011)

Twilight Nishi-Nippori Stroll 夕方西日暮里散歩 (121011)

Twilight at Nippori Station (Walking Towards Nippori-Toneri Line) 121011

Side Streets Near Nippori Station (121011)

Yanaka-Ginza Shotengai Stroll 谷中銀座散歩 (121011)

This shotengai has become a tourist draw.  This sort of shopping street used to just be the norm, but has become something rather nostalgic as people's shopping habits have changed - putting many small shops out of business.

Walking Towards Yanaka-Ginza Shotengai (121011)

Stone Path - One October Evening (121011)

Walking on a stone path that goes through a cemetery.

Shibuya Plaza Afternoon View (121011)

Afternoon Walk to Shibuya Station (121011)

Shibuya (Walking Over to New Building) 121011

Riding Escalator in Shibuya Hikarie 渋谷ヒカリエ (121011)

This was my first visit to this new high-rise building in Shibuya.  It's actually rather interesting - with a whole range of things inside, from department store and restaurants, to convention center, movie theater, music hall, and sitting atop all that, office space.

Restaurant Floor in Shibuya Hikarie 渋谷ヒカリエ (121011)

Shibuya Hikarie Elevator and 11F 渋谷ヒカリエ (121011)

Shibuya Hikarie 11F and 9F Lookaround 渋谷ヒカリエ (121011)

Shibuya Station East Side Overhead View (121011)

Looking at the sea of construction equipment that is between this new building and Shibuya Station.  I'm not sure what's going to happen to this area exactly.  Either they are going to do major construction on something, or possibly some (or all) of the construction equipment there is related to the large new high-rise?

Shibuya Hikarie 9F and 8F Lookaround 渋谷ヒカリエ (121011)

Restaurant Stroll (Shibuya Hikarie 渋谷ヒカリエ) 121011

Elevator View (Ascending) Shibuya Hikarie 渋谷ヒカリエ (121011)

These glass-sided elevators are quite visually interesting to ride in, as they provide a view both of outside and of the various cables and counterweights that make up this bank of elevators.

Elevator View (Descending) Shibuya Hikarie 渋谷ヒカリエ (121011)

Walkway to Shibuya Station (East Side) 121011

This walkway connects the new high-rise with Shibuya Station.

Shibuya Station (Yamanote Line Platform Etc.) 121011

Shibuya to Shinagawa (Yamanote Line) 渋谷から品川まで (121011)

Shinagawa to Uguisudani (Yamanote Line) 品川から鶯谷まで (121011)

Uguisudani Afternoon Platform North Exit 鶯谷駅北口 (121011)

Sort of the back entrance/exit to Uguisudani Station - the main exit is from the opposite end of the platforms.

Uguisudani North Exit Tunnel 鶯谷駅北口トンネル (121011)

Streetcars in Otsuka (121011)

Walking Through Otsuka Station (Outside the Ticket Gates) 121011

Back Street Near Otsuka Station (121011)

Otsuka (Walking Towards North Side Shotengai) 121011

Otsuka to Shinjuku Night Ride 大塚から新宿まで (山手線) 121011

Shinjuku - Exiting South Exit 新宿駅南口 (121011)

Shinjuku - From the South Entrance to the Chuo Line (121011)

Quick Look at Marunouchi Buildings at Night (121011)

Since Tokyo Station was under reconstruction for so long, the area seems transformed with the construction barrier walls finally removed.

Walking Through Tokyo Station at Night (121011)

Uguisudani North Exit Trackside (121011)

鶯谷/根岸の元三島神社 Shrine near Uguisudani Station (121011)

Negishi Roadside Stroll 根岸道の散歩 (121011)

Negishi is the area right next to Uguisudani Station.

Negishi Under-Road Bicycle Parking 根岸 (121011)

Walking Against an Afternoon Sun (Negishi 根岸) 121011

Quiet Side Streets in Negishi 根岸 (121011)

View from Uguisudani Platform 鶯谷駅からのビュー (121011)

Uguisudani Upper Level Passageways 鶯谷駅上の通路南口 (121011)

As this area is under construction, it will probably end up being radically different in the not-too-distant future.

Negishi Bridge View of Railway 根岸橋のビュー (121011)

Side Street Stroll (Negishi) 121011

Negishi Trackside Street Stroll (121011)

Negishi Izakaya Side Street 根岸居酒屋 (121011)

Entering Uguisudani Station via South Entrance (121011)

Uguisudani to Nippori 鶯谷から日暮里まで (Yamanote Line) 121011

Exiting JR-Nippori Station 日暮里駅 (121011)

Walking Away from Nippori Station 日暮里駅 (121011)

Shinjuku Yamanote Platform (Daytime) 121011

Shinjuku to Shibuya (Yamanote Line) 新宿から渋谷まで山手線 (121011)

Street Next to Cemetery Near Uguisudani Station (121011)

Front Cab - Waiting to Start (Nippori-Toneri Liner 日暮里舎人ライナー) 121011

Since the train is driven by computer, with no human driver, you can sit right in front where (on a regular train) a driver would sit.

Shinjuku - Street Musicians Near South Exit (121011)

Yurakucho Izakaya Tunnel Walk-through (121011)

Train Passing Yurakucho-SB at Night (121011)

Izakaya Night Scene (Short) 121011

Yurakucho to Tokyo (121011)



"1990 Motoyawata, Hibarigaoka, Shakujikoen; 2012 Shinagawa, Etc."

The first batch of clips are from October 1990 - with a trip to Motoyawata and Shakujikoen as excursions, and several other out-and-about clips from central Tokyo.  I'll comment after several of the titles/links.  Incidentally, the on-camera commentary I recorded for this 1990 material is in Japanese.  (Back then, for some tapes I used English, and for others Japanese.  This one is in Japanese.)

The main location featured in the 2012 material in this batch is Shinagawa - with several clips featuring a walk to Sengakuji Temple, where the graves of the famous 47-Ronin are.  An e-acquaintance requested footage of Sengakuji, and I went out there to get pictures of the temple... and discovered that the 47-Ronin graves were there when I got to talking with a local at the temple.  He (and many readers perhaps!) was amazed that I had gone there without knowing about that aspect to the temple.  He told me that he often sees people from all over the world visiting the temple specifically to see the graves of the 47-Ronin, so it must have been strange to meet someone who was there without knowing about that.  (I know that story very well, but I never thought to look into where their graves were.)  Again - I'll make additional comments after several of the titles/links.

1990 Hibarigaoka Shotengai ひばりが丘商店街 (901009)

There are some detail changes, but the last time I visited this shopping street, it was largely the same.  An area near to the station that was in the process of being torn down in November 1990 is now completely rebuilt.

1990 Hibarigaoka to Shinjuku (901009)

1990 Midnight Ride - Yutenji to Musashisakai (901006)

Nothing particularly exciting, but this shows what some of the last trains of the night are like - taken sometime between 12:00 midnight and 1:00 a.m.  The entire train system in Tokyo shuts down every night, so there's typically a rush to get on the last trains that go into the suburbs on the one hand, and a fair number of people taking the first trains from around 5:00 a.m. - who missed the last trains the night before - on the other.

1990 Motoyawata Bookstore 本八幡本屋 (901006)

I didn't spend a lot of time there, but I rode the subway out to the end of the line, which was this station, and then returned to central Tokyo via surface trains (which is what the "Motoyawata to Yutenji" video below shows).  In Motoyawata, I just walked around a bit and checked out the inside of a bookstore near the station.

1990 Motoyawata to Yutenji 本八幡から祐天寺まで (901006)

Judging from the many details of my life in these old videos that I had forgotten about until seeing the video footage (that I took myself) again - it's truly amazing how much of our lives go missing in our conscious memories.  You know how some old people tend to repeat what seems like a rather limited number of stories from their past?  It doesn't mean that's all they did - it means those are things that stand out in their memories.  I don't know what percentage goes missing, but I would guess it's something like 95%?  Don't believe me?  Try recalling every single day from your life about two or three decades before.  While some people can actually do that, most of us can just recall large events and a set of sharp memories connected with the large events - along with a range of generic memories that consist of remnants of old templates?  Or something like that.  In any case, had I not seen this video footage again, I don't think I would have ever recalled any event at all from this particular day.

1990 Rainy Day - Hibarigaoka to Tamachi (901008)

1990 Typhoon Approaching - Tamachi, Ikebukuro, Etc. (901008)

The evening produced an ominous-looking sky, and since a typhoon was passing nearby, it seemed as though it might come through Tokyo, but while there were strong winds, things calmed down fairly quickly.  Some of the anticipation/worry/excitement of the event is evident in this video.

1990年 - 日本語を話してくれよ (901012)

I began taking this video mid-way into trying to order a hamburger in Japanese.  As I point out on the video (in Japanese) the shopkeepers seemed to be intensely committed to believing that I couldn't speak Japanese, so they couldn't hear me when I spoke in Japanese.  They figure out I can use the national language at the end of the video though.

1990 Visit to Fast Food Place (901009)

This is historically interesting, as this building was torn down not long after I took this and a combination Parco retail store and apartment building was put up in its place (all of the other small buildings on both sides were also torn down to make way for the large building).

1990 Hibarigaoka to Tamachi, Etc. (901011)

1990 JR to Seibu Transfer (Ikebukuro) 901009

This was a rather long transfer - forcing people who used the Seibu Line to walk past the Seibu Department Store.  I used to look over at the department store with resentment - figuring that someone must have purposely positioned the railway in an inconvenient place that forced people to walk past the department store; no doubt expecting this would generate extra sales.  It backfired in my case at least, I resented the location of Seibu-Ikebukuro Station so much that I boycotted the Seibu Department Store.

1990 Machida Afternoon (901012)

1990 Machida to Hibarigaoka (901012)

1990 Nighttime Hibarigaoka (901011)

The views seen in this video have changed a bit with the reconstruction of Hibarigaoka Station and other new construction (after demolition of older structures).

1990 Nighttime Nishi-Shinjuku (901011)

1990 Seibu Line from Hibarigaoka (901012)

1990 Shinjuku to Hibarigaoka (901011)

1990 Shinjuku to Ikebukuro, Etc. (901009)

1990 Tamachi to Shinjuku, Etc. (901011)

1990 Hibarigaoka to Tanashi via Bus (901013) ひばりが丘 田無

The buses used now are different, so this has a nostalgic feel to it.

1990 Tanashi to Kami-igusa 田無から上井草まで (901013)

1990 Walk - Kami-igusa to Shakujikoen 石神井公園 (901013)

1990 Shakujikoen Park in the Rain 雨の石神井公園 (901013)

I had often seen people fishing in this pond, but this was the first time (and the last time) that I saw someone actually catch a fish.  This was the same pond that reportedly had an alligator in it, which was either a false rumor, or maybe someone actually did put one in, and it died?  Probably it was just a rumor, but for some time after that, whenever visiting this park, there was The Mystery of the Phantom Alligator in the air and you would scan the pond for any sign of protruding eyes.  The rumor(?) was taken seriously enough that they actually organized a search of the pond to determine if there was something like that in there or not.  They didn't find anything.

1990 Walk to Shakujikoen Station 石神井公園駅 (901013)

1990 Shakujikoen Station 石神井公園駅 (901013)

More history - this station has been completely rebuilt since this was taken, so this is pure history (architecturally speaking).  The old wooden stations had a completely different feel to them than the modern stations do.

Majima Hidenori Exhibition 間島秀徳展 (121009)

Takanawa Side Street 高輪横道 (121009)

Shinagawa Main Road (R15) 品川 (121009)

Entering Sengakuji Temple 泉岳寺 (121009)

Front of Sengakuji Temple Building (121009)

Incense and Sky (121009)

Sengakuji Temple (Looking Around) 泉岳寺 Path to 47R (121009)

An e-acquaintance suggested I might want to check out this temple, and so I walked around inside, taking the above video, including (towards the end of this clip) the graves of the 47-Ronin.  The thing was though, I didn't realize what I was recording until I ended up talking with an older local (near the exit gate) who filled me in on the history of the place.  He was surprised/amazed that I had come there without knowing that historical connection (I knew the story of the 47-Ronin of course, but didn't know where they were buried.  After finding out about the history, I went back and recorded the following video.

47-Samurai/Ronin Graves at Sengakuji (121009)

Hamamatsucho to Tokyo 浜松町から東京まで (121009)

Yurakucho to Tokyo 有楽町から東京まで (121009)

Street Down Below (121009)

Looking down at a typical street.  How much more interesting would Tokyo be without all the lifeless black asphalt choking off the earth for the sake of fire-breathing machinery?

Exiting Chuo Line at Tokyo Station (Walk to Exit) 121009

Post Office by Tokyo Station (Newly Reopened) 121009

The very front of what used to be the Tokyo Central Post Office is once again open as a post office, but is - since they demolished most of the building in order to put up a steel and glass office tower - apparently just a typical post office now.  I was at least happy to see the old familiar high-ceiling space again (I used to often buy stamps here).

360-View (Front of Tokyo Station) 121009

There used to be a kind of small park in front of Tokyo Station, but now it's just one huge sea of black asphalt.  Presumably this is temporary and they'll put something nice into this space.  Until very recently, it was a kind of a parking lot for construction equipment and materials while Tokyo Station was undergoing reconstruction.

People Photographing Tokyo Station (121009)

People all seem to be impressed with the rebirth of the 1914 design.  It really is a welcome contrast to 21st century glass and steel towers.

Tokyo Station Renovated Dome Interior (121009)

The original domes were apparently very ornamental, but were destroyed in the fire-bombing raids on Tokyo in 1945, and then rebuilt (for the first rebuild - this current rebuild is the second time) in a simpler, plainer design following the war.  Reportedly, this second rebuild (2012) restores the two domes to their original 1914 design.

Back Side of Renovated Tokyo Station (121009)

Ginza 4-Chome Intersection (121009)

Chuo Line Platform (Tokyo Station) 121009

Takanawa Small Temple (121009)

Mysterious Old House in Shinagawa (121009)

While there are still some old wooden houses (like the one in this video) here and there, this particular one is in Shinagawa - not far from the station!  It's about the most expensive real estate in the entire country.  Probably the main reason the owner of this house has been able to hold out, is the house is in the center at the end of the street.  Taking a close look, it's clear that the property was trimmed on both sides (bought for a substantial sum of money no doubt), and as it now stands, with the newer development there on both sides of the house, it isn't really in the way of anything.  Personally, I think it transforms an otherwise boring street into something with character.  It's not even a fire hazard, since if it burns down, it won't cause anything else to burn with it.  I stood there for a little while, looking at that old house with its history and character, and thinking how it would be great to live in one of the upscale apartments on the side *and* to own that house - and use it as a party house.

But speaking of people not wanting to move as neighborhoods are developed (and they are always relentlessly developed in Tokyo!), what was done in a lot of cases, was developers offered homeowners the top floor (or two for smaller properties) of buildings - essentially penthouse apartments - to live in if they agreed to sell, and so there are a fair number of office buildings in Tokyo with an old couple living on the top floor.

Shinagawa - Walking Along the Main Street (121009)

Entering Shinagawa Station (Afternoon) 121009

Shinagawa (Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Line Platforms) 121009

Shinagawa to Hamamatsucho (Afternoon Yamanote Line) 121009

Tokaido Line Platform (Tokyo Station) 121009

Tokyo to Shinagawa (Tokaido Line - Left Side) 121009

Shinagawa Station and West Side (121009)

Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Garden 旧芝離宮恩賜庭園 (121009g)

This is a very nice traditional garden - dating back to the Edo Era.  It's on landfill, but over three-century-old landfill, so it has a settled feel to it.  According to Wikipedia [full article here]:

"The land was reclaimed between 1655 and 1658. In 1678 the site was used for the official samurai style residence of Ōkubo Tadamoto (1604–1670), member of the Ōkubo clan and an official of the Tokugawa shogunate. The residence garden was designed by garden designers from the Odawara Domain, until 1614 under the rule of Daimyo from the Ōkubo clan. The garden was then known as Rakujuen."


2012/10/06 (1997/06/10)

"Impressions From June 1997"

[2012/10/06]: Back in 1997, an e-mail acquaintance sent me this:  "[Can you write about] more impressions of your environment - what it looks/sounds/smells/tastes/feels like?  Any particular favorite places?  What is the layout of the land like?  (Hilly? Flat? Crowded with buildings? Tenements? Factories? All mixed up?)  Where are the gardens, and what do they look like?  What does it feel like going from point-A to point-B?" - and in answer I wrote this:

With the above in mind, I wrote down the following by hand while out and about a few days ago:

97/06/10 - 21:29:  I'm now on a commuter line train, leaving the city center, but not escaping it's grasp.  I'm sitting between a woman with her eyes closed (not asleep) on my right, and a man on my left.  Two men standing to my right seem to be enjoying an alcohol afterglow as they talk and laugh.  A stern-faced man standing off to my left gives me the evil eye.  The man seated on my left gets off the train... 'evil-eye' sits next to me.  There's that vampire aspect.., whatever it is, I don't like it, so I'm standing up, moving.

Now I'm standing in the middle of the train.  In the old days, I wouldn't have moved as a matter of principle, but it just drains your energy, and what's the point?

I'm on a local train to escape the purgatory of the express trains.., at another of the frequent stops, a seated man gets off, enabling me to sit down again, and I'm away from the vampire.  I'm only happy to be in a different space, and don't feel 'run out'.  What is this abandonment of principle?  I think there are just too many battles, so you get to a point where you realize that saving energy is the most important thing.

21:42 - Now the train is half-empty, as it's nearing the end of the line.  I'll have to change trains to get where I'm going, but when I imagine everyone smashed together on the express train right now, I don't care when I get home.  Now the train is waiting for an express to pass... there it is, rushing past with everyone all smashed together.  If you spend a couple of hours in one of those sardine trains every day, it affects you... and not in a good way.  Never mind the rest of the day, you're tired before you even start work for the day.

I don't know, if I could transport myself from this train and these people to other trains in other countries to compare, I could say something more meaningful.  I only know, as I sit beneath the glaring florescent lights on this punctual, functional, but not very attractive train, that I want to live a different way than this.

21:56 - Second train (after transferring).  There's a seat...  The young woman on my right is showing her boyfriend her new passport.  How will she (they?) view the world from outside Japan?

97/06/12 - 20:57:  Shibuya.  In a building by an open window on the fourth floor.  Looking out the window, as the Yamanote Line trains rumble by through the trees... in the middle of the busy four lane road below, there are five people on a traffic island arranging flowers and food - one man is trying to light a candle... I can only imagine that a friend of theirs died in a traffic accident near there.  Yes... no mistake - they are praying now.

Just as I wrote that, work called and soon thereafter the manager of the place came over and shut the window, which wouldn't have been much of a problem, but he has a row of air fresheners in the bathroom on the window sill, and their chemical smell is overpowering.  It's a small thing, but it shows what I'm always battling in Tokyo.  The unfortunate scene below notwithstanding, this building in Shibuya is next to a park, so there are leaves - green leaves to see and hear (when the wind blows) through the open window.  The man shuts the window, cutting me off from that to which I want a connection, and then there's that horrible chemical smell that I don't want invading my lungs.  Don't other people miss a connection to live plants, to the open sky?



"1990 Hibarigaoka; 1991 Tokyo Station; 2012 Tabata, Nishi-Nippori, Oimachi, Etc."

The first 1990 video of Hibarigaoka is interesting in that it shows the old Hibarigaoka Station and the old pre-Parco area.  Compared to today's Hibarigaoka, it's basically "Showa Hibarigaoka" versus "Heisei Hibarigaoka".  (By year, 1990 is the second year of Heisei, but there was a lot of carryover culture-wise several years into the Heisei era.)

In the Hibarigaoka to Toshimaen video, views of the old style Seibu Line stations are nostalgic to see now, since the old wooden structures in the video have vanished - replaced with new modern buildings.

The three main areas I visited in this batch of 2012 views are Tabata, Nishi-Nippori, and (again) Oimachi.  Putting previous views of Oimachi together with this evening view, there are three times of day - morning, lunchtime, and evening.

1990 Nighttime Hibarigaoka (900914)

1990 Night Trains, Etc. (900914)

1990 Hibarigaoka to Toshimaen (900925)

1991 Tokyo Station Before Reconstruction (910330g) 1991年の東京駅と東京駅ホテル

On March 30th, 1991, I devoted a full day to videoing Tokyo Station and the area immediately around it (including the old Marunouchi Building and the old Central Post Office building (which was 95% destroyed, with only the front facade remaining, which has been integrated with a new high-rise office building).  In this clip, I also recorded views of the Tokyo Station Hotel and Tokyo Station Art Gallery.

Insect Noises (Early October) 121003h

Trains Passing Oimachi Train Yard (120925h)

Beside Yamanote Line Train Yard (Oimachi) 120925h

Parking Yamanote Line Train (Oimachi Train Yard) 120925h

All these years where I've had to get off of Yamanote Line trains that had Osaki as the last stop, and I never realized there was a big train yard for Yamanote Line trains by Oimachi - which is just a short distance from Osaki.

Bus Ride (Front View) 121003h

Tabata Walkway (121002h)

Trains by Tabata Side Entrance (121002h)

Passing Trains (Tabata) 121002h

Tabata Walkway (121002h)

Nishi-Nippori Street View (121002h)

Trains in Nishi-Nippori (121002h)

Nishi-Nippori Platform (Seen from Distance) 121002h

What's a 62 Galaxie Doing on that Sign? (121002)

It was used because it looks good I guess.  I looked up and... "Wait... I know that car!  That's a 1962 Galaxie!".  The big round taillights are easily recognizable.  (The 61-64 Galaxies all have them, but each year is a little different.)

Exiting Morning Chuo Line (Shinjuku) 121002

Shinjuku Morning Rush Walkabout (121002)

In this video, I walk through the four main concourses of Shinjuku Station during the morning rush - beginning at around 8:30 a.m.

Shinjuku Morning Rush (West Exit) 121002g

Shinjuku West Side Tunnel Walk (Morning Rush) 121002

This is the main path to most of the high-rise office buildings on Shinjuku Station's west side.

Platform... Number... Five (and Unused Telephones) 121002

About the title - the English announcement you can hear midway through the clip has so much space between some of the words, that it sounds like a parody of itself.  The long row of public telephones are apparently maintained in case there's an emergency in which people can't use their cell phones.

Shinjuku to Ikebukuro (Yamanote Line) Morning (121002)

Ikebukuro to Tabata (Yamanote Line) 121002

Meiji-Dori (Tabata Shin-Machi) 田端新町明治通り (121002)

Just a quick look at a main street.  Main streets aren't all bad, but the traffic noise, along with wide expanses of dead dark gray asphalt, and the pollution of the fire-breathing machinery it carries, make them a place to avoid whenever possible.

Train Departing Tabata (Yamanote Line) 田端駅山手線 (121002)

Tabata Platform Walkabout 田端駅 (121002)

Tabata Platform to Main Exit (田端駅) 121002

Blue Train Passing (Higashi-Tabata) 東田端 (121002)

Higashi-Tabata Small Shrine 東田端 (121002g)

Higashi-Tabata Street Scene (Actor on Ground) 121002

Meaning a *picture* of an actor on the ground.

Under Rail Bridge Culvert Paintings (121002)

Flowers Beside Railway (Higashi-Tabata) 121002

At first I thought these plants were growing in planters, but they turned out to be growing on the track side of the fence - with the branches poking through the fence.  Probably they were trimmed back by the railway and so the only part remaining is the part growing through the fence.

Oimachi Izakaya Street 大井町駅居酒屋通り (121002)

大井町駅居酒屋通り Oimachi Izakaya Street (121002)

大井町赤提灯 Red Lanterns in Oimachi (121002)

Warm Evening After Cold Passageway (121002)

Yakitori by Oimachi Station 大井町焼き鳥 (121002)

夕方大井町電車 Oimachi Evening Trains (121002)

Entering Oimachi Station (Evening) 121002

Yurakucho Evening (Beside Station) 121002

Platform... Number... Ten (Shinjuku Station) 121002

Another verrrrry sloooow English announcement at Shinjuku Station.

Stairs Beside Passing Train (121002)

Trains Below Shrine (Nishi-Nippori) 121002

Nishi-Nippori to Ueno (Yamanote Line) 西日暮里から上野まで山手線 (121002)

Ueno to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 上野から有楽町まで山手線 (121002)

Yurakucho Trains Passing (121002)

Tokyo Station Walk to Tokaido Line (121002)

Tokyo to Shinagawa (Tokaido Line) 東京から品川まで東海道線 (121002)

Evening Keihin-Tohoku Line 品川から大井町まで (121002)

Going from Shinagawa to Oimachi on the Keihin-Tohoku Line.

Evening Oimachi Station Area 夕方大井町駅あたり (121002)

Tabata - Platform to South Exit 田端駅南口 (121002)

Tabata 1-Chome 田端一丁目 Residential Area (121002)

Oasis in the City 都市のオアシス (121002)

A small oasis of green in a residential area within a short walk of the Yamanote Line.

Quiet Residential Walkway (121002)

Overlooking Tabata Station (121002)

Overlooking Tabata Main Entrance (121002)

Walkway Above Tabata Station (121002)

Tabata 1-Chome to Tabata South Entrance (121002)

Entering Tabata Station - Tabata to Nishi-Nippori (121002)

Nishi-Nippori Platform 西日暮里駅ホーム (121002)

Nishi-Nippori Trains 西日暮里駅電車 (121002)

Nishi-Nippori Station Walkabout 西日暮里駅 (121002)

Nishi-Nippori Walkabout 西日暮里散歩 (121002)

Coming Upon Railway Crossing (121002)

Train Watching (Nishi-Nippori RR-Crossing) 121002

Entering Nishi-Nippori Station (Outside the Gates) 121002

Exploring Shrine in Nishi-Nippori 諏訪神社 (121002)

Windy Day by the Tracks (121002)

西日暮里第二自転車駐車場 (121002)

A bicycle parking area in a tunnel under the railway.

Lone Cricket in Bicycle Tunnel (121002)

Train Under September Sky (121002)

Shinjuku Evening Sidewalk 新宿夜の横断歩道 (121002g)

Watching RS-Express Train In Nishi-Nippori 西日暮里特急踏切 (121002g)

By "RS-Express", I mean reserved-seat express.  The problem with translating terms here is that 特急 (tokkyu) is kind of hard to translate into English.  If you use British English, it's "Limited Express", with "limited" meaning "limited stops", but "limited express" in American English means "limited speed compared to a regular express (more stops)", so that leaves something like "super express", but then people probably start imagining the Shinkansen trains... - and so I've decided to use reserved-seat express train, and shortened it to RS-Express for YouTube titles.  (JR - by the way - uses "Limited Express" for its English translation.)

Evening Shinagawa Station 夕方品川駅 (121002g)

Yurakucho Side Street Lights 有楽町夜の光 (121002g)

Oimachi to Yurakucho 大井町から有楽町まで (夜) 121002g

Twilight Lookaround in Oimachi 大井町夕方見回り (121002g)


2012/10/04b (1997/06/12)

"The Sky - (June 12th, 1997)"

(1997/06/12) - 17:57 Ginza - I'm sitting in an empty corner room with the windows open.  The sky out the windows is beautiful, the noise from the busy street eight stories below doesn't bother me (or rather, I'm even glad it's there, for in a concrete jungle, no noise means no life.  I just got here from the contract job in Kashiwa.

To get to Ginza from Kashiwa, you have to use the Joban Line, which, more often than not, uses fairly old train cars, but they're fazing in the new ones bit by bit.  The new ones are like new high rise buildings, with mostly sealed windows that can't be opened (for the sake of cheaper construction, cheaper maintenance, energy efficiency and safety)....  Luckily, the train I rode on today was not only an old one, but a mostly empty one, as in the afternoon, not many people are headed into central Tokyo on the Joban Line.  I sat in the back left corner of the second from the rearmost car of the fifteen car train and opened the two sectioned window up into the window frame, so the entire window frame area was completely open, both the larger window on the side of the train and the smaller one on the end of the train car.  (This particular window design was made before air conditioning was on all the trains in order to get the maximum amount of air into the train.  When it's truly hot, I appreciate air
conditioning, but often it's a nice temperature outside, and when you get on the train, all the windows are shut and it's freezing cold with air conditioning, you could say it's too much of a bad thing.)  [Note from 2012: Air conditioning used has been scaled back, and now things tend to be too hot rather than too cold.]

As I looked out the window at the sky, with the wind rushing in, the sound of the train's electric motors whining, and the screech of the steel wheels on the steel rails - smelling that same hot tar smell I remember from railway lines as a child -  it occurred to me that people need to have some connection to the world, to the sky.  Living in Tokyo, I have come to really appreciate being able to see the sky directly with no glass in the way.  People living day after day after day cut off from the sky are drifting away from solid ground I think.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

[For older posts from 2012, see this link: [blog-L - (2012a)]

[For the contination of this blog, see [blog-L].

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