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blog-L - (2013a)


"1991 Kyojima, Keisei Trains; 2013 Tonogayato Gardens, Tokyo Hanami (Chidorigafuchi, Etc.)"

There are a number of locations covered with this most recent batch of videos, so I'll just mention a couple of main themes in this intro and write something after some of the titles/links below.

This batch opens with a March 1991 visit to Kyojima.  The name may sound familiar, as I've posted things from there before, both recent material and from 1991.  On March 24th, 1991, I spent almost an entire day in the area, so I took a fair amount of footage (a term I avoid for digital files stored to a flash memory card, but it fits for analog tape).  This time around I've focused on one area of Kyojima - Kyojima 3-Chome.

For videos from this year (2013), the main theme is views of sakura trees in bloom, and I went to several places in Tokyo for the experience of springtime hanami and to record video and still images.  Contemplating the places I visited over the past week, I find myself thinking "Why didn't you go to this place, and that place", etc., but - as I'm reminding myself - my intention this time around was just to visit a few places and capture the spirit of sakura-hanami - not create a comprehensive travel guide about it.  Rain has been interfering a little with flower viewing this year, but it's just been light rain, so on good-weather (not wet) days, it's been pretty nice.

In my Sakura Quest for 2013, I first went by the Tonogayato Gardens, and then realized (once inside) that that particular pay-to-enter park is very nice, but doesn't have the standard type of cherry blossom trees!  There were a couple of flowering trees though, which I appreciated seeing, but I don't know what type they were exactly.  After that, all the places I went had fully flowering sakura trees - first Yotsuya, then Yushima-Seido, Asukayama Park (in Oji), a former riverbed in Oji (now a nice park), Ueno Park, Ginza 1-Chome, Shibuya, Naka-Meguro, Jiyugaoka, Kudanshita (Ushigafuchi, Chidorigafuchi, Kudankita, and Kitanomaru-koen).

1991 - Kyojima 3-Chome Walkabout 京島三丁目散策散歩 (910324)

One of the things that occurred to me when watching this material again after 22 years, is that this combination of old wooden houses, shotengai shopping streets, and small metalworking shops doing piecework for factories is exactly the combination featured in the Tora-san movie series ("Otoko-wa Tsurai-yo!").  The area actually in the movie became a tourist spot for people who like the atmosphere in the movie and go to see it, so the movie transformed that area into something else.  Kyojima, on the other hand, stayed in the shadows and is actually more the real thing - with no tourism whatsoever (not that I'm aware of, although I suppose my going there and walking around with a camera qualifies it at  least a little!).

The focus on the 3-Chome section of Kyojima came about accidentally.  I originally intended to walk through it and continue on towards another destination, but I ended up (accidentally) going in circles, and then the area was just so interesting (since even then I knew it couldn't possible not change in the not-so-distant future), that I felt a need to record it.

1991 Kyojima Supermarket 京島のスーパー (910324)

1991 Walk to Keisei-Hikifune Station 京成曳舟駅までの散歩 (910324)

For me now, the appearance of the old train station seems most interesting of all, but for some reason it didn't occur to me at the time that there would be no trace of the old station in the future.  Returning to the area... last year I think it was, the cool old wooden atmospheric station had been replaced with a clean, perfectly functional new one that - like too many new things - lacks soul.  I guess it will come with time?

1991年 昔の地上京成曳舟駅 Pre-Elevated Keisei-Hikifune Station (910324)

1991 Keisei-Hikifune to Keisei-Tateishi 京成曳舟駅-京成立石駅_京成線 (910324)

1991年 昔の地上京成線の電車 (京成曳舟駅) Old Keisei Line Trains (910324g)

Tonogayato Gardens - Bamboo Tunnel 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の竹のトーネール (130322)

A traditional garden like this is best when it's not crowded - as it wasn't the day I visited.  In walking through the park and sitting for a while up over the pond, a wordless contemplation of the sights and sounds restores some humanity lost to daily living on/among asphalt, concrete, steel, glass, plastic, etc.  How much of that comes through in the video and its soundtrack I don't know....  For me, when I watch this set of videos, it's a combination of images and sounds recorded by my camera and memories I have from the experience, so I'm not sure how it looks and sounds to someone who hasn't been to this garden.  Here's an English website for the park (and others in Tokyo):

Tonogayato Gardens - Southeast Side 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の東南側 (130322)

Tonogayato Gardens - Bamboo Grove 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の竹林と風音 (130322)

From the English language guide/brochure for the park:

   "Construction on this garden began in 1913 and was completed in 1915 by a landscape gardener called 'Sengoku' (who lived in Akasaka), as a villa for Sadae Eguchi who became the vice president of the South Manchuria Railway later.  After being purchased by Hikoyata Iwasaki of the Mitsubishi Zaibatsu in 1929, it was completed as a semi-Western style strolling garden consisting of trees and ponds with additional buildings such as a main building and a tea room (Momiji-Tei) designed by Saku Tsuda.  It had been used as a villa for the Iwasaki Family until 1974, when the Tokyo Metropolitan Government purchased it.  The garden is located on the southern edge of the Kokubunji rift line.  The natural flora in the Musashi plateau and the cliff-like rift area are well protected.  Thus, it is possible to observe many kinds of wild grasses, insects, etc. that have been living in this area since former times.  In the Jiro Benten Pond in the garden, there is a depression that contains a natural spring that provides large quantities of fresh water.  Water that runs off the cliff collects in this area and is part of the source of the Nogawa River.  As can be seen from the above, this garden has features that differ from other gardens in the Tokyo area.
   "In September 2011, this landscape garden was designated a a place of natural scenic beauty.  Of all the similar Musashino landscape gardens which were created during the same period, this garden best retains the original appearance and beauty of its time, and is considered to have particularly high artistic value."

Tonogayato Gardens (Pond and Spring) 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の池と泉 (130322)

Tonogayato Gardens Stroll 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の散策散歩 (130322hdc)

Tonogayato Gardens - Northeast Side 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の東北池側 (130322)

Tonogayato Gardens - Sozu (Shishiodoshi) Sound 殿ヶ谷戸庭園添水鹿威し (130322)

Tonogayato Gardens - Sozu Sound and Goldfish 殿ヶ谷戸庭園の添水音 (130322hd)

The gardens closed at 5:00 p.m., and since they expect you to be out and on your way *before* it actually reaches closing time, I was speed walking towards the exit at about 4:53, when I came upon a foreign couple sitting on a bench - serenely eating a bento box lunch together.  Figuring they must not have realized the park was closing, I had the following exchange:

Me: "The park closes at 5:00..."
Man: "The park closes in five minutes?"
Me: [Looking at watch]  "Well, it closes... *at* five o'clock..." [pointing at watch for visual effect]
Man: [With sarcastic look and sarcastic tone] "Well, thank you for that... [smirk] *information*..."
Me: [Smile - hand up in "Just telling you in case you didn't know! - Bye!" gesture.]

With that I walked to the exit, and as I listened to the recorded announcement (following video) saying that it was very nearly five o'clock and that anyone still in the park should head for the exit *now*, I looked back, saw no sign of the couple and wondered at the man's sarcasm.  Did he think I was lying?  Did he think they could stay past closing time for some reason?  Did they pay to enter, or just blunder in without paying and completely oblivious to the fact that it's a pay-to-enter park that closes at 5:00 and is not open 24-hours a day?  Those inscrutable westerners!  Who knows what they're thinking or why they do things!  And so rude!  I walked off wondered how much trouble the park employees would have kicking them out.  Would they get the sarcasm treatment too?  It probably wouldn't escalate to the point of having to call the police, but why were/are those two foreigners so d**n rude?  [Localized Lyle wondering what planet he belongs on anyway...]

Tonogayato Gardens - Closing Recording 殿ヶ谷戸庭園を出る (130322)

Chuo Line Window View - Approaching Yotsuya 中央線 - 新宿と四ツ谷の間 (130326)

One of the nice things about the sakura trees in the spring, with their mass of flowers, is that looking out a train window on the way somewhere, you can see them here and there, and they say "Spring!" like nothing else and brighten the viewer's outlook almost instantaneously.  The long irritating winter is finally coming to an end!

Yotsuya Station Platform Walk 四ッ谷駅ホームの様子 (130326)

Yotsuya Mitsukebashi Bridge and Sakura-Hanami 四ツ谷見附橋と桜花見 (130326)

The kimono-ish clad women are recent graduates of (probably) Sophia University, which is right next to the old rampart I went to for hanami pictures.  Actually, in more detail - I think those are in fact regular kimonos, but they often put on that extra skirt on the bottom (for university graduation ceremonies) that gives them a completely different look.  As you can see a little in this set of videos, several woman dressed that way were posing for pictures in front of the sakura trees up on the rampart.  Since the trees bloom right around the time of graduations and entrance ceremonies (the school year here is from April through to March), it's pretty standard to pose people in front of them for pictures commemorating entering a new school and then again when graduating.

Yotsuya Rampart Sakura-Hanami (NS) 四ツ谷城壁の桜花見 (130326)

Sakura-Hanami at Yotsuya Rampart (SN1) 四ツ谷城壁の桜花見 (130326hdc)

Sakura-Hanami Tables and Chairs (Yotsuya Rampart) 四ツ谷城壁の桜花見 (130326hdc)

Rokubancho Sakura-Hanami 六番町桜花見 (Blue Sheets) 130326

This stretch is longer, has more space on the sides, and there are more companies here (compared to the stretch next to Sophia University), and so this is usually packed with office workers in the evening at this time of year, who are quite organized about it - from putting down the blue tarp to reserve the space, to (sometimes) sending out a couple of people to guard it, to acquisition of food and drink, etc.

Yotsuya Station - Ticket Machines to Platform 四ッ谷駅 - 改札口-ホーム (130326)

Yotsuya to Ochanomizu (Sakura in Bloom) 四ッ谷駅-御茶ノ水駅 (桜木など) 130326

There's a long stretch of sakura trees along another section of moat that the Chuo Line trains run parallel with, which you can see in this video (above).

The title of this one just states that I went to Ochanomizu, but I kept the camera recording at Ochanomizu Station all the way to the ticket gates.  At around the 05:35 mark, I have a look at the curving steel and wood roof of the station.  This type of structure is becoming increasingly rare, so I find myself admiring this curving roof and hoping it will last for a while and not be torn down and replaced with a boring new design.  The exit I take at the end is the Hijiribashi Exit (聖橋口).

Hijiribashi to Yushima-Seido (Spring) 聖橋から湯島聖堂まで (春) 130326

Yushima-Seido seemed like a really mysterious place when I first visited it in 2002, but they appear to have cut down a number of trees since then, so it's seeming (unfortunately) more ordinary now.  Partly I've probably just gotten used to it after many visits, but cutting down trees in places like this always reduces intriguing mysterious atmospheres.  That might even have been the reason for cutting down trees - to make it more welcoming to visitors who fear atmosphere and mystery.  Anyway - it's still nice, but it was nicer before.  Here's a page I posted about it some years back:

Notice how different the atmosphere seems in the older photos compared to the video I took a few days ago?  Interestingly, the video looks better to me now than it felt at the time I was walking through taking the video...  Hmmm.... Now there's something to ponder.  The seen and the unseen.  It seems to me that in tidying up the place a little too much, they have also lost some of the unseen charm of the place (which the camera isn't good at recording of course).

Sakura-Hanami at Yushima-Seido 湯島聖堂の桜花見 (春) 130326

Basically, there's that one large sakura tree at Yushima-Seido (excluding a smaller one outside the gate), but while people go in large numbers to the places where there are a lot of the trees together, some of the lonely temples and whatnot in the city with a single tree, are much more beautiful in a way.  Of course, if the crowds headed to these spots, it would be a disaster, so it's a good thing everyone heads to the famous spots instead!

Yushima-Seido Walkabout 湯島聖堂の散策散歩 (130326hdcg)

Watching this again to see if I should comment on something, it occurs to me that this is actually not too bad of a general view of the whole grounds of Yushima-Seido.  I recommend seeing this one.  In fact, I probably should comment on a few details:

At the beginning I take a vertical view of the vertical flag that says 湯島聖堂 (the characters are viewed from the back of the flag, so they are backwards), that's the kanji character name of the place, Yushima-Seido.  At the 00:06 mark, you can see the characters in the correct orientation.

Orange construction cones (00:52, 00:58, 01:46, 02:19, etc.) - I used to find those looking really out of place and very unattractive, but I've - over the decades (not years) - finally trained myself to not even see them.  .....  Actually, a better description is you learn to see the things you want to focus on and to divorce the object of interest from distractions in the foreground (or background, etc.).  I didn't use to think that this was possible, but now I often see this sort of thing for the first time (or *notice* it for the first time) when reviewing a scene later via video I took.  At the time, most of those visually harsh objects didn't enter my conscious thinking.  I suppose they make sense as non-vocabulary "Don't Touch! / Don't Enter!" signs.

I seem to remember reading somewhere (many years ago) that the wall at the 02:15 mark goes all the way back to before the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.  Or maybe only that it escaped the fire-bombing of Tokyo in 1945?  I'm not sure, but I was thinking the earthquake *and* the firebombing missed it.  [Research time on the Internet...]  Okay, I couldn't find any information about that wall, but FYI, here are some links:

English Wikipedia page on Yushima-Seido:

Japanese Wikipedia page on Yushima-Seido:

Yushima-Seido website (in Japanese):

And here is some (Japanese) text from the Yushima-Seido site regarding the history of the place:

徳川五代将軍綱吉は儒学の振興を図るため、元禄3年(1690)湯島の地に聖堂を創建し て上野忍岡の林家私邸にあった廟殿と林家の家塾をここ に移しました。これが現在の湯島聖堂の始まりです。その後、およそ100年を経た寛政9年(1797)幕府直轄学校として、世に名高い「昌平 坂学問所(通称『昌平校』)」を開設しました。

明治維新を迎えると聖堂・学問所は新政府の所管するところとなり、当初、学問所 は大学校・大学と改称されながら存置されましたが、明治4年 (1871)これを廃して文部省が置かれることとなり、林羅山以来240年、学問所となってからは75年の儒学の講筵は、ここにその歴史を閉 じた次第です。ついでこの年わが国最初の博物館(現在の東京国立博物館)が置かれ、翌5年 (1872)には東京師範学校、わが国初の図書館で ある書籍館が置かれ、7年(1874)には東京女子師範学校が設置され、両校はそれぞれ明治19年(1886)、23年(1890)高等師範 学校に昇格したのち、現在の筑波大学、お茶の水女子大学へと発展してまいりました。このよ うに、湯島聖堂は維新の一大変革に当たっても学問所 としての伝統を受け継ぎ、近代教育発祥の地としての栄誉を担いました。

大正11年(1922)湯島聖堂は国の史跡に指定されましたが、翌12年 (1923)関東大震災が起こり、わずかに入徳門と水屋を残し、すべ てを焼失いたしました。この復興は斯文会が中心となり、昭和10年(1935)工学博士東京帝国大学伊東忠太教授の設計と㈱大林組の施工によ り、寛政時代の旧制を模し、鉄筋コンクリート造りで再建を果たしました。この建物が現在の 湯島聖堂で、昭和61年度(1986)から文化庁に よる保存修理工事が、奇しくも再び(株)大林組の施工で行われ、平成5年(1993)三月竣工いたしました。

Back to the wall... in comparing it now with a picture I took 7-10 years ago (see link further up the page), I see that it was just bare wood before.  I guess they painted it black to better preserve the old wood, but it looked much nicer with the weathered wood exposed, as is the case with many old temples in Japan.  I think only the gate itself was black before?  I'm not sure.  I need to dig through old photos to confirm that.

The mirror-like surface of the black gates at the 02:40 mark is lacquer I think.  Another detail I either read or was told many years ago.  The trouble with on-line information about this place is that it gives a general overview of the entire topic, but doesn't seem to have many details about the different elements of the place.  With a history going back hundreds of years, there should be many interesting stories to tell!

The stone water basin on the left in the background at the 02:50 mark is blocked off.  It used to be that these were always filled with water - even at very small shrines, but now the smaller shrines mostly seem to leave them dry, and only the biggest, busiest places still have them full of water.  I keep wondering what the reason for that is, but I haven't found any definitive answer.  Is it due to pigeons using the water?  (Having seen a few places with netting over the water, I think that could well be the case.)  Camping bipeds?  Worry that if someone gets sick from drinking from one, that there will be legal trouble?  Whatever the reason, that they are just left dry is becoming the norm for some reason.  Incidentally, I think "stone water basin" is a good description, but looking around a little on-line it appears that no one quite knows what to call them, I found these from just one page of search results:

purification fountain
water fountain like thing
ritual fountain
stone wash basin
purification font
hand washing area
hand washing station

Here is an explanation and instructions about how to do the purification ritual - from the website for the Kasama Inari Jinja (shrine) in Ibaraki-ken:

"Whenever paying a visit to a Shinto jinja, it is customary to purify yourself at the Purification Font before advancing to the Hall of Worship to pray. A shrine's purification font often is inscribed with characters meaning "cleanse your mind"; there can be found a basin overflowing from a constantly flowing stream of pure water. This water is used to cleanse the hands, mouth, and mind prior to worship, allowing the individual to approach the deity in an unblemished condition.

1. Take the water dipper in your right hand, and pour water onto your left hand.
2. Take the water dipper in your left hand, and pour water onto your right hand.
3. Once more take the water dipper in your right hand, pour water into your cupped left hand, and rinse your mouth with the water from your hand (please do not drink directly from the dipper).
4. In consideration of the next visitor, raise the dipper vertically and rinse off the handle with fresh water, then replace the dipper in its original location."

But increasingly you can't do this at small Tokyo shrines because there is no water, and at Yushima-Seido, not even physical access to the vicinity of the stone water basin....

Anyway!  On to the next video!

Ochanomizu - Station Details and Platform Walk 御茶ノ水駅のデテール (130326)

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水駅-神田駅 (万世橋見) 130326g

I watch (again) out the right-side window for evidence of the old platform stairs still being there while they continue with the construction of whatever they're building at/on the old platform of (former) Manseibashi Station.  First the platform appears [01:04], and then some new... something at [01:08], a new concrete square... elevator shaft? (naw... what *is* that?!) at [01:10], tile (brick?) from the old stairs (phew!) at [01:10] and [01:11]; and from [01:12], I suddenly jump over to the other side of the train to show a railway siding.  Looking at this now, it's not so difficult to imagine it as the last stop on the original Chuo Line, which began life as the Kobu Line, which ran between Tachikawa and Shinjuku.  According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manseibashi_Station):

   "The private Kobu Railway (甲武鉄道) between Tachikawa and Shinjuku was opened on April 11, 1889. The line was gradually extended east towards the center of Tokyo and was nationalized on October 1, 1906. The line was further extended to Manseibashi Station, which was opened on April 1, 1912 and remained the eastern terminal station of the line for seven years.
   The first station building was designed by Tatsuno Kingo in a style inspired by the Amsterdam Centraal and repeated in his design of Tokyo Station, opened two years later. A statue of Takeo Hirose was erected in front of the station.
   After the 1914 opening of Tokyo Station, Manseibashi still served as the eastern terminal station of the Chūō Main Line until March 1, 1919, when the line was further extended and Kanda Station opened. The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake destroyed the original station building, and a simpler station building was erected in its place. The statue of Hirose was left standing.
   In 1925, the elevated railway running through Ueno Station and Akihabara Station was opened for passenger traffic. Since both Akihabara and Kanda stations were within walking distance of Manseibashi, passenger numbers at Manseibashi decreased. On April 26, 1936, the Railway Museum moved into Manseibashi Station, and the station building itself was scaled back in November 1936. The station was officially closed on November 1, 1943 and the station building was completely torn down. The statue was removed after World War II."

Well, I'm not sure "completely" torn down is the right term, since there were/are some remnants of the original station, a few glimpses of which you can see in some photos on this page:

And... (last comment on Manseibashi Station!) after looking at a picture of the station from the side, I realize that the station building was separate from the elevated railway, so what's left is the section under the elevated railway, and not the station building itself, although they were connected by passageways.  Still, it's cool that there's *something* left.

Kanda Station and Ride to Akihabara 神田駅と秋葉原駅までの山手線 (130326hdc)

Akihabara Platform Walk 秋葉原駅ホームの様子 (屋根など) 130326

Akihabara to Oji (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 秋葉原駅-王子駅 (京浜東北快速) 130326

Oji Station to Asukayama Park (Hanami Season) 王子駅-飛鳥山公園 (花見) 130326

Asukayama Park Monorail (Brief Look) 飛鳥山公園モノレール (一見) 130326

Asukayama Park - Walking Up Hill Into Park 飛鳥山公園に上って入る (130326)

Asukayama Park Sakura-Hanami D-51 SL Etc 飛鳥山公園 - 都電など (130326)

This was my first time (I think) to visit this park, so looking in the windows of the streetcar, etc. was as much original exploration as simple recording of a place already known.  The kids waving to the camera from the roof of the streetcar made me feel nostalgic for the late eighties and early nineties, before just about everyone had cell phones with cameras in them.

The D-51 steam locomotive was interesting to see.  I was a little surprised at how the kids were climbing all over it - completely oblivious to the "Danger!  Do not climb on this!" signs!  That kids want to do that sort of thing is normal enough, but that the parents just let them have at it may be a condition of this generation.  The current batch of young parents were pretty spoiled, and their kids are more spoiled still it seems.

Back to the D-51.  These have four driven wheels per side (thus the "D") and were used (as I understand it - I could be wrong) for fast express trains between cities, while the "C" trains have only three driven wheels per side, but the wheels are larger, so they (presumably) have more torque and were probably better at getting overloaded trains in motion when leaving stations, etc.  Most of the functional steam engines I've seen here are the "C" type and were manufactured in the post-war years.  People seem to be much more nostalgic for the D-type though, which is logical enough.  Used for express trains, speeding from city to city.  And the D-type engines look nicer/cooler than the C-type ones.

D-51-853 SL in Asukayama Park 飛鳥山公園内のD-51-853 SL (130326)

It was kind of funny how a kid hit his head (not overly hard, but it must have hurt) on one piece or another of steel in the cab, and he started crying, and so his mother came up and asked what was wrong, and he - while half-crying and half-talking - patted the offending pit of steel with his hand.  Mother informed, issue explained, he stopped crying and got back to the more important business of driving the steam engine.  It's hard to explain, but seeing something like that brings back very ancient memories and helps to complete some kind of... unfinished picture?  I don't know what/how/why exactly, but it made me feel more human to see/hear that for some reason.

北区飛鳥山博物館 Kita-ku Asukayama Museum (130326)

A quick look at a rather nice and interestingly designed museum, with multiple display spaces, and a coffee shop, etc.

Asukayama Park Hanami Walkthrough 飛鳥山公園桜花見時の散策散歩 (130326)

Asukayama Park - Walking Back Down to Street 飛鳥山公園 - 坂を下りて出る (130326)

I didn't know it before going there, but it turns out this park has quite a long history, which is interesting, because parks tend to be newish in Tokyo.  This one... [uh-oh... back to the Internet to check...  Can I get the information without getting sidetracked this time?  Stay tuned.]  Okay - got the info and I was only slightly sidetracked.  Here's a quote from Wikipedia about the park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asukayama_Park):

"In the early eighteenth century, shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune planted many cherry trees in the area and opened up the land for the enjoyment of the 'Edokko' or citizens of Tokyo.  The park, along with Ueno Park, Shiba Park, Asakusa Park, and Fukagawa Park, were formally established in 1873 by the Dajo-kan, as Japan's first public parks.  In 1998, three museums were opened inside the park, designed by AXS Satow: the Kita City Asukayama Museum (北区飛鳥山博物館), the Shibusawa Memorial Museum (渋沢史料館), and the Paper Museum (紙の博物館)."

Oji - Former Shakuji Riverbed Sakura 元石神井川の桜 - 王子駅の近く (130326)

In the book "Japan Through American Eyes: The Journal of Francis Hall, Kanagawa and Yokohama, 1859-1866", Hall describes going by horse to this area, which had tea houses and was a kind of resort area (if that's the right term) at the time.  The publisher blurb for the book describes the book pretty well - if you're interested in Japan, I highly recommend it:

"In this journal, Francis Hall, America's leading business Pioneer in nineteenth-century Japan, offers a remarkable view of the period leading to the Meiji Restoration. Privately preserved for more than a hundred years, this previously unpublished document shows Hall to have been an astute observer of Japanese life, as well as an influential opinion-maker on Japan in the United States during the crucial decade of the American Civil War and the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. While contemporary American and British diplomatic accounts have focused on the official record, Hall reveals to us the private side of life in the treaty port. Although his instinctive reactions were frequently to approve the strong-arm tactics of the gunboat diplomats with whom he associated, his second thoughts were far more nuanced and sympathetic than the official line. The publication of Hall's journal, as well as many articles he wrote for the American press, therefore furnishes us with an insightful and sensitive portrayal of Japan on the eve of modernity. The biography included in this volume provides a context for the journal. An upstate New York book dealer, Hall went to Japan in 1859 to collect material for a book and to serve as correspondent for Horace Greeley's New York Tribune. Seeing the opportunities for commerce in Yokohama, he helped found Walsh, Hall and Co., which became the leading American trading house in Japan. Hall was a shrewd businessman, but more important for us, he was a perceptive recorder of life around him. Ethnographer, demographer, sportswriter, social observer, economist, diplomat, and participant in the turbulent affairs of the treaty port, he left an unmatched portrait of Japan in a time of rapid change."

A paperback version has been published under the slightly modified title:  "Japan Through American Eyes: The Journal Of Francis Hall, 1859-1866"

Quoting from the book, here are two paragraphs about his trip to Oji by horse:

   "Saturday, November 3, 1860 - .....  We left the Imperial grounds to ride to Ogi-ya, a noted tea house and place of recreation in the country.  After leaving the imperial grounds and passing out of the second wall we ascended rising ground.  Gradually as we galloped on, the houses grew sparser and at the end of a brisk two hours' ride we were riding in pleasant suburban roads bordered with gardens of fruits and flowers or vegetables, and groves of cypress and fir.  At the foot of a hill where there was a small cluster of cottages we found Ogi-ya.
   Ogi-ya is a series of tea cottages built in a summer dell on a brookside.  A swift stream tumbles over a fall at the head of a little gorge and bounds on its serpentine course amidst trees and rocks.  On one side, overhanging the stream with their long tasseled arms were the native spruces, on the other, a cluster of tea cottages scattered here and there under cool shade and surrounded by gardens of flowers, one and two stories in height, and with spacious verandahs opening towards the bounding brook and the thick grove beyond.  Groups of Japanese were enjoying themselves in the open rooms.  ......"

After reading things like the above, I wonder how much nicer the world would be without automobiles.  The internal combustion engine - through vast overuse - is more of a curse than a benefit.

Oji Sakura Hanami and Bridge 王子桜花見と橋 (130326)

Oji Shrine 王子神社 (130326)

Ancient Ginkgo Tree by Oji Shrine 王子神社隣の古い大きい銀杏の木 (130326)

A plaque by the old tree at the beginning of this video states that - while they don't know the exact age, they think it's around 600 years old.  It even made it through the fire-bombing of Tokyo, while everything around it burned.  If it could talk, it would have a lot to say I imagine....

Sakura Hanami by Shakuji River to Oji Station 石神井川花見-王子駅 (130326)

Oji Station Afternoon Platform Walk 王子駅改札口と午後駅ホーム散策散歩 (130326hdc)

Starting by the ticket gates to Oji Station - I go through the gates, up an escalator to the platform, and I'm just looking around, with sakura trees in bloom in the background.  First a train comes in going the other way, and after it leaves, I'm waiting for my train, when I hear a train approaching on a neighboring track, so I aim the camera in that direction, and it turns out to be three old and interesting-looking train cars being pulled by an electric locomotive.  They look mysterious - going by like that so unexpectedly... like some kind of ghost train (at around the 02:44 mark).

Oji to Ueno - Keihin-Tohoku Line - Sakura Spring 王子駅-上野駅 - 桜春 (130326)

Shinobazu Exit to Subway Area via Slope Entrance 不忍改札から地下鉄口へ (130326)

Shinobazu Exit to Ueno Park 上野駅不忍口から桜花見上野公園まで (130326)

Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple - Sakura in Bloom 清水観音堂桜花見様子 (130326)

Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple - Sakura Look-around 清水観音堂桜花見様子 (130326hd)

上野公園花見 - 清水観音堂から中央通路まで Kiyomizu Kannondo Sakura (130326)

Ueno Park Upper Plaza Area by Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple 上野公園広場桜 (130326)

Walk to Shinobazu Entrance of Ueno Station 上野駅不忍改札口へ (130326)

Ueno Station Shinobazu Entrance to Platform 上野駅不忍改札からホームへ (130326)

Ueno to Shinbashi - Front Cab View - Yamanote Line 山手線で上野駅-新橋駅 (130326)

Tokyo Station Yaesu Side Under Construction 東京駅八重洲口工事の様子 (130326)

Shinjuku Crosswalk People - Entering Nishi-Shinjuku (130326)

Quiet Former Entrance to Toyoko-Shibuya Station (130326)

Shinjuku Yamanote to Chuo Transfer 新宿駅山手線から中央線まで乗り換え (130326)

Shinbashi SL-Plaza Used Book Market 新橋SL広場の中古本市場 (130326)

Shinbashi to Yurakucho - Yamanote Line 新橋駅-有楽町駅 - 山手線 (130326)

Tokyo Station Afternoon Walkthrough 東京駅午後の様子 - 山手線など (130326)

Sakura in Small Ginza 1-Chome Park 銀座一丁目の小さい公園の桜花見 (130326)

奥野ビル六階元談話室前と五階 Okuno Building Former Lounge Etc (130326)

Walking by Sakura Trees in Ginza 1-Chome 銀座一丁目の桜の木 (130326)

Yurakucho Station Bound - Ginza 1-Chome 有楽町駅向き - 銀座一丁目 (130326)

Yurakucho to Ochanomizu - Evening Trains 有楽町駅-御茶ノ水駅 - 夕方電車 (130326)

Boarding Shibuya-Bound Yamanote Line at Shinjuku Station - South Entrance (130326)

新宿駅-渋谷駅 - 夜の山手線 Shinjuku to Shibuya - Nighttime Yamanote Line (130326)

Nighttime Shibuya - South Exit Area 夜の渋谷駅 - 南改札を出る (130326)

Shibuya - East to West Station Walkthrough 渋谷桜 - 東から西へ - 駅あたり (130326hd)

Shibuya Late Night Crowds by Station 渋谷駅あたりの夜人込み (130326hd)

銀座一丁目の美しい桜の木 - 花見万歳 Ginza 1-Chome Sakura Trees (130326g)

Yurakucho Rail Bridge Echoes 有楽町夜鉄道橋の鉄響き (130326g)

Shibuya Walkabout (East to West) Hachiko Plaza - JR-Shibuya Station (130326g)

Shibuya Hachiko Plaza Nighttime Sakura 夜渋谷ハチ公広場の桜花見 (130326g)

Shinjuku Platform Walk and Ride to Harajuku 新宿駅の様子と原宿駅まで (130329)

Harajuku Station - Platform to Exit 原宿駅 - ホームから表参道改札口まで (130329)

Harajuku Omotesando and Meiji-Dori Stroll 原宿表参道と明治通り散策散歩 (130329)

Harajuku Takeshita-Dori Afternoon Stroll 原宿竹下通り午後散策散歩 (130329g)

Takeshita-Dori - West Side by Harajuku Station 竹下通り - 原宿駅隣の西側 (130329hd)

Harajuku Station - Takeshita Entrance 原宿駅竹下口 (130329hdc)

Shibuya Station - Yamanote to Toyoko 渋谷駅 山手線-地下鉄の東横線 (130329)

This starts on a Yamanote Line train approaching Shibuya Station, and then shows the transfer from the Yamanote Line to the new underground Toyoko Line at Shibuya - stopping briefly to look over a barrier at the empty lower level of the former Toyoko-Shibuya Station along the way.

Underground Toyoko-Shibuya Station 地下東横渋谷駅 (130329)

Nakameguro Station to Meguro River Sakura 中目黒駅-目黒川桜花見 (130329)

Sakura-Hanami by Megurogawa River 目黒川隣の桜花見-中目黒駅近く (130329hd)

Megurogawa River Sakura-Matsuri Area 目黒川桜まつり地方-春万歳 (130329)

Megurogawa Sakura Stroll - Walk Towards Station 目黒川桜花見散策散歩 (130329)

Nakameguro to Jiyugaoka - Toyoko Line 中目黒駅-自由が丘駅 - 東横線 (130329)

Jiyugaoka Station Walkabout 自由が丘駅の様子 (130329)

Jiyugaoka Multi-Store (1F) Walkthrough 自由が丘散策散歩 (130329)

Jiyugaoka Multi-Store (2F と 3F) Walkthrough 自由が丘散策散歩 (130329)

Sakura-in-Bloom on Jiyugaoka Green Street 自由が丘グリーンストリート桜 (130329)

Around the time I was taking these videos of Green Street in Jiyugaoka, I wrote the following in a notebook:

130329-15:53 (Jiyugaoka) - Sitting on an outside bench in Jiyugaoka - on a stone-block street, with a brick center section and sakura trees in the center, and with benches lining the outside edge of the brick part of the street - facing inward.  A light breeze carries cherry blossom petals diagonally - down onto the people sitting on the benches, watching the trees.  A single petal lands on the page as I write this....  The overcast sky is somehow perfect for the moment - certainly it provides much better lighting than would be the case with harsh direct light from a cloudless sky....  Excuse me, but I will now get back to enjoying it wordlessly.

Jiyugaoka Green Street - Sakura Stroll 自由が丘グリーンストリート桜 (130329)

Sakura Green Street to Jiyugaoka Station グリーンストリート-自由が丘駅 (130329)

Jiyugaoka Station - Boarding Toyoko Line 自由が丘駅 - 東横線を乗る (130329)

Yotsuya Station Night Window View 四ッ谷駅夜の窓風景 (130329)

Yotsuya Rampart Night Hanami Stroll 四ツ谷城壁の夜花見散策散歩 (130329)

Yotsuya-Mitsukebashi Bridge to Yotsuya Station 四ツ谷見附橋-四ッ谷駅 (130329)

Lonely Late Night Street in Nakano 寂しい夜の道イン中野 (130329)

This is a new road that runs through the middle of what was one large block with no roads before.  Looking on-line I see that three universities will have operations in this area (often Japanese universities split themselves among different facilities located in different parts of town), as follows:

Three new universities will open doors on the west side of the redevelopment area:
・Meiji University: School of Global Japanese studies, etc. (Opening April 2013)
・Teikyo Heisei University: Pharmaceutical Studies, etc. (Opening April 2013)
・Waseda University: Nakano Global Community Plaza, etc. (Planned for completion in spring 2014)

There's information about the redevelopment project here:

Nakano Station - North Side at Night 夜の中野駅北口 (130329)

Asagaya-kita Late Night Side Streets 夜遅くの阿佐谷北一丁目 (130329)

Late Night Asagaya-kita 2-Chome 夜遅くの阿佐谷北二丁目 (130329)

Asagaya Late Night Back Streets 阿佐ヶ谷夜遅くの裏道 (130329)

Late Night Asagaya Station 夜遅く阿佐ヶ谷駅 (130329)

Toyoko to JR Transfer at Shibuya Station 渋谷駅の東横線-JR線の乗り換え (130329)

Shibuya Station West Side Stroll 渋谷駅西側散策散歩 (130329)

Shibuya Hachiko Plaza と Walk to Hanzomon Line 渋谷ハチ公広場-半蔵門線 (130329)

Shibuya to Omotesando - Hanzomon Line 渋谷駅-表参道駅 - 半蔵門線 (130329)

Omotesando to Nagatacho - Hanzomon Line 表参道駅-永田町駅 - 半蔵門線 (130329)

Kudanshita Station - Platform to Earth Surface - 九段下駅_地下-地上 (130329)

Ushigafuchi Sakura Hanami 牛ヶ淵桜花見 (130329hd)

Kudankita Shadows 九段北二丁目の影 (130329)

Night Flowers at Kudankita - Sakura Hanami Season (130329)

Night Hanami Parties at Kudankita - Walkabout 九段北夜花見大会 (130329)

Quiet Side of Hanami Parties at Kudankita - Walkabout 九段北夜花見 (130329)

九段北夜花見大会 Kudankita Night Hanami Parties - Walkabout (130329)

Games at Kudankita Hanami Event 九段北花見大会のゲーム (130329)

牛ヶ淵桜花見 Ushigafuchi Sakura Hanami - Full Bloom - Falling Petals (130329)

Ushigafuchi to Chidorigafuchi - Hanami 牛ヶ淵-千鳥ヶ淵 - 桜花見 (130329)

I wrote this (ink on paper) at the time:

17:37 - Kudanshita (Chidorigafuchi) - Bought a couple of pieces of fried chicken and a couple of... non-soft drinks, and kind of randomly sat down on a bench by the cherry tree-lined moat.  While consuming the fried chicken and non-soft drinks, I overheard a couple seated next to me say something about how nice an overhead branch looked, so I looked up, and noticed - for the first time - that a rather beautiful in-full-bloom branch of a sakura tree reaches out over exactly where we are sitting.

Sakura Stroll N-S - Chidorigafuchi 桜散歩北南千鳥ヶ淵 - 夕暮れ花見 (130329g)

Sakura Stroll S-N - Chidorigafuchi 桜散歩南北千鳥ヶ淵 - 夕暮れ花見 (130329)

Pedestrian Bridge Near Yasukuni Shrine 靖国神社隣の靖国通り (130329)

Night Sakura - Kita-no-Maru-Koen (Kitanomaru-koen) 北の丸公園夜桜花見 (130329)

北の丸公園夜桜花見 Night Sakura Hanami - Kitanomaru-koen (130329)

Kitanomaru Hanami Night Stroll 北の丸公園夜桜花見散策散歩 (130329)

OK - that's it for this batch!  I probably should have commented on more of the videos listed above, but I'm seriously running out of time here, so I need to get this into the wires.



"Shinjuku, Seijogakuenmae, Shibuya Pedestrian Tunnel, Shibuya, Etc."

The biggest (as in newsworthy) thing in this batch are views of the (now former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station - which is now devoid of trains and instead has workers stripping out the railway-related equipment and whatnot, and they have put planking over the rails at platform height - making for one large flat surface (where there used to be several separate platforms).  According to an article I read about it, there will be some kind of events held in the space over the next few months and then the station will be torn down.  It's a little shocking how quickly a decades-long busy station has suddenly fallen silent.  It would actually be traumatic, except the trains are still running - underground - and so it's not something to think about too much.  Still... the way everything in Tokyo is constantly torn down and rebuilt is a little disorienting sometimes.

I also visited Seijogakuenmae Station on the Odakyu Line, a station that I have either not been to before, or else went there so long ago, that I've forgotten about it.  The resulting ride on the Odakyu Line was also interesting.  Whereas they only had double tracks before, now much of the route between Seijogakuenmae and Shinjuku has four tracks - two in each direction.  The character of the line feels different to me now than I remember back when I used it all the time.

And... ah!  The pedestrian tunnel near the old Toyoko-Shibuya Station!  It's open for now, but there are notices on the walls that they'll be closing that next month!  Another element of the Tokyo I knew in the 1980's is disappearing!  I'm glad I noticed that and took some video of it - so there will be something to look at if I should want to see that or tell someone about it at some point in the future.  As long as there's *something*.  Going back to a place you feel some nostalgia for and finding *nothing* remaining of what was there before really isn't very fun.  Given the choice between an eternally changing city and a never-changing city, I'm pretty sure I'd go for the change, but ideally it would be nice if there were some sort of balance between the two?

Shinjuku Mosaic Street - West to South 新宿のモザイク通り - 西口-南口 (130317)

Walking along the diagonal street/alley/pedestrian-passageway that connects the west exit area of Shinjuku Station with the south exit area.  Once outside on the south side, notice that the big "Olympus" sign [03:52] that used to be at the top of a building over by the Southern Terrace is covered with construction netting.  I've been thinking that sign would disappear sooner rather than later.  Bright-light complicated signs like that are almost extinct now.  Nobody looks up from their cell phones long enough to notice anything anyway, so there's no point in spending money on that kind of advertising any more.  In the following video at about the 00:58 mark, there's a closer, clearer view of the building the Olympus sign used to be on (and maybe even still is - under the netting - but I'm betting they're removing it, or else replacing it with something that doesn't burn power, or at least not as much power).

Shinjuku South Exit to Southern Terrace 新宿駅南口からサザンテラスまで (130317)

Bookstore (Brief View) 本屋一見 (130317)

Here's something to worry about.  I don't very often go to bookstores, but when I want to get something, although I'm not sure what exactly, they're so much nicer than a computer screen.  Looking around in the English language section, I noticed that most of the people who walked to the counter with several books in hand appeared to be pretty old - in the 50-70 range.  I read a lot of stuff on-line, but for books, I like to read real books.  One of the things I like about books is that I like to own my own physical, legal copy.  I don't really like the rent-an-electronic-book-temporarily-under-a-draconian-license arrangement very much.

On the Boardwalk in Shinjuku 新宿の日曜日夕方 (130317)

Shinjuku New South Entrance to Chuo Line 新宿新南口から中央線まで (130317)

I don't know what this will eventually end up looking like, but for now it's still a white-walled construction tunnel around the ticket gate area.

Shinjuku to Shimokitazawa (Odakyu Line) 新宿駅-下北沢駅 (小田急線) 130317

The color of this is quite bluish - due to the tinted color of the glass I think.  These days I don't use the Odakyu Line very much, so I'm not used to their newer trains.  In fact, when I got off of this train and watched it leave the station, I realized I'd never seen that particular type before.  At the 02:28 mark, is the English announcement: "Next stop is Yoyogi-Uehara.  Please transfer for Chiyoda Line."  I always find it irritating to have those badly read announcements telling me to "please transfer" when I don't-want-to / am-not-going-to transfer.

Shimokitazawa to Seijogakuenmae (Odakyu Line) 下北沢駅-成城学園前 (130317)

Incidentally, for anyone listening closely to the sound in the background - the people sitting next to me (on one side) were not speaking Japanese (at the beginning of this video).  That's some other Asian language - I'm not sure which one.

Listening to the English announcement - I would have to say it has the virtue of being shorter than the JR ones - that's to be appreciated.  Less time to endure irritating sound waves broadcast throughout the train....  Listen, I understand how it is not to understand Japanese.  When I came here, I didn't understand Japanese, but I never had any problem with the train announcements in spite of their being only in Japanese (I wish they still were).  The place name is the place name.  When you're listening for it, you don't need "next stop is" or "the next stop is" - all you need is the station name.  I say this all the time, and I'll say it again:  I hate the English announcements on the trains here.  They're unnecessary, they're read amateurishly, and they're highly irritating.

Seijogakuenmae Station (Odakyu Line) 成城学園前駅 (小田急線) 130317

Odakyu Bus Interior - Setagaya-ku 小田急バス内 - 世田谷区 (130317)

Speaking of irritating English announcements - the buses (or at least the ones I use) are very thankfully free of them!  Banzai!  You can climb on a bus and not be irritated with unnecessary English announcements at each and every stop.  Maybe I should rearrange my schedule and take buses to some places instead of trains.  It would take longer, but I wouldn't have to listen to those bloody English announcements on the trains.

Seijo Corty Station Mall Rooftop 成城コルティ駅モール屋上 (130317)

Seijo Corty Station Mall (A) 成城コルティ駅モール - 成城学園前駅 (130317)

As is apparent when I get to the end of the roof and look out over the tracks, this mall is built over the railway.  This is increasingly the design philosophy of Tokyo train stations.  This one is more local area friendly though, in that the mall is on the outside of the ticket gates, so anyone in the area can freely access it.  Many station malls are inside the ticket gates, so you have to be in the system (past the ticket gates) to access them.

Seijo Corty Station Mall (B) 成城コルティ駅モール - 成城学園前駅 (130317)

Seijo Walkabout - Setagaya 成城散策散歩 - 世田谷区 (130317)

About a five minute walk from the Seijogakuenmae Station (two or three minutes further down the street than is shown in this video) is a rather nice-looking (and upscale) residential area.  At the time, I thought, "This reminds me a little of Denenchofu...", and then when I got home, I looked up the area on a map and discovered that its location is similar to Denenchofu's - in that it's a Tokyo address within easy commuting distance of central Tokyo (via Shibuya for Denenchofu, and via Shinjuku for Seijogakuenmae); there are no big truck roads near to it; and it's far enough from central Tokyo that people can actually have a house with a yard, something that is very nearly impossible in central Tokyo for obvious reasons.

Walking to Seijogakuenmae Station (Odakyu Line) 成城学園前駅までの散歩 (130317)

Seijogakuenmae Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 成城学園前駅 (130317)

The stations were different in the early eighties when I first came to Tokyo - I'm still getting used to this new style.  I sort of feel like I'm in a foreign country when I'm in a new station like this....

Waiting for Train at Seijogakuenmae Station 成城学園前駅ホーム-360 (130317)

Seijogakuenmae to Yoyogi-Uehara (Two Trains) 成城学園前駅-代々木上原駅 (130317)

I boarded a local train at Seijogakuenmae, but when the train stopped at Kyodo (経堂駅) in order to let an express get around it (after stopping there also), I decided to change trains and take the express the rest of the way to Shinjuku.  Coming into Shimokitazawa, the station is under some kind of reconstruction, but the area by the stairs at the 10:42 mark seems the way I remember it from before.  Glad to see *something* that seems familiar, but this is obviously not going to be this way for long.

Yoyogi-Uehara to Shinjuku (Odakyu Line) 代々木上原駅-新宿駅 (小田急線) 130317

Odakyu Shinjuku Station via Express 小田急線の新宿駅 - 急行で到着 (130317)

After getting off the train (which is one of the older white with blue stripe ones with manual controls), I look around at the station a little on my way out the ticket gates.

Toyoko-Shibuya Station - March 15th, 2013 東急東横渋谷線最終日 (130315hdc)

One more view of March 15th - the last day Tokyu's above-ground Shibuya Station was used as a station.  (I forgot to put this one in with the previous batch of videos covering that event.)

Road that Passes Under Nakameguro Station (Long View) 130319

Looking out over a main road that passes under Nakameguro Station - which is basically sitting on a bridge over the road.  The train stopped at the other platform is one of the Tobu-Tojo Line trains, which now are connected with the Toyoko Line via the Fukutoshin Line (副都心線).  I knew that was the case even before seeing that train sitting there, but it was still weird to see it.  Until the tie in on March 16th, that type of train had never before been seen on the Toyoko Line tracks.

Yurakucho Station Platform - One Afternoon in March 有楽町駅ある日 (130319hd)

Watching a few trains come and go from one of the platform seats at Yurakucho Station.

Tokyo to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 (中央線) 130319

Typical night view out the (right side) window of an evening Chuo Line train - much of it vertically oriented.

Minami-Otsuka Quick Night View 南大塚商店街一見 (130319)

Departing Shinjuku - Late Night Chuo Line 新宿駅夜遅くの中央線出発 (130319)

Left side window view of the night scenery leaving Shinjuku Station as seen from an outbound Chuo Line train.

Shinjuku - Chuo to Yamanote Transfer 新宿駅で中央線-山手線乗り換え (130319)

Transferring from the Chuo Line to the Yamanote Line via the southernmost escalator at the end of the platform.  At the 01:45 mark, I tap my foot... to show the viewer that I wished the couple wasn't blocking the escalator (you're supposed to stand on the left side so people can walk by), but reviewing the video now, it suddenly occurs to me that the man saw my foot tapping!  At the time, I though he just picked up on the radio waves or something, but now I think he probably saw the motion of my foot!  Oops... it wasn't actually very important to me at the time, so if I had known he would see that, I wouldn't have done it!  I meant it as comic effect for the camera, but I think it went down as serious irritation.  Oh well....

Shinjuku to Shibuya (Yamanote) 新宿駅-渋谷駅 (山手線) 元東横線渋谷駅 (130319)

This is a fairly long clip (over eleven minutes) - starting with a platform walk at Shinjuku Station while waiting for the Yamanote Line, then the ride to Shibuya, and ending with a look at the ghost station that the Toyoko-Shibuya Station has become (now that they've diverted all the Toyoko trains underground).

Toyoko-Shibuya Station being Decommissioned as Railway Station (130319)

A look straight across (from an elevated walkway) at the empty platforms of (now former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station, with the sounds of workers decommissioning the station.

Shibuya - from Former Toyoko-Shibuya Station to New Toyoko-Shibuya Subway (130319)

At the beginning of this clip, I pan across the billboards spelling out "HELLO".  Looking at those before, on the 15th, I assumed the idea was "Hello to the new - don't feel sad about the old" or some such thing.  And on the 19th, when I took this video, at the 03:47 mark at the top of that escalator, and also at the 04:00 mark at the bottom of the escalator, are posters (with the same rising orange sun theme) saying 新+渋谷 - ターミナル - はじまる ("New + Shibuya - Terminal - Begins"), so I guess that's indeed the case.

At the 00:25 mark, the room I look in the window of, is the former ticket office (to handle whatever the automated ticket gates couldn't). Jumping back to March 12th, at the 00:04 mark in this video:

Toyoko-Shibuya Station Walkabout 東急東横線渋谷駅見回り (上と下) 130312

 - you can see this ticket office while it was still in operation.  I would have taken a closer look on the 12th, but was worried I might be asked not to take pictures of the office, so I just took that view from the other side of that space.  Still, you can see what it was, and if you keep watching that video, at the 00:44 mark, you can see a railway employee helping a woman with something - which is a perfect demonstration of that room's use.

Anyway, from the former ticket office, I turn around and head for the stairs that lead down to the new underground Toyoko-Shibuya Station, which is integrated into the subway system now.  In the middle of the station, it reminded me a little of Otemachi - which has a large number of train lines and takes some getting used to before you can effortlessly navigate around in it.

New Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Yokohama-Bound Train 新東横渋谷駅の様子 (130319)

The new underground station is nice enough I suppose - and will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the open platforms of the old station, but - personally - I prefer being on elevated platforms, where I can look off ito the distance and feel the wind.

Naka-Meguro Station Afternoon Platform Scene 中目黒駅午後ホームの様子 (130319)

Naka-Meguro has become a really busy station, with trains every two or three minutes for much of the schedule.  I'm wondering if everything will run on time.  The scheduling seems quite complicated as well, with trains from various lines passing through.

Nakameguro Station - Boarding Toyoko Line 中目黒駅 - 東横線を乗る (130319hdc)

Looking around on a platform at Naka-Meguro Station before getting on an inbound train.

Daikanyama Station - March 19th 2013 代官山駅で東横線から降りる (130319hdc)

Getting off an inbound train at Daikanyama - at the 00:17 mark, notice the extra steps, from a new report I saw, they had to lower the platform and tracks to match the rails up with the downward slope going into the new tunnel.  At the 00:42 mark... I'm not even sure what I'm looking at there, but that's not exactly a standard rail bed at a station, so I wonder - considering how much ongoing construction there appears to be at this station - what other changes are coming.

Daikanyama Station Area and Station 代官山駅周りと駅と電車を乗る (130319)

In addition to walking around near the station a little, and inside the station, the camera keeps recording into the tunnel, including listening to the Japanese and English announcements prior to arriving at Shibuya Station.  More (much more) on that further down the page!

After going back through the ticket gates and while walking down the stairs towards the platform... from about the 02:52 mark, the sound the express train makes while passing through this station (which is not an express stop) is that of a train going over a bridge....  Hmm....  Wait, let me try running a Google search about that station and see if there is any information about what the ongoing construction is about.  [Google search...]  Well, so far I've found an old 2002 report about it - so obviously the planning goes way back!  The title on the PDF file goes like this: "Transition of Toyoko Line to go underground from Shibuya Station to Daikanyama Station - 27 February 2002 - Extraordinary Explanation Meeting for Investors".  Let me try a Japanese search.  Um... I'm not seeing any evidence of Daikanyama headed underground, but I do wonder if maybe they're going to stack the rails there to enable express trains to pass underneath local trains stopped at that local station?  Or maybe the current rough form of the station has something to do with meeting the completion deadline for the new hookup and the finer details of the construction for Daikanyama Station are yet to be completed?  In any case, here's some Japanese text I found regarding the hookup with the subway (at http://www.tokyu.co.jp/railway/railway/east/pr/13go.html):

東横線と副都心線の相互直通運転に向けて、 次の工事を行います。

東横線の渋谷~代官山間の約1.4km区間を地下化し、 渋谷駅で東京メトロ副都心線と相互直通運転します。 この計画によって、 東武東上線・西武池袋線から東京メトロ有楽町線・副都心線を経て、 東急東横線と横浜高速鉄道みなとみらい線までがひとつの路線として結ばれ、 東横線は、 首都圏の広域的な鉄道ネットワークの一翼を担うこととなります。 これにより、 都市交通の利便性向上と円滑化が期待されます。

特急・通勤特急・急行を10両編成で運行できるよう、 これらの列車が停車する駅を改良します。 あわせてバリアフリー施設の増備、 ホームの拡幅などを行い、 利便性を向上させます。

But listening to the sound of trains coming in... making that hollow drum beating noise - I really do wonder what's under the rails here!

And now we come to... the English announcement!  It begins from about the 08:46 mark, and goes like this:

"We will soon make a brief stop at Shibuya.  Passengers changing to the Denentoshi Line, the JR Line, the Keio Inokashira Line, the Ginza Line, and the Hanzomon Line, please transfer at this station.  This train will merge and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line to Wakoshi.  This train will operate as a local train in Fukutoshin Line.  Thank you for using the Tokyu-Toyoko Line."

There are a number of problems with the announcement -  some nit-picky, and some serious:

- "We will soon make a brief stop at..." - this appears to have been lifted form the decades-old Shinkansen English announcements, and while it makes perfect sense when traveling at 250kph or so for an hour and stopping at some city before the one you are zooming off to, it makes no sense whatsoever to say that for an intercity train that 100% of time (unless there's some problem), always, always, always, always, ALWAYS makes a "brief stop" at each and every station it stops at.  Because it works for the prestigious Shinkansen, doesn't mean it automatically works for an intercity commuter line.

- "The JR Line" sounds like there is one railway line called "the JR Line" but actually there are no single lines called "JR".  JR is the company that operates a huge range of different lines, and several of them stop at Shibuya, so that should be "JR lines" not "the JR Line".  To be even more nit-picky - there was one national railway organization called JNR (Japan National Railways) that was broken up into different groups and privatized.  The company that operates trains in this part of Japan is "JR East", or to be really proper about it and go by the name the company uses on their website: "JR-EAST - East Japan Railway Company" in English and "JR東日本" in Japanese.

- "Passengers changing to the ...... // ......., please transfer at this station."  Pleading with the passengers to transfer is just creepy.  This could be something like "Next stop:  Shibuya.  Transfers available to the following lines - Denentoshi, Keio Inokashira, Ginza, Hanzomon, and JR lines."

- "This train will merge and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line to Wakoshi."  This part is so bad, I'm going to go back and listen a few more times.  a) Surely they're not really saying this?  The train will merge?  Merge with what?  How about completing the sentence.  "Merge" is not an end in itself!  Admittedly, full comprehension of what's happening is a little complicated.  The same train continues down the rails seamlessly without interruption (and since the Fukutoshin Line ends in Shibuya, "merge" is the wrong term anyway), but after Shibuya, it is no longer the Toyoko Line!  It becomes the Fukutoshin Line.  And past Ikebukuro (I think), it is no longer the Fukutoshin Line!  It becomes the Tobu-Tojo Line (in this case - or the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line for some other trains).  b) Therefore, that "and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line" part is flat-out wrong.  (I wonder how that glaring error got into the announcement?)

- "This train will operate as a local train in Fukutoshin Line."  *in* Fukutoshin Line?  I must be mishearing that... but that's what it sounds like.  I have some sympathy for someone who is trying to do a literal (as opposed to virtual) translation of each and every word in the Japanese announcement, but this should be something like "This train runs as a Fukutoshin Line train between Shibuya and Ikebukuro".  This is important actually, because fares jump a little when you transfer to a different system, and since the Toyoko Line and the Fukutoshin Line are different systems, Shibuya is a kind of fare barrier.  It's all seamless in operation, and the fare is automatically calculated by the computers at the ticket gate when you exit, but regarding what you're paying, that's the way it works.

Phew!  What a mess!  If you're going to make a *recording* and then play it back day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, you'd think someone would try a little harder to do it right.  Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the train system and the people who keep it running smoothly, but what's with these low-quality horrible English announcements anyway?  I think there is no need for English announcements in the first place ("Shibuya" is "Shibuya" in whatever language), but if they *are* needed, more effort should be made in doing them right... don't you think?

New Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Tunnel to Surface 新東横渋谷駅地下-地上 (130319)

From riding through the new tunnel between Daikanyama and Shibuya, to getting off the train and making my way back to the surface of the planet through various passageways and escalators - several of which I've never experienced before and even the ones that I had, only once or twice.  It's kind of weird (or maybe I should say it's *very* weird) - all these years of visiting Shibuya and it's like they've built a new underground city there.  Being down there felt more like visiting another country, or a new outpost on another planet or something.  Back on the surface of planet Earth, finally I saw something I've known for many years - the Ginza railway bridge and the (soon to be demolished) just decommissioned Toyoko Shibuya Station (the surface of planet Earth version that is, not the underground city version).

Shibuya - East Side of Station - Meiji-dori 渋谷駅東側 - 明治通り (130319)

Heading for the old elevated pedestrian bridge after recently returning to the surface of the planet, I walk by a blue bicycle lane.  I'm beginning to see these now and then in the city, but they're still fairly rare I think.  I'm not too sure though, since I never ride a bike in central Tokyo.  Towards the end of this video, I take another look at the (suddenly) former Toyoko-Shibuya Station.  It's still hard to believe that that station is now devoid of trains.

Walking Towards East Entrance of Shibuya Station 渋谷駅東口に向かう (130319)

Beginning on the elevated pedestrian walkway next to the old station and then walking down the stairs towards the remaining (mainly JR) above-ground part of Shibuya Station... but then getting sidetracked by the entrance to the old pedestrian tunnel I used to use back in the eighties...

Shibuya Pedestrian Underpass - Tunnel and West Side 渋谷地下通路と西側 (130319)

Funny how something that was purely a utilitarian detail of daily life suddenly takes on some kind of special meaning decades later... heightened by the fact that it's about to disappear.  Walking through this tunnel again now brings back rather vivid memories of the mid-eighties.

There's something about places that brings memories out of deep storage in the brain - but once the places have been radically changed, the effect is weakened and even lost (almost?) altogether (depending on how radically changed a place is).  The east exit of Shinagawa Station is a place that no longer brings back any memories for me, since there's nothing left of what was there before!  All of the old things have been eradicated and everything is new.

Shibuya Pedestrian Underpass 東急電鉄渋谷歩行者地下通路 (すぐ閉鎖) 130319hdg

Beside old Tokyu-Toyoko Line Tracks 元東急東横線路の隣見回り (130319)

From about the 01:05 mark, the elevated (former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station is to the left, with the elevated tracks going off into the distance.  Not obvious in this video (above), the tracks curve sharply to the right not long after leaving the station.  The following video (from 2008) shows how it looked on this same side while looking out an open window on an inbound train while the train came around the bend.  I really like this view from 2008 - the electric night atmosphere and the noise of steel on steel... I just wish it were longer.  It ends as soon as the train finishes going around the bend.  Especially since trains no longer run on these tracks, I wish I'd spent more time recording this stretch.  I heard about plans to close the station some months ago, but for some reason didn't think about the fact that trains would no longer run on this section of track.  How quickly things seem to disappear sometimes.  You think things will just be there forever - but they aren't.

Approaching Shibuya Station at Night (Toyoko Line) 2008年の東横線 (渋谷駅)

In introducing this video to some people on-line, I wrote the following (earlier today):

もと撮るべきだったが、この2008年の動画が、東横線の東横渋谷駅手前のカーブの雰囲気が少 し分かる。 開いている窓から、夜の様子、鉄と鉄の音... 東京の電気夜...
I'm really kicking myself now for not leaving the camera running all the way into the station, but still - this shows a little of the atmosphere of the sharp curve leading into the now decommissioned Toyoko-Shibuya Station.
「続けて駅まで撮った良かったのに!」、今は思うけど、一応少し撮ったのは、良かったも思う! 窓が閉まってると、色々な事が分からなくなる - 窓が開いてると、色々感じる! こう言う理由で、あまりエアコンは好きじゃない。

Shibuya 3-Chome - Side Streets and Graffiti 渋谷三丁目 - 横道と落書き (130319)

I've been noticing what has seemed like gradually more and more graffiti in the city over the years, but I was surprised at how much there was in this area!  It's all over just about everything on the side streets!  It makes me wonder how many people are going about the city throwing paint around.

Graffiti Along Shibuya River 渋谷川の落書き (130319hd)

Meiji-dori Stroll - Shibuya Station Bound 明治通り散策散歩 - 渋谷駅向き (130319hd)

Walking down Meiji-dori.  Events and my schedule have combined in a way that I have hardly ever (if ever) walked down this street before.  I used to just about always feel that way in Tokyo - turn anywhere and a new street awaited - but at this point, I feel surprised if I discover a major street near a major station that I haven't been on yet.  Some combination of being a bit stuck in a rut and not trying hard enough to seek out new things?

Shibuya East Side Elevated Walkway Stroll 歩行者橋の散策散歩 (130319)

There are several interconnected pedestrian bridges in this area, there to safely get people over the vast areas of black asphalt desert with its roaring internal combustion machinery, and (in this video) I walk on this network of bridges again to get back to where I was on the east side of Shibuya Station before I decided to go through the old pedestrian tunnel... and ended up exploring the graffiti side streets and looping back towards the station via Meiji-dori.

Former Toyoko Shibuya Station Entrances 元東横渋谷駅の両方の改札口 (130319)

I wanted to show both of the entrances to the former Toyoko-Shibuya Station, so I started by the lower entrance, and then walked around, up, and over to the upper entrance, which is where most of the pandemonium was on March 15th, the last day the station was open.  Once again, people were at the upper entrance with their cameras out.  I think the crowds all went there on the last day because you could see the trains there (the lower entrance is under the platforms), and they were there on the 19th both because they wanted "before and after" pictures [cough], and because the railway just put up low barriers there, so the upper area is visually open.  For the lower area, I had to hold my camera up over a high barrier.  Watching this again as I write this, I'm feeling burned out on the subject, but I'm glad I recorded it in any case!

Shibuya to Shinagawa - Afternoon Yamanote Line 渋谷駅-品川駅 - 山手線 (130319)

At about the 01:19 mark, the train approaches Ebisu Station.  For a time-slip comparison, have a look at the following video taken in 1991, when Ebisu Station consisted of a single open platform:

Ebisu Station in July 1991 - 1991年7月の恵比寿駅

Shinagawa to Yurakucho - Afternoon Yamanote Line 品川駅-有楽町駅 - 山手線 (130319)

Afternoon Yurakucho Station Platform 午後有楽町駅ホーム (130319)

Yurakucho Plaza - Looking Around 夕暮れの有楽町広場 (130319hd)

Baba Mariko Exhibition at Ai Gallery 馬場まり子展 - 藍ギャラリー (130319hd)

Walking Along Edge of Ginza 1-Chome 銀座一丁目の横道散策散歩 (130319)

Ginza is a nice to walk through at this time of the evening - in the twilight with its magical mix of fading sunlight and electric city lighting.

Tokyo Station Yaesu Bus Area 東京駅八重洲側バスゾーン (130319)

Tokyo Station South Concourse (Evening) 東京駅南通路 (夕方) 130319



"1991 Kyojima; 1992 Australia; 2013 Chuo Local Line, Sendagaya, Shibuya, Etc."

This batch of videos begins with a few from 1992 Australia - first in Surfers Paradise, and then in Cairns, where I rode on the old Kuranda train in a very historically interesting old rail car, that apparently (from what I was told might happen at the time, and what appears to have indeed happened from what I see on-line) has since had the original interior ripped out and replaced with new hotel lounge style seating.  Then, dropping back another year to 1991, I try out a pachinko machine in Kyojima.  After that are typical 2013 scenes from Tokyo, including a series of videos from the local line version of the Chuo Line - taken between Mitaka and Sendagaya.

1992 Surfers Paradise, Australia (920417)

1992 Surfers Paradise to Cairns Flight (Australia - 920418)

1992 Australia - Cairns - Kuranda Train Ride - Hotel - Etc.

1992 - Kuranda Railway Original 1st Class Carriage Ride - Cairns Australia (920418)

1991 - Kyojima - Trying Out Pachinko (Shitamachi) 910324

Seibu-Kokubunji Line - Front Cab View 西武国分寺線 - 前向き (130311hd)

Mitaka Station Walkabout 三鷹駅のお昼様子 - そして吉祥寺まで (130312g)

Mitaka Station at lunchtime felt rather like a shopping mall, which is sort of is.  It's very convenient for railway passengers to be able to go to restaurants and shops within the stations, but recently I've begun to wonder what effect this must be having on local retail businesses in the area outside the ticket gates....

Kichijoji Station Walkabout 吉祥寺駅のお昼様子 (130312)

Kichijoji is in the middle of a transformation - which you can see in recently remodeled areas by some ticket gates and the area under construction by another.

Inbound Local Chuo Line (to Ogikubo) 上り各駅中央線 (荻窪駅まで) 130312hdc

Ogikubo to Asagaya (Chuo Line) 荻窪駅-阿佐ヶ谷駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

[Above and below]  Taking a local inbound Chuo Line train, it was surprisingly relaxing, and it felt a little strange/detached watching a regular (kaisoku/rapid) Chuo Line train running in parallel (end of video above and all of video below).  I've spent a lot more time *inside* those trains than riding along beside them - looking at them from the outside.  It occurred to me that no matter how crowded they might be inside, from the vantage point of looking at them from another train running beside them, they look... (not sure how to explain the sensation of watching them dispassionately from the side...) they look... normal?  I say this, because I imagined some very stressful times inside those trains, and I imagined someone in a less crowded train running alongside a high-pressure train, and they would have little or no idea what was going on inside the high-pressure train (unless they frequently used it themselves).  There seemed to be something at least semi-profound about the concept, but it's just perspective I guess.

Asagaya to Koenji (Chuo Line) 阿佐ヶ谷駅-高円寺駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Koenji to Nakano (Chuo Line) 高円寺駅-中野駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Nakano to Higashi-Nakano (Chuo Line) 中野駅-東中野駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Higashi-Nakano to Okubo (Chuo Line) 東中野駅-大久保駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Okubo to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 大久保駅-新宿駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Exploring Old Building in Shinjuku (130312)

Walking Down Interesting Old Staircase in Shinjuku (130312)

Yamanote to Chuo Transfer at Shinjuku 新宿駅で山手線-中央線の乗り換え (130312)

Waiting for Outbound Chuo Line at Shinjuku (Late Night) 新宿で中央線を待つ (130312)

There's something fascinating about looking down a long, open platform of people waiting for a train to come alongside the platform and pick them up....  Oh!  By the way, the male voice doing the announcement in the middle of this one I recognized from another day (also in a video) when I thought it was a recording (and maybe it was), but this time I walked by the man while he was making an announcement into a mic, so I know for a fact that it was live this time (and maybe also that other time).  He has a good voice and way of speaking for announcements.

Shinjuku to Sendagaya (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-千駄ヶ谷駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Sendagaya Station - Train Arriving and Departing 千駄ヶ谷駅 - 到着と出発 (130312hd)

Sendagaya Station - Platform to Exit 千駄ヶ谷駅 - ホームから改札口まで (130312)

Sendagaya 1-Chome Walkabout 千駄ヶ谷一丁目散策散歩 (130312)

Looking Around in Sendagaya 1-Chome 千駄ヶ谷一丁目散策散歩 (130312)

Two-Level Metal Rack Parking in Sendagaya 千駄ヶ谷二段ラック駐車場 (130312)

Walking Under Rail Bridge, Etc., Near Sendagaya Station, 千駄ヶ谷

Black Road Stroll - Near Setagaya Station (130312)

Quiet Spring Day - Side Street Stroll 春の横道散策散歩 (130312)

I think this experience was the first time this year that I really felt like spring had arrived.  It's still rather cold, but it's beginning to warm up a little and several plants are flowering, so the sakura flower viewing season is very near I think!

Crossing Main Road Near Shinjuku 1-Chome 新宿一丁目近くの大通り (130312)

Fire Truck Drives by in Shinjuku (130312)

Entering Shinjuku Station - East Entrance 夕暮れ新宿 - 駅の東口に入る (130312)

新宿駅東口改札から上り中央線ホームまで Shinjuku Station East (130312)

Nighttime Kanda Station - Under Construction 夜の工事中神田駅 (130312)

Kanda to Yurakucho (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 神田駅-有楽町駅 (夜の京浜東北線) 130312

Tokyo Station Night Walkthrough - Yaesu to Marunouchi Northwest Dome (130312g)

In previous videos walking through Tokyo station from the Yaesu side to the Marunouchi side, I've usually walked straight down one of the under-track concourses, but in this video I crossed over from one of the two main concourses to the other and so it's basically a diagonal path through the station that I took.  This shows a lot of the elements of Tokyo Station, including ticket windows and internal transfer gates for the Shinkansen trains.

Tokyo to Kanda - Nighttime Chuo Line 東京駅-神田駅 - 夜の中央線 (130312)

Shinjuku - Chuo Line Platform to Upper Concourse Bookstore 新宿駅本屋 (130312hd)

Shinjuku Station Upper Concourse (Number Ten) 新宿駅上の通路 (130312hd)

That announcement... "... Platform... Number... Ten... - please wait for your train on... Platform... Number... Ten..."  This is what happens when you have someone who may be native to a language, but is an amateur for acting/reading, do recordings like this.  It's kind of comical, but it also really sucks to have to listen to the same bad recordings over and over and over....

Shinjuku South Entrance to Shibuya-Bound Yamanote Line Platform (130312)

Gakugei-Daigaku Station Platform Sounds 学芸大学駅ホームの音々 (130312hd)

Boarding Toyoko Line Train at Gakugei-Daigaku Station (130312hdc)

Running at Speed - Express Toyoko Line Train from Gakugei-Daigaku Station (130312)

Arriving at Nakameguro on Inbound Tokyu Toyoko Line (Motor Sounds, Etc) 130312

Shibuya Yamanote Line - Ticket Gates to Platform JR-渋谷駅の山手線ホームまで (130312)

Yamanote Line Train Arriving at Shibuya 渋谷駅 - 山手線の到着と待つ (130312)

Departing Shibuya Station via Yamanote Line 渋谷駅から出発 (山手線) 130312

Former Path of Tamagawa Josui in Central Tokyo 元玉川上水吐 (Long Walk) 130312

Twilight Walk to Shinjuku 新宿の夕暮れの時に散策散歩 - 新ブラ (130312g)

Koizumi Keiichi - Exhibition at Art Space Rondo 小泉恵一展示会 (130315)

Main Road Separating Original Ginza from Extended Ginza (130315)

This wide expanse of dead black asphalt full of roaring internal combustion machinery almost always stops me from going to the back side of Ginza.  There are some interesting things over there, but there are enough interesting things in the original Ginza area that I almost never feel compelled to climb up and over this desert of asphalt with its noise, exhaust fumes, etc.  I really think they should stop building new roads in Tokyo and make it illegal (or at least very expensive) to own a car within the city.  The more of Tokyo they bury under wide deserts of black asphalt, the worse the city becomes for its inhabitants.

Late Night Ebisu Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 夜遅くの恵比寿駅 (130315)

Shibuya - JR-Ticket Gates to Yamanote Line 渋谷駅JR改札から山手線へ (130315)

All-Green Advertisement Yamanote Train at Ebisu 恵比寿駅の全緑山手線 (130315)

Yamanote Line Train Arriving at Ebisu 恵比寿駅で山手線を乗る (130315)

Chuo Line - Before and After Nakano 中央線中野駅前後 (130315)

Shinjuku to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-御茶ノ水駅 (中央線) 130315

Ochanomizu to Kanda - Kanda Platform Walk 御茶ノ水-神田 - 神田駅見回り (130315)

I had intended for this video to continue to Tokyo Station, but as they began to close the doors at Kanda in order to continue on to Tokyo Station, they opened them again and left them open - and then announced that one of the emergency stop buttons at Tokyo Station had been pressed.  Later on, they explained that someone's bag (or something) had gotten stuck between the train and the platform due to them rushing to get on the train.  I originally figured the train would get under way fairly soon, so I left the camera running and took the opportunity to walk down the platform at Kanda Station and record the interesting metal structure of the underside of the old platform roof, etc.  After going down the entire length of the platform though, I ended up stopping the camera before the train got under way again.

Kanda to Tokyo (Chuo Line) 神田駅から東京駅まで (中央線) 130315

Ginza Station - Ticket Gates to Train 銀座駅 - 改札から電車まで (130315)

Ginza to Aoyama-Itchome (Ginza Line) 銀座駅-青山一丁目駅 (銀座線) 130315



"Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station's Last Day - 東急東横線渋谷駅の最終日"

The title focuses on the final operational day for Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station (東急東横線渋谷駅) - Friday, March 15th, 2013, but the first nine videos were taken on Tuesday, March 12th, before the pandemonium of the final day.  I won't go into the history of the Toyoko Line here, just I'll say that I think a lot of people, myself included, liked the above-ground Toyoko Shibuya Station and are a little sad to see it go underground.  With the old station, you could go to the end of the platform and look around at the surrounding buildings in Shibuya, feel the wind, see the sky, look over and see people walking on the elevated walkways that lead (under the elevated expressway) to Shibuya Station.  Looking around, you knew - and felt like - you were a part of mega-city Tokyo.  All of that is missing in a subway tunnel.  Oh well.  The station was taken underground for good logistical reasons, so I can't complain, but I will miss the old station.

As mentioned above, the first batch of videos is from Tuesday, March 12th, and on that day, they had some of the crowd-control measures already implemented (unnecessarily I think, but better safe than sorry), so there were guards scattered about on the platforms to stop people from standing around being tourists and getting in the way of commuters, but it looked and felt pretty normal otherwise.  In front of the main ticket gates, there were some people standing around, taking pictures of the destination board, etc., but they were left alone.  Let's go to that block of videos first, and I'll comment again before the batch of final day videos further down the page.

Coming into Shibuya via Yamanote Line (Side Window Night View) 山手線 (130312)

Shibuya - Yamanote to Toyoko Transfer (Old Toyoko Shibuya Station) 渋谷駅 (130312)

Surface Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Ticket Gates to 9000-Type Local Train (9000型) 130312

They are retiring this model of train on the Toyoko Line, presumably due to it not being compatible with the subway system that the Toyoko Line is tied in with now (as of Saturday, March 16th, 2013), so this (below) is one of the last rides taken on this model (on this line at least).  The sounds are almost more important than the visual element.

Toyoko 9000 Ride - Shibuya to Gakugei-Daigaku - 渋谷駅-学芸大学駅 (130312)

Gakugei-Daigaku Station Platform Extension 学芸大学駅のホーム延長 (130312)

Nakameguro to Daikanyama (Toyoko Line) 中目黒駅-代官山駅 (東急東横線) 130312

I didn't know what sort of construction they were doing, but it was evident some large-scale construction work was going on.  I found out later from a TV news report that they had to lower the platform and tracks to enable the tracks to match up with the slope of the tracks going into and coming out of the new tunnel between Daikanyama and Shibuya.  They finished the switchover in about four hours - between the last train on Friday night and the first train on Saturday morning.  It's really quite impressive how they do construction projects like this without interrupting rail service at all.

Daikanyama to Shibuya Station (Toyoko Line) 代官山駅-元渋谷駅 (東横線) 130312g

Toyoko-Shibuya Station Walkabout 東急東横線渋谷駅見回り (上と下) 130312

Toyoko Shibuya Station (Above Ground Version) 地上の東急東横線渋谷駅 (130312g)

Late night (around 11:00 p.m.) scene in front of the main ticket gates.  This is a fairly good representation of how the station looked on a normal day, with the exception of people here and there stopping to take pictures of it before it becomes history (by going underground).  Friday was a completely different picture!

And - speaking of Friday (March 15th) - here we are!  The following videos were taken on Friday over a couple of hours during the late part of the evening rush.  The sounds of the event are pretty amazing.  The railway sent in an army of employees to tell people (very loudly) not to stop, to keep moving, not to take flash pictures, not to block the passageway, not to stop, not to stop, not to stop, etc. etc. etc.  To get the effect of being there, you owe it to yourself to plug in a good pair of headphones and listen with the volume turned up high.  The wide-format videos are in stereo, and those probably bring home the effect best.  The monaural videos might actually sound better through speakers, come to think of it, but for the wide-format ones in stereo, try out the headphones - it's quite an experience in places.

Aoyama-Itchome to Shibuya (Ginza Line) 青山一丁目駅-渋谷駅 (銀座線) 130315g

Toyoko Shibuya Final Day - by Ticket Gates 東横線最終日改札前 (130315g)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (B) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (C) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Platform Scene - Final Day Toyoko Shibuya ホームの様子 - 東横渋谷駅終日 (130315)

Platform Walk - Toyoko Shibuya Final ホーム散策散歩東横渋谷駅終日 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Walkabout 東横線渋谷駅一階と二階 (130315)

Boarding Train at Tokyu Shibuya Station 東急渋谷駅で電車を乗る (130315)

Shibuya to Nakameguro - Toyoko Line 渋谷駅-中目黒駅 - 東横線 (130315)

To get onto the platforms, naturally I had to pass through one of the ticket gates, and having done that, I needed to go somewhere, so I went to Nakameguro, got off there, walking around a little (see next video), and then came back to Shibuya.

Naka-Meguro Station Area Walkabout 中目黒駅あたりの夜散策散歩 (130315)

Nakameguro to Shibuya - Toyoko Line 中目黒駅-渋谷駅 - 東横線 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (D) ITG 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station - Last Day (E) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315-2131g)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (F) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Last Day Toyoko Shibuya Station - Inside and Outside the Ticket Gates (130315)

Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station - Up Escalator to Ticket Gate Area (Last Day) 130315

Shibuya Station - Walking from One Entrance of Toyoko Line to the Other (130315)

Shibuya Outside Walkway - People Watching Final Day Toyoko Trains (130315)

Shibuya Outside Elevated Walkway - Night-360 (130315)

Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station - Final Day Walkabout Outside and Inside (130315)

I highly recommend seeing this last video, as I walked from the elevated walkway, down to street level opposite Shibuya Station, over to the new multifunction, multi-shape building, rode/walked up to the second floor, and then walked past the long line of people waiting (for hours) to ride The Last Train to leave Toyoko-Shibuya Station - the above-ground version that is.  Finally, I pass through the ongoing pandemonium in front of the ticket gates, and go over towards the Yamanote Line.  This video has a lot of information in it about that evening at Shibuya Station.



"Ginza, Shinjuku, Shin-Okubo, Okubo, Ogikubo, Nishi-Ogikubo, Etc."

Various train scenes, a couple of art exhibitions, and visits to Shin-Okubo, Okubo (which are within easy walking distance of each other), Higashi-Nakano, Nakano, Ogikubo, Nishi-Ogikubo, etc.  It's been a fairly typical week, with the glaring exception of having had a very nasty encounter with a bogus "artist".  I'm still trying to shake the toxicity of the encounter.  Not much to say off the top of my head right now, other than the depressing realization that dirty politics and rotten dishonesty pervade just about everything in this world - including the art world - there really do seem to be many evil bipeds among us, there's one in every group on the planet apparently.

Kanda to Tokyo (Chuo Line) Shinkansen Track Construction and Tokyo Station (130305g)

In recent videos I've posted showing the ride from Kanda to Tokyo, I've tended to be on the Yamanote Line, which is a couple of tracks over - closer to the ongoing construction of new Shinkansen tracks on that side.  For this one, I stayed on the Chuo Line, which is further over to the other side, and so provides a better view of the new track construction.  You can see it well from about the 00:09 mark - once the train I was on gets past the neighboring platform roof that was blocking the view.

After getting off the train at Tokyo Station, I left my camera rolling while going down the long escalator from the Chuo Line platform and also as I walked through one of the concourses in Tokyo Station.  The video ends soon after going through ticket gates on the Yaesu side of the station.

Evening Tokyo Station Concourse Walkthrough 東京駅夕方散策 (130305ghd)

Later on that same day, I reenter Tokyo Station from the Yaesu side and walk all the way through the station to the Marunouchi side.  The stereo sound on this one should give you an idea of the ambiance of the station - especially if you listen to it with headphones on.  The plain white construction walls of the Yaesu side make the nicely reconstructed Marunouchi side seem especially nice.

Tokyo to Ochanomizu - Late Night Chuo Line 東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 - 夜の中央線 (130305g)

Watching the double-image light show provided by a nighttime window of an outbound Chuo Line train.

Just to give you some BS-nonsense text (I recently got an earful at a sinister exhibition that was all about evil deception and nothing about art), I have recorded part of it upside-down to prompt the realization of people living on the other side of the planet, that while they are riding in trains facing up, we're simultaneously riding in trains running upside-down here in Tokyo.  Wonderful thing that gravity is, we can do this without falling out into space.  (Now wasn't that profound?  Welcome to the nonsensical world of concept marketing!)

But - to be serious again - I rather like this video.  The electric mix of images in the window is really beautiful in a mega-city kind of way.

Nishi-Ogikubo Station Late at Night 夜遅くの西荻窪駅 (130305g)

Starting on a late-night platform at Nishi-Ogikubo Station as an inbound kaisoku Chuo Line and an outbound local Chuo Line train go their separate ways.  Then I walk down the stairs, and out the ticket gates.

Kokubunji to Mitaka (Chuo Line) 国分寺駅-三鷹駅 (中央線) 130305hdc

Looking out the right side of a Chuo Line train speeding towards central Tokyo.  The white wall beside the railway is primarily to suppress noise I think, although it may also serve as a wall to keep trains from falling off of the elevated platform in the event of a powerful earthquake.  In this video (and the following ones taken on the way to Shinjuku), I had to slot the camera lens in-between two stickers on the door window glass.  Someone at the railway appears to think it's a great idea to plaster stickers all over the windows so you can't see through them.  I wish someone would tell them that the *purpose* of windows is to let light through - and putting stickers all over them *damages* that purpose.  Excuse me, but "logic" is not a four-letter word.

Mitaka to Ogikubo (Chuo Line) 三鷹駅から荻窪駅まで (中央線) 130305hdc

Not particularly exciting scenery, but there's something pleasant about watching it go by at speed from an elevated railway.  (There are a few places where the rails are on the ground, but mostly they're elevated between Tachikawa and Shinjuku.)

Ogikubo to Nakano (Chuo Line) 荻窪駅から中野駅まで (中央線) 130305hdc

Looking at the wall beside the railway here - it's a nondescript concrete color that blends in so well, you don't even notice it.  I'm not sure why the new ones are white.  I think the old style is more harmonious with the surroundings.  The lower height is nice for watching unobstructed passing scenery too.  (I must be getting old... so many times when I compare the new way doing things now with the old, the new way seems wrong and the old way better.)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅から新宿駅まで (中央線) 130305hdc

Watching these again... I fast-forward past the horrible English announcements.  I wonder if they'll ever get English announcements (which I think are unnecessary in the first place) on the trains that are actually pleasant to listen to.  Considering it's a recording, you'd think someone could/would put some real effort into finding someone with a pleasant voice and... and... wait... at about the 02:38 mark, the "The doors on the left side will open" bit doesn't sound too horrible....  I wonder if it's been modified?  Maybe it's the Yamanote Line that has the "The doors on the LEFT SIDE will open" announcement?

In the railway's defense, I must admit they *have* improved at least some of the announcements.  Very much appreciated is that the Japanese station names are mostly normal now.  Before they were said with really weird intonation, so you'd get YoTSUya and NaKAno, etc.  So - thank you for fixing that JR!  There's still room for improvement with some (actually, *all* I think) of the announcements though.

Think I'm being nit-picky?  Well... the thing is - when you have to hear something dozens of times a day, an irritant is that much more irritating!  As for the terms used... the "Please change here for..." bit is kind of irritating.  I generally think "No, I don't want to change here!  I'm going further down the line!".  There must be some other way of announcing that!  Maybe "The following lines can be transferred to at the next stop: The Chuo Local, Yamanote, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Odakyu, Keio, Marunouchi, Toei-Shinjuku, and Oedo lines".  It isn't really necessary to say "The" and "Line" after each and every one of those.  Some consideration should be given to the 99.9% of riders who are not wide-eyed bumbling tourists, and are being driven to the edge of sanity by the daily barrage of badly written, badly spoken, irritating announcements.  Okay... let me say this then:

Dear JR様, これは、長すぎや!:
"The next station is Shinjuku.  The doors on the left side will open.  Please change here for the Chuo Line local service, the Yamanote Line, the Saikyo Line, the Shonan-Shinjuku Line, the Odakyu Line, the Keio Line, the Marunouchi subway line, the Shinjuku subway line, and the Oedo subway line.  The stop after Shinjuku will be Yotsuya."

"Next stop, Shinjuku.  The left-side doors will open.  At Shinjuku, the following lines can be transferred to: The Chuo local, Yamanote, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Odakyu, Keio, Marunouchi, Toei-Shinjuku, and Oedo lines".

Shinjuku Station - Upper Concourse to Yamanote Platform 新宿駅 (130305hdc)

I'm curious how people in other countries view the Yamanote platform at about the 00:57 mark - does that look crowded, empty, normal... or what?  For a long-term Tokyo resident, this seems about the way it should be.  If there were fewer people, I'd be worried and think "Where is everybody?", and if there were more, then the stressful thing begins to load into the mind as you get ready to deal with the various stresses produced by sardine run trains, etc... but this?  Just about right, I'd say.

Shinjuku - Yamanote Afternoon Platform Walk 新宿駅山手線ホーム散策 (130305hd)

When you walk through a scene like this, the motion of other people, trains, etc., throws the brain into a state of auto-navigation, and - so long as there are enough collision avoidance maneuvers required - minor worries tend to be tossed out of your consciousness.  So?  Well... it's hard to explain exactly, but artificial thinking is knocked out of the way, and things become more pure and real in a way?  ......  That's not a good explanation... let me come back to this one later!  [Later]  Ah... I guess that's good enough.  You get the picture, right?

Shinjuku to Higashi-Nakano (Chuo Local) 新宿駅-東中野 (中央線各駅) 130305

Watching the buildings flowing by outside a left-side window of the train, there are some good examples of the type of buildings rapidly headed for extinction in Tokyo - like the ones at 01:16, 01:18, and 1:33, etc.

At the 01:59 mark, is a quick view of the interior of a six-door (per side) train car.  Pure conjecture, but they pulled all of the six-door cars from the Yamanote Line (as part of the platform wall construction project), so presumably they swapped them for four-door cars from somewhere - possibly including the Chuo Local Line trains.  They were most meaningful on the Yamanote Line, so it's too bad they can't be used there any longer.

From around the 03:59 mark, I walk down the platform at Higashi-Nakano.  I wanted to have a look at this station again, because this design - dating back to some decades ago, is fast disappearing.  New stations are nice, and if there was no change, and all the stations were old, I would wish for change, but with old-style stations becoming rare, it increasingly seems to me that their design and construction was/is straightforward, practical, and honest.  New stations are more modern (obviously), and have escalators and elevators, etc., but I sometimes get the feeling that some type of uncomfortable politics is woven into the designs?  I can't put my finger on it exactly, but whatever it is, that aspect was better with the old designs.  Cohesive integrated design versus committee decisions maybe?

Higashi-Nakano Station 東中野駅 (March 2013) 2013年3月 (130305)

This video begins after going up the stairs from the platform.  The platform part of the station is unchanged, but the upper section has been rebuilt.  In front of the station, they have a fairly large area blocked off with the usual white construction walls (with interesting old pictures showing the history of Higashi-Nakano station), so something new is coming.  Probably a department store or mini-mall, which is what all JR stations seem to be becoming!  (Not a complaint - just an observation!)

Higashi-Nakano Walkabout 東中野午後散策散歩 (130305)

Starting by the walled off future construction part of Higashi-Nakano Station, walking towards the entrance, and then going down a flight of stairs to an area down on the ground next to the tracks.  As I mentioned further up the page, although most of the Chuo Line between Tachikawa and Shinjuku is elevated, there are some places where it's on the ground - and this is one of those places.  (Which means this area must be a hill, as they made the railway mostly level when they elevated it, with some sections about three stories up in the air, and other sections running on the ground.)

At the 04:20 mark, you can see where the Tozai Line comes out of the ground.  Outbound trains coming out of the tunnel here either dead-end at Nakano Station, or continue down the line as local Chuo Line trains to Mitaka.

Higashi-Nakano to Nakano (Chuo Local) 東中野駅-中野駅 (中央線各駅停車) 130305

By the title, this could be purely a train video showing the run down the line (outbound) to the next station, Nakano, but actually it begins on the streets next to Higashi-Nakano Station.  Then I take the escalator up to the the ticket gates, enter, and walk through the station and down to the platform.  After watching a kaisoku Chuo Line train speed by, I jump on a local Chuo Line and look out a right side window... up... at the buildings on what is basically the edge of the culvert the Chuo Line temporarily runs through before becoming elevated again.

Nakano Station Concourse and North Exit 中野駅内部通路と北口改札 (130305)

Nakano Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 中野駅 - 改札口からホームまで (130305hdc)

Once I get up to the platform, at the 01:27 mark, there's a look at the buildings in front of the station on the Sun Mall side.

Arriving at Ochanomizu Station (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水駅に到着 (中央線) 130305

A front cab view of approaching and pulling into Ochanomizu Station.

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水駅-神田駅 (中央線) 130305

Another look at the ongoing construction project on the former Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅) platform from a right-side window of a passing Chuo Line train.  I'm really hoping they will preserve much of the platform and also the original old stairs.

7th Floor to 5th Floor - Old Stairs (130305)

I don't think people in Europe can quite appreciate how important an old building like this can be in Tokyo.  Simply explained, it's a nearly missing part of Tokyo's/Japan's history.  After the Great Kanto Earthquake, the central part of the city was rebuilt with modern sturdy concrete buildings - meant to last a long time.  Now there are only a handful of them, and they broadcast an echo of that reconstruction period.

Maruyama Norio (丸山則夫) Exhibition 夜明け-雪 at Art Space Rondo (130305)

This was (I should say "is", since it's still going on) a pretty cool exhibition, with morning first-light photos exhibited in one of the cooler atmospheric rooms in the Okuno Building.  Recommended if you're in Ginza sometime over the next few days.

Kicuchi Megumi and Tsutsumi Yoshihiko Exhibition at Y's Arts Room-508 (130305)

This exhibition consists of an interesting combination of stitched leather and paint - made by two artists who passed the material back and forth several times to create this abstract art.  It's spit between the Y's Art White Room (Room-508) and Black Room (Room-101) in the Ginza Okuno Building.  This exhibition was also recently shown in New York.

(Excuse the color of parts of this video - I had the color balance set for the gallery rooms and it was shifted fairly radically towards green for the florescent tube illuminated hallways of the building.)

Passing Trains in the Night - Southern Terrace Stairs, Etc (130305)

Watching trains passing by Shinjuku Southern Terrace and then doing a bit of camera waving on a wide set of steps and the surrounding scenery.

Crossing into Shinjuku - South Entrance 新宿に入る - 南口 (130305)

This main street is the border between Shibuya-ku and Shinjuku-ku (the "Shinjuku Southern Terrace" is actually in Shibuya-ku).  After crossing the street, I enter Shinjuku Station via the South Exit ticket gates.

Shinjuku Station Late Night Yamanote Platform 新宿駅夜の山手線 (130305hd)

Walking down the Yamanote Line platform before boarding a train to go one stop to Shin-Okubo (see next video).

Shinjuku to Shin-Okubo (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-新大久保駅 (山手線) 130305

Left-side nighttime window view of the ride from Shinjuku to Shin-Okubo.

Shin-Okubo Station Platform Walk 新大久保駅 - ホーム工事の様子 (130305)

I hadn't intended to spend time walking around on the Shin-Okubo Station platform, but seeing the advanced state of the platform wall construction there (it looks like all the places on the platform for bolting in the platform wall and its electric doors are in place), I thought it might be a good idea to record the open air platform before it disappears.  Actually - there's some history here.  There have been (many years ago) a couple of cases of people falling off the platform at this station and getting run over (and killed) by a train.

Something I've mentioned before:  There's the ongoing carnage of people getting killed in gruesome automobile accidents all over the country, and that's just considered normal.  One (or three in the most famous incident at this station over a decade ago) people die on the railways and the media goes berserk with stories about how dangerous the railways are!

While walking around on the Shin-Okubo Station platform, several trains (Saikyo Line, Seibu-Shinjuku Line, etc.) pass by at speed.

Exiting Shin-Okubo Station と Main Street Stroll 新大久保駅を出て - 散策散歩 (130305)

Going from the platform down to the ticket gates as a train unloads/loads people; through the ticket gates, and (after watching the train I walked away from up above pull out), down the main street towards Okubo Station.

Walking to Okubo Station Late at Night 夜遅く大久保駅までの散歩 (130305)

Walking along the road that connects Shin-Okubo Station and Okubo Station.

Soba and Udon Shop Ticket Machine Printout (130305)

This type of fast food I find much nicer than hamburger places.  You buy a ticket for what you want from a vending machine, give the person behind the counter the ticket, choose whether you want soba noodles, or udon noodles, and then they (usually) get it for you within 60 seconds or so.  This type of place - selling inexpensive hot noodles - is especially nice when the weather is cold.

Entering Okubo Station - Platform Views 大久保駅を入る - ホームビュー (130305)

Simple title, but this one covers a lot of area actually - from looking around on the streets near the station, to crossing the street under the overhead railway, and *then* entering Okubo Station while looking around.  Up on the platform, I walk around and take in the old style platform with it's old steel roof (that I hope will continue to be used for a long while yet), watch a train come and go; watch a couple of kaisoku Chuo Line trains speed by (one inbound and one outbound) on neighboring tracks, and then I stopped the camera - turning it back on a few minutes later to look around a little more (next video).

Okubo Station Platform Details - Late at Night Waiting for a Train (130305)

Right at the end of this short video - at about the 00:51 mark, is a typical view of the quiet semi-desolation of a late-night non-major train station atmosphere in the quiet between trains.

Nighttime Local Chuo Line Interior 夜の各駅中央線内 (130305hd)

Looking down the carriage of a late night outbound local Chuo Line train.  Generally speaking, things are a bit more settled on the local trains than they are on the express trains.

Incidentally, notice (at Higashi-Nakano) the blue light illuminated end of the platform at around the 00:50 mark.  People's eyebrows worldwide were raised when they began installing blue lights at the end of platforms to cut down on suicides.  I haven't heard or read anything about it lately, but I notice the lights are all still there.  I wonder if they actually have an effect on people considering jumping in front of a train in order to commit suicide?  Blue to cool down(?) fits in with the color theory of the old all-orange Chuo Line trains influencing people *to* commit suicide.  For some reason, the blue lights at the end of the platforms seem to me like they might even make some sense - somehow - but I've never believed that the suicide rate on the Chuo Line was high because the trains were orange.  The reasons seems straightforward enough: the line is - overall, throughout the day, on average - the most crowded line in the country, and the morning commute isn't very pleasant.  So it stands to reason that there would be more suicides there, if not because it's unpleasant (although that aspect shouldn't be ignored), then due to the numbers.  In fact, the high suicide rate refers to the number of suicides on the line, irrespective of the number of people using the line.  If they looked at the percentage of suicides - based on the number of people using the line - then maybe the rate isn't even high?

Local Chuo Line to Ogikubo - Late Night View 中央線夜各駅停車の様子 (130305)

An almost strangely quiet and settled ride.  I guess not being near a holiday or Friday, everything was just in Normal Mode.

Between Nakano and Mitaka, the local Chuo Line trains and kaisoku Chuo Line trains all stop at the same stations, so - within that stretch, you're generally better off taking a local (yellow stripe) train, since the kaisoku Chuo Line trains often wait for "tsukin-kaisoku", "tokubetsu-tsukin-kaisoku" and other express trains to pass, while the local trains just plod along without interruption.  (If you're going from Mitaka to Nakano, then a tsukin-kaisoku is of course fastest.)

Ogikubo Station Late at Night 夜の荻窪駅 (130305)

Exiting Ogikubo Station for a quick look around at night while on my way to Nishi-Ogikubo.

Ogikubo Nighttime Trackside 夜の荻窪 - 線路隣の散歩 (130305)

Late Night Ogikubo Shotengai Shopping Street 夜中の荻窪商店街 (130305)

Very short clip, but I wanted to show something of the atmosphere of a late night shotengai shopping street as it appears when you're walking down one on the way home after a long day at work.

Narrow Staircase Leading into Ogikubo Station (130305)

In this video, you can see how - once they installed an escalator - there wasn't much room left, so the remaining stairs became quite narrow.

Ogikubo to Nishi-Ogikubo (Local Chuo Line) 荻窪駅-西荻窪駅 (夜遅く) 130305

One stop down the line to Nishi-Ogikubo - either a kaisoku or local train would have worked fine, but a local came first, so I took that.  As the train rolled along, we ended up running in parallel with a kaisoku and pulled into Nishi-Ogikubo at the same time.  It's a little rare (although it happens often enough in Tokyo) to look out the window of a train and see another train running in the same direction beside you - so I always enjoy the experience when it happens and almost feel like I should wave at the passengers on the other train or something.

Nishi-Ogikubo Izakaya Late Night Stroll 西荻窪居酒屋夜の様子 (130305)

Places like this began as just a collection of small side street shops, but have become rare enough in Tokyo now, that they've become kind of like a theme park attraction - a way to go time-tripping instead of future seeking.

Yakiimo Truck by Nishi-Ogikubo Station (130305)
http://youtu.be/8LYadMC5ycA [X]

2013/06/28 Note: I got a comment in English words that didn't make sense, but seemed to be expressing displeasure about this video and apparently from the man leaning against the truck looking at his cell phone in the video, so I've deleted the video.  I'm not sure what the problem is/was - the man's face wasn't in the video at all.  The only reason I can think of is that since he was leaning against the truck and looking at something on his cell phone, it didn't look like he was very serious about working, and maybe that was the source of the displeasure?  In any case, I deleted the video (which is why I put an "X" after the link above, and de-automated the link (what's the correct term for that anyway?).

I've been seeing ishi-yakiimo trucks like this for the whole time I've been in Japan, although there used to be more of them.  There was one guy who parked near the Omoide-yokocho izakaya alley in Shinjuku for the longest time.  He had a generator providing power for a small television that he watched while waiting for customers.  The guy in this video appears to be using his cell phone.  It would be funny if he was watching TV on it, but who cares about TV any more anyway?

Yakiimo Truck Walk-by 夜の焼き芋トラック (130305hd)

Nishi-Ogikubo Station - Midnight Ticket Gates to Platform Walk (130305)

There comes a point late at night - with the last train not far distant - that the evening/night loses its allure, and - often quite suddenly - you just want to be home.  Watching this video now as I type this, it's that feeling more than anything that comes to mind.  And with that, we've come to the last video in this batch.



"Shinjuku, Nakano, Koenji, Hamamatsucho, Tokyo Monorail, Yurakucho, Tachikawa, Etc."

The "Nakano" and "Koenji" in the title this time refers to a late-night visit I made to the two neighboring stations.  Nakano I've visited several times over the past few years, and while I have visited Koenji at night with the camera running, I'm not sure I've ever recorded it this late at night before.

Somewhere I hadn't visited in quite a while is the Tokyo Monorail, which I've always thought of as the Haneda Monorail, since it goes to Haneda Airport, but paying a little more attention this time, I realized (after decades!) that the proper name is "Tokyo Monorail" (東京モノレール).  I rode it to the first stop, Tennozu Isle Station (天王洲アイル駅), and after looking around a little there (only a little though) I returned to Hamamatsucho, recording the view out the windows as the train moved along its concrete path (it's a monorail-type train, but there is no rail, as it actually runs on a strip of concrete via rubber tires).  Then at Hamamatsucho Station, I show the transfer from the monorail to the Yamanote Line.

Shinjuku Station (Platform to Lower Concourse) 新宿駅下の通路 (130226hdc)

A relaxed afternoon view of Shinjuku Station.  The station always has a fair number of people walking about, changing trains, etc., but it's more intense during the morning and evening rush zones.  (I'm not sure "zone" is the best term, but it sure isn't "hour"!)

Actually, the end of the video shows a rather crowded part of the station - probably a Keio Line or Odakyu Line train had just come in (or both) and those people were pouring through the direct transfer gates into the JR area... which brings up another point.  It's not just the time of day, it's the timing of the ebb and flow of people throughout the day.  When a ten-car train dead-ends at Shinjuku (and the Keio Line and Odakyu Line are both heavily used lines that dead-end in Shinjuku), with each train that arrives and unloads, you get a wave of people.

Shinjuku Station (Lower Concourse to Lower West Exit Passageway (130226hdc)

Right on the heals of what began as a relaxed and not crowded Chuo Line platform.  Like I mentioned above, I think this crowd of people must have poured off of either a Keio Line or Odakyu Line train.  Anyway, after watching the flood of people for a little, I exit the JR area of the station and walk through the passageway that leads to Nishi-Shinjuku on the west side of the station.

Shinjuku Station (West Side Temporary Market) 130226

They have various temporary things in this space - generally marketing of things from one area or another of the country.  I bought some stuff from Okinawa here before.  (I just walked through in a hurry this time, and didn't notice whether it was another regional market or not.)

Nishi-Shinjuku - Walking Towards Shinjuku Station (130226)

Shinjuku Evening Rush - South Exit to Chuo Line 新宿駅夕方ラッシュ (130226g)

The reason the Chuo Line platform in this video is so sparsely populated, is that it's the platform for the Inbound Chuo Line trains.  At this time of the evening, the outbound Chuo Line platform has a lot more people.

Evening Kanda to Yurakucho Y and KT 夕方神田-有楽町 (山手京浜東北) 130226

The "Y" of the title stands for the Yamanote Line and the "KT" for the Keihin-Tohoku Line.  At Kanda, I get on a Keihin-Tohoku Line train and then walk across the platform at the next stop, Tokyo Station, and get on a Yamanote Line train.  Since I was going to Yurakucho and either train would get me there, I just changed for the variety of it.  Why ride one train somewhere when you can ride two - ho-ho!  (When you're already standing on the train, it makes no difference effort-wise....)

Okuno Building and Y's Art (夜の奥野ビル) 130226

Standing on the street in front of the 1932/1934 Okuno Building... looking around, including up at the city-light-illuminated clouds in the sky, and then into the round window of the Y's Art antique shop and art gallery.

Ginza Chuo-Dori Night Stroll 銀座中央通り夜散歩 (130226)

Chuo-Dori - I think this is about the widest long sidewalk in Japan.  And to walk freely when it's crowded, you really do need about this width.  On this street, the term "Ginbura" (銀ブラ) always comes to mind.  The (rather old) term was made by putting together the first part of "Ginza" (銀座) and "bura-bura" (ブラブラ), with the "bura-bura" part meaning (among other things) to wander about.  Now there are modern shopping areas just about everywhere in Tokyo, but Ginza was the first modern glitzy shopping street and for a long time (and still now somewhat) it's a place people like to wander around in.  Aside from the high-end shops, there are galleries, etc., although the double punch of the bad economy and ever higher rents has been driving galleries out of the area - many over to neighboring Kyobashi.

Walking Towards Yurakucho - No More Toshiba Bldg (130226)

At around the 00:07 mark, there's a white construction wall across the street where the Toshiba Building (which was actually called the "Ginza TS-Building" apparently... although also referred to as the Ginza Toshiba Building - 銀座TSビル[銀座東芝ビル]) used to be.  Sigh... another missed chance!  About a year ago, I observed that the upper floors were dark, and only the first floor of shops appeared to be open.  Seeing that, I was pretty sure they would be be tearing the building down in the not-too-distant future, but before I got around to walking through the first floor of retail shops... it's gone.  Tokyo is like that.  Again and again, there are things you get used to seeing and kind of expect to stay there, but one day you find them - one by one - demolished.  The building didn't have any special meaning for me, but still I wish I'd walked through it at least once!

Looking on-line, I see this: "モザイク銀座阪急が核テナント。 かつては「銀座東芝ビル」と呼ばれ、東京電気(東芝)が本社を置いていたこともある。 2007年に東急不動産が1610億円でビルを購入。 新たな商業ビルへの建て替えを決定した。"  Um... I don't have time to do a proper translation of that, but it says (among other things) that it was called (irrespective of the proper name) the "Ginza Toshiba Building", and it was the headquarters for the Toshiba Corporation at one time.  In 2007, it was bought by Tokyu and they will be putting up a new building there.

Anther interesting thing is this: "竣工年:1934年・1966年増築", which appears to mean there was a 1934 building there, then a 1966 building (the one that's just been torn down) and so the next one will be the third building for that spot.  There's a picture of each building at this site - I think the 1934 building looks nice, but it's clearly much smaller horizontally (although about the same height as the 1966 one):

Nishi-Shinjuku - Late Night Crowds 西新宿居酒屋人々 (元淀橋) 130226

Walking through a crowd of people who had apparently just come out of an izakaya in the area - who were standing in the street talking before heading off for the trains.  Logistically, it generally works like that.  You meet up with workmates at an izakaya that is somewhere between the workplace and where the majority of the people attending live, and then there's a brief period after leaving the izakaya where everyone gets together in the street, and then they head off to trains headed off in different directions towards the various suburbs of Tokyo.

Shinjuku Southern Terrace - Trains and Clouds 新宿サザンテラス電車雲 (130226)

Looking around on the edge of Shinjuku Southern Terrace - near one end of the wide pedestrian bridge that crosses the railway tracks - leading towards the department stores on the other side.

Nakano Late Night Back Streets (from Station) 中野北側夜横道散策散歩 (130226g)

Starting on a platform of Nakano Station, and then walking downstairs from the elevated tracks to the station concourse and out the north exit.  Once out of the station, I walk towards Sun Mall, turn right before entering it, and then dive down a dark alley on the left - walking past a small izakaya and into the maze of back streets that give Nakano its character.  It was pretty late, so things were beginning to wind down for the night.

Late Night Nakano - Side Streets to Station 中野横道から中野駅まで (130226)

Walking back to Nakano Station from the back street maze area.

Koenji Station to Izakaya Street 高円寺駅から居酒屋街まで (130226)

The video above shows the walk from the elevated Chuo Line platform at Koenji Station to the beginning of the restaurant and izakaya area.  Then the four videos below show various back street (and alley) scenes in Koenji, followed by heading back towards the station.

Koenji Izakaya Alley (Late at Night) 高円寺北の居酒屋路地 (夜遅く) 130226g

I didn't notice it at the time, but in playing this one back, there's a lot of graffiti on the walls of the alley.  I'm not sure exactly when that started, but there didn't used to be graffiti here - at least I never saw any.

Koenji-kita Izakaya Late Night Side Street Stroll 高円寺北横道散策散歩 (130226)

Getting close to the last trains for the night, so this is nearing the "lonely streets" time zone between late night people and early morning people.

Koenji Izakaya Alley 高円寺居酒屋道 (130226hd)

Another walk through the izakaya alley - this time with a wider view and with stereo sound.

Koenji Station Bound - Late Night Streets 高円寺駅向き (夜遅く) 130226

Koenji Station - Express Zooms Through 高円寺駅特急を通る (130226g)

Anraku Eiko Exhibition (安楽瑛子個展-無無無展) at Gallery Shorin (130226)

At this exhibition, the artist explains (in Japanese) each of the paintings of her exhibition.  I had intended to interpret each of her explanations, but while I understood (nearly) everything she was saying while she was talking, as soon as she stopped, I realized that I didn't remember all the details (and wasn't sure of the best way to translate some terms), so my English translations for the paintings at the beginning of the video are lacking (a lot of... most...) details.  Towards the end, I already had the concept firmly in mind from discussing it with the artist (before I began taking the video), so I got that part right at least.  It was an interesting exhibition, and hopefully you can understand Japanese so you'll get all of the artist's explanations!

Kawamura Satoru (河村悟展) Exhibition at Gallery Kazuki (画廊香月) 130228

A quick look around in at an art exhibition in Ginza.  This one runs from March 1st through to March 23rd, 2013.

Late Night Chuo Line Train Arrives and Departs from Kokubunji (130226hd)

Watching a late-night Chuo Line train come and go.

Late Night Kokubunji Station 夜遅く国分寺駅 (130226hd)

Walking around a little in Kokubunji Station late at night - including trying out one of the elevators that lead form the platform to the upper in-station concourse area, as well as a quick look at the large concourse on the other side of the ticket gates.

Afternoon Tachikawa Station Platform 午後立川駅ホーム (130227hd)

Midnight Inbound Chuo Line Interior 夜中の中央線内 (130301)

People Waiting for Late Night Train in Tachikawa 夜遅く立川駅人々 (130301)

Late Night Nearly Empty Tachikawa Station 夜遅く立川駅ホーム (130301)

Midnight Tachikawa Station Walkabout 夜中立川駅散歩 (130301)

Last Inbound Chuo Line Train from Tachikawa 最終上り中央線立川から (130301)

Express Train Speeds Through Kokubunji Station 特急が国分寺駅を通る (130228)

Watching this, I think this must be about the third video I've posted recently of one of these trains speeding past.  I guess the next time one comes along I shouldn't bother to record it, or if I do, I shouldn't bother to post it!

Chuo Line Trains Departing Kokubunji Station 国分寺駅中央線 (130228hdc)

Ochanomizu to Hamamatsucho 御茶ノ水駅から浜松町駅 (130228)

Flowering Plum Tree at Zojoji 増上寺の春梅木 (130228)

The cherry blossom trees are the most famous, but the flowering plum trees are the earliest to put out flowers in the (very early) spring.

Old Wooden Buildings in Central Tokyo (130228)

Looking Across a Main Road (Hamamatsucho) 浜松町大通り (130228hd)

When I look at scenes like this, I ponder how much nicer cities would be if traffic was restricted and not so much of the city was buried under dead black asphalt....

Hamamatsucho Station - Lower Level to Platform to Upper Level (130228)

Entering Hamamatsucho Station through the lower concourse, walking up to the elevated platform, and then walking down the platform and going up (again) to the upper level concourse.

Hamamatsucho Tokyo Monorail - Ticket Machines to Train 東京モノレール (130228)

Since just about everyone uses the rechargeable IC cards for traveling around on the train system, the ticket machines are primarily used just to put more money into the card from time-to-time, but I thought it might be good to show where the ticket machines for the Tokyo Monorail are nonetheless.

Hamamatsucho to Tennozu Isle (Tokyo Monorail) 浜松町駅-天王洲アイル駅 (130228)

Riding one stop on the Tokyo Monorail - to Tennozu Isle Station.  At about the 00:32 mark, is a view of three outbound trains running in parallel - a Shinkansen train, and... I'm not sure, but I think a Tokaido Line train, and maybe... a Keihin-Tohoku Line train.  From about the 01:36 mark, is a really large construction site... I haven't been on the Tokyo Monorail for a while, so I didn't know about this.  That's how it is in Tokyo; if you don't go somewhere for a little while, when you return, brace yourself for radical change.  The city is undergoing constant (never-ending) reconstruction.

The area shown in this video is all landfill, by the way.  After what happened up north in the March 11th, 2011 Tohoku earthquake, I don't think I'd like to live in a landfill area next to the ocean myself....

Tennozu Isle - Water, Bridge, Sky, Evening Sun 天王洲の空水橋夕日など (130228hd)

Looking around on a rather lonely steel bridge near Tennozu Isle Station in the evening.

Tennozu Isle Station (Tokyo Monorail) 天王洲アイル駅 (東京モノレール) 130228

Beginning on escalators leading up to the smaller of the two entrances to the station, I go through the ticket gates, down the platform, up some stairs, and into the main station area - and then over the trains to the other platform in order to catch one of the monorails headed towards Hamamatsucho Station.

Tennozu Isle to Hamamatsucho (Tokyo Monorail) 天王洲アイル駅-浜松町駅 (130228)

Watching an inbound monorail train come in, boarding it, and riding through the evening to Hamamatsucho while looking out the side windows at the neighboring highway, landfill islands with their high-rises and industrial buildings, water, Rainbow Bridge, etc.  Incidentally, the automated announcements on the train are in Japanese, English and - I think - two forms of Chinese.

The nice thing about monorail trains is they tend to be up high, so they're good places to check out the surrounding scenery from.  (I wanted to show more of the interior of the train, but there were too many nearby people facing the camera.)  As the train goes over the many railway tracks just before arriving at Hamamatsucho Station, you get an idea of how much rail traffic there is between Yokohama and Tokyo.  At the 05:33 mark, you can see the design of that cool old building near Hamamatsucho (name?) - possibly one of the few 1930's buildings still remaining in the city.  And - near the end of the video, at the 05:48 mark, you see people lined up to catch the (soon-to-be) outgoing train.

Originally, the Tokyo Monorail was primarily used for Haneda Airport access and also access to the various industrial buildings on the landfill islands, but as they've begun putting up luxury vertical-gated-community high-rises (I noticed one with a convenience store up on the third floor - probably only used by the residents of the building) in the area, it's also used by people commuting to and from work now.  From that background, and judging by the appearance of most of the people lined up on the platform, I'd say most of them were heading somewhere other than the airport.

Hamamatsucho Transfer from (Haneda) Tokyo Monorail to Yamanote Line (130228)

I was asked about the transfer from the Tokyo Monorail to the Yamanote Line by someone who will be visiting Japan for the first time and going to Ikebukuro, so I added some narration to this one explaining about the signs primarily.  Ikebukuro is pretty easy to find from Hamamatsucho, as it's one of the station names listed on the Yamanote Line signs (which list just a few of the major stations).  When transferring *from* a JR train to the monorail, it's pretty direct, but when going from the monorail to a JR train, you have to take a roundabout route - down, across, and back up.  After I board a Yamanote Line train, I go to Shinbashi.  (Incidentally, in the video, I mention two platforms in a way that I should have said two tracks.  The problem is that in stations, in Japanese, what should be track numbers are called platform numbers [using the English term "platform"], with the edge of a platform called a platform, so what should be called "track number three" becomes "platform number three".)

Shinbashi to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 新橋駅から有楽町駅まで (山手線) 130228

Looking out a left-side window of a Yamanote Line train riding through the twilight of a late February evening.

Yurakucho Plaza (Evening) 夕暮れの有楽町プラザ (130228hd)

Looking around in Yurakucho Plaza in the twilight of the day.  This is what a big city should look like.  The areas along the major internal-combustion machine highways are hellish places of noise, noxious fumes, and truck vibrations.  The internal combustion engine is the curse of humanity.

Twilight Shinkansen and Kei-Van 夕暮れ新幹線と軽自動車 (130228hd)

Looking back at a passing Shinkansen and then walking towards Ginza from Yurakucho.



"1991 Hibarigaoka; 2013 Ueno, Akihabara, Hamamatsucho, and Various Train Views"

I had intended to post a few things from 1991, but was only able to find time to edit one - featuring the area around Hibarigaoka at night - taken on the same day I took the (previously posted) video of Kiyose.  For reference, here's the link to the Kiyose video again:

1991 - Kiyose Walkabout 清瀬散歩 (910202)

From Kiyose, I took a Seibu-Ikebukuro Line train to Hibarigaoka and walked around there for a bit - more on that further down the page.

Back to 2013.  The videos this time are mainly from Ueno, Hamamatsucho, and Ginza.  I spent a fair amount of time in Ueno comparing the Ueno Station Building as it currently is with a postcard photo of it from 1932 (that I had printed out).  Considering how radically Tokyo has changed, it's surprisingly intact.  Some windows have been filled in and a small extra section added to the front, but the whole building is still there.  Compared to the ornamental nature of the 1914 Tokyo Station building, the 1932 Ueno Station building seems to be have had practical use more in mind than seems to have been the case with Tokyo Station.  There's a certain beauty in form following function, and Ueno Station seems to me - after having had a good hard look at it - to have been carefully designed.

But despite spending a lot of time there, I didn't take very much video.  I was busy carefully studying the 1932 photo and comparing it to the current condition of the building.  While staring intently at the 1932 photo and looking up to compare it to the building, I must have looked lost, as several people (all middle or upper-middle aged) came up and asked (in English) "May I help you?".  Shades of the early eighties, when if you saw a foreigner in Tokyo, chances were heavier towards tourism than business or residency.  Then came the very strong yen, popular Japanese culture, and floods of foreigners seeking culture, fortunes, etc. here.  At some point, it became normal to assume that there was a better chance of a foreigner knowing Japanese than otherwise, since Japan was such an expensive tourist destination, tourism rapidly declined at the same time long-term residents increased.

And then... (and I hesitate to write this, since it's less of a jelled concept than an attempted picture taken in a whirlwind of thoughts and impressions... or something), the double punch of the economy being sluggish for a long time, and then the March 11th, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and triple nuclear meltdowns (plus overheating fuel pool in the fourth reactor building).  The wind blowing out to sea (mostly - before it reversed direction at one point...) saved the loss of Tokyo, but the very real threat led to a situation where, of the people (of all nationalities, Japanese included) who *could* leave, many chose to do so.  However, the media ignored locals fleeing south to Osaka, Hiroshima, Okinawa, etc., and focused on foreigners
leaving Japan.  It was presented as an overreaction to the situation, and there was a period where one person after another vocally expressed surprise that I was still in Japan.  About the time I was beginning to get angry about it, and pointing out that people who *could* easily leave, including locals, did so, the cover-up of the triple-meltdown of the nuclear power plants began to be known.  (I've since realized that some people knew early on just how bad it was - probably due to the Internet.  I was stupidly watching the local media, which was broadcasting misinformation about slightly higher temperatures - while the plants were actually melting down.)

.... I hadn't intended to get into that, but it's part of the picture.  Anyway, at some point over the past couple of years, I have begun to experience interactions with people that seem rather like I remember from the 1980's.  No matter what I say or do, they appear to be fiercely determined to believe that I'm a tourist who stepped off of a plane the day before and don't know anything about Japan, Japanese people, Japanese culture, or the Japanese language.  In saying that, I hasten to say that there are two faces to this - the people who came to help me yesterday were genuinely friendly, and when (after initially answering them in English), I said "まっ、 日本語でもいいんですけど..." ("... I can speak Japanese too actually..."), then we began talking in Japanese.  The other face of the problem though, is a distressing thing to experience.  No matter what you do, the person you're talking to refuses to recognize that you're not an FOTA (Fresh Off The Airplane) biped and it's impossible to have a normal conversation with them.  (I had one of those conversations with someone in Ginza the other day - it was really frustrating.)

Okay, enough of that.  On to the videos!

1991 - Nighttime Hibarigaoka 1991年2月夜のひばりが丘 (910202)

If you only know the current Hibarigaoka Station, then you probably won't even recognize this as being the same station - they completely rebuilt it, making the older version shown in this video look like an entirely different station.

From around 00:27 until around 00:42 you can see and hear a political van driving around saying (basically) "Vote for me!".  They still do this, but maybe less than before?

At 00:42 - looking down the old open-air staircase that Hibarigaoka Station used to have - I think I preferred it this way.  It's nicely glassed in now, but it has the sealed box feel that new buildings tend to have.  Sealed in is nice if there's a typhoon raging or it's a cold, rainy day, but when the weather is nice, the open-air design is nicer.

When I took this, political advertising was strictly illegal on TV and radio, so speaker trucks/vans/cars were about the only way to promote a politician to the public.  Unfortunately, they changed the law, and now it's possible to run political advertisements on TV.  Apparently only positive ads are allowed, but it's still dirty politics (all politics, everywhere, is dirty, basically).  The system of not allowing any political advertising on radio or TV was a really good idea.  I think it's a horrible-horrible-horrible mistake to allow it now.  Allowing elections to be influenced (and/or decided) by PR agencies is a disaster for democracy.

Ueno Station Sounds, Steel, Wood, Echoes 上野駅の音と鉄と木と響く (130219hdg)

There are some really cool echoes in this video - but you can't hear them really well until I go down the escalator, turn left, and walk into the very high-ceiling area.  Old train stations used to have high ceilings and all hard surfaces, so the way the sound echoes around really makes me feel nostalgic for bygone eras of rail travel.  The wooden parts of the roof are also quite interesting, since they are so rare now.  There's something comfortable about wood - that is missing from other building materials.  Stone is also nice, concrete less so (concrete is partly stone, so it's not entirely synthetic), but plastics always feel slightly toxic.  Maybe "toxic" isn't the best word, but that's how it seems/feels to me.

At 01:19, you can see part of the old riveted steel beams and wooden part of the roof.  Finding this sort of thing in an active train station is vastly more interesting than seeing it in a museum.

At 01:27, that high ceiling is - on the other side - a walkway leading (over the many railway tracks) to Ueno Park.  Over the years, I've always used the opposite side of the station, so this original older side is a fairly recent discovery for me.

At 01:46, you can see how the tracks are stacked here.  As trains depart the station, they lead into the same set of surface tracks, but there are a lot of trains to be accommodated at Ueno Station, so they had to stack the platforms.

Akihabara Denkigai Entrance (Evening Rush) 夕方秋葉原駅電気街改札 (130219hdg)

On one of the streets by Akihabara Station.  Walking towards the station to the sound of construction (out of camera to my right)... and then into the station, over to the other side (walking beneath the elevated railways), where I take a quick look around the plaza there, and then go back into the station, through the ticket gates, and into the in-station concourse.  (This one is in stereo, so listening with headphones gives a better feel for how it was to be there at the time.)

Ueno Under-Bridge Crosswalk - Lights and Shadows 上野横断歩道 (130219g)

A quick 360-degree look around on the Ueno Station side of the under-railway crosswalk, and then I walk over to the other side when the light changes.

Ochanomizu to Kanda - Kanda Station 御茶ノ水駅-神田駅 (神田駅内) 130219

"Not again!" I seem to hear someone saying....  I keep recording this right-side Chuo Line view between Ochanomizu and Kanda in order to follow the construction work on the old Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅) platform.  I'm really hoping they'll preserve the old stairways to the platform (at least one of them) and at least part of the old platform, but you never know in Tokyo - it generally seems that old things are not allowed, and the Godzilla construction industry monster pretty much destroys everything old in its relentless quest to rebuild everything - endlessly.  So it may be that the only thing that will remain of the old terminal station for the Chuo Line, will be photos of the Manseibashi Station platform before it was completely destroyed.

From about 03:38, I go through the ticket gates and have a quick look on both sides of Kanda Station before re-entering the station and heading up to a platform.  Pretty much the entire station is under construction now.  Not so much is happening on the platforms, but down below, the entire area is one big construction project.  I don't know how it's going to turn out, but based on recent development of other JR stations, presumably it's going to become another JR in-station shopping mall.

Kanda to Ueno (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-上野駅 (山手線) 130219

As the title says - and at about 04:54, I have a look at one of the platform kiosks that used to be *the* place to buy things in train stations.  But as train stations become mini-shopping malls, they're converting this type of open-air kiosk into small enclosed buildings on the platforms.  Just the normal march of progress I guess, but there's something quite picturesque about these open kiosks.  Have a good look, because these will probably disappear in the future.  (Incidentally, I walk away from it after a close up, but then turn around for an overall view at about 05:03.)

At 05:06 is a kind of blast from the past - the old kiosk in the middle, and the old (unchanged for decades) "Bee!-Bee!-Bee!" (Hurry!-Hurry!-Hurry!) doors-about-to-close warning sounds - coming from both sides of the platform simultaneously.  Most stations use melodies now, but they used to all (or if not actually all, almost all) use this "Bee!-Bee!-Bee!" sound.  (In detail, the warning noise on one side starts, the other joins in for a brief overlap of sounds, then the first side stops while the second one continues.  Once the doors of both trains are closed, it becomes relatively quiet again after both trains depart the station.)

Ueno Station - Platform to Park Exit 上野駅公園改札から出る (130219hdc)

After passing through the ticket gates of the Park Exit, I cross the street and walk a few paces towards the park.

Izakaya Night Scene 居酒屋 (130219)

A brief look inside an old traditional izakaya (not a chain).  The place was packed and much more interesting about hour before I took this, but taking pictures seemed like a bad idea, so I waited until it was less crowded before taking this short video.

Late Night Yurakucho to Tokyo 夜遅く有楽町駅-東京駅 (山手線) 130219g

This includes a view of illuminated trees and the preserved section of the old Central Post Office building.  At Tokyo Station, I transfer to the Chuo Line.

Night Train Window Angles and Reflections (130219)

Nothing special content-wise.  I experimented with different angles while recording the lights and reflections in a Chuo Line window.  Basically, I guess you could call this an abstract video.  Personally, I like it, but suspect not so many other people will....

Ueno Station Park Entrance to Platform 上野駅公園改札からホームまで (130219hdc)

Ueno Station Central Exit Area 上野駅中央改札口あたり (130219hdc)

After looking around a little on both sides of the Central Exit ticket gates, I go down the passageway to the left of the ticket gates (from the standpoint of someone exiting) and watch as someone heads down a staircase to the right into the subway.  This is historical, as it lead to Japan's first subway - the Ginza Line - which originally ran between Ueno and Asakusa.  So people have been using this stairwell for over 80 years now.

The small side exit I walk out of and then turn back to look at (01:51) can be clearly seen in a 1932 postcard of Ueno Station.  The larger opening to the right of this original entrance is new though - a gaping hole in what was originally a wall (with a window).  The doorway to the police box (koban) to the left of the old entrance appears to basically be an enlarged window.  In 1932, this area was an open sidewalk (outside, in front of the station), but it now has an elevated plaza above it, and feels more like part of the subway than a sidewalk at street level.

Ueno Station Side View (Right Side) 上野駅の右横 (130219g)

In this video you get a look at the top side of the roof that I was having a look at the under-structure of earlier in the day - the old wooden roof.  Looking back at the station, what looks like a ground-level plaza is in fact an elevated plaza - at about the same level as the second floor of the station.

Evening Ueno Station Left Side Entrance 夕暮れ時の上野駅 (130219g)

This is the view you get of the left side of Ueno Station (left as viewed when standing in front of the station), as seen from across the street.  When the light changes, I walk over to the side entrance of the station and enter the plaza-like open space within - under the huge skylight (that used to be a standard roof).

Ueno Central Entrance to Platform 上野駅中央改札からホームまで (130219)

Ueno to Akihabara (Twilight Akiba) 上野-秋葉原 (夕暮れ時の電気街) 130219

The ride from Ueno to Akihabara - which is just two stops, with Okachimachi in-between Ueno and Akihabara, and then (at 03:03) I get off at Akihabara Station and head towards the denkigai side of the station.  At 05:01 I head into the block of small stalls that sell various electronic things.  Often it seems to me that this collection of very small shops has become more of a walk-through tourist destination than somewhere where people actually shop.  You see more and more of the stalls closed.  It's probably only a matter of time before this disappears.

Akihabara Twilight Walk 夕暮れ時の秋葉原の散策散歩 (130219)

Walking into an area that used to be purely electronics shops, but is increasingly a themed coffee shop area, with young women standing all over the place passing out flyers for the shops they work at.  You can see a bunch of them in this video.  Mainly I try to avoid them by walking on the edge of the street (they stand right in the middle), but it's nearly impossible to avoid them - there are so many!  And there seem to be more of them each time I go!  The whole phenomenon is just really bizarre to me.  I keep thinking it will fade out and disappear, but instead it grows larger!  This must mean something, but I'm afraid to speculate what exactly.  (The last half of this video is mainly out of that zone, by the way.)

Akihabara Old Section Under Rail Bridge 秋葉原 (Akiba) 130219

Even way over in this part of Akihabara there was an attractive young woman standing on the street with flyers in her hand.  I was there strictly to get a video of the old electronics shops, so I kept her off camera (which is why my pan to the right is quick, and doesn't go all the way over - she was on the sidewalk there, just to the right, off screen).  I suppose this could be some kind of barometer of the bad economy - the worse the economy is, the more desperate people are and the more exploitable they become.  It's hard to imagine that these young women really *want* to have that kind of job.  In any case, this video is just to show the area under the bridge.  In the next video I go inside probably the most atmospheric old electronics shop in the area.

Old Electronic Parts Shop (Akihabara) 古い秋葉原電機パーツ店 (130219)

This place has a lot of atmosphere.  If I were buying discrete electronic parts I would probably do some shopping here, but - once out of school - I stopped doing anything with individual components (other than memory boards, etc., for computers).  I'd love to know the history of the shop, but it seems like it would be rude to ask if I'm not buying something.

Evening Akihabara Construction Noises 夕方秋葉原工事音 (130219hd)

Construction noises - in stereo.  No big deal, but it's all part of the total ambiance of Tokyo - the way construction noises (and there is *always* construction somewhere in Tokyo) echo about between the sea of buildings and mix with the noise of the crowds on the streets.

Akihabara Station - Concourse to Platform 秋葉原駅通路からホームまで (130219hdc)

Another stereo recording.  I go up to the platform to catch a train towards Yurakucho, look around a little while waiting (including a look at some older components of the station) and then watch a Keihin-Tohoku Line train pull into the station.

Akihabara to Yurakucho (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 秋葉原-有楽町 (京浜東北線) 130219

I board the Keihin-Tohoku Line train that I watched arrive in the previous video, and then ride to Yurakucho, while looking out the windows at nighttime Tokyo passing by.  As often happens, a Yamanote Line train ends up running side by side with the Keihin-Tohoku Line train I'm on.  Running in parallel, the trains stop on opposite sides of the same platforms.  (Between stations they run close together, and then drift apart to pull to either side of the wide platforms.)

Somehow - as I watch this - I feel surprised at how soon Yurakucho arrives, but it's only three stops from Akihabara (for some reason it seems like it should be more than that...), Akihabara - Kanda - Tokyo - Yurakucho.  In Yurakucho, I look around the platform for a little after getting off of the train.

Yurakucho SB-Area Abstract Stroll 有楽町象的な夜散策散歩 (130219g)

I was in an experimental mood while taking this one, so I tried a number of different angles - including upside-down.  I like it, but it might disturb someone if they expect the camera to remain horizontal at all times....

Exhibition Under Stairs (130221)

Looking at light and shadows in a small under-stairs space while exploring verbally induced echoes.

Chuo Line - Running at Speed Motor Sounds 中央線早く走るモーター音 (130220)

When electric trains are running at speed, the motor noise is a large part of the sensation of the speed (especially if you're not looking out the windows).  It depends on which car you're riding in though, as not all of them have motors.  From looking at the control panel in the front cab (from the window behind it), it appears that the ten-car Chuo Line trains have six motors, with four of the motor-cars in one group on one end of the train, and with another two paired at the other end of the train.  When you're in a non-motor car (the cab cars on the ends don't have motors, plus two more cars between the groups of cars with motors) then you don't notice it much, but when one of those huge motors is pretty much right under you feet, you can really hear it at speed - like in this video.

Kokubunji Station - Express Train Speeds by - Platform Wall Construction Soon Maybe (130221)

Looking at this pile of construction equipment at the end of the platform, I assumed they must be about to begin work on walling in the platforms, as they are doing at so many other stations in central Tokyo, but the sign (00:41) says 床改修工事, which on the face of it would just be reconstruction or maintenance work on the platform, but that might include platform walls too... or maybe not.  The time frame listed is only until the end of March of this year (平成24年12月17日 - 平成25年3月末日), and it's already late February, so maybe it really is just work on the platforms only.

I started taking this video just to show the construction equipment and how there are altered spots on the platform, and then the reserved seat express train came zooming by, so naturally I took that too - beginning at 00:17.

Ochanomizu-Hamamatsucho - Chuo and Yamanote Lines 御茶ノ水駅-浜松町駅 (130221)

And another pass of the construction work on the remains of Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅) - as I mentioned further up the page (regarding a video taken a couple of days before this one).  This time around, I left the camera running longer and recorded going from Kanda down to Hamamatsucho on the Yamanote Line after changing trains at Kanda.  (A technical note about the views of the inside of Kanda Station - it's a bit dark due to a camera setting... sorry about that.  Otherwise the video is exposed correctly though.)

Daimon Station Entrance (Subway) 大門駅の入り口 (地下鉄) 130221hdc

As this small structure housing an entrance to the subway will likely be subsequently buried beneath some form of new construction, I thought I'd record how it looks when light can come through its... skylights?  Wait... can you call glass installed in a wall a skylight, or does a skylight have to be in the ceiling?

Hamamatsucho Station - Ticket Gates to Train 浜松町駅改札-山手線 (130221hdc)

Yamanote Front Cab View - Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho 山手線の前ビュー (130221hdc)

Yurakucho Platform Sights and Sounds 有楽町駅の音と様子 (130221hd)

Looking around on a platform at Yurakucho Station for a little (recorded with stereo sound).

Yurakucho Under-Bridge Look-Around 有楽町橋の下見回り (130221hd)

Since this was in stereo, I was hoping for some interesting sounds from the steel bridge, but there wasn't much of anything to listen to, so anything interesting about the sound is only in a subtle way.  Visually, I think it's kind of interesting though.

Walking Towards Ginza 銀座向き (130221)

A short clip - walking by a row of taxis under a bridge and beginning to cross a main street to enter Ginza.

Kyobashi Parking Lot (Winter Night) 京橋駐車場 (冬の夜) 130221

The subject matter isn't exciting for sure, but this records an aspect of Tokyo that is an integral part of the whole.  Part of the warm coziness of meeting friends at an izakaya or restaurant is the contrast with the cold desolation of the streets - partly shown in this video.  Naturally different areas and different streets have a variety of atmospheres, but in general, when you're outside in Tokyo in the winter, you want to be inside somewhere, and when you reach an oasis of warmth somewhere, it is an oasis at least in part thanks to the bone-chilling coldness (in the total sense, not just temperature) of the cold windy streets of asphalt and concrete between buildings of steel and concrete.  I'm not sure how this looks to someone outside Japan, but just watching this video in my apartment makes me feel cold.  Am I getting that feeling of desolation from memory association, or is it something you can feel too, out there wherever you are?

Yaesu Night Bus Stop 八重洲夜バス停 (130221)

Yet another long-distance bus.  It really depresses me seeing people taking buses to places they could get to by train.  And there seem to be ever more buses, and associated construction projects of bus terminals, etc.  Booooo!  Boooooo!!  Booooooo!!!

Tokyo Station Yaesu Side Construction (Night View) 東京駅八重洲側 (130221)

After lengthy work on the foundation, whatever building they're working on is fast going skyward now.

Tokyo Station Night Walkthrough 東京駅夜散策散歩 (130221)

Starting on the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station, walking past some of the many buses there, and then walking through Tokyo Station - all the way to the other side, where I exit and look around at the inside of one of the reconstructed domes in the 1914 building (which was recently largely reconstructed/renovated).  After that, I go back through the ticket gates again and head for my train.



"Hamamatsucho, Shinbashi Twilight, Nakano, Yoyogi-Uehara, Ginza, etc."

February - when thoughts begin turning to spring, and there have even been a couple of warm days, but today the temperatures dropped, and with a strong wind, it was the coldest I've felt this winter.  I was thinking of going out to take pictures, but ended up staying home... it would have been really unpleasant walking around outside taking pictures on a day like this!

This batch of videos is primarily of Hamamatsucho, Shinbashi, Ginza, and with train scenes from the Chuo Line, the Odakyu Line, and the Yamanote Line.

Hamamatsucho to Shinbashi (Twilight View) 浜松町駅-新橋駅 (黄昏風景) 130214g

Looking west out the left side of the train into the twilight, you can see Tokyo Tower off in the distance between the buildings (00:08, 00:15, 00:19, etc.).  I didn't used to think about Tokyo Tower much, but after finding myself right beside it this year while in the Hamamatsucho area, I suddenly realized just how large it is.  Of course, I've always known it was a large tower, but I've mainly seen it from a distance, so when I looked up and saw it - right there - when I was in the area for other reasons, it suddenly impressed me.

The video ends with a platform view of the Yamanote Line train I had been on, and then a Keihin-Tohoku Line train leaving Shinbashi Station.

Yurakucho Evening 夕方の有楽町 (130214)

The old steel bridges are much appreciated (by me, and others too I hope) for their style, history, and wonderful noises as trains pass by overhead.  In this video, it's pretty quiet, but even without the industrial music of the train-generated sounds, somehow it's comforting to have *something* from the past close at hand while walking through everything-old-must-be-destroyed Tokyo.  (Slight exaggeration?  I'm not so sure... that's pretty much how it is.)

At the 01:00 mark - something I didn't notice at the time but stands out to me in the video, is the sign that says "1F Loft", meaning that the Loft store is on the first floor.  "Hmm... on the 1st floor?  That doesn't sound like a 'loft'..." you might think.

Shinbashi to Yurakucho (Night Ride) 新橋駅-有楽町駅 (夜山手線) 130214

Starting in SL-Plaza in front of Shinbashi Station, after walking around on the plaza a little, I enter the station and take a Keihin-Tohoku Line train to Yurakucho.

At the 02:13 point in the video, you can see a man in all-yellow clothing.  A few weeks back, I asked either that very man, or someone doing that same job, what they were doing, and they explained they were there to make sure no one fell into the gap between the platform and the train.  Safety is always a good thing, but it's a little depressing sometimes how paranoid people are about not-very-likely-to-occur problems.

In the case of trains, there are very few accidents, but as soon as one, single, solitary person dies in some mishap on the railways, it's pumped into all the news outlets - generating this ridiculous image of the railways being dangerous.  Meanwhile, the daily carnage on the bloody dead-black asphalt roads continues with almost no comment at all.  It's insane.  Looking on-line, I see the figure 4,914 dead for the year 2009:

So you have this ratio of thousands of road dead for every single death on the railways, and the media generates this image of the railways as being dangerous if any one individual has an accident on them.  It's crazy.  Ongoing carnage on the roads?  No problem!  An isolated incident on the railways?  "Terrible!  Something must be done!  Put guards on the platforms!  Put up platform walls!  Lower the speed!  There must be zero accidents!"

Looking on-line, I see this:

   "Transport Ministry says 2011 worst on record for passengers falling onto train tracks
NATIONAL DEC. 10, 2011 - 04:15PM JST ( 48 )TOKYO ―
   "The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport this week released figures indicating that 2011 has seen the highest ever number of deaths and injuries due to passengers falling onto train tracks in Japan.
   "The ministry said that between April and September of 2011, 119 people were injured or killed after being hit by trains in such incidents, TBS reported.  ................."

Hmm... I wasn't aware of that.  But still, it's an unfair comparison with road carnage - since they only list deaths on the road, but also list injuries on the train system.  What about all the people injured (but not killed) in traffic accidents on the roads?  For the railways, instead of lumping dead and injured together, they should list the number of dead versus injured - there's a big difference between falling down and breaking an arm, and being dead.  One could get the impression they're cheating by lumping injured in with the dead to inflate the figure and make it seem more serious.  But still, even with the figure 119 for one year, that still means over 30-times as many deaths on the roads.  I wouldn't bother to comment on this, except it's really depressing to see ever more people traveling about Japan via buses instead of trains; and depressing to see ever more dead-black asphalt burying the city.  They talk of aiming for "zero accidents" on the railways, but much greater carnage on the roads isn't worth commenting on?  If people are serious about wanting to reduce the number of accident-related deaths each year, they should be pushing to get people out of cars and buses and onto trains.

Hamamatsucho Side Streets to Station 浜松町黄昏道 (駅まで) 130214

Walking down a nondescript side street towards Hamamatsucho Station, and then crossing a main street....  Speaking of main streets, have a look at the one at 00:55.  It looks neat enough.  Orderly buildings lined up next to the asphalt, and with a sidewalk on each side for pedestrians.  The thing is though, roads are good for internal combustion machinery, but horrible for the quality of life for pedestrians.  They're ugly, noisy, polluted with exhaust fumes, and inconvenient.  I hope oil runs out quickly so frivolous burning of it in personal automobiles is outlawed.  Basing everything around personal automobiles is a huge mistake I think.

The old bicycle at 01:55 is of a very sturdy design, with rod linkage for the brakes (instead of more fragile cable).  The penalty is extra weight, but these old bicycles last forever.

Further along the walk, on a side street with very little traffic, the city seems more people-friendly again.  The big main roads are considered "modern" and "progress", but they ruin the quality of life in the city for anyone not inside a fire-breathing machine (which is the majority of people in Tokyo).

Looking down the road at 03:21, you can see one of the Hanada monorail trains approaching Hamamatsucho Station.  The proper name for it is "Tokyo Monorail" (東京モノレール), but since it's not the only monorail in Tokyo, the name isn't really accurate any more.  Typically I've heard people calling it "Hanada Monorail" which makes a lot more sense, as its main purpose is to provide access to Hanada Airport.  The English version of the line's website is here:

Getting closer to the station, I was happy to see that an old building I remember from 1990 is still there (from about 04:18).  Generally old buildings become victims of the Godzilla construction industry, so finding an old one that has somehow managed to survive is always nice to see.

Hamamatsucho Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 黄昏の浜松町駅 (130214)

This was during the early part of the evening rush zone (it's not "rush *hour*" - trust me), so the station was pretty busy.

Shinbashi Twilight Stroll 新橋黄昏散策散歩 (130214)

Exiting Shinbashi Station and walking through the area in front of the station on the Shiodome side.

Rush Hour Shinbashi Station 新橋駅の夕方ラッシュー (130214hd)

Starting by ticket machines, then going through the ticket gates, up to a platform, down the platform, and out the Hibiya Exit (which leads into SL-Plaza).

Shinbashi Evening SL-Plaza 新橋夕方SL広場 (130214hd)

Walking around in SL-Plaza in front of Shinbashi Station.  Lights, noise, reflections, action, people walking everywhere....

Shinjuku Station Chuo Line Platform Walk 新宿駅中央線ホームの様子 (130212)

Departing Shinjuku Station via Chuo Line (130212)

Nighttime window view on an outbound train.

Rattling Door Glass (130212)

Just to record something that was common before, but is becoming very rare.  The old way of installing glass in window panes was to have it sit within a wooden frame, without using any kind of putty.  This facilitated easy replacement of broken glass panes, but led to rattling noises, since the glass was just sitting in the frame.  Pushing on an old door as I do in this video illustrates what I'm talking about, but the noise I'd really like to capture is how it sounds when the window panes are being rattled by wind.  It was a sound I heard for the first time after moving to Japan, and it has become a nostalgic sound for me, since I stayed in places with those types of windows; so hearing that sound now reminds me of a very specific time in my life.  There is also a feeling of the sound being an echo from the past.

Chuo Line Side Window View (to Mitaka) 中央線三鷹まで (130212hdc)

Looking out a side window at the winter landscape flowing by.  I took a video of this same stretch a couple of days after the big snowstorm we had, but this is the more typical view.  Tokyo is generally dry, cold, and windy in the winter.

Mitaka to Koenji (Chuo Line) 三鷹から高円寺まで (中央線) 130212hdc

Watching the unbroken flow of houses and apartment buildings, I think you can probably imagine why the Chuo Line is so crowded!  A *lot* of people live along this line!

Nakano Station Walkabout 中野駅散歩 (130212hdc)

The left side view as the train comes into Nakano Station, and then platform scenes at (elevated) Nakano Station, including a walk through a platform transfer tunnel that isn't connected to an exit.  The brick (tile-brick?, tile?) of the lower part of the tunnel is a nice design touch from the past.  Seeing this design element in a lot of older buildings (what's left of them that is!), I suppose the idea was to have something durable (and easy to wash) that didn't need to be painted on the lower half of the wall.

At 04:43 - the old buildings just beyond the old railway sidings are the Nakano Ekimae Jutaku Apartments 中野駅前住宅that I have a look at after exiting Nakano Station (see next video below).

Nakano Ekimae Jutaku 中野駅前住宅 (130212)

I'm still trying to find a good history of this set of seven apartment buildings, but one site I found says they were built in 1951 and 1952, which seems about right.  That the buildings have had maintenance upgrades over the years is clear - from new steel edges on some of the stair steps, to new mailboxes, and probably (not visible) new plumbing.  The concrete buildings are very clearly old, but they appear to be in sound condition and would probably be safe to continue using for decades to come, but apparently a decision has been made to tear them down, and they are not letting in any new tenants.  On the other hand, they aren't (to the best of my knowledge) evicting tenants either, so they're waiting as the number of tenants dwindles year by year.  It appears that they stopped letting in new tenants about... five years ago or so?  I imagine the current tenants are happy to stay and in no hurry to leave (living within a three-minute walk of Nakano Station is one of the choicer places to live in Tokyo), so it may be some time before the Godzilla construction monster can destroy yet more of Tokyo's historical buildings.

One more detail - and I hope this one is not true.  I was told by a someone who lived in Nakano as a child that they heard the plan is to tear down the apartments and make the area into a bus terminal.  Bloody buses again!  It seems that the primary form of what the Godzilla construction industry considers progress for Tokyo now is bus terminals!  They're building huge new ones beside Shinjuku and Tokyo Stations, and there seem to be ever more buses.  Great idea!  Let's increase the number of internal combustion engined vehicles so we can destroy the planet that much faster!

Don't get me wrong, I understand that buses are great in many applications, but not when there are good existing train lines that could be used instead.  I'm so sick of the attitude in the world of "Who cares if we burn down the future!  Nothing is more important than Short-Term Profits!".  It's crazy.

Back to these seven apartments - it appears to me that the main thing they need is a new coat of paint.  I can't believe they want to tear down solidly built apartment buildings so they can make a bloody bus terminal... in Nakano!  With the traffic around there being how it is, I'm sure that's just what everyone wants to do - sit in traffic jams inside buses.  Meanwhile, they shut down the convenient bus stops on the other side of the station for no apparent reason.  Political decision to *generate* a problem in order to create increased pressure to tear down the apartment buildings?  I hope not.

Nakano Shotengai on Hill Near South Exit 中野丘上商店街 (130212hd)

A brief look at a shop-lined street a short walk from the South Exit of Nakano Station.

Nakano Station (South Side View) 南側から中野駅の姿 (130212hd)

Looking over Nakano Station from the south side.

Nakano - from Station to Sun Mall (130212hdc)

Nakano Sun Mall Stroll 中野サンモール散策散歩 (130212hdc)

Walking the full length of Sun Mall in Nakano.

Nakano Side Street Stroll 中野横道散策散歩 (130212hdc)

Walking down a narrow pedestrian back street with restaurants and izakaya places... and coming upon a gap where they've torn down whatever was there and bare dirt awaits the next construction project.  The number of old small buildings on Nakano's back streets decreases continually.  Tokyo - always renewing itself.

Nakano Backstreet Stroll 中野裏道散策散歩 (130212hdg)

More mysterious old buildings, restaurants, and izakaya places on Nakano's back streets.

Entering Nakano Station 中野駅に入る (130212hdc)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅から新宿駅まで (中央線) 130212hdc

Rushing up a flight of stairs to catch an inbound Chuo Line train and then riding to Shinjuku - looking out a right side window while some high school students talk up a storm behind me.  As the train speeds along, the high-rise office towers of Shinjuku get closer and closer.

Shinjuku to Kanda (Chuo Line) 新宿から神田まで (中央線) 130212g

Looking out a right side window on an inbound Chuo Line train as it runs from Shinjuku to Kanda.

Kanda to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 神田から御茶ノ水まで (中央線) 130212

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水から神田まで (中央線) 130212

Some of the new construction for overhead Shinkansen tracks can be seen from 01:48, and around 02:00 the temporarily all-green Yamanote Line train goes by.  (Is it just one, or are there a few?)  Having ridden in the old ones myself, the new type Yamanote Line is quite different in details, but seeing the old solid color going by at speed really does bring back memories of the old type (to see a Saikyo Line version of that from 1990, see the next video).  Transferring at Kanda Station, I walk through the construction zone that the station is now and over to one of the Yamanote Line platforms.

1990 - Old Saikyo Line Train (Non-Air-Conditioned Car) 900300

Kanda to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 神田駅から東京駅まで (山手線) 130212A

As the title says - and at around 01:04 I look out the rear cab as the train departs from Kanda Station.  After pulling away from Kanda, I look out a left side window at the new Shinkansen track construction next to (and above) the Yamanote Line.  Regarding the construction at 02:26, I'm not sure what that is, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's a passageway they're making to connect the newly reconstructed Tokyo Station Building with whatever it is that is rising on the Yaesu side.

Tokyo Station Yamanote Line Platform View-360 東京駅山手線ホーム (130212hdc)

A quick HD 306-degree look from the Yamanote Line platform.  I like this particular platform, since it's the last one with part of the platform still covered by an old wooden roof.

Tokyo Station Concourse Stroll 東京駅通路散策散歩 (130212)

Starting on the Shinagawa-bound Yamanote Line platform, I go downstairs to one of the main concourses in Tokyo Station and head towards the Yaesu Exit.

Tokyo Station Yaesu Construction 東京駅八重洲側の工事 (130212)

After a long time spend on the foundation, a new structure is rising on the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station.

Kyobashi Stand-Bar 京橋スタンドバー (130212)

Just a quick look from the street, but this is one of the many "stand-bars" in the city.  The prolonged bad economy has made them popular and I keep seeing new ones appearing where there were none before.

Night Chuo Line - Tokyo to Yotsuya 夜の中央線 (130212)

The night trains can be quite visually interesting when you're next to a window - looking outside and seeing a constant double image of the electrically illuminated world outside flowing by combined with bits and pieces of the inside of the train.  This was such a ride - the world being one of electric illumination and double images.  Regarding the upside-down images... I sometimes envision how people are all around the round planet we live on, and in that sense, who's to say we aren't upside-down?

Chuo Line - Arriving at Shinjuku via Outbound Train 中央線新宿駅 (130212)

Arriving at Shinjuku Station - reportedly the busiest station in all of Japan - "transfer city" you might say, although Tokyo Station has certainly gotten a lot more complicated over the past twenty years!  In any case, Shinjuku is a busy place!

Street Musician by Shinjuku Station South Exit (130212)

A quick look at a street musician in Shinjuku (near the south entrance/exit).

Odakyu Shinjuku Station Platform 小田急線新宿駅ホーム (130212)

Shinjuku to Yoyogi-Uehara (Odakyu Line) 新宿-代々木上原 (小田急線) 130212g

Another double-exposure effect while looking out the window of a nighttime train - this time an outbound Odakyu Line train.  When I get off at Yoyogi-Uehara, I look around on the platform while the train I was on continues down the line.

Yoyogi-Uehara - Chiyoda Line Train Interior and Platform 代々木上原駅 (130212hd)

I needed to take an Odakyu Line train to Shinjuku, so when a Chiyoda Line train came in that then waited until the train I was waiting for arrived, I had time to walk through the (mostly empty) train a little before getting on my train.  I think this may be the oldest type of Chiyoda subway train currently in use.  This type of train car has (I think) been in use the whole time I've been in Japan, so it's getting a little old.  Both trains were scheduled to depart at the same time (so people would have a chance to transfer from one to the other by walking across the platform).

Yoyogi-Uehara to Shinjuku 代々木上原-新宿 (夜の小田急線) 130212

At the beginning of the video - the train beside and below the train I'm on is the Chiyoda Subway train that departed from Yoyogi-Uehara at the same time as my train.  It's below my train as it's about to enter a tunnel and begin it's subterranean journey across town.

This was another of those rides on a nearly empty inbound train, so I walked around inside the train carriage a bit - exploring different camera angles.  Then, when I got off the train in Shinjuku, I walked up one level and took a look at the express train platforms.

Late Night Inbound Chuo Line Interior 夜遅く中央線車内 (130215)

A late night ride on an inbound Chuo Line train - watching the lights and reflections in the windows, as usual.

Ashimotoni Gochui Kudasai 足元にご注意下さい (Tachikawa 立川) 130215hd

Considering how obnoxious the endlessly repeating message to "Watch your step please!" is, presumably someone must have fallen down here once.  There's this really weird thing where if one person gets hurt on the train system, there's a tremendous over-reaction regarding an isolated incident as though the survival of the nation depends on it, with talk of aiming for "zero accidents!".  Meanwhile, the ongoing carnage on the highways continues killing scores of people all the time, but that's just considered normal it seems.

Midnight Chuo Line Train Going Out of Service for the Night (130215)

The station guy thoughtfully helps a couple of people get on the last (for Nakano anyway) inbound train on one side of the platform while another train is going out of service on the other side of the platform.

Ginza One Tokyo-Ten February Exhibition (A) サロンど東京展2013年2月 (130212)

Ginza One Tokyo-Ten February Exhibition (B) サロンど東京展2013年2月 (130212)

Ishii Kakuko Exhibition at Gallery Kobo 石井香久子作品展 (巷房) 130212

Group Exhibition - Art Gallery Ishi アートギャラリー石 (2013年2月展示会) 130214

Ginza Nighttime Chuo-Dori 銀座夜の中央通り (130214hd)

Above and below - the colorful lights of Ginza's Chuo-Dori.

Ginza Lights 銀座光 (130214hd)

Chuo Line Mostly Empty Interior (130213hd)

Sometimes train rides are quite relaxing and enjoyable.  This ride was like that.

Yotsuya to Kanda (Chuo Line) 四谷駅から神田駅まで (中央線) 130214

Kanda to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-浜松町駅 (山手線) 130214

I spend most of this ride looking out the right side of the train, which is a change from my (for some reason) usual habit of looking out the left side (on this stretch of rails).  At 01:17 is the construction hole at the end of the Yamanote Line platform at Tokyo Station (on the left side of the train), and at 01:27 I look out the right side at another large construction hole - which is a continuation of the construction on the left side it seems.  On the right side (at 01:36, but difficult to see in the video) I could see old red brick of the type the original Tokyo Station building was constructed of... I wish I could go down there for a closer look!  In the background (under the elevated Chuo Line tracks up out of sight at the top of the frame) you can see the rear of the Tokyo Station building.

First Scent of Spring 春の匂い (130214)

It's since gotten quite cold again, but this day was fairly warm, and the flowering tree looked and smelled like spring (as a woman (out of frame) comments.

Tokyo Tower (130214hdc)

A short look at the tower from the ground - as light clouds drift by overhead.



"1990 Drive, Tokaido Line, Bus; 1991 Kiyose Walkabout; 2013 Hamamatsucho, Shinbashi, Etc."

Time tripping to 1990 and 1991, as well typical modern (2013) stuff taken in Tokyo.  The interesting thing about going back in time via my videos taken 22-23 years ago, is that typically a lot of related things I haven't thought about for a very long time come to mind as I'm watching and remembering the scenes recorded with my camera back in the early nineties.  Some of the old memories are welcome and some are the reality version of nightmares.  When you come upon a long forgotten good memory, it's a great thing, but for the bad stuff, the expression "Some things are best forgotten" comes to mind.  In any case, good and bad, so much of our life goes missing as we get older.  When the bad memories come back, I find myself pondering "So this is probably the mechanism through which people experience PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)..."  Which brings up a thought - how about the opposite?  Is it PFFAO (Post-Fun, Fun Again Order)?

1990 - Bus Ride to Chigasaki Station (Kanagawa-ken) 900324

It's interesting to see this type of bus again (in the video), new buses have a very low floor at the front (for easy access), along with a low roof, but to accommodate the rear engine and wheels, the rear of the bus has a higher floor.  The seats over the front wheels are also rather high, so the whole interior is a kind of complicated multilevel arrangement.  Since the roof is also lower at the back (in spite of the higher floor there), you can't stand back there without bending your head down if you're taller than about 160cm.

The announcement has probably been rerecorded for this too, although maybe not.  They use bus stop announcement recordings for a pretty long time.  What else... from the sound of it, it's a manual transmission.  Some bus lines still use a lot of manual transmission buses, but automatic transmissions seem to be the norm now (in most of the buses I've ridden in recently in any case).

1990 - Inbound Tokaido Line Left-Side View 上り東海道線 (900324)

Starting at Chigasaki Station on the Tokaido Line (notice the "JRちがさき" (JR-Chigasaki) sign written with plants at the beginning of the video).  I lived down that way for a little while back in the eighties, so the ride in the old type Tokaido Line train makes me nostalgic for that time.  The sound of the motors, the announcements, etc., bring back a lot of memories.  For whatever reason, those old heavy all steel trains had a lot more atmosphere than the newer more lightweight ones.  My favorite Tokaido Line rides were when it was an off-peak time and I had one of the seating booths to myself (when you had to share the space with three other people, leg room was an issue, but for the most part, they were a nice design, and comfortable enough - so long as the person opposite you wasn't too tall!).

One reason for the better atmosphere in the trains then comes to mind... less blindingly bright florescent lighting!  These old trains also used florescent lighting, but it wasn't as overdone and unpleasant as on the newer trains.

In these old videos, also notice how the station names are written on metal plaques.  Now they're soulless plastic.  The plastic signs are functional, but soulless.

1991 - Kiyose Walkabout 清瀬散歩 (910202)

Kiyose.  It wasn't an area I needed to go to - then or now - but I went there on February 2nd, 1991 to walk around and see what was there, and it turned out to be more interesting than I might have expected.  Watching this now makes me want to go back and see how much it's changed in 22 years.  The residential areas probably haven't changed all that much (or have they?), but I imagine the area immediately around the station has changed a bit.

At the 02:51 mark I'm on camera saying "Because of the war in the Gulf..." referring to the first gulf war.  It's kind of strange to see myself mentioning that via the time-slip window on my computer screen.  I didn't imagine the world would be in the mess it is now back then....

Incidentally, Kiyose Station is in Tokyo, but an arm of Saitama comes near there as well, and the sign at 03:54 (新堀 - Shinbori) is from within that arm of Saitama.  Just from memory, I had been thinking of Kiyose as being all in Tokyo, but this video turns out to be a mix of Tokyo and Saitama.  This was before the Internet, so I didn't look up this kind of detail at the time - rather just walked around and recorded address signs from time-to-time (which is why I know where I was now - watching this in the future).

Around 07:38, I look at some foreign cars.  The yen had only been strong for a few years at this point, so foreign cars stood out a bit then (although they were beginning to be seen more frequently).  Back when the yen was really weak, foreign cars were really expensive and hardly ever seen in Japan.

At 11:14 - a look at an old style shop.  You hardly every seen this kind of shop these days.  Convenience stores have really taken over.  They're - as the name suggests - convenient, but not very interesting culturally, and really incredibly over-illuminated (presumably as an anti-theft/anti-robbery measure).

The various small shops on the shotengai shopping street near the station.  The rarer they become, the more nostalgic I feel about them (17:54, etc.).

1990 - On the Road in Tokyo and Kanagawa 東京と神奈川ドライブ (900324)

First off, I should mention that since I began living in Tokyo, I'm not a great fan of automobiles.  Not within Tokyo in any case.  Tokyo was - naturally - originally a no-automobile city, and as they have forced through strips of dead black asphalt throughout the city, quite often the fire-breathing, noxious-gas-emitting vehicles are running right next to narrow sidewalks, people's homes, etc.  I really think they should have outlawed personal car ownership in Tokyo right at the start.  A city needs commercial vehicles for commerce, deliveries, taxis, etc., but not personal automobiles (other than occasional use of rent-a-cars).  I'm not sure what you perceive/think/etc. when you watch this video, but for me it represents what a noisy and unpleasant place main roads in Tokyo are - one example being 12:15 - have a good look at that.  Would you like to live right next to that?  Later on, after getting on an expressway it doesn't seem so bad - but within Tokyo, the city would be so much nicer without so much internal combustion machinery.  Would that the internal combustion engine had never been invented!

1990 - Old Saikyo Line Train (Non-Air-Conditioned Car) 900300

I'm really glad I took this video, because I'd been thinking that I wish I had had a video camera back in the early eighties in order to take the pre-1985 version of the Yamanote Line, but this old Saikyo Line train is exactly that type of train.  In fact, this might even be a former Yamanote Line train - they could easily have shifted some (or all?) of the Yamanote Line trains over to the newly expanded Saikyo Line when they introduced the new type of Yamanote Line trains.  Anyway, on to some details about the train:

At around 00:20, you can seen the central air conditioning unit on the roof of the number-two train carriage I'm walking by.  This type of air conditioning unit was retrofitted to originally non-air-conditioned carriages.  During my first summer in Japan, that's one of my more durable memories - watching Yamanote Line trains coming in, and there were a few trains that didn't have air conditioning, and also some trains that had a few non-air-conditioned carriages within the train, which was easy to tell, because on a hot August day, the windows would all be closed with the air conditioning on, and then suddenly there would be a couple of carriages with all the windows open (and if you stepped back and looked up at the roof, there was no air conditioning unit there - just the round air intakes for the ceiling fans).  And the train in this video is of that type.  At the time, I'm not sure I even noticed (it was winter, so the air conditioning wasn't running, naturally), but the carriage I boarded (carriage number seven or eight I think - which I was prompted to board by the "doors about to close" warning sound) turned out to be one of the rare non-air-conditioned ones.  Look at the ceiling at 01:50 - the ceiling ads are much higher up than on the air-conditioned carriages, and you can see the curvature of the roof.  Once they designed air-conditioning into the carriages, the roofs became completely flat.  One advantage of the high ceiling, by the way, is that the florescent tubes are further away and less irritating.

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水から神田まで (山手線) 130207

Passing by the remains of Manseibashi Station (万世橋) again.  Recently, every time I pass by, they've destroyed a little more of the old platform... I hope they're not going to completely destroy it.

Kanda Station Construction Tunnel, Etc 工事中の神田駅 (130207)

Walking through the fairly long construction tunnel at Kanda Station in order to get to a Yamanote Line train headed towards Tokyo and Shinagawa.

Kanda to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 神田から浜松町まで (山手線) 130207

At about the 00:27 mark, there's a building with what looks like empty scaffolding on the top - that's an example of something that's increasingly common - unsold advertising space.  Spaces like that used to never be empty, but companies are obviously making less use of this type of advertising now, as building-top advertising space like this is often empty now.

A look up at the wooden roof (from the open door of a Yamanote Line train) - the last one at Tokyo Station I think - is at 02:02.  This might even be prewar?  I'm basing that on a September 1945 aerial photo I saw of Tokyo Station that showed some of the platform roofs destroyed, but not all.

Exiting Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅を出る (130207)

Walking Towards Zojoji Temple 増上寺に向かう (130207)

The flowering tree you can see at the start of this video (behind the old white wall) is the first thing I've noticed that's reminded me of spring this year.

Hamamatsucho Evening Walkabout 浜松町夕方散歩 (130207)

Winter walk down a main street heading towards Hamamatsucho Station.

Entering Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅に入る (130207)

Shinbashi Station - Platform and Stairwell Stroll 新橋駅夕方散歩 (130207)

Shinbashi Tokaido Line Platform Stroll 新橋駅の東海道線散歩 (130207)

Old Type Reserved Seat Express Train (130207)

Back when I lived on the Tokaido Line, they sometimes ran this type of train as a regular train, so if you lined up early, you could go home in style with a standard ticket (first-come, first-grab).

Tokaido Line Platform at Shinbashi Station 新橋駅の東海道線ホーム (130207)

Actually, this one is more than just the platform that I mention in the title.  I also head downstairs and exit the station.

Shinbashi Old Building Stroll 新橋古いビルの散歩 (130207)

Beginning outside the building and then walking through it - including part of the first floor and the B1 basement floor.

Shinbashi Plaza and Station 新橋広場と駅 (130207)

Starting on Shinbashi SL-Plaza, and then entering Shinbashi Station and going up to the platform.  At about 02:28, the railway employee is helping a woman retrieve her cell phone from beside the rails, where she apparently dropped it.

Shinbashi to Yurakucho 新橋から有楽町まで (京浜東北線) 130207

Walking from Yurakucho to Ginza 有楽町から銀座への散歩 (130207)

Walking from Yurakucho Station to Ginza (with a look under a rail bridge along the way).

JD on the Ginza 銀座のJD (130207)

A quick look in the window at the Jack Daniel's shop on Ginza's Chuo-Dori before continuing down the boulevard.

Yurakucho SB-Area 有楽町SBエリア (130207)

A winter view of the SB area near Yurakucho Station in central Tokyo.

Entering Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅に入る (130207)

A bit more than the title suggests - this starts with a walk down the street heading towards Yurakucho Station, then goes through the ticket gates, up the stairs to the elevated platform, and onto a Keihin-Tohoku Line train.  Finally it ends midway to Tokyo Station.



"1990 Ueno; 2013 Ueno Station, Ameyokocho, Haijima Line, Kanda Station, Etc."

It wasn't so long ago that I last went to Ueno, but this time around, I had a closer look at the old station building.  I ran into an old postcard of the station from the early 1930's and comparing the old postcard with today's station, an amazing (for Tokyo) amount of the original building is still there.  And then, while previewing the videos I took of Ueno this week, I began thinking "It's changed so much since 1990... wait... I think I have video of 1990 Ueno!", and it turns out I did, so I added a video of March 1990 Ueno to this batch as well.

Ameyokocho Walkabout (Ueno) アメ横丁魚市場など (上野) 130205g

This clip shows a fair amount of the Ameyokocho area, starting with the fish market near the entrance to the area, walking through that part and then down to where they're selling clothing, followed by walking through an under-tracks tunnel-like passageway full of various small shops.  When this area is overly crowded or under-crowded, it's hard to take pictures, but the balance was almost perfect on the day I took this.

Ueno - Near Entrance to Ueno Park 上野 - 上野公園入り口 (130205hdg)

Looking towards Ueno Station and then up the stairs (near Keisei-Ueno Station) that lead up to Ueno Park.  As is pretty obvious in this video, the rail bridge is rusting away...  I don't understand why they aren't repainting bridges in this condition.  There are many bridges rusting like this.  I presume they've decided to replace the bridge with something new - it's the only thing that makes sense.  The more the bridge rusts, the weaker it becomes... they must know what they're doing, but it's alarming to see the bridges deteriorating all the same.

1990 - Ueno Walkabout (Cherry Blossoms, Station, Etc) 上野駅など (900323)

This starts out on a train as it approaches Ueno Station, and then shows inside-the-station scenes, the train yards near the station, and then the crowds enjoying hanami parties in Ueno Park.  Towards the end of the video, you can see the same station area shown in my videos from this week.  Comparing the two, it's apparent that much has changed in 23 years!

Ueno Station - Open Concourse Area 上野駅中央コンコース (130205hdg)

A relaxed scene of people walking through the main plaza-like roofed area leading to the Central Entrance to Ueno Station.  This was taken in a kind of twilight zone between the very relaxed afternoon, and the pressures and speed of the evening rush.

Ueno Central Entrance to Yamanote Platform 上野駅中央改札からホームまで (130205g)

Looking around while walking to the Yamanote Line from the Central Entrance of Ueno Station, including views of the old type roof just inside the ticket gates, etc.

Akihabara to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 秋葉原から有楽町まで (山手線) 130205g

Looking out a left-side window of a Yamanote Line train as it rolls from Akihabara to Yurakucho.  (The ongoing construction of new Shinkansen tracks can be seen in places.)

Suburban Side Streets (A) 130203

(Above and below)  Typical Tokyo winter suburbia street scenes as seen from a bicycle... I'm looking forward to the weather getting warmer and things becoming greener again!

Suburban Side Streets (B) 130203

Road Widening Construction (130203)

This street is being widened to convert it into a four-lane main road for trucks, etc... there used to be a row of big beautiful trees here, but they were cut down to make way for dead black asphalt.  I think that within mega-cities, it would be a good idea to make personal car use illegal.  Nothing ruins the quality of life in a big city like vast numbers of internal combustion engined machines running around on dead black asphalt, pumping noxious gases into the air all the while.

Sunday Ride Along a Main Street (With Unusually Little Traffic) 130203

Back in the very old days, roads were usually just dirt, and I guess compared to that, black asphalt is nice, but it's so lifeless!  And there's so much of it!  If you're walking on a street like this, generally the first thing you do after turning down a side street and walking a block, is to heave a big sigh of relief that you've (temporarily) escaped the noise, vibration, and noxious gases of the bloody automobiles and trucks.  When I took this, there was very little traffic, which just accentuated the desolation of the vast expanse of dead black asphalt.  Presumably people in the future will be (relatively) free of this form of self-destructive behavior.  You have to envy them that.  I wish the internal combustion engine had never been invented.

At the Grocery Store (130203)

Typical grocery store scene....

Power-Off Chuo Line Train 停電中央線 (130130)

It's not every day that you walk up to a train and find that the power is off and the doors half-ajar!  In fact, in about 30 years, I think this is the first time I've seen this.  What happened is that there was an accident where construction scaffolding fell onto the overhead power cables and onto a train (which had one of its pantographs torn off).  So they shut off the power to deal with that, which is why this train was sitting at the station with the power off - with only the emergency lighting on (one light per car if I remember correctly).

Not long after this they had (in this train) power on for the doors, which were set for manual operation via open and close buttons (electrically and pneumatically operated, [electro-pneumatic]) .  This type of train car has the manual option for the doors, but they almost never use it on the Chuo Line.  When it's particularly cold or there is some special reason, they can activate it (see video below).  [Note about the term "manually operated":  It's a bit confusing in this case, since the term could refer to both manually operated by directly sliding the doors open and closed with your hands, or by pushing an open or close button.  I experienced both on the same train within about ten minutes on this particular day.]

Manually Operated Doors (Chuo Line) 中央線の手動ドア (130130)

Incidentally, there are some pictures of the fallen scaffolding that caused all the trouble on the Chuo Line - here (text in Japanese):
(画像) JR中央線・国分寺-西国分寺駅間で火事!鉄柱落ちてきてバーン!

Haijima Line Cab View (to Higashi-Yamato-shi) 東大和市駅まで (拝島線) 130130hd

This batch of "Haijima" videos are mainly front cab views taken on the Seibu-Haijima Line.  The "thunk-thunk-thunk" sound that almost sounds similar to the type of sounds that old steam engine trains made is apparently due to a flat spot on a wheel, so with each rotation of the wheel, there's that "thunk" sound, and (naturally) the frequency of the sound increases as the train runs faster.  I seem to remember hearing this noise a little more frequently back in the mid-eighties, and then it seemed to become very rare; and now, maybe it's just a coincidence with the particular trains I've been taking, but I've been hearing it more frequently recently.  Hopefully it doesn't signify less stringent maintenance of the trains.

Higashi-Yamato-shi to Tamagawa-Josui 東大和市から玉川上水まで (130130hd)

Haijima Front Cab View (to Musashi-Sunagawa) 武蔵砂川まで (拝島線) 130130hd

Haijima - Front Cab View - Haijima Line 拝島線で拝島駅まで (130130)

After getting off of the Seibu-Haijima Line train at the end of the line at Haijima Station (above video), I transfer to a Hachiko Line train (following videos).

Haijima Station Transfer 西武拝島線からJRまでの乗り換え (130130)

Haijima Station - Waiting for Hachiko Line Train 拝島駅で見回る (130130)

Departing Haijima Station - Winter Afternoon 拝島駅から出発 (130130)

Hachiko Line Side Window View (Winter Afternoon) 冬の八高線景色 (130130)

Hachiko Line to Hachioji Station 八王子駅までの八高線 (130130)

Above and (several) below - after taking the Hachiko Line to Hachioji, I transfer to the Keio Line.

Keio-Hachioji Station 京王八王子駅 見回りと出発 (130130)

Keio Line to Kitano Station 京王線で北野駅まで (130130)

This includes a transfer (between different Keio Line trains) at Kitano Station.

Kitano to Hazama (Keio Line) 北野から狭間まで (京王線) 130130

Arriving at Takao Station via Keio Line 高尾駅到着 (京王線) 130130

1991 - Hibarigaoka and Kiyose - Seibu Ikebukuro Line (910202)

I didn't have much time for time-tripping this week, so there are just two clips - one this look back at 1991 - showing two stations on the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line (西武池袋線) - Hibarigaoka (ひばりヶ丘駅) and Kiyose (清瀬駅).  The other is a 1990 look at Ueno (further up the page).

Shinjuku - Chuo Line Platform to Upper Concourse 新宿駅の忙しい夜 (130205)

Shinjuku Chuo Line Night Platform Walk (130205hdc)

Nighttime Chuo Line Platform (130205hd)

Gallery Kazuki 画廊香月 - February Group Exhibition (130205)

Matsuda Shizumune 松田靜心 Exhibition at Gallery-58 (Ginza 銀座) 130205

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Yamanote Line) 御茶ノ水から神田まで (山手線) 130205

Construction continues on the former Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅) - with more and more of its old platform being ripped out.  I hope they don't completely remove it... there's such interesting history there.

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (130205)

Walking through the construction zone that Kanda is right now.

Kanda Station Middle Platform 神田駅真ん中のホーム (130205)

(Above and below)  Looking around from Kanda Station's middle platform while waiting for a train (on my way to Ueno).

Kanda Station Middle Platform (Waiting for a Train) 神田駅ホーム景色 (130205hd)

Kanda to Ueno (Yamanote Line) 神田から上野まで (山手線) 130205

Looking out a left side window of a Yamanote Line train as it rolls from Kanda Station to Ueno Station.

Ueno Trackside Side Street 上野横道ガードの下 (130205hd)

Walking along the elevated tracks in Ueno - on the opposite side from the famous Ameyokocho street (written on a huge sign over the street as "Ameyayokocho アメヤ横丁", but I've always heard the locals call it "Ameyokocho").  You can't really plan for mood, but when I went here, things seemed very calm and relaxed.  On weekends and during more crowded periods, the atmosphere is quite different.

Ueno Side Street to Main Ameyokocho Area (130205hdc)

Ueno Ameyokocho Stroll 上野アメ横丁散歩 (130205hd)

The stereo soundtrack of this one captures some of the ambiance provided by background sounds.

Ueno - Old Style Corner Store (Ameyokocho) 上野昔風の角店 (アメ横丁) 130205

Ueno Streetside Market Stroll 上野アメ横丁散歩 (130205hd)

Walking back over to the clothing stores on the opposite side of the tracks from the main part of Ameyokocho.

Ueno Side Street Izakaya Places, Etc 上野横道居酒屋など (130205hd)

This area is a lot more active when the weather is a bit warmer.

Ueno Park Saigo Takamori Square (Under Construction) 130205

Part of this section of the park is actually the roof of a building, but it's seamlessly integrated into the park, so you wouldn't notice if you didn't look hard at the design and size of the building that's there.  They tore down the building that used to be there, and reconstructed a new one (of a similar size), and they're still in the process of putting everything back together on top.  At around the 03:20 mark, I enter the building and head down the stairs - walking past the many restaurants in the building.  There was a restaurant in this building that I rather liked before - I'm not sure if they're back in the building or not - I don't remember the name of it.

Restaurant Building Near Ueno Station (130205)

Walking around in, and in front of, the new restaurant building next to Ueno Station (and near to Ameyokocho).  The front of the building as seen at the end of this clip used to be where a row of souvenir shops were.  They thrived when the yen was weak in the old days, but once the yen shot up in value, people had so much more buying power of things from overseas, that they started shopping in different ways and business fell off for the old souvenir shops.  Now that they are completely gone, it feels like something from very long ago, and it's hard to believe how busy they used to be how different the atmosphere was on this street.

After writing the above, I checked my old material and found some video of the area taken in March 1990 - the old souvenir shops can be seen towards the end of the video (which is also listed further up the page):

1990 - Ueno Walkabout (Cherry Blossoms, Station, Etc) 上野駅など (900323)

Ueno Rail Bridge-360 上野駅の橋下 (130205)

Ueno Station Original Building Side Entrance 上野駅オリジナルビル (130205)

Walking in the side entrance of the old original Ueno Station building.  It's very unusual for a 1930's building to still exist in its original form (aside from interior changes) in Tokyo, so this building has come to have a special historical significance for Tokyo I think.

Ueno Station Original Building Side Staircase (130205)

At 00:02, it looks as thought the handrail has been cut.  I suspect the staircase used to continue down into the basement, and when they made it into a first-to-second floor only staircase, they cut it then... I imagine.  It looks that way anyway.  Up on the second floor are a bunch of restaurants.  I imagine the upstairs area was originally used for station office space?  I need to look into this.  An old building is that much more interesting when you know how it was originally used.

Ueno Original Station Building (Upper Area) 130205hd

Ueno Station - Original Station Building Area (130205hdc)

Looking at this again - I end up pondering why I've (until recently) had so little interest in the Ueno area and this station.  I've come through this area on and off from time to time, but the station never seemed as interesting to me before as it does now.  Of course, they've made it nicer.  The huge skylight effect with the translucent material used over the central concourse used to be a standard opaque material.  Making it into one huge skylight while preserving the original metal structure was a great idea!  It's quite a nice space now.

Ueno Station - Underground Walkabout 上野駅地下散歩 (130205)

Walking down the long ramp into the subway and basement to the station.  Watching this, I get a flashback.  In the eighties, there were homeless people sitting all along this stretch, and they weren't exactly friendly, so I stopped using this ramp to avoid their hostile stares, comments, etc., until... now basically.  Come to think of it, that might be a large part of why I ended up not having an interest in Ueno.  It always seemed like the almost official campground for the city, and the atmosphere generally seemed hostile to me (due to not very friendly campers), so it was unpleasant to be there.  Well, there it is.  No wonder I haven't spent much time in Ueno over the years.

Ueno to Akihabara (Yamanote Line) 上野から秋葉原まで (山手線) 130205hdc

Looking back out a left-side window as the train rolls from Ueno to Akihabara.  Watching this now, it occurs to me that the new walls on the edge of the railway might be to stop the noise of Shinkansen trains?  Presently the Shinkansen trains are run underground here, but they are expanding the Shinjuku tracks, so maybe some of the Shinkansen trains will be running up at this level?  Pure speculation, but the new elevated rails near Kanda Station would certainly suggest that they will be running more Shinkansen trains overhead.

Yurakucho Plaza - Passing Shinkansen, Etc 有楽町広場など (130205hdc)

Watching a Shinkansen train passing Yurakucho Plaza and then walking towards Ginza.

Building with Fujiya Gallery in Central Ginza (130205)

Ginza - Building Shortcut from Chuo-Dori to Back Street 銀座 (130205)

Trying out a building shortcut one evening.

Ginza Twilight Alley (130205)

Something quite rare in Ginza - an empty bit of land that you can actually access.



"Shinjuku, Ochanomizu, Suidobashi, Odakyu Line, Train Scenes, Etc."

Other than a trip out to Yoyogi-Uehara on the Odakyu Line, I mainly focused on the Chuo Line - with scenes from Shinjuku, Ochanomizu, and Suidobashi - combined with (as usual) several in-motion scenes taken on various trains.

Ochanomizu to Tokyo - Kanda Under Construction 工事中神田駅など (130129g)

This starts off with a platform view at Ochanomizu Station while waiting for the train to get underway.  I stayed mainly on the right side of the carriage in order to get a view of the remains of the Chuo Line's former terminal station, Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅).  You can see the old platform from about the 01:38 mark, then there's a big construction hole (at 01:44) where a section of the platform has been cut away, quickly followed by a quick view of exposed stairs leading to/from the platform.  As I mentioned previously, I have long known there were remains of a former station there, but had never looked up the history and didn't realize there was a big, interesting terminal station building there from 1912 until 1919, when the line was extended.  The cool looking big terminal building was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.  Anyway, I already went into that before, so more information is further down the page (in a previous post).  I mention it again, because suddenly that area seems much more interesting.  I wish I had known this history sooner.

When the train gets to Kanda, I transfer to a Yamanote Line train - walking through what feels like greatly intensified construction activity in Kanda Station (from about 03:24).  The construction at Kanda Station has been going on for quite a while, but this day the atmosphere felt quite different and it seemed as though it's on a verge of a great change - soon.

Speaking of construction - after getting on a Yamanote Line train, it passes another big construction hole just before the platform at Tokyo Station (at around 06:34).  Another big project, but I have no idea what this particular construction is for.  Basically Tokyo is in a permanent state of reconstruction.  If the city lasts for 300,000 years, it will probably be under construction for 300,000 years.  The video ends as I walk through one of the large under-track concourses at Tokyo Station.

Shinjuku Station 1130 p.m. Dash 新宿駅夜遅くのラッシュとダッシュ (130129g)

After walking through the direct-transfer gates between the Odakyu Line and the JR lines, I walk through the late-crowd, people rushing to get the last trains that still make connections to other lines further away out in the suburbs.  The last trains from Shinjuku run pretty close to 1:00 a.m., but for those who have distant transfers to make, they need to get on the system between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m., which is why you see people dashing about on the lower concourse at Shinjuku Station.  Hearing the "doors are about to close" sound, I run up a flight of stairs and jump on a train myself.

Shinjuku to Nishi-Shinjuku Crosswalk 西新宿 (元淀橋) に入る (130129ghd)

Nearing Suidobashi Station (Political Van) 水道橋駅に近づく (130129ghd)

Typical winter street scene in Tokyo.  About the political van that drives by - the timing puzzles me, since there were elections quite recently.  I guess they're getting an early start aiming towards the next elections?

Shinjuku Platform Walk (Chuo Line) 新宿ホーム風景 (中央線) 130129ghd

Walking down a nighttime Chuo Line platform at Shinjuku Station.

Shinjuku Station Upper Concourse (South Exit) 新宿駅上の通路 (南口) 130129ghd

Walking over to and through the South Exit ticket gates.  People passing by in their winter clothing.  Since people tend to wear dark clothing in the winter, it's not exactly colorful.

Yoyogi-Uehara Station - Boarding Odakyu Line 夜遅く代々木上原で小田急線 (130129ghd)

Looking around on one of the platforms at Yoyogi-Uehara Station; then boarding a nearly empty local Odakyu Line train bound for Shinjuku and taking a quick look around inside the mostly empty train.

Ochanomizu - Walking South from Station 御茶ノ水駅から南へ (130129g)

Starting at one end of a bridge and then walking back past Ochanomizu Station and heading south down the main street (towards Meiji University).

Ochanomizu Walkabout - Outside Market 御茶ノ水道バザール (130129g)

The outside market this starts with appears to be a regular event - with basically the same type of things being sold each time.  I don't know what the exact arrangement is, but I remember this from eleven years ago, and I've seen it on and off since then.  Maybe it's a once-a-month event?  Once-a-week maybe?  Probably once-a-month (I need to research this...).

Towards the end of the clip, I walk into Ochanomizu Station, at the entrance with the pleasantly old wooden structure that I hope is preserved.  This design has so much more character than the newer designs.  Both (together) are ideal actually - you can experience both modern designs and older designs by going from station to station.  The contrast from both ends enhances both new and old.

Ochanomizu to Suidobashi 御茶ノ水から水道橋まで Chuo Local Line (130129g)

Suidobashi Station is slightly unusual (for the Chuo Line) in that it has the twin tracks in the middle and the platforms on either side.  More commonly there is one platform in the middle and the tracks (one for each direction) are on either side of the platform.  This is more convenient for riders, since they can just climb the stairs to the platform without needing to verify which platform they need beforehand, and then take whichever train is going in their direction.  Thinking about it, I presume the arrangement at Suidobashi is so the rails are straighter, allowing express trains to go through at a higher speed.  With a center platform, the rails curve out to get trains on either side of it (since the platform is considerably wider than the space between the double tracks between stations).

Walking South from Suidobashi Station 水道橋駅から南へ (130129g)

Fairly typical central Tokyo scenery.  One comment - notice the yellow steel structure at around the 00:26 mark - they have strong steel structures like this in front of some bridges - the beams are slightly lower than the lowest point of the bridge, so if a truck that is too high to get under the bridge comes along, it hits this yellow barrier first, which stops the truck and prevents it from damaging the bridge.  It's a very effective way of preventing overly high trucks from hitting the underside of the bridge.

Tokyo Station Yaesu Construction Tunnel 工事中の東京駅八重洲口 (130129g)

These white-walled construction passageways are moved from place to place as the construction behind them progresses.

八重洲駐車場 (A) Yaesu Underground Parking (Street to B2) 130129g

I have passed this underground entrance many times over the years, but it never occurred to me to go down the steps and have a look until the day I took these two videos (above and below).  I shouldn't have been surprised really, but I didn't realize just how much parking was down there.

八重洲駐車場 (B) Yaesu Underground Parking (B1 to Street) 130129g

Six-Door (Per Side) Train Cars on Saikyo Line 埼京線六ドア車両 (130129g)

I haven't had any particular fondness for this type of train car, but since they took them off of the Yamanote Line (to make all the carriages four-door per side in order to make it easier to install platform walls and doors), it seemed a little like discovering something that was familiar, but you thought had disappeared.

京橋のドゥ画廊に行く Going to Dou Gallery in Kyobashi (130129)

Showing the area immediately around the Dou Gallery in Kyobashi (next to Ginza) before heading inside.

臼木英之展示会 (ドゥ画廊) Usuki Hideyuki Exhibition (Dou Gallery) 130129

A look around at an interesting exhibition of artwork - both paintings and directly painted clothing (each one a one-off, painted by hand).

Shinjuku East Side - Game Centers Etc 新宿東側 (130129hd)

Walking down a side street near Shinjuku Station - past game places, a pachinko parlor, restaurants, etc.

Shinjuku Shadow Street - Winter 2013 新宿影通り(冬) 130129

"Shadow Street" is not a proper name - I just called it that, because the angle of the winter sun was such that there was absolutely no sunlight on the street at all, so it felt like "Shadow Street".

Shadows - Shinjuku South-East Exit Plaza (130129)

I'm not a big fan of winter - but at least the long shadows in the afternoon are interesting.

Shinjuku - Walking West Towards South Entrance (130129)

Shinjuku - Long Shadows by South Exit 新宿南口の長い影 (130129)

People waiting for a walk light to change - casting long shadows near the South Entrance/Exit to Shinjuku Station.

Shinjuku Upper Concourse Walk, Etc 新宿駅上の通路散歩 (130129)

Entering Shinjuku Station via the South Entrance and walking along the upper concourse.  At the end of this clip, notice how *wonderful* [heavy sarcasm] the English announcement sounds.  It's real English, but they obviously didn't use someone professional.  "PLAtfORm... NUmBer...... TEn."  Uh!  Yuck!  Man, I  hate those unprofessional announcements!  You'd think that since they're going to torment people with those recordings over-and-over-and-over again (forever more?), they'd try to get a decent recording of someone who doesn't sound like they're reading a children's book to preschoolers!  (And not even a professional preschool teacher at that!)

Shinjuku to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 新宿から御茶ノ水まで (中央線) 130129

Recently I don't buy much from the platform stores (00:14), but I always feel glad that they are there - something about the option to get a variety of things from most train station platforms being there is very welcome.  It makes the platform a more interesting place to be while waiting for the train to arrive.  And so it was on this day.  Once the train arrived, I climbed aboard (an expression I should change, as it's just a horizontal thing now - like walking onto an elevator) and looked out a left side window at the high contrast landscape flowing past under mid-winter sharp-angle January lighting.  The lighting was generally bad for pictures, but as the train pulled into Ochanomizu Station, the reflections on the river down below the left side of the train were quite nice, so after getting off the train, I hurried over to a spot next to the river to take a couple of videos of the cool reflections (following two videos) before the light changed.

River Reflections (A) Central Tokyo 水の反射 (中央東京) 130129hd

River Reflections (B) Central Tokyo 水の反射 (中央東京) 130129hd

Ochanomizu Station Area Stroll 御茶ノ水駅あたり散歩 (130129hd)

Walking along a narrow street that runs in parallel with the tracks from one entrance of Ochanomizu Station to the other - with both entrances located at an end of the ten-car platform.  Depending on how much time you have, and your perspective, the general ten car length of Tokyo trains is a pretty long distance (and some lines have 15!).

Ochanomizu Station Platform Views 御茶ノ水ホームビュー (130129)

Walking around on a platform at Ochanomizu while waiting for my train to come.  Looking around, it occurs to  me that this station is pretty remarkably intact in its Showa-Era construction and atmosphere.  For the sake of understanding history, I hope they leave at least a few stations like this alone (repainting them of course).

I go on about that a lot I know, but every time I'm at a station like this, it hits me again how much atmosphere and history is in the structure.

Suidobashi Station Afternoon Platform View 水道橋駅ホームビュー (130129hd)

The roof structure for this station is quite interesting I think.  And in this case, the combination of new roofing material over the platforms and old original railway rails (used for I-beams) still there as part of the overall structure works very well aesthetically I think.  This is good to see.

Suidobashi Station - Platform to Exit 水道橋駅_ホームから改札まで (130129)

Aside from the platform, this takes a look at the old wooden parts of the stairway while walking towards the ticket gates (wooden roof, etc.).

Suidobashi Station - Boarding Sobu Line 水道橋駅 - 中央線を乗る (130129)

After taking some pictures in the area around Suidobashi Station (further up the page - out of chronological order), I returned to the station and went to the other platform in order to go back to Ochanomizu (where I could catch a faster kaisoku train).

Suidobashi to Ochanomizu 水道橋から御茶ノ水まで (総武線) 130129

Hachioji to Nishi-Hachioji - Snow on Ground (130128)

Kyobashi 1-Chome Side Street 京橋一丁目横道 (130129)

Approaching Shinjuku South-East Exit 新宿駅東南口向き (130129hd)

Walking down the upper concourse at Shinjuku Station - towards the South-East Exit.

Saikyo Line Train at Shinjuku Station 新宿駅に止まった埼京線電車 (130129hd)

Mainly walking down the platform beside the train as people board it, but with a quick look inside the train as well.  The departure time being a few minutes later, people are relaxed about boarding it (in contrast to jumping on a train that is going to close the doors and depart in a matter of seconds).

And... reviewing the next video, I see it's basically a continuation of the one above - although the second one shows a train arrive at the station, and another train depart.

Saikyo Line Late Night Platform Walk 埼京線夜遅くホーム散歩 (130129hd)

Shinjuku Station Concourse to Platform 新宿駅通路からホームまで (130129hd)

At 00:38 - a view of many people standing in line on an open platform, waiting for their train to arrive.  I've always found this type of view to be fascinating, and so don't look forward to the platforms getting walls (although I must admit it's safer that way).  [01:20]: A man comes running up - on crutches(!).  They are forever telling people not to run for the trains, but it's a natural thing to want to do.  The doors are about to close... you have two or three seconds to get on the train, or be left behind.  The railways present it purely as "It's dangerous to run", while ignoring the natural feelings of "I don't want to be left behind!" and "I want to get where I'm going on time!".  Those two generally being heavier, people run, ignoring the ceaseless barrage of verbal warnings from the railways not to run.

Evening Construction Cranes on Yaesu Side 八重洲口の夕方工事 (130129)

Waiting for the walk light to change to green, I looked around - including over and up at the construction cranes towering over the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station.  After that, I - shock and surprise - walk across the street when the light changes to green.

Gargantuan Metal Shutter Coming Down for the Night (130129)

No big deal really, but this is one of the larger metal shutters I've seen, so when it started to come down right next to me, I pulled out my camera and took this video.

Kanda Lights - Seen from Chuo Line 神田の夜光 (130129)

The businesses, signs, restaurants, etc. are so close to the railways here, that it's always kind of a nice light show when passing through this stretch at night.

Odakyu Line Departing Shinjuku 小田急線 - 新宿駅から出発 (130129)

I don't use the Odakyu Line much these days, so I hadn't realized that they have platform walls up at Shinjuku now.

Nighttime Odakyu Line - Left Side Window View 夜の小田急線 (130129)

Looking out the window of an express train as it rolls towards Yoyogi-Uehara - enjoying the mixture of direct light and reflected light that nighttime views from a train afford.

Yoyogi-Uehara Station - Outbound Trains 代々木上原駅の下り電車 (130129)

Watching a couple of outbound trains depart Yoyogi-Uehara Station after getting off of a train from Shinjuku.

Train-Watching at Yoyogi-Uehara (Romance Car, Etc) 小田急線ロマンスカーなど (130129)

While waiting for a train back to Shinjuku at Yoyogi-Uehara, I walk around on the platform and watch other trains passing, including one of the Romance Car (reserved seat express) trains.

Yoyogi-Hachiman to Shinjuku (Odakyu Line) 代々木八幡-新宿 (小田急線) 130129

The thing about getting on a nearly empty inbound train late at night, is that - after practically always riding in full trains - you suddenly feel like you have all this space to yourself and all this freedom (to move,etc.)... which is how I felt on this evening, so I wandered around a bit inside the train, looking out the windows, at the hanging advertisements inside the train, into the next carriages, etc.

At 04:26, you can see (at the top of the picture) a few illuminated trees up on a two-story high structure - that is the edge of Shinjuku Southern Terrace, which is basically a platform built by Odakyu over the Odakyu railway.  When on the Southern Terrace, even when you know, it's kind of hard to imagine that you're directly over all that train activity below (which is on the surface of the earth, not a subway).

At 04:36, the inbound local train I'm on begins going down to the lower level local train platform while an outgoing express train descends from the upper level platforms.  Odakyu runs a lot of trains, and so they stacked the platforms.

If I remember the history of the railway correctly, it was originally called "Odawara Kyuko 小田原急行" (Odawara Express), and that was shortened (by combining elements of the two words) to "Odakyu 小田急".  I remember reading an article (or was it a book?) about 26 years ago in which the author stated that the name "Odakyu" was initially resisted by the railway itself, but as it was in popular usage (starting with the term appearing in a song), they gave in and begin calling it Odakyu.

Looking on-line - I see there are three Wikipedia pages for the Odakyu Line train system.  I strongly recommend this one:

Odakyu Electric Railway

Personally, I don't think there should be three pages for it - they should merge those other two pages into the one "Odakyu Electric Railway" page.

In any case, looking at the proper page for the railway, the first two paragraphs of the history section are as follows:

   "The 83 km line from Shinjuku to Odawara opened for service on April 1, 1927.  Unlike the Odawara line, rarely were pre-WWII Japanese private railways constructed with double-track and fully electrified from the first day of operation.  Two years later, April 1, 1929, the Enoshima Line was added.
   "The original full name of the railroad was Odawara Express Railway Co., Ltd. (小田原急行鉄道株式会社 Odawara Kyuko Tetsudo Kabushiki-gaisha), but this was often shortened to Odawara Kyuko (Odawara Express).  The abbreviation Odakyu was made popular by the title song of the 1929 movie Tokyo Koshinkyoku and eventually became the official name of the railroad on March 1, 1941."

Also, here is Odakyu's own website:


Which has (on February 2nd, 2013 anyway) the slogan "Odakyu has a Japan".  Um... Odakyu?  What exactly does that mean?  We weren't aware that there was more than one Japan.  Which one exactly is it that you have?  Time for a rant.  In this age of easy communication with nearly all countries on the planet, there is no excuse for putting embarrassing, idiotic English on a corporate website.  From past experience, probably some middle-management scum sent out a group e-mail to people within the company, including a few token foreigners, pretending to solicit feedback.  Then the middle-management scum ignored the feedback - especially the feedback from the native English speakers (what do they know), and then sent back a reply saying 色々な意見を聞きまして、以下の通りに決めました ("After going over feedback from everyone, we have decided on the following"), followed by this idiotic mutant English expression "Odakyu has a Japan".  When problems arise (only a matter of time), the middle-management scum can then point to the foreign names on the group e-mail send list and claim that they didn't say anything.  Of course, if they had, they would have been axed for doing the right thing and saving the company from worldwide embarrassment, but causing middle management scum to lose face (been there, done that, and was fired for doing the right thing - I won the battle [for the company] but lost the war).  Corporations would do well to get rid of at least half of their middle-management scum - they drag the whole corporation down performance-wise, and also bring shame to everyone working there... and (once you're publishing on the Internet) to the whole country.

All of that said, this English language (well, *mostly* English language) website of Odakyu's isn't all bad - it has maps, information, etc.  If I seem a bit harsh in the above paragraph, it's due to having had some very bad experiences helping companies I've worked at battle mutant English promoted by middle-management scum.  Anyway....

And that's all for now - sore-dewa, mata!



"Yurakucho, Kanda, Ueno, Okachimachi, Akihabara, and Nakano, Etc."

I didn't think of any new places to go to this past week, so I just revisited some places I haven't been spending much time in lately.  This being Tokyo, if you don't go somewhere for a little while, it's almost a sure bet that when you get around to returning, there will be changes - sometimes to a disorienting degree.

[A cautionary note about the time figures I've used below - they were taken from video file playback software running the original files on my computer, and not from the YouTube upload, so I'm not entirely certain they will always be accurate, although one file I tested was exactly the same.  The time figure *should* be exactly the same, but thought I'd mention this production detail just in case.]

Akihabara to Yurakucho 秋葉原から有楽町まで (130124g5)

This starts on the plaza in front of Akihabara Station and then I walk through the busy ticket gates (with area commuters heading home for the day), and then board a Keihin-Tohoku Line train that takes me to Yurakucho.  Getting around the city, I generally don't even think about sitting down (which you more often than not can't do anyway), but instead stand at a door so I can look out the window.  Some rides are more visually interesting than others - this particular ride was a good one, with lots of trains running to handle the evening rush of homeward-bound commuters, so there was nearly constant motion outside the window (as you can see in the video).

Regarding standing by a door in order to look out a window... the problem with the efficient seating method of having long seats along the windows facing the center of the train, is it kind of forces you to look across the train and between the heads of the people sitting on the other side (with each side facing each other across the center of the train).  It's not much fun visually, so you have to pick comfort (*if* there's a seat available) or stand by the door if you want to have a good look at what's going on/by outside.

[Audio note, I appear to have accidentally gotten in the way of the microphone in a couple of places on this one, causing the audio level to drop way down - sorry about that.  Most of it is okay though.]

Yurakucho Plaza to YSB-Zone 有楽町プラザからYSBゾーンまでの散歩 (130124g)

From the middle of Yurakucho Plaza, I walk under the newer Shinkansen rail bridge and then immediately afterward through the old arch of the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Lines.  In the middle I look back to see/verify that the motor noise was from heating/cooling equipment, and then at about the 1:08 mark I follow a man into a soba-noodle place, do a zoom-twist, and continue on towards the YSB Zone.

At 1:25 (and 2:25), note the appearance of the overhead railway cars going past - it's a view that is likely doomed to be hidden.  From the appearance of functional and sensible, but rather ugly walls put up near the Ameyokocho area between Ueno and Okachimachi stations, it appears that they intend to wall in the overhead railways - to cut down noise (and maybe also to keep trains from crashing down in the case of a severe earthquake) presumably.  A necessary progression I suppose, but a disaster visually.  One of the major visual attractions of Tokyo are the clear views of overhead trains running through the city.

Walking Towards Akihabara Station at Night 秋葉原駅に向かう (130124g)

Typical winter crowds during the evening rush-hour(s) time in Akihabara.  Turning to look back away from the station, the clarity of the winter evening is apparent....

Spring isn't so far off, and the local tree pollen along with air pollution from China will begin blowing through town sometime in February.  The quality of air in the world gets worse and worse.  When will we stop worshiping short-term convenience over everything else and head in some direction other than destroying the planet, which is a form of mass-suicide?  Better to live I think.

Yurakucho Izakaya Stroll 有楽町居酒屋散歩 (130124g)

Walking through the outside izakaya places in Yurakucho.  The street of tents doesn't appear to be doing very good business, but I'm not surprised.  They are crowded in the spring because it's nice to be outside, with the sound of the trains going by and the unobstructed sky overhead.  What's the attraction of sitting in a semi-heated enclosed plastic tent?  If you have to be under a roof and behind walls, it might as well be a real roof and real walls.  I'd consider visiting those places if they were out in the open - even in the winter (if you drink something warm and don't stay long, it can still be enjoyable in the cold), but those plastic tents don't look inviting at all.  And since they nearly always appear to be empty when I walk by, it looks like I'm not the only one who thinks so.  Notice how the always-inside with real walls and real roof place (seen at 1:24 through a window in the narrow passageway under the tracks) is full.  If you want to be warm in the winter, best to go for the real thing!

Nakano Station to Nakano Back Streets 中野駅から横道まで (130124g)

Walking down one of the platforms at Nakano Station, going through the ticket gates on the north side (北口 - North Exit), walking towards the entrance to Sun Mall, turning right, and then diving into a narrow alley that leads back to the back street izakaya area of Nakano.  [There is more from this area of Nakano further down the page.]

Tokyo to Akihabara - 50th Anniversary Green Yamanote Train (130124g)

It was a weird feeling when I went to board a Yamanote Line train and noticed that it was all-green!  For a second I thought "They're running one of the old trains!  Far out!!", feeling like an old friend had suddenly appeared after they were reported lost in the jungle twenty years before.  But as I took a closer look, I quickly realized it was just a (temporary) paint scheme on one of the current generation trains, with this explanatory text helpfully on the train (on the side - towards the top, which I record in this video): "50周年みどりの山手線, 103系電車誕生" which means "50th Anniversary Green Yamanote Line Train ([From] introduction of type-103 electric train)".

It's hard to tell in the video, but as the train pulled into each station, people were staring at it with "What?  Wait... huh?  What's this?" looks on their faces.  Probably some of the young crowd (who never experienced the old type of all-green train cars) were wondering if it was a new-type of Yamanote Line train?  In any case, it certainly surprised people.  The effect was something like if you walked into your workplace one day and noticed it had suddenly been repainted to a completely different color with no warning.  For a second, you might well wonder if you had mistakenly walked into the wrong office by mistake.

Notice all the evidence of construction at Kanda - that station is headed for a radical rebuild I think.  In the future it will probably look completely different.  I understand and cheer on (often reluctantly I must admit) the never-ending rebuilding of Tokyo, but I really wish they would leave at least a little of past structures.  I like the current Kanda Station precisely because there's a solid connection with the past in its design and time-soaked structure.  *Everything* being new is really depressing.

Chuo Line Front View - Passing Old Type Tokkyu Train (130122hd)

Looking out the front cab of an inbound Chuo Line train - which passes an old type JR (from the JNR days) reserved-seat express train going in the other direction just before the Chuo Line train arrives at Ochanomizu Station.

Chuo Line Front View - Ochanomizu to Kanda 中央線の御茶ノ水-神田 (130122hd)

The ongoing construction of overhead new Shinkansen tracks is visible though the front cab as the train curves to the right to run in parallel with the Yamanote Line, etc.

Kanda Station - Platform Sights and Sounds 神田駅の音と風景 (130122hd)

Kanda Station Under Construction (B) 工事中の神田駅 (130122)

Okay, so the naming is confusing here, but this "B" video comes before the next video (taken with a different camera).  This starts on the inside of the ticket gates and continues (after going through the ticket gates) within the station, as well as walking to both streetside exits.

Kanda Station Area - Walking Around 神田駅辺り散歩 (130122g)

Kanda Under-Bridge Sounds 神田橋の下音音 (130122g)

One of my favorite aspects to Tokyo - the industrial sounds of the overhead trains as heard from under steel rail bridges.

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (130122hd)

Looking around in Kanda Station on the outside of the ticket gates and then going through the gates and walking up to one of the Yamanote Line platforms.  There's so much construction going on in and over Kanda Station, that I'm increasingly wondering what sort of dramatically transformed station it will become.  (Being one of the first stations that I often used in Tokyo, it has some nostalgic value for me.)

Kanda - Construction Tunnel to Platform 神田駅工事通路からホームまで (130122g)

My second trip (on this day) to one of the Yamanote Line (and Keihin-Tohoku Line) platforms... I went to the wrong one the first time.

Kanda to Ueno (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 神田駅から上野駅まで (京浜東北線) 130122

Looking out a right side window of a Keihin-Tohoku Line train I took from Kanda to Ueno.  For this stretch, the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tohoku Line trains run in parallel, so I tend to think of them as the same, but the view is slightly different (naturally) due to the (slightly) different location of the tracks.

Ueno Station - Yamanote Line Platform 上野駅山手線ホーム (130122hd)

The advertisements on the side of the Yamanote Line train stand out to me when I review this (I didn't really notice them while I was recording the scene at the time).  While the number of printed (or painted) advertisements outside have been steadily declining, advertising on the sides of Yamanote Line trains is fairly common (and was never done before JNR became JR).  As advertising goes, it doesn't get (locally) much more visible than on the side of a Yamanote Line train.  For street billboards though, people don't even notice their surroundings while walking now - since they're always staring at their micro-computers (formerly known as "telephones").  While many people still continue to stare at their micro-computer screens even while a huge train comes blasting into the station, most people tend to look up and watch a train come in - noting how crowded (or not) it is and making mental preparations for how things are going to be once they get inside, so they generally notice advertising on the outside of the train.

Ueno Station Walkabout (Inside and Out) 上野駅散歩 130122g

Ueno Station handles a lot of train lines and is correspondingly confusing, but this shows a few parts of the station, including the original Ueno Station building and how it looks from the elevated plaza next to the station.

Ueno Station Front-360 上野駅前360度 (130122hd)

Standing on the elevated plaza, looking down on the many taxis lined up outside Ueno Station - near the original old Ueno Station building.

Ueno Elevated Plaza - Evening Passing Trains Etc 上野駅前 (130122hd)

Walking into Higashi-Ueno 東上野に入る (130122)

Walking under a sculpture and then taking an outside escalator down to street level on the side of the elevated Ueno Plaza.  Walking away from Ueno Station, I passed mainly people headed towards the station (likely headed for home).

Cars, Asphalt, and Side Streets 車アスファルトと横道 (上野) 130122

Looking around on a nondescript side street in Higashi-Ueno.  Not sure what to say about it - it's pretty typical for much of central Tokyo... well, most of Tokyo maybe, but not the far western part.

Escalator to Ueno Plaza 上野プラザまでのエスカレーター (130122)

Riding the external escalator back up to the elevated plaza in front of Ueno Station - and then walking towards the station - passing an outside smoking area along the way, and pausing to look down on the black road for internal-combustion machinery.

Entering Ueno Side-Streets 上野横道を入る (130122)

Walking down a flight of stairs from the elevated plaza - past the remnants of the big January 14th snowstorm - and entering a side street.  Ueno isn't one the areas I've tended to spend much time in, but its side streets are rather interesting to walk through.

Ueno Izakaya Stroll 上野居酒屋散歩 (130122)

Walking through an area with a lot of izakaya places in Ueno in the early evening.  Watching this video now at home as I type this, I find myself wondering why I've always felt like it's fine to walk through Ueno, but never felt like I belonged there.  I've been partial to Shinjuku, Shibuya, Yurakucho, Ginza, etc., but not Ueno and Ikebukuro, etc.  There seems to be some sort of barrier there for me, but I'm not sure what it is exactly.  And I'm a bit warmer towards Ikebukuro than Ueno, come to think of it, but only the east side of Ikebukuro.

Ueno Evening Ameyokocho 上野夕方アメ横丁 (130122)

More cool train rumbling-by overhead sounds while looking at the under-track shops.  After the train (music machine) passed by, I went out to the main Ameyokocho street and headed towards the big fork in the road - with the right side being lined with clothing shops and the left with fish (and other food) shops.

Walking past the food stalls, I see the area as being a victim of it's past success.  It was an area where people came from afar to shop in the tough years just after WW-II, when there were shortages of so many things.  Now that whatever is available just about anywhere in the city - and typically cheaply - people shop for different reasons than before; because they like a shop and don't care what things cost, or because things are cheap; or because it's convenient, etc.  Those don't fit in with this area so well any more, so you have to wonder what the future holds.

At 03:03 you can see the rather ugly rail-bed wall they've installed.  I can't argue that a wall is a good idea, especially since everyone is expecting a very powerful earthquake to strike either sooner or later (predictions are for sooner...), but couldn't they have come up with something that looks a little nicer?  Just sayin'...

Old Glass-Show-Window Shop in Ueno 昔風の上野店のショーウィンドー (130122)

This used to be the norm for retail shops - big glass cases facing the street so people could look in the show windows and ponder what was for sale without having to enter the shop.  It's very rare now, so I thought it was important to get this one recorded while it's still in existence.

Ueno Ameyokocho and Under-Track Space 上野のアメ横丁とガード下 (130122)

Starting out on the main shopping street, I walk under a rail bridge, and then into part of the long under-railway retail space, and finally back out onto the twilight streets.  "Twilight"... I can't help thinking that this area as it now exists, with its amazing number of small shops under the tracks, might also be in its own twilight....

Twilight Ueno Side Streets 夕方上野横道 (130122hdg)

This is one my favorite videos in this batch - the combination of late twilight, colorfully chaotic street scene with lights everywhere, and to top it all off (and I swear I didn't deliberately time this or anticipate her presence) a woman in kimono walks by in wooden shoes at about the 0:05 second mark (and can be seen again at 0:22 walking away under the rail bridge).  Actually - the same woman (I think) was in another video clip walking in the other direction (see next video - placed out-of-order - below this one), but I just assumed she had continued on in the same direction.  When I saw her walk by out of the corner of my eye, I thought "(!)The kimono woman again!"  I'm glad I didn't notice she was coming, as I probably (in order not to be rude) wouldn't have had the camera recording.

At 0:44 is a stand bar (or "standing bar", whatever).  These have become popular (again) due to the bad economy.  The shop doesn't need to have chairs, more people can fit inside, and since everyone is standing, people have a tendency not to stay as long.  From the customers' perspective, they can enjoy going to an izakaya with friends for a reasonable price - which is more important in these hard times than it would be if the economy were stronger.

Wooden Shoe Sounds in Ueno 上野 (130122)

Entering Ueno Under-Rail Passageways 上野ガード下通路を入る (130122)

The thing about having a look at places like this with the camera rolling, is that since they tend to not have many customers these days (or they never do every time I look...), the shopkeepers are standing around bored and they look over everyone who comes by.  I can easily imagine their frame of mind - business is bad and they're probably not in the mood to be picturesque subject matter for tourists' cameras.  But... I strongly feel it's important for future understanding of the past that this type of thing be recorded at least a little - how else are people in the future to understand the past?  Still, it didn't seem like a good idea to continue in any further, so I backed out quickly and tried again with the next video.

Ueno Under-Rail Passageways 上野ガード下通路 (130122)

On the one hand, I like the atmosphere of these narrow passageways through all the small shops, but on the other hand, always feel strange regarding the lack of customers.  It's not polite to hang out too much without being a customer, but - again - I strongly think these things should be recorded for future understanding of what the past consisted of and (as much as a video can convey such a thing) what it felt like at the time the video was recorded (thank you color and sound!).

Okachimachi Station Bound 御徒町駅向き (130122)

More views of new railway side walls - these at least looking slightly better with windows (which is good, considering how much higher they are than the not-very-attractive wall I noticed further down the tracks).

Okachimachi Station Outside Ticket Gates 御徒町駅 (130122)

Walking into Okachimachi Station and looking around the station on the outside of the ticket gates - and then wandering over to where a cool old department store used to stand, but is now a new construction site.

御徒町駅隣の工事現場 Construction Site Beside Okachimachi Station (130122)

As I mentioned above, this construction site marks the spot where a cool old department store used to be.  In the summer they had a beer garden on the roof and the building as a whole had a lot of character.  Now that it's gone, I really wish I'd recorded it while it was still a part of Tokyo, including the pleasant atmosphere of the rooftop beer garden in the summer....

Okachimachi Station 御徒町駅を入る (130122)

Entering Okachimachi Station and going up to one of the platforms.

Okachimachi to Kanda (Yamanote Line) 御徒町駅から神田駅まで (山手線) 130122

Boarding a Yamanote Line train and heading towards Kanda.  The sound that is almost like that of an old steam locomotive gathering speed is (I think) a wheel with a flat spot.  That used to be more common... and maybe I'm mistaken, but I get the feeling that it's becoming a little more common again... maybe they've changed something regarding regularly scheduled maintenance?

Yamanote Line Night View (Flat Spot Wheel) 夜の山手線 (音音) 130122

Departing Kanda Station on a Yamanote Line train at night and riding to Tokyo (the next station).

Tokyo to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 東京から有楽町まで (山手線) 130122

Still on the same train with a flat-spot wheel on the train car I'm in, I ride from Tokyo to Yurakucho, where I get off and walk down the platform.

東京駅の八重洲側 Yaesu Side of Tokyo Station (130122)

Walking past illuminated trees towards the Yaesu side entrance to Tokyo Station.  The long stretch of long-distance buses parked in front of the construction zone is always depressing to walk through.  There's an unfortunate trend for people to travel long distance by bus instead of rail - this in Japan with it's fantastic rail system.  Anyway, after the bus zone, I enter the station and begin walking through one of its concourses.

新宿駅に到着 (下り中央線) Arriving at Shinjuku Station (Chuo Line) 130122

Beginning with a brief look down the middle of a Chuo Line train, followed by the scene out a side window as the train pulls into Shinjuku Station.  Getting off the train, I go up to the south exit concourse.

Nighttime Stroll Along Shinjuku Southern Terrace with Illumination Still Up (130122)

Probably due to the low power consumption of LED lights, they leave the end-of-the-year seasonal lighting up a lot longer than they used to.  In the case of lighting along Shinjuku Southern Terrace, I think it will be there until the end of this  month.  It's cool that they leave it up for a while - it really does look nice.

Magic Pyramid of Love Operation (Shinjuku Terrace) 130122

Around Christmas, there were a line of couples trying this... attraction(?) out - the arrangement being that they needed to hold hands and each one would touch their free hand to one of the pedestals, and the short light and sound show would occur.  So... since there was no-one there at all when I went by this evening, I decided to try it out.  Since I don't have three hands, I held the camera in my teeth while touching the sensors on the pedestals (to complete the electrical connection and start the mini-show going).

西新宿 (元淀橋) に入る Crossing into Nishi-Shinjuku (130122)

Looking around in Shinjuku while waiting for the walk light to change - and then crossing over into Nishi-Shinjuku.

Ochanomizu to Hamamatsucho - Chuo and Yamanote Lines (130124)

This is a fairly long clip - starting on the Chuo Line just after departing Ochanomizu Station, covering the transfer at Kanda Station, and then the ride to Hamamatsucho Station.

At the 00:16 mark, hit the pause and you can see an exposed stairwell of Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅).  A while back they allowed a limited number of people into the remains of the closed station to take photos, and now they're doing something with the remains - hopefully preserving enough of the original station to keep things interesting.  The station used to be a terminal station, and was similar in style to the 1914 Tokyo Station.  According to Wikipedia:

"The private Kobu Railway (甲武鉄道) between Tachikawa and Shinjuku was opened on April 11, 1889.  The line was gradually extended east towards the center of Tokyo and was nationalized on October 1, 1906.  The line was further extended to Manseibashi Station, which was opened on April 1, 1912 and remained the eastern terminal station of the line for seven years.
   "The first station building was designed by Tatsuno Kingo in a style inspired by the Amsterdam Centraal and repeated in his design of Tokyo Station, opened two years later.  A statue of Takeo Hirose was erected in front of the station."
   "After the 1914 opening of Tokyo Station, Manseibashi still served as the eastern terminal station of the Chuo Main Line until March 1, 1919, when the line was further extended and Kanda Station opened.  The 1923 Great Kanto earthquake destroyed the original station building, and a simpler station building was erected in its place.  The statue of Hirose was left standing.
   "In 1925, the elevated railway running through Ueno Station and Akihabara Station was opened for passenger traffic.  Since both Akihabara and Kanda stations were within walking distance of Manseibashi, passenger numbers at Manseibashi decreased.  On April 26, 1936, the Railway Museum moved into Manseibashi Station, and the station building itself was scaled back in November 1936.  The station was officially closed on November 1, 1943 and the station building was completely torn down.  The statue was removed after World War II."
   "The train line continues to run through the site, and it is used for parking the occasional train.  The Tokyo Railway Museum became the Transportation Museum in 1971, and continued to operate on the site until 2006, when the museum was re-focused towards railways and moved to Saitama, Saitama as the Railway Museum.
   "In July 2012, work started to redevelop the site, with the original redbrick structure forming the basis of a new office and retail complex scheduled to open in summer 2013.  JR East plans to build decks and a cafeteria on the platform and open shops under the bridge."

Here's a Japanese (language) site that has a several cool old pictures of the station and the area around it:

Drums at Zojoji Temple (Tokyo Tower in Background) 増上寺の太鼓 (130124hd)

You need to have the sound turned up a fair bit to hear them, but there are drums coming from one of the Zojoji Temple buildings.

Akihabara Evening Side Street Stroll (A) 秋葉原夕方横道散歩 (130124hd)

This is how most of Akihabara used to be - one big collection of electronic and computer parts stores - now this sort of thing is being increasingly crowded out with computer games and theme-park-style cafes, etc.

Exiting Akihabara Station 秋葉原駅を出る散歩散策 (130124)

Walking Around in Akihabara 秋葉原駅散歩散策 (130124)

As the title says - walking around... and I would just comment that in this video, from around the 03:22 mark, you can see young women handing out flyers for what are essentially cosplay cafe's - and from this visit to the area, it appears that what's more popular now than the maid uniform (that you saw a lot of before in this area), are high school mini-skirt uniform-wearing women.  I tried to avoid them, as my purpose of visiting Akihabara was to record the electronics shops, but in this section, the street was saturated with them, so it couldn't be helped.  I tried to just unobtrusively pass through, but still ended up with a couple of advertising flyers in my hand - one for a (I think) maid cafe and one for a... I wonder what the correct term is... high school uniform cafe?  Whatever!

Akihabara Computer Parts Stores (Akiba Side Street) 秋葉原電気街 (130124)

Akihabara Computer Parts Stores Street View (Akiba) 秋葉原散歩 (130124)

Walking Towards Akihabara Station at Night 秋葉原駅に向かう (130124)

Akihabara Plaza at Night 夜の秋葉原プラザ (130124)

Notice right at the start of this video the "AKB-48 CAFE & SHOP".  I walked over for a look and was fascinated [cough] to discover that you can actually [cough] buy AKB-48 cookies inside....  This... is the new Akihabara.

Akihabara Evening Side Street Stroll (B) 秋葉原夕方横道散歩 (130124hd)

Evening Yurakucho Plaza 夕方有楽町プラザ (130124hd)

Near Yurakucho Station - Waiting for the Light to Change (130124)

Walking by Expanded Retail Space of Bic Camera in Yurakucho (130124)

New use for under-the-tracks space (00:39).  For decades, these under-the-tracks places were used mainly by interesting izakaya places, but now JR is very enthusiastic about retail shops, and so here we are - with Bic Camera having expanded its retail space over from the neighboring building (former Sogo Department Store).  Functional, practical, convenient - and (unfortunately) soulless.  Nostalgia doesn't pay the bills, but the old small shops had so much more atmosphere.

Chuo Line Nighttime Side-Window View (Ochanomizu to Shinjuku) 130124

Departing Shinjuku via Late Night Chuo Line Train 中央線夜遅く (130124)

Nakano Station Concourse at Night 夜の中野駅通路 (130124)

Nakano Side-Streets (A) 中野夜遅く横道 (130124)

Nakano Side-Streets (B) 中野夜遅く横道 (130124)

Above and below - four videos of walking around on the back streets of Nakano fairly late in the evening - around 9:00 p.m.  Some areas like this have become sort of like theme-park attractions (as an example, Omoide-yokocho in Shinjuku), but this area is still the real thing.  Honest back streets where you can wander around free from the noise/smell/vibration/inconvenience/etc. of fire-breathing machinery - how nice the whole city must have been before the invention of the bloody automobile.  Cars may be wonderful out in the countryside, but they're horrible in the city.

Nakano Side-Streets (C) 中野夜遅く横道 (130124)

Nakano Side-Streets (D) 中野夜遅く横道 (130124)

Boarding All-Green Yamanote Line Train (130124)

As I mentioned further up the page - it was a bit of a time-warp experience to come across this all-green Yamanote Line train.  一瞬タイムスリップしてしまったと思った! - 50周年みどりの山手線, 103系電車誕生,  50th Anniversary Green Yamanote Line train.

Arriving at Shinbashi in an All-Green Yamanote Line Train 130124

50周年みどりの山手線 (103系電車誕生) 50th Anniversary Green Yamanote (130124)

Jack Daniel's Shop in Ginza 銀座のジャックダニエル居酒屋店 (130124)

This is pretty interesting-looking, but it might be temporary - there's a very strong trend to tear down all small buildings in Ginza and replace them with large ones.  I suspect the owner of this small lot is just renting out the space on temporary short contracts, while waiting for neighboring land to open up, so they can tear down all the small stuff and build another big box.  It's really depressing to watch actually, because the smaller buildings are where the most interesting things are in Ginza.  If they tear them all down, it may well become a boring place - suitable only for overpriced "brand" garbage... I hope not, but the current trend isn't so great....

Yurakucho Plaza Look-Around at Night 夜の有楽町プラザ見回り (130124)

Yurakucho Street Scenes 有楽町ある冬夜の道 (130124)



"Snow!, Shinagawa, Hamamatsucho, Ginza, Kokusai Forum, S47 Site, Chuo Line, Etc."

The two things that stand out (to me) in this batch of videos are the fairly heavy snowfall that Tokyo experienced and a visit to the 47-Ronin graves at Sengakuji Temple 泉岳寺.  I'm a bit shy on time right now, so there may not be much in the way of comments by the videos this time - hopefully the titles are self-explanatory.

Ebisu-Shinagawa Side Window and Cab Views 恵比寿-品川 電車からの景色 (130117g)

For several stations, I looked out a side window (on the right), but I moved to the front of the train and looked out the front cab for the last hop of the trip, going from Osaki to Shinagawa.  It's an interesting part of the Yamanote Line, as it makes a fairly sharp turn to the left that starts the train heading north towards Shinagawa, Yurakucho, Tokyo, Akihabara, Ueno, etc.  At the top of the loop, the line runs west for a little before heading south (basically making two 90-degree turns), so the bottom part of the loop is the only place where it takes that sharp of a turn (more than 90-degrees) between stations.

Shinagawa to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 品川-浜松町 (山手線) 130117g

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 浜松町-有楽町 (山手線) 130117g

Looking Around Inside of Kokusai Forum 国際フォーラム内を見回る (130117g)

The Kokusai Forum is quite visually interesting... of the two videos, I like the way the first part of the video taken while exiting the space (below) turned out.

Exiting Kokusai Forum 国際フォーラムを見ながら出る (130117g)

Departing Shinjuku Station (Late Night) 夜遅く新宿駅から出発 (130117g)

I keep saying this, but take a good look at how the Yamanote Line platform looks, because it won't look this way for very much longer.  The next step is it will be under construction for some time and then they'll put in the platform walls...

Chuo Line Snow - Kokubunji to Kichijoji 中央線雪, 国分寺-吉祥寺 (130115)

These side window pictures from the Chuo Line (three - together covering one trip from Kokubunji to Kanda [and then a fourth video covers Kanda to Tokyo and Yurakucho]) were taken the day after the big January 14th snow, so a lot of the snow had already melted, but since so much had fallen the day before, a fair amount remained and the whiteness of the landscape is unusual for Tokyo.  Since the train wasn't crowded at all, I went back and forth between the left and right sides of the train - with most of the first part of the trip being recorded on the left, but then the Nakano to Shinjuku part on the right and the rest of the trip more evenly on both sides.

Chuo Line Snow - Kichijoji to Koenji 中央線雪 - 吉祥寺-高円寺 (130115)

Chuo Line Snow - Koenji to Kanda 中央線雪 - 高円寺-神田 (130115)

This a long one, with the Nakano to Shinjuku part of the trip (as I mentioned above) being recorded on the right side of the train, so you can see the high-rise buildings of Shinjuku gradually get bigger on the horizon as the train speeds towards Shinjuku.  After Shinjuku, I went back and forth more evenly, recording from both sides of the train.

Kanda to Yurakucho via Chuo and Yamanote Lines 神田-有楽町 - 東京駅で乗換え (130115)

I had been planning to transfer to the Yamanote Line at Kanda, but ended up staying on the Chuo Line and riding it to its terminal stop Tokyo Station, where I transferred to the Yamanote Line and rode the one stop down the line to Yurakucho Station.

Ebisu Station Platform - Sights and Sounds 恵比寿駅 (130117hd)

A major (*the* major?) part of this video is its audio.  While I waited for a train to arrive, there was nearly a symphony of competing noises - from the slightly obnoxious repeating message about the escalator being under construction (being repaired actually, but they use the term 工事中 [koji-chu - under construction] in Japanese), to the various typical platform announcements.  It's in stereo, so if you want to know how the station sounds, hook this one up to a stereo (or better yet, play it through headphones) and play it loud - it'll give you a very good idea of how it sounds to be waiting for a train at Ebisu!

Snowing in the Woods - January 14th, 2013 林の雪 (130114)

Tokyo Big Snowstorm - January 14th, 2013 - (130114)

Very Snowy Tokyo Park (130114)

Heavy Snow - White Tree Branches 雪雪雪 (130114hd)

Snow Along Tamagawa-Josui 雪雪雪 (130114hd)

Heavy Snow in Tokyo - January 14th, 2013 雪雪雪 (130114hd)

Looking Around on the West Side of Shinagawa Station 品川駅西側 (130117hd)

Light Clouds Drifting by Tokyo Tower (130117hd)

サロンど東京春秋展 Ginza-One (銀座ワン) January 2013 Group Exhibition - (130115hd)

Tobu-Tojo Line Side View to Kita-Sakado (Snow) 東武東上線北坂戸まで (雪) 130116

Seibu-Shinjuku Line Front Snow View to Hon-Kawagoe 西武新宿線 - 本川越駅まで (130116)

Personally, I think this video is a bit boring.  It does show the snow on the railway through the front cab - but it would have been better to have taken pictures out a side window.  Actually, I wanted to do both, but the train was so crowded, that I couldn't get to either side of the train, so I was stuck in that one position - looking through the front cab.

Ginza Side Street 銀座の横道 (130115)

Yurakucho Platform Walk and Ride to Tokyo 有楽町駅など (130115)

Alley Stroll in Ginza 銀座の裏道 (130115)

Waiting for the Next Train at Tokyo Station 東京駅で待っている (130115)

Looking into the Night - Chuo Line Side Window View 夜の中央線 (130116)

A night view of snow on the ground as seen out a side window of a speeding train.

Saitama Countryside in Snow 埼玉の雪景色 (130116)

Tobu-Tojo Line to Asakadai (Snow) 東武東上線朝霞台駅まで (130116)

Departing Shinjuku via Shonan-Shinjuku Line (Snow) 湘南新宿線 130117

Shinjuku to Ebisu - Shonan-Shinjuku Line 新宿-恵比寿 - 湘南新宿線 (130117)

Exiting Shinagawa Station via Takanawa Side 品川駅高輪口から出る (130117)

Walking Towards Takanawa Area from Shinagawa Station (130117)

Area Under Construction in Takanawa 高輪工事 (130117)

Spot Midway to S47 - Takanawa, Minato-ku (130117)

Visiting S47 Site at Sengakuji Temple 泉岳寺 - 雪あり (130117)

Not the first time to visit the graves of the 47 samurai/ronin, but the first time to go there when there was snow on the ground.  The story is that the event took place on a day with a big snowfall, so it seemed appropriate to see Sengakuji Temple with snow on the ground.

Looking Around at S47 Site at Sengakuji Temple 泉岳寺 (雪あり) 130117

Leaving S47 Site at Sengakuji Temple 泉岳寺 (雪あり) 130117

Approaching Takanawa Entrance to Shinagawa Station 品川駅高輪口 (130117)

Entering Shinagawa Station from Takanawa Side 品川駅高輪口から入る (130117)

Shinagawa Yamanote Platform Walk 品川駅ホーム散歩 (130117)

Hamamatsucho Station (Platform to Exit) 浜松町駅ホームから出口まで (130117)

Hamamatsucho - Building Being Demolished 浜松町工事 (130117)

Shibadaimon Walkthrough 芝大門散歩 (130117)

Looking Up at Tokyo Tower 東京タワーを上に見る (130117)

Under the Bridge in Yurakucho 夕方有楽町橋の下 (130117)

Walking into Ginza in the Twilight 夕方銀座に入る (130117)



"Shibuya, Zojoji Temple, Asaka, Yurakucho, Shinagawa, Shinjuku, Keisei-Narita Airport Line, Etc"

No time-tripping in this batch - all the videos are from January 2013 - with typical views from here and there in central Tokyo.  What stands out for me are the videos taken near Asakadai and Kita-Asaka Stations; the twilight views of Zojoji (with Tokyo Tower in the background); the new Keisei Narita Airport Line (why names of new lines have to be so long, I don't know...); and a fully mechanical rope-making machine that I recorded in action.  Otherwise are pretty typically visited areas: Shibuya, Shinjuku, Yurakucho, Ginza, Shinagawa, Tokyo, Hamamatsucho, etc., as well as train views (Chuo Line, Yamanote Line, Hibiya Line, Keisei Line(s), etc.

Shibuya Hachiko Square - Afternoon View 渋谷八個広場 (午後) 130110g

The type of train carriage this opens with is unusual in that the base is wider than the top - it looks pretty cool, but I always ended up banging my head on the glass when sitting down, since I expected it to be where it was on other trains, and it was angled in towards the top on this type.  I'm glad they have this cab version of that type of train sitting in Hachiko Plaza/Square, but always find myself wishing they had left its wheels on.  This is definitely more practical, but....

After looking in the old train carriage (which is used as a waiting area now, which is a great idea), I walk around a little in the eternal meeting spot that the area around Hachiko Stature is.  One thing about it that has changed is that it wasn't really well known outside Japan a few decades back, but now it's a standard tourist destination and appears to be well-known worldwide.

Shibuya to Ebisu (Yamanote Line) 渋谷から恵比寿まで (山手線) 130110g

How many times have I walked down this Yamanote Line platform at Shibuya Station?  It feels like my whole life, but has been only ("only?") about 30 years.  As I look at this video now and think back to my early experiences in Shibuya Station in the 1980's, I have a feeling of the area having been vacated by the people who crowded there three decades ago, who were replaced by another set of young people... and that's pretty much exactly what has happened.  There's a weird feeling of some kind of disconnect - of the place not being used to the new crowd yet and the new crowd not knowing the history of the place very well (if at all)...?  Or something else... something about the group-think of the new crowd being so different than before.  At what point do the mental broadcast frequencies change so radically?

Riding to Ebisu... with the bland (and in the case of the English-language version, extraordinarily irritating) recorded announcement instead of the conductor speaking to everyone on the train live, as was the case before.  And Ebisu Station!  In 1991, it was just a single open platform - as you can see in this video from July 1991 (which also has the tail end of a live announcement at the beginning):

Ebisu Station in July 1991 - 1991年7月の恵比寿駅

Listening again to the 2013 English announcement... man I hate that announcement!  "This is a Yamanote Line train BOUND For [Station names]...."  Yuck!  If you're going to force people to listen to something over-and-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, you should put some effort into finding someone with a pleasing voice who can read announcements professionally!

Twilight View of Tokyo Tower Behind Zojoji Temple 夕方の東京タワーと増上寺 (130110g)

Twilight - with the temple, clouds overhead, and illuminated Tokyo Tower in the background, made for that feeling of magic in the air.  I had only intended to take the short video above, but then I heard the bell toll and went back to take the following video to get the sound of the temple bell and the surrounding twilight scene....

Something I hadn't noticed before is how the large post (correct term?) used for ringing the bell has to be handled carefully to keep it from hitting the bell a second time - which stands to reason - it's a really large and heavy object - basically a long log in size and weight.

Zojoji Temple - Twilight Bell Ringing 夕方の増上寺鐘が鳴る (130110g)

Asakadai Station Platform View 朝霞台ホームビュー (130109hdg)

The train that pulls out of the station at the beginning of the video is one of the oldest types still in use on the Tobu-Tojo Line.  I've been riding in that type of train carriage (on and off) for close to 30 years now, so I feel some sense of nostalgia watching it and knowing that its days are numbered.  The train that pulls out just past the one minute mark is one of the trains that run seamlessly into the subway (becoming the Yurakucho Line).

Side Road Trackside Night Stroll (Asaka) 夜の朝霞鉄道隣見 (130109g)

The two stations (Asakadai and Kita-Asaka) and the cluster of companies around them form the center of the area, so walking up to the stations is like entering the center of a small town in a way.

Mechanical Rope-Making Machine 素晴らしいメカ縄作り機械 (130108g)

This machine was quite impressive!  Fully mechanical with no electronics and no need for electricity, all you need is plant material (in this case rice plant stalks), and to rotate it via the foot petal (there are two pedals, but he was operating it with just the front one), and you can make your own rope.  One older guy came by and said that there used to be one in the town he lived in while growing up, and people in the neighborhood would all use it to make their own rope.

Yurakucho Station Area Night Sights and Sounds 有楽町駅街頭の風景 (130110g)

Walking under a rail bridge towards Ginza as a Shinkansen passes by overhead - the end-of-year seasonal illumination still installed.

Bookstore Aisle Cruising 本屋通路散歩 (130110g)

While you can't beat the convenience of clicking on a title you want on your computer and having it delivered to your door, you also can't beat the pleasure of wandering around a good-sized bookstore and seeing a large collection of books that you can pick up, look through, and buy Right Now, as opposed to waiting for a delivery.

Yurakucho Izakaya Cold and Slow Night 有楽町居酒屋寒い夜 (130110g)

It was a cold and windy evening - and on a cold and windy evening, people are much less inclined to want to go to an outside izakaya.  The izakaya places in this video have set up heaters and curtained off the outside areas, but it's not the same as going somewhere that is just Warm, and not semi-warm, with regular cold blasts of winter air as people come and go.  However, the two places in that tunnel under the tracks seem to do good business all year round.

Yurakucho Trains in the Night 有楽町夜の電車を見る (130110g)

Looking around from one of the platforms of Yurakucho Station.  The clear winter air makes the lights seem brighter and the gleaming Shinkansen looks nice as it goes by....

夜の品川駅前 Area in Front of Shinagawa Station at Night (130110g)

Walking out of Shinagawa Station and into the winter night.

22:00 Tokyo Station (Tokaido Line, Etc) 夜の東京駅 (東海道線など) 130110g

Taking the Tokaido Line to Tokyo Station and then walking down into one of the station concourses.

Waiting for a Train (Shinjuku) 電車来るまでを待っている (新宿) 130108

I walked onto the platform at a gap in the schedule, when there were almost no trains at the station (and none at all for a little between Yamanote Line trains).  Depending on the ebb and flow of people, gaps like this can produce quite a crowd on the platforms, but it wasn't crowded this particular time - nevertheless the timed recording read with the overly-smooth forced-informal and artificially-jovial tone saying to please properly deal with crowded conditions drones on....

Visually, you might want to take a good hard look at how the open platforms look in this one, because they're constructing platform walls (just over a meter high, so like a fence) on the Yamanote Line now, so it's only a matter of time before this takes on a completely different appearance.

I can't argue that platform walls are safer, and given how crowded the platforms sometimes become, combined with a reduced number of railway employees on hand, it's probably a great idea, but the current open platforms are more interesting visually and photographically.

And then there's energy... for one Yamanote Line platform at one station, if each platform wall door (two per opening) uses one motor, how much power is consumed each time a train comes in?  Eleven carriages, four double-doors per carriage, so 44 openings, doubled to 88 since the platform wall doors are also double doors.  88 electric motors running for each and every train (every few minutes on the Yamanote Line) at each and every station.  It seems to me it would have made more sense to install platform walls with openings where the train doors are, and skipped the platform doors.  With a door-gapped wall, there's something to grab onto even if you start to fall where one of the gaps are.  When I used the Ikegami Line, that's the system they use (and still do I think).  It's safer than an open platform and you don't have the tremendous financial costs and waste of energy that the powered door version requires.  Here's what the Ikegami Line looked like in 2010 (and presumably still does):

Hatanodai Station - People Getting On & Off an Ikegami Line Train 池上線 - (100112)

And back to the general appearance of the platforms at Shinjuku Station on the evening I took this video.  This view gives you an idea of how long the platforms are for 10-car (and 11 for the Yamanote Line) trains are.  (Some main JR line stations have platforms that accommodate 15-car trains.)

Shinjuku Station Late-Night Stroll (South Exit Area) 130108

Walking around on the concourse near the south exit.  I spent a little too much time on the team of advertisement changers working to remove a cover-everything advertisement, but I thought it was kind of interesting at the time and hadn't seen that process before.  After spending too much time on the concourse, I walk down to one of the Yamanote Line platforms.

Keisei-Nippori Station Platform View - Boarding Train 日暮里駅 (130108hd)

I went out to Narita Airport and tried out (midway, after transferring from the first Keisei train I took) the new speedier Keisei line (which goes in more of a straight line to the airport and runs up to about 120kph) to the airport.  It costs Y200 more than the fastest non-Skyliner Keisei train that runs on the original Keisei tracks, but gets you there ten minutes faster (by regular train express, not Skyliner - the new Skyliner goes up to 160kph and takes much less time). The new line confusingly goes by three (or more?!) names:

"Keisei Narita Airport Line" and "Narita Sky Access" and "Access Express", etc.
(京成成田空港線 - 成田スカイアクセス - 成田空港アクセス, etc.)

On a map at this link, the two lines are labeled "Keisei Main Line" and "Access Express":

The history is interesting - apparently part of the new track was laid on what was originally right-of-way intended for a Shinkansen link to the airport (the Keisei Line runs on wider gauge than most rail lines in Tokyo, by the way, using the same gauge as the Shinkansen tracks I think):

The new line is really cool, but why are there so many different names for it?  What are we supposed to call it?  Given that there are at least three names for it, I guess we can call it whatever we like?  Free-for-all in naming?  Not trying to be unfriendly here, but having three (or more?) different names for the same thing is really confusing.

Stopping at New Station on Keisei-Narita Airport Line (130108hd)

Yurakucho Station Platform (Afternoon View) 午後の有楽町駅 (130108hd)

Again, have a good look at how the open platforms look, because this scene won't last forever.

Yurakucho Under-Bridge View 有楽町橋下ビュー (130108hd)

Walking through that little time-slip alley right by the station.  It's quite short, but really feels like it's from a completely different era.

Kita-Asaka to Asakadai Transfer, Etc 北朝霞駅から朝霞台駅までなど (130109hd)

With a transfer like this, it seems like it would have been better to have used the same station name for the two stations that people regularly transfer to and from.  As it is, the Tobu-Tojo Line station is called Asakadai Station, and the JR station is called Kita-Asaka.

The next several videos are all from the area around the Kita-Asaka and Asakadai pair of stations.  I transfer here from time-to-time, but I hadn't really taken a good look at the area before, so I slotted in some time to just walk around and see what it's like.

Trains, Cars, and Bicycles 電車, 自動車と自転車 (130109hd)

Freight Train Passing Through Kita-Asaka Station 北朝霞駅 (130109hd)

Looking Around in Front of Kita-Asaka Station 北朝霞駅前 (130109hd)

Taxis, Sidewalk, Buildings and a Train 北朝霞駅前 (130109hd)

Asakadai Station Concourse and Transfer to Kita-Asaka 朝霞台駅と北朝霞駅 (130109hd)

The next several videos are from my recent trip out to Narita Airport:

Keisei Tokkyu to Aoto (Narita Bound) 京成特急 (青砥駅へ, 成田行き) 130108

Keisei Line Racing Another Train 京成線電車のレース (130108)

Keisei Narita Airport Line - Speeding Towards Narita Airport (1of4) 130108

Keisei Narita Airport Line - Speeding Towards Narita Airport (2of4) 130108

Keisei Narita Airport Line - Speeding Towards Narita Airport (3of4) 130108

Keisei Narita Airport Line - Speeding Towards Narita Airport (4of4) 130108

Daytime Tunnel Reflections (130108)

Keisei Narita Airport Line - Arriving at Narita Airport 空港第2ビル駅 (130108)

Narita Airport Keisei Station Platform - Building Number Two 空港第2ビル駅 (130108)

Be sure to pay attention to platform numbers when getting on a train.

The next three videos are side window views from a Chuo Line train.

Chuo Line - Mitaka to Nakano 中央線三鷹から中野まで (130108)

Chuo Line - Nakano to Yotsuya 中央線 - 中野から四谷まで (130108)

Chuo Line - Yotsuya to Kanda 中央線四谷から神田まで (130108)

Kanda Station Under Construction - Ride to Yurakucho (130108)

This is a fairly long video - I had originally intended to just show the transfer from the Chuo Line to the Yamanote Line at Kanda Station, but it appears to have entered a difference phase of reconstruction than the last time I passed through, so I paused to look around a little inside the station, and then went up to catch a Yamanote Line train.  Since a train came pretty soon after I got there, I left the camera running and also recorded the run to Yurakucho.

About the recorded birdsong in the stations - I haven't done any research into this, but while I thought it was an attempt at making a pleasant atmosphere at first, now I think it might be an anti-pigeon measure?  If a pigeon thinks an area is already claimed territory by other birds, maybe it stays away?  Just conjecture, but the way the recorded birdsong is used at so many stations, there must be some reason for it.

On the way to Yurakucho, the train stops at Tokyo Station - and regarding that platform, which still has (over most of the platform) a wooden roof and support beams, I think this is the last platform with this old type roof (dating back to?) left at Tokyo Station.  I remember the skylights as having been installed in the late eighties, by the way.  They didn't originally have those.

Those bloody recorded announcements... "The doors on the LEFT SIDE will open."  Ugh!  Yuck!  Man I hate those horrible English announcements!  気持ち悪いよ! 止めてくれ!

Kyobashi New Building Construction 京橋ビル工事 (130108)

This is a short one, but if you look closely you can see them lifting one of the outside sections into place, which I thought was sort of interesting.

Bamboo Installation at Kobo - January2013 竹のインスタレーション (130108)

An installation of bundles of split bamboo.

Tobu-Tojo Line - Side Window View 東武東上線左側の景色 (130109)

Looking out a left-side window of an outgoing Tobu-Tojo Line train.  There's enough open space along the railway line where I took this video, that it's kind of relaxing to watch the scenery go by.  When there are large buildings right next to a train line, there's nothing you can rest your eyes on, since the entire scene going by the windows is constantly changing.  It's interesting, but also kind of stressful to try and keep track of.  With open space though, you can stare off into the distance and drift into one deep thought or another.

Speaking of deep thoughts... one of the attractions of going out into the crowds in Tokyo is that basic navigation requirements and constantly changing surroundings prevent you from thinking about anything very deeply - which is a good way to not be depressed!

Okay - here we come to a long stretch of videos showing various views of the area around Asakadai and Kita-Asaka.  "Wait - didn't that already happen further up the page?" - It did, but those were taken with a different camera than this batch.  The titles are pretty self-explanatory, so I won't comment much on this batch.

Exiting Asakadai Station 朝霞台駅の改札口 (130109)

Underground Bicycle Parking (A) 自転車駐車場 (130109)

Underground Bicycle Parking (B) 自転車駐車場 (130109)

Asakadai to Kita-Asaka Transfer 朝霞台駅-北朝霞駅乗り換え (130109)

Elevator Ride (A) Looking Around (Asaka) 朝霞 (130109)

Atrium Views and Kita-Asaka Station 北朝霞駅 (130109)

Elevator Ride (B) Looking Around (Asaka) 朝霞 (130109)

Area In Front of Kita-Asaka Station 北朝霞駅前 (130109)

Asaka Trackside Lookaround 朝霞鉄道隣の見回り (130109)

Tobu Line Train Passing Vertical Flags 東武東上線電車が通り過ぎる (130109)

Twilight Asakadai Station Concourse 夕方の朝霞台駅 (130109)

Outbound Commuter Train Passing in the Night 夜の電車通り過ぎる (130109)

Outbound Commuter Train Passing in the Night 夜の電車が通り過ぎる (130109)

Flags and Trains in the Night 夜の電車が行ったり来たり (130109)

Pedestrian Spiral Stairs and Passing Night Train 夜の電車 (130109)

Atmosphere is something that is hard to convey to people in far-off lands, but I suppose moving pictures with sound go some way towards conveying something of the experience.  For me watching this video reminds me how your perception of the world changes when you live a car-free (except all the fire-breathing beasts everywhere... I mean "car-free" in the sense of doing without one yourself) existence.  You get around by train, and when on the street, instead of nervously thinking about the place you left the car - whether a parking meter might run out, whether the paint will get scratched, whether it will be vandalized, how much parking will cost, etc. etc. etc., you are completely free to just take in your surroundings.  I'm sure my car-breathing friends will not agree/comprehend with that, but take it from a former car-addict - there are very real advantages to doing without your very own fire-breathing beast on wheels.

Anyway - I think I blasted right off into a tirade there without properly explaining my point.  Oh well.

One detail comment about this one - notice the ramp on the side of the stairs?  That's for bicycles - not to ride them of course, but to wheel them up and down the ramp while you walk on the stairs.

People Boarding Bus by Asakadai Station 朝霞台駅隣のバス停人々 (130109)

I generally don't like riding in buses, but they provide some welcome variation from the train experience from time to time.

Bus Departs Asakadai Station Bus Stop 朝霞台駅隣のバスが出発 (130109)

Crowds of Evening Commuters Transferring at Asakadai and Kita-Asaka (130109)

Evening Rush Transfer - Asakadai--Kita-Asaka 朝霞台駅-北朝霞駅夜乗り換え (130109)

Joining River of People Flowing By 人々川に入る (130109)

The title of this one refers to when I got into a steady flow of people heading from Asakadai Station to Kita-Asaka Station, but it goes all the through to arriving on the elevated platform of Kita-Asaka Station.

Evening Rush Musashino Line Train Arrives at Kita-Asaka 夜ラッシューの北朝霞駅 (130109)

After walking around Asaka for a while, finally I get back on a train and continue on my way.

Hibiya Line Front Cab View (Ebisu-Kasumigaseki) 日比谷線 (恵比寿-霞ヶ関) 130110

Looking into the tunnel through the front cab (via the small window on the far right away from the driver).  There's something fascinating about looking into the tunnel and imagining the work of building it - and the train rolling along the rails down in the earth with the city above....

Shinjuku South Exit Concourse (Afternoon) お昼すぎの新宿駅 (130110)

Shinjuku to Shibuya (Yamanote Line) 新宿から渋谷まで (山手線) 130110

Walking down a Yamanote Line platform in the afternoon and then boarding a train and riding to Shibuya while looking out a left-side window.

Entering the Subway System at Ebisu Station (Hibiya Line) 恵比寿駅 日比谷線 (130110)

Kasumigaseki to Kayabacho (Hibiya Line) 霞ヶ関から神谷町まで (日比谷線) 130110

Taking a Hibiya Line subway ride from Kasumigaseki to Kayabacho - looking into the tunnel along the way.  Not exciting, but the pattern of lights and shadows passing by is a part of the experience of riding in subway trains.

Small Park in Minato-ku 港区にある公園 (130110)

LED Archway at Base of Tokyo Tower 東京タワー (130110)

Night Yamanote Line - Front Cab View (Yurakucho to Shinagawa) 130110

Looking out the front of the train between Yurakucho and Shinagawa.  Central Tokyo is more interesting in a way at night, what with all the lights.  On this run all the platforms were open, which is something that will change before long.

Hamamatsucho - Ticket Gates to Platform 浜松町駅_改札からホームまで (130110)

Evening Yurakucho Station 夕方有楽町駅 (130110)

Ginza Side Street Glimpse (130110)

Quick Walk Through Ginza Inz (130110)

These shops are below an elevated expressway.

Snow Sculpture in Yurakucho Plaza 有楽町広場の雪彫刻 (130110)

The snow used to make these snow sculptures was either transported to Tokyo or artificially manufactured.  (Either that or they used a time machine to grab some January 14th snow and take it back to January 10th!)

Yurakucho 2nd Floor Seasonal Illumination 有楽町イルミネーション (130110)

Light Display and Books (Yurakucho) イルミネーションと本 (有楽町) 130110

After walking around looking at part of an illumination display up close, I walked into a large bookstore and walked abound a bit.  This bookstore is in a great location - very near to Yurakucho Station, and it always seems to be quite busy.  Small bookshops seem not to be doing so well - just about every time I walk past one and look in, it's empty.

Bookstore Stroll 本屋散歩 (130110)

Shinkansen Passing Illuminated Yurakucho 新幹線と夜の有楽町 (130110)

Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan Illumination 東京交通会館イルミネーション (130110)

Yurakucho 1-Chome Night Stroll 有楽町一丁目夜散歩 (130110)

Walking towards Yurakucho Station one cold January day.

Shinagawa Station Around 900PM 九時ごろの品川駅 (130110)

Walking Towards Shinagawa GOOS 京急EXイン品川駅前に近づく (130110)

I spent some time in this building back in 1984, when it was the Meridien Pacific Hotel - now it's an acronym hotel called Shinagawa GOOS (GOOS - Gate, Occasion, Oasis, and Satisfaction).  Too bad about the name (not the greatest *sounding* acronym when spoken as a word, and does *everything* have to be an acronym now?), but I'm glad the building is still in use.  I went to the top floor restaurant in 1984, and it's nice to know I can still do that.  The website for the building is:

In spite of my general lack of enthusiasm for acronyms (just about everyone overuses them I think), the concept for the hotel is good - on their website, the name is explained this way:

「Shinagawa GOOS」は、品川の街の入口として(Gate)、品川を訪れる方々や品川で暮らす方々に、記憶に残る特別な時間(Occasion)、都心での落ち着い た環境(Oasis)、当施設ならではの満足(Satisfaction)を提供する場所 にしたいという想いを込めて名付けました。

京急線品川駅高輪口から徒歩3分、同駅からノンストップで羽田空港国際線ターミ ナル駅まで13分(京急線エアポート快特利用時の標準時間)とアクセスが良く、また豊かな 緑環境にあることから、幅広いお客さまにご利用いただける施設です。

Hallways and an Elevator (130110)

Nighttime Shinagawa - Looking Around (130110)

Looking around in Shinagawa from a pedestrian bridge near Shinagawa Station.

One View of Shinagawa at Night (130110)

Old Stairwell 古い階段 (130110)

Walking to Shinagawa Station from West Side at Night 夜の品川 (130110)

Tokyo Snow - January 14th, 2013 - (130114)

This is part of the Tamagawa-Josui Canal (玉川上水) that was built over 300 years ago to supply extra water for Edo.  From the air, it appears as a narrow strip that runs from western Tokyo to Kichijoji (although it forks and I'm not sure where the other fork goes).  From the ground, it's a nice oasis in Tokyo for walking, jogging etc.  (It seems much bigger from the ground than from the air.)

Here are a couple of views of Tamagawa-Josui in warmer weather:

Tamagawa-Josui Walk 玉川上水散歩 (100526)

Bicycle Ride Along Tamagawa Josui Canal 玉川上水隣のサイクリング - (100124)



"1990 Ikebukuro, Toyoko Line, Yokohama, Shinkansen Ride; 1991 Setagaya, 1949 Streetcar, Boroichi; Etc."

Time tripping to December 1990 and January 1991, as well as New Year's Day views from 2013 and a few train system views from later in the first week of 2013.  This batch of time-tripping views mainly consists of what are basically day-trips rather than just views from day-to-day life in Tokyo.  To go over the various views in order (with more details after some titles/links):

Beginning with an intensively for-video day I experienced/orchestrated/choose/time-invested-in/etc. on Saturday, December 8th, 1990.  The day (the version I recorded images and sounds of that is, but I had the camera running for nearly the entire day) begins with a look at the west side of Ikebukuro Station, and then shows the inside of always busy Ikebukuro Station; the ride via Yamanote Line to Shibuya; the transfer at Shibuya from the Yamanote Line to the Toyoko Line, and a seventeen-minute video of the (approximately) 30-minute ride to Yokohama, most of it a front-cab view.

In Yokohama are views of Yokohama Station and a long walk - going from one place in Yokohama to another - including views of work on the foundation for the yet-to-be-built Landmark Tower building and some time (too much time maybe) spent in an amusement park in the newly developing "Minato Mirai-21" zone.  After the amusement park, I walk to a subway station and take a train to Shin-Yokohama Station, from where I take a Shinkansen (a Hikari no less) to Tokyo Station.

I think at the time I was hoping to get on a new type Shinkansen, but from the perspective of 2013, I'm really happy my train turned out to be the original type Shinkansen, and I was able to record some views of the dining car, which modern Shinkansen trains no longer have.  There is one 65-minute video that covers nearly all of my time in Yokohama, with separate clips showing the Landmark Tower foundation work and several views of the amusement park (which are part of the long 65-minute video) and then separate (and not part of the 65-minute video) views of the trip back to Tokyo after that (subway, Shinkansen, etc.).

After views of 1990 Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, I jump to this year - 2013 - for a few views from a shrine, taken on New Year's Day.  After that, I go back again - still 22 years ago, but this time to January 1991.

On January 12th, 1991, I visited Setagaya, and while buying a pen in an old store, the shopkeeper (the daughter of the owner) told me that there was going to be a big street market in the area on the 15th and 16th (you can see her writing down the name of it for me in the video I took in the old store), so I returned on the 15th to have a look and found myself in some pretty intense crowds!  Since that area is reached by one of the last two remaining streetcar lines in Tokyo, I also got to experience riding the cool old 1949 streetcars (which have since been retired unfortunately).

And then there are the usual train scenes - from the Keio Line, the Setagaya Line (the streetcar I mentioned), the Saikyo Line, one of the Seibu lines, etc.  And finally, jumping back to 2013, there are a few scenes from one of the Seibu lines.

1990 - Ikebukuro - West Side 池袋 (901208)

Walking along on the west side of Ikebukuro Station, and then entering the station and beginning to walk down the concourse outside the JR and Tobu ticket gates.

1990 - Ikebukuro Station 池袋駅 (901208)

Looking closely at the people rushing by in Ikebukuro Station, one of the more striking differences between 1990 and 2013 is that the women in 1990 still had undyed hair and eyebrows (also black).  The overwhelming majority of 2013 Tokyo women dye their hair some shade of off-black (is that a word?) or brown (drug stores sell hair dye in 759 shades of brown) and have removed most of their eyebrows - leaving just a thin line.  It's not for me to say which is better - I'm just commenting that a big change has come about over the past 23 years!

After walking through the crowds in the under-tracks concourse, I go through the ticket gates (using a strip of kaisuken tickets), and up the stairs to catch a Yamanote Line train.  The model of train that arrives was only used on the Yamanote Line for about ten years I think, after which it was replaced with the type of train currently being used.  Since ten years is a short time for a railway carriage, I think they moved the version shown in this video over to anther line - maybe the Saikyo Line?  (Or the Musashino Line?)  In any case, many of the current Saikyo Line (and Musashino Line) trains appear to be the type that was on the Yamanote Line in 1990.  (The clip ends just as I'm boarding a train - the continuation with views of the inside of the train continues with the next video of Shibuya Station.)

1990 - Shibuya Station 渋谷駅東横線 (Toyoko Line) 901208

This begins inside a Yamanote Line train as it pulls out of Ikebukuro Station, and then shows the transfer from the Yamanote Line to the Toyoko Line - walking through always busy Shibuya Station.  (Manual ticket gates for JR and automated for Toyoko - it wasn't long after this that all the ticket gates in Tokyo were automated.)

1990 - Toyoko Line - Cab View to Yokohama 東横線横浜 (901208)

Notice that the train is bound for Sakuragicho Station 桜木町駅, a station the Toyoko Line no longer goes to, since it was diverted to line up with a subway line that goes through Yokohama with the terminal stop near Chinatown.  Sakuragicho Station is historically interesting as it was the Yokohama side of Japan's first rail line that ran from Sakuragicho (then called Yokohama Station) to Shinbashi Station in Tokyo.

From Wikipedia:

   "Sakuragicho is one of Japan's oldest stations. It opened on June 12, 1872 as Yokohama Station when the service between Shinagawa and Yokohama provisionally started. The station was renamed Sakuragicho Station on August 15, 1915 when the next Yokohama Station opened (near Takashimacho Station)."
   Between March 31, 1932 and January 30, 2004, Sakuragicho Station was the terminus of the Tokyu Toyoko Line.

   "Shinbashi is the original terminus of Japan's first stretch of railway, the Tōkaido Main Line, and is one of Japan's oldest
stations (the oldest station being Shinagawa, a few kilometres down the line). The original Shinbashi Station, opened on October 10, 1872, was built some way to the east of the modern-day structure and was known as Shinbashi Teishajo (新橋停車場)."

Hmm... for 30 years, I've been reading sentences similar to: "Shinbashi is the original terminus of Japan's first stretch of railway" and hadn't heard anything about Shinagawa.  And regarding that name mentioned: "Shinbashi Teishajo (新橋停車場)" - that means "Train stopping place [in] Shinbashi"!  I guess they didn't use the word 駅 ('eki' - station) back then?

Incidentally, when I came to Japan, JNR (Japan National Railways) correctly I feel, spelled 新橋 (しんばし) "Shinbashi".  At issue is the character "ん" which is basically "n", but in one of the many competing forms of romanization of Japanese, there are (idiotic in my view) rules for converting the (unchanging in Japanese) character ん (n) into "m" depending on what comes after the ん.  I think it's totally wrong (both in concept and actual pronunciation) and refuse to go along with it, so I always write ん as "n" and correct incorrectly spelled "Shimbash" to correctly spelled "Shinbashi" when I come across it.

1990 Yokohama Station 横浜駅 (901208)

This starts with me getting off the Toyoko Line and going downstairs to the manual ticket gates (which were already automated at Shibuya Station at the time) and walking out into the concourse and then out in front of the station where a couple of young men did what was was fairly popular (for young people) at the time - they jumped up in front of my camera (instead of the traditional ducking down).  Back in 1990 and 1991, this happened to me fairly often.  Since it's not really the sort of thing a lot of people would naturally do on their own, I suspect some comedy show on TV did it and enough people thought it was funny that several of them started doing it too?  The awesome/terrible/horrible influence of television...

1990 - Yokohama Walkabout 横浜散歩 (901208)

This - at 65 minutes - is the longest of this batch of videos.  It's not a standard "See the sights of Yokohama" type of video.  Rather, I started walking from Yokohama Station, and basically just kept walking all day long - stumbling into an amusement park that I hadn't even known existed, and also stumbling into foundation work for the Landmark Tower.  Watching this video now, I would say that I probably should have slowed down while recording the various street scenes that I saw, but the material is historically interesting for the large number of street scenes it covers.  Just watch it with quick reflexes and pause it here and there if you want to have a longer look at some of the street scenes.  While out walking, I didn't hold the camera still anywhere for long, although by the time I got to the amusement park, I was a little more relaxed and holding the camera on scenes slightly longer.  Anyway, just remember "the pause button is your friend" and there's a lot to see in this video.

Early on (at about 4:03), I did what I usually did at the time when I went somewhere outside Tokyo (in the era prior to electronic maps on cell phones), I went to the first bookstore I could find and bought a street map of the area - Yokohama City in this case.  With map in hand, I would walk around and periodically check the map (matching area names on utility poles with area names on the map) to keep track of where I was.  I would also change course when something on the map looked interesting.

Hmm.... I'm watching the video now as I type this.  Scenes of food being cooked in a department store restaurant, trucks being loaded... later on there are scenes from a park; a vertical parking garage with electric turnstile, several trains passing at a large crossing (with several train lines running in parallel), the entrance to Minato Mirai-21 (みなとみらい-21), etc. etc.  Well, considering that I basically just kept moving while recording things, there is a lot in this video (I originally typed "a lot on this tape" - which would apply to the original [analog] source tape).  Too much to go over in detail here, so I'll jump to the next video.  Anyway - if you're interested in what the streets of Yokohama looked like in 1990 - this could be of interest.  [Note: the next five videos are isolated parts re-edited from the same stretch of tape that contains this longer 65-minute sequence.]

1990 Yokohama Landmark Tower Under Construction 工事中横浜ランドマークタワー (901208)

1990 - Yokohama Amusement Park 横浜遊園地 (901208)

This covers most of my visit to the Yokohama Cosmoworld amusement park (よこはまコスモワールド遊園地) - where I rode (with my camera rolling most of the time) on several rides.  I've isolated three specific rides and made individual videos of them (see below).  The one I've entitled "Yokohama Cycle-Monorail Ride" I don't remember the actual name of, and since it appears to no longer exist at the Cosmoworld amusement park, I'm not sure how to find out the name of it.  The other two rides are still there.

1990 - Yokohama Cycle-Monorail Ride ペダルモノレール乗り物 (901208)

I went on this one twice.  Once in the evening, and the second time just before leaving the amusement park after dark.  The second time I got on the self-powered ride, since I was the only one on the ride, I figured it would be okay to go slowly and take some pictures, but a couple of the young men running the ride (after shaking it to make it harder to take pictures) jumped on one of the cycle-powered things and rode over and rammed me, and made rude gestures, etc. to hurry me off of the ride for some reason (I wasn't on it for a particularly long time before they came out to harass me - I just stopped a few times to take pictures, which people were doing in the daytime anyway, even with a lot of people on the ride).  I've cut out almost all of that unpleasant aspect of the ride from this version, but several elements of that incident are in the overall "Yokohama Amusement Park" video further up the page.  It was a weird experience - the three of us were all pretending it was fun and games, but there was something else going on below the surface....

1990 - Cosmoworld Galaxy コスモワールド ギャラクシー (901208)

This is a surprisingly entertaining ride that I've enjoyed at other amusement parks as well, for example in this clip (below) from Toshimaen Amusement Park (としまえん遊園地) - also taken in 1990, but a few months earlier (in September), when the weather was basically still summer:

Toshimaen Swing-Around - (1990) としまえん スイングアラウンド

The ride is the same, but the surroundings are quite different!  One of Toshimaen's attractions is all the green within the park.  It's quite a nice space when the weather is nice.  For Cosmoworld, the bayside location is a different kind of attraction - one that can be quite nice in the evening.

1990 - Cosmoworld Super Planet コスモワールド スーパープラネット (901208)

This comment applies equally to all the rides at 1990 Cosmoworld:  Take a good look at the area around the amusement park - it's mainly empty space in these 1990 views.  In 2013, there are a lot of new buildings in and around this area.  As I walked up to the area in 1990, there was a big sign saying "みなとみらい-21" (Minato Mirai-21), announcing the area as a new development project for the coming 21st century.  And now here we are - in the 21st century, and the area is pretty well fully developed.

A comment on how this ride looks to me now (when watching the 1990 video) - it seems a little like how a propeller airplane pilot might have seen the world while buzzing around in an airplane?  Not having ever been in that type of aircraft, I'm not sure, but it reminds me of some movie footage I've seen from old planes with open cockpits.

1990 - Isezaki-Chojamachi to Shin-Yokohama 伊勢佐木長者町駅-横浜駅 (901208)

There's some overlap in this video with the 65-minute Yokohama video, but only at the beginning within the first minute.  After that, it's the trip from Isezaki-Chojamachi Station to Shin-Yokohama Station (via subway).

1990 - Type-0 Shinkasen Ride (Yokohama to Tokyo) 0型新幹線 (新横浜-東京) 901208

A ride in a Hikari Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo.  The fast Hikari Shinkansen trains are scheduled so that if you time it right, you can take one to just about any of the Shinkansen stations.  I don't think so many Hikari Shinkansen trains stop at Yokohama, so it was lucky timing (since it's more interesting to be on a Hikari than it is to be on a local train - even though there is no difference in speed between them when running between Shin-Yokohama and Tokyo [the Shinkansen didn't stop at Shinagawa in 1990]).  One of the things I like about this video are the noises the train makes in the dining car - noises that remind me of passenger trains I rode in as a kid.  Newer trains don't sound like that.

1990 - Tokyo Station - Shinkansen to Chuo Line Transfer (901208)

1990 - Chuo Line, Saikyo Line, and Seibu Line Views (901208)

1990 - Ikebukuro and Ride to Shinjuku (901213)

Jumping back to this year - to January 1st, 2013 for a look at New Year's Day at a Tokyo shrine.

New Year's Day 2013 - Okonomiyaki お好み焼 (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 - Food Stall Banners (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 - Walking by Food Stalls (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 Shrine Visit - Waiting in Line (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 Shrine Visit - Looking Around (130101)

And back to 22 years ago - this time to Saturday, January 12th, 1991, and then Tuesday, January 15th, 1991.

1991 - Old Store in Setagaya 世田谷の古い店 (910112)

This old type of store used to be the norm - a small store in front, with the owners of the store living in the rear of the building.  The shopkeeper allowed me to take pictures and I recorded a little while talking with her.

1991 - Setagaya Line to Shimotakaido 世田谷線の下高井戸駅 (910112)

Shimotakaido is the station where the Setagaya Line terminates and is a transfer point to/from the Keio Line.  It's also an interesting area with narrow streets full of old shops (more so in 1991 than in 2013, but still it's an interesting area).

1991 - Shimotakaido Station 下高井戸駅 (Setagaya and Keio Lines) 910112

1991 - 1949 Setagaya Streetcar 世田谷線の市電 (910112)

I ride a cool old (1949 - 昭和24年) streetcar with a wooden floor, much of the interior also made of wood, and with interestingly/artistically shaped cast-iron pieces supporting the hand grips, etc.  These old streetcars which were still in use in 1991, have unfortunately all been replaced with functional, but soulless new ones.

1991 - Keio Line - Shimotakaido to Shinjuku 京王線下高井戸から新宿 (910112)

1991 - Shinjuku Station - Keio, Odakyu, Mosaic-Dori, JR 新宿モザイク通り (910112)

1991 - Shinjuku Mosaic-Dori 新宿 モザイク通り (910112)

By way of contrast, here is what this street/alley/shopping mall looks like now (video from December 2012 - I enter the street from the opposite direction at about 0:55):

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

Hmm... I didn't notice the change until comparing the two videos, but the old tile sidewalk that probably gave the street its name (Mosaic) has been replaced with something that isn't a mosaic any longer.  So if you were wondering (from the 2012/13 version of the street) where it got its name, here's the answer!

1991 - Saikyo Line - Shinjuku to Ikebukuro 埼京線 新宿から池袋まで (910112)

1991 - Ikebukuro Station - Winter Night Scene 池袋駅冬の夜 (910112)

On January 12th, 1991, the woman in the old shop had told me about the big Setagaya Boroichi street market that was to take place on Tuesday, January 15th, so I went back for a look:

1991 - Hibarigaoka to Boroichi in Setagaya 世田谷ボロ市までの旅 (910115)

1991 - JR Orange Card Booth (Ikebukuro) オレンジカード販売中 (池袋駅) 910115

I had completely forgotten about the "orange card" that JR sold for a short while!  It was sold at a time when all the railways had similar type cards, and each railway's card could only be used in its own machines.  JR had the "Orange Card", and I think (if I remember correctly) Seibu's card was the "Leo Card", etc.  I've forgotten what the others were called.  This system (where the card could only be used to buy tickets,  not as a ticket itself) didn't last long.

1991 - Shimokitazawa Station 下北沢駅 (910115)

Shimokitazawa is the point where the Odakyu and Inokashira lines cross each other - sharing the same station, which is a convenient transfer point from one to the other.

1991 - 1949 Street Cars - Daytime View (Setagaya) 1949年の市電 (世田谷) 910115

Putting these daytime views of the 1949 streetcars together (above and below) with the night views I took on January 12th, 1991 (see links further up the page), you can get a pretty good idea of how these streetcars looked and sounded (the end of the following video, from around 21:00 has some fairly good views from the ride away from the street market).

1991 - Setagaya Boroichi Street Market 1991年の世田谷ボロ市 (910115)

The street market was incredibly crowded.  It's a bit too popular for its own good.  When the crowds get really intense, you can't really shop - about all you can do is struggle through the intense crowds.  When I visited a few years ago, it was still like that - particularly on weekends (the event takes place on December 15th and 16th and January 15th and 16th, regardless of what day of the week those dates fall on).

And back to 2013:

Seibu-Shinjuku Line - Tokorozawa to Higashi-Murayama (130105)

Higashi-Murayama Station Platform at Night (130105hd)

Seibu Line Trains Arriving at Tokorozawa Station (130105hd)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


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