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blog-L - (2013c)


"1990 Yokosuka, Zushi, Ichikawa, etc; 2013 Hibarigaoka, Rikugien Gardens, etc."

Starting off with several views from 1990 - including a trip to Yokosuka and Zushi on December 15th, 1990 and views of Ichikawa on December 22nd, 1990.  After that, many 2013 views, including of Monomiyama Park, Hibarigaoka, Rikugien Gardens, Komagome, Shinjuku, Manseibashi Bridge, Kanda, the Tobu-Tojo Line, the Chuo Line, etc. etc.

1990 手動改札出口 JR池袋駅 Manual Ticket Gates JR Ikebukuro 901213

Since this was set up specifically as an exit, the people manning the ticket gates were there primarily to take tickets and monitor dates on passes.  Since most people are just streaming through, it almost looks like it's automated in some way, but there was no automation at all (although nearly all the stations became fully automated soon after this).

The system was that most commuters had monthly (or three-month or six-month) passes, which they held up while walking through, and the station people in the ticket gates watched for the correct zone and that the train pass date was still valid.  You might think it would be easy to cheat, and I witnessed some people doing so at the time, but if you were caught, the penalty was fairly severe, so most people were honest about it.

1990 Nishi-Shinjuku Walkabout 西新宿散策散歩 901213

1990 Shinjuku to Hibarigaoka 新宿駅からひばりヶ丘駅まで 901213

1990年 横須賀と逗子の日帰り旅 1990 Trip to Yokosuka and Zushi 901215

This one is pretty long - pretty close to two hours long in fact - so there's a lot of information contained in this one.  If you're interested in how Yokosuka and Zushi looked in 1990, then this might be worth watching.  I think this was the only time I took video out that way back in 1990.

1990 Ichikawa Walkabout - Walk to Ichikawamama Station 市川と市川真間駅 901222

1990 Ichikawamama to Ueno 市川真間駅から上野駅まで 901222

1990 Ueno Ameyokocho Walkabout 上野アメヤ横丁辺り散策散歩 901222

In some ways, Ameyokocho hasn't changed.  If you go there today, the same type of shops are still noisily conducting business.  What I think has changed however, is that back when I took this, it seemed like most of the people walking around were there for shopping, whereas the last few times I went to this area towards the end of the year, it seemed very much like the majority of people filling the streets were there just to witness the event of a lot of people being there.  Not only were not many people even attempting to shop, but the crowd density was so high that it was nearly impossible to even get close to the shops.  About all you could do was flow along (uncomfortably) in the river of tightly packed people.

Gallery Ginza One December 2013 Exhibition Party ギャラリー銀座ワンの2013年12月展示会 131209

Chuo Line Twilight View 中央線夕暮れ武蔵境駅から三鷹駅まで 131129

Chuo Line View of Ochanomizu to Tokyo 中央線で御茶ノ水駅から東京駅まで 131209g

Outbound Tobu Tojo Line View 下り東武東上線窓の風景 131204

Hibarigaoka Kitaguchi Shotengai View ひばりが丘北口商店街散策散歩 131204

The introduction of large-box discount shops and Internet shopping has taken a lot of business away from the old shotengai shopping streets.  So much so, that they are now rapidly disappearing.  I know the trend, but I was still surprised to see a whole section of the east exit Hibarigaoka shotengai simply gone - with a large area of vacant dirt in its place.

Hibarigaoka Station Night Walkabout ひばりヶ丘駅夜散策散歩 131204

Keio Line Shinjuku Station Evening View 京王線新宿駅内の夕方様子 131209

Shinjuku to Osaki Twilight View 夕暮れ新宿から大崎まで 湘南新宿線 131206

Shinjuku Construction Site seen from Platform 新宿ホームからの工事現場の様子 131129

For the last few weeks, this has looked more or less the same, but once they start building upwards, things will progress rapidly and this view will be gone for... not forever, but for the next few generations presumably.

Keio Line Night Window View 京王線夜窓の風景 上り電車 131209

Keio Line Window View Arrival at Shinjuku 京王線新宿駅に到着と駅内 131209

Bus 360 Look in Parking Lot at End of Line 131204

I was in the area, so I decided to ride a bus to the end of the line just to see what was there.  What was there was a residential-only suburbia that felt very uncomfortable to be in as an outsider.

Bus Stop in Suburbia 131204

It was a relief to escape suburbia (see video below).  My visit there was a weird experience.  In most areas of Tokyo, you can ride a train somewhere, and when you get off and walk around, there's generally something of interest to see, and it's fun to explore.  This suburbia with only residential houses was a spooky/scary experience.  Used to more friendly streets in Tokyo, I felt very uncomfortable in this area.  Only one person very openly and very rudely stared at me, but I could feel that it was basically a closed area that didn't like strangers visiting, so I got out of there in a hurry and plan on never ever ever returning.

Exiting Suburbia via Bus バスでニュータウンを出る 131204g

川越市駅で東武東上線 Boarding Tobu Tojo Line at Kawagoeshi Station 131204

物見山公園の秋木 Autumn Trees in Monomiyama Park 131204

六義園 秋の夜A Rikugien Gardens Autumn Night Stroll 131203

This old, traditional garden in Tokyo is only open at night twice a year - for about a week in the springtime and about a week in the autumn.

六義園 秋の夜B Rikugien Gardens Autumn Night Stroll 131203

1130PM Shinjuku Station Platform 夜の新宿駅ホームの様子 Waiting 131203

Evening Ikebukuro Station and Street on East Side 池袋 駅から東口まで 131204

FC View Arriving at Seibu Takadanobaba Station 西武高田馬場駅に到着 131203

FCV Takadanobaba to Shinjuku on the Seibu Shinjuku Line 高田馬場駅から西部新宿駅 131203g

Ikebukuro East Sidewalk Stroll 池袋夜東口散策散歩 131204

Komagome Station Platform Stroll at Night 駒込駅夜ホームの様子 131203

Near Komagome Station Looking Around at Night 夜の駒込大通 131203

Riding Empty Bus in Saitama 埼玉の空バスを乗る 131204

Away from central Tokyo, the car culture introduced from the US rules and although there are buses, they are often nearly empty.  For this ride, I was the only passenger.

Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform 360 at Night 新宿駅中央線夜ホーム360 131129

7th to 5th Floor Stroll 七階から五階の散策 131207

Walking through part of an atmospheric old 1930's building in Ginza.

Ceiling Details in 1930s Basement Room 131207

夕暮れ埼京線ホーム隣工事現場 Saikyo Line Platformside Construction 131206

立川駅での最終上り中央線 1248AM Last Inbound Train at Tachikawa 131210

Late Night Chuo Line Train Arriving at NishiKokubunji 中央線 131210

Tokyo Yaesu Side Construction Zone 東京駅八重洲口工事現場 131207

Train Passing in the Night 夜の電車が通る 131204

Walking Towards JR Section of Shinjuku Station from Keio Line 131209

Making the transfer from the Keio Line to one of the JR lines.

Yurakucho Izakaya Tunnel 有楽町居酒屋アーチ 131207

Yurakucho to Tokyo via Yamanote Line 山手線で有楽町から東京まで 131207

北野駅で京王線を乗る Boarding Keio Line Train at Kitano 131209

Late Night Platform View While Waiting for Last Train of the Night 131208

1246AM Mostly Empty Chuo Line Train 夜中のがらがら中央線 131210

I read somewhere (and I've heard, and I believe) that the Chuo Line is - on average over the whole day - the most crowded train line in all of Japan, so it's not often that you see a nearly empty Chuo Line train, but getting on one at 12:46 a.m. is one way of seeing the train lightly loaded.

Osaki Escalator to Yamanote Platform 大崎駅山手線ホームまでのエスカレーター 131206

Departing Shinjuku Station via Chuo Line at Night 中央線 131209

Ikebukuro Street to Platform 池袋東口から西武池袋線ホームまで 131204

Side Streets in Hibarigaoka ひばりが丘の夜横道 131204n

Hibarigaoka Railroad Crossing Trains ひばりヶ丘駅隣の踏切電車 131204

Escalator to Outbound Platform at Hibarigaoka Station 131204

Hibarigaoka Nighttime Outbound Platform 夜のひばりヶ丘駅下りホーム 131204

Seibu Ikebukuro Line to Seibu Shinjuku Line Transfer at Tokorozawa 131204

Late Night City Flowing By 夜の窓ビュー 131210

Takasaka Station Bus Stop 360 高坂駅バス停360 131211

Edge of Monomiyama Park 物見山公園の秋ビュー 131211

End of Platform View at Tobu Tojo Line Ikebukuro Station 池袋東武東上線 131211

Manseibashi Bridge Twilight 360 夕暮れ万世橋の橋360 131211

Chuo Line Train Passing Former Manseibashi Station Platform 131211

御茶ノ水駅工事現場と中央線を乗る Ochanomizu Station Construction Etc 131211

Ochanomizu is one of the few steel and wood stations left in Tokyo, but it looks like that steel and wood is about to vaporize via the ever hungry Godzilla Construction Industry Monster (GCIM).  Presumably, JR (Japan Railways... or is it Japan Retail?) will be building yet another shopping mall with train access (SMWTA) here.

Arriving at Shinjuku via Chuo Line 中央線で新宿駅へ 131213

Tokyo Station Yaesu Side Newly Opened Bus Loading Zone 131214

あっ! 危ない!! ポスター Nihonbashi Station 日本橋駅 131214

A view of a platform poster warning drinkers to be careful  not to fall off the platform and reminding people that the trains can be stopped by pressing one of the many emergency stop buttons on the platform.

Boarding Tozai Line Train at Nihonbashi 日本橋駅で東西線を乗る 131214

Shinjuku South Exit 新宿駅南口 西新宿向き Nishi-Shinjuku Bound 131210

Kanda Under Bridge Construction View 神田駅橋下の工事様子 131210

神田駅工事現場西口 Kanda Station Construction West Side 131210

Kanda Station Construction Southeast Side 神田駅工事現場南口 131210

Kanda Station Quick 360 Platform View 夜の神田駅ホームの様子 131210

Tobu Tojo Line Train Arriving at Takasaka Station 高坂駅の東武東上線 131211

Tobu Tojo Line Empty Train Carriage Stroll 東武東上線の空車両散策散歩 131211

Tobu Tojo Line Ikebukuro Station Platform Stroll 東武東上線池袋駅ホーム 131211

Akihabara Station Platforms 秋葉原駅ホームの様子 131211

Tozai Line Train Arriving at Nihonbashi Station 日本橋駅の東西線 131211

Nihonbashi to Otemachi via Tozai Line 東西線で日本橋から大手町まで 131211

Nihonbashi Station 日本橋駅 Street to Platform 道からホームまで 131214

Kanda Station-side 360 神田駅360ビュー 131210

Observation Deck Lookaround 展望台の見回る 埼玉ピースミュージアム 131211

Night Trains at Shoheibashi 昌平橋辺りの夜電車 光と水反射 131211

Ochanomizu Station Hijiribashi Entrance to Platform 御茶ノ水駅の聖橋口 131211

Kanda to Tokyo via Chuo Line 中央線で神田駅から東京駅まで 131211

600pm Tokyo Station Concourse 東京駅通路の夕方様子 131211

万世橋グラスビュー Manseibashi Glass View 131210

Boarding Tobu-Tojo Line Train at Kawagoeshi 東武東上線の川越駅ホーム 131218

Kawagoeshi to Takasaka via Tobu-Tojo Line 川越駅から高坂駅まで 東武東上線で 131218

NRA Red Arrow Departing Hon-Kawagoe 本川越駅からNRAレッドアローが出発 131218

所沢駅で止まってるレトロ色のNRA Old Paint Scheme Red Arrow NRA at Tokorozawa 131218

Ordering Curry and Rice from Talking Vending Machine 喋る機械から注文をする 131219

There have been machines to buy tickets from for restaurants like this for at least two decades, but this is the first one I've seen that talks back and uses a computer touch screen instead of standard (or should I say "old type"?) buttons.

New Old Style Izakaya 新古形居酒屋 131219

Now that genuinely old structures in Tokyo have been nearly completely eradicated, the very few (and very rare) ones left are suddenly popular - to the point that they've started decorating sections of new buildings to look like the old type that are nearly extinct.  This izakaya in a modern concrete building is one such example.  As long as you don't look up at the modern concrete ceiling, you could almost think you were in a traditional old wooden izakaya.

Yamanote to Chuo Line Transfer at Shinjuku 新宿駅の山手線から中央線まで 131219

Inside Packed Late Night Chuo Line Train 忘年会シーズンの満人夜中央線内部 131219

For the most part, you can't really politely take pictures inside a really crowded train, but when I looked around on this particular occasion, I noticed that no one was facing me, so I was able to take this quick view inside a packed train without showing anyone's face.

湘南新宿ライン東海道線直通特別快速 新宿駅から大崎駅まで SSLTCTK 131220

Shinjuku Construction by Saikyo Line 新宿夜工事現場 131220

Hon-Kawagoe to Minami-Otsuka via Seibu Line 西武線で本川越駅から南大塚駅まで 131218g

End of Platform at Honkawagoe 本川越駅で急行が到着します 131218

Komagome in a Cold December Rain 駒込での冷たい十二月の夜雨 131219g

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"1991 Kawasaki, Yokohama, Etc; 2013 Monomiyama Park, Shinjuku, Hamamatsucho, Etc."

This batch of videos begins with views from November 1991 showing Kawasaki, Yokohama, and Hiyoshi.  After the 1991 views, are many views from 2013, including the usual views of central Tokyo (Shinjuku, Hamamatsucho, Ginza, etc.), as well as views from an area I've not covered before - Monomiyama Park, and the nearby Saitama Peace Museum (Peace Museum of Saitama).  In Hamamatsucho are views of the band Kiki performing live outside, near the station.  After other 2013 views, are several more views from November 1991, showing several train trips - mainly on the Yamanote Line, but also including two fairly detailed trips (outbound at night, and inbound in the daytime) on the Tokyu-Ikegami Line.

I've been a bit busy, and so haven't had time to get together photos for this batch of videos, so I'll just put one photo at the top of the page and the links below.  Looking over the titles, I may comment here and there, but there isn't much time....

1991 - Kawasaki Station Area 川崎駅辺り (911116)

1991 - Kawasaki to Yokohama (Tokaido Line) 川崎駅-横浜駅 東海道線 (911116)

This is a nostalgic one for me, as I used to often ride in this type of train on the Tokaido Line (the current trains are of a different design).

1991 - Yokohama Station Area 横浜駅辺り (911116na)

1991 - Yokohama to Hiyoshi Etc 横浜駅-日吉駅-渋谷駅-池袋駅など (911116)

Shinjuku to Osaki (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-大崎駅 山手線左右側 (131108)

Takahashi Keiko 高橋敬子 Exhibition at Gallery Kobo 巷房 (131107)

The artist explains (in Japanese) her art in this one, as the view goes from one painting to another at the exhibition.

Departing Koenji Late at Night 夜遅くの高円寺駅から出発 (131105n)

新宿駅夜のホーム Waiting for Late Night Train at Shinjuku Station (131105)

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Shinjuku Construction) 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 新宿工事 (131107)

Walking by Tokyo Tower (131107)

Tree Lighting in Kyobashi 京橋の夜光 (131107)

Boarding Tobu Line Train 東武線を乗る (131113)

Ebisu to Hiro (Hibiya Line) 恵比寿駅-広尾駅 日比谷線 (131114)

Bug Theme Exhibition at Art Space Rondo - November 2013 (131114)

Waiting for a Walk Light in Kyobashi 京橋でシグナルを待っている (131114)

Late Night Train Aisle 夜遅くの電車通路 (131114)

Old Type Train - Outbound from Tachikawa 立川駅から下り電車 (131118)

This train is of the same type (or nearly the same, I'm not sure it's actually the exact same model) as the old Tokaido Line train shown further up the page in a 1991 view.  I'm glad some of these are still on the rails, since they have so much more character than the newer types.

Outbound Chuo Line - Old Type Train 下り中央線 (131118)

Entering Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅に入る (131107)

夜の浜松町駅ホーム Waiting for and Boarding Train in Hamamatsucho (131107)

Yamanote Line Departing Yurakucho 有楽町駅の山手線出発 (131107)

Evening Yurakucho Station Platform 有楽町駅ホームの夕方様子 (131107)

Yamanote Line Train Passing Osaki Station 大崎駅を通る山手線 (131108)

Exiting Shinjuku Station via South Exit 新宿駅南改札口 (131112)

Shinjuku Station Open Platforms at Night 新宿駅夜オープンホーム (131112)

夜新宿駅ホームの流れ Shinjuku Platform Flowing by Window (131114)

Monomiyama Park A 物見山公園 秋 (131113)

Monomiyama Park B 物見山公園 秋 (131113)

Monomiyama Park C 物見山公園 秋 (131113)

Saitama Peace Museum Entrance 埼玉県平和資料館入り口 (131113)

Riding Elevator up Observation Tower at Saitama Peace Museum (131113)

Trees in an Autumn Breeze (131113)

Night Train Side Window View 夜電車の横窓風景 (131113)

Hamamatsucho Evening Sidewalk 浜松町散策散歩 (131114)

Late Twilight in Yaesu (Looking Over at Tokyo Station) 八重洲東京駅 (131114)

Observation Tower View - Peace Museum of Saitama (131113)

夕暮れ時の浜松町 Twilight in Hamamatsucho (131107g)

Twilight Bridge Stroll 夕暮れの橋散策散歩 (131113g)

Kiki - キンモクセイ - 浜松町ライブ Hamamatsucho Live (Set-1 Song-2)  131121

Tokyo Station 730pm - Concourse Stroll - 東京駅コンコース散策 (131121)

Nihonbashi Alley Stroll 日本橋小路散策散歩 (131121)

Tokyo Station 820pm - Concourse Stroll - 東京駅コンコース散策 (131121)

Departing Shinjuku Station at Night 夜の新宿駅から出発 (131122)

Kokubunji to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 国分寺駅-新宿駅 中央線左側 (131121)

Shinjuku to Osaki 新宿駅-大崎駅 湘南新宿ライン東海道線直通快速 (131122)

Kiki - カテゴライズ (Categorize) - 浜松町ライブ Hamamatsucho Live (Set-1 Song-3) 131121

Kiki - パスワード (Password) - 浜松町ライブ Hamamatsucho Live (Set-2 Song-1) 131121

Kiki - 砂時計 (Hourglass) - 浜松町ライブ Hamamatsucho Live (Set-2 Song-4) 131121

Kiki - ハッピーバースデー (Happy Birthday) 浜松町ライブ Hamamatsucho Live (Set-3 Song-3) 131121

Kiki - 誰も知らない小さな世界 - 浜松町ライブ Hamamatsucho Live (Set-4 Song-5) 131121

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 山手線 (131121)

Evening Stroll in Hamamatsucho 浜松町の夕方散歩 (131121)

夕暮れの大崎 Twilight Osaki (131122)

Chuo Line Night Window Reflections 中央線夜の反射 (131119g)

Bus Ride Through Light and Shadow 光と影の走るバス (131120g)

Unusually, I was the only passenger on a bus I got on, so I sat in the very back and looked up the aisle, enjoying the light and shadows from the winter afternoon sun shining through the right side windows.

1991 - Hibarigaoka to Ikebukuro (Seibu Line) ひばりヶ丘駅-池袋駅 西武池袋線 (911123)

1991 - 新品自動改札口 西武池袋線 Seibu-Ikebukuro - New Ticket Gates (911123)

Regarding the automatic ticket gates and their implementation in Tokyo, there seems to be a lot of confusion recently about when they were installed (judging from comments I've received from viewers, as well as conversations I've had).  I had also begun to forget the precise timing, but in watching the (carefully dated) videos I took  in 1990 and 1991, what's evident is that there were no automatic ticket gates in Tokyo in early 1990 (not in the places I went in in any case), and then later in the year they began installing them.  But while they began installing them in 1990, it wasn't until late 1991 that most of the city (the major stations anyway) had them.

Also, they weren't uniformly installed at each station as they were implemented.  For example, they were first installed at the south exit of Shinjuku Station, but the other exits of the station remained manually run for some time (months I think - the evidence is in the videos somewhere!) after the south exit gates went automatic.

1991 - Ikebukuro (East Side) Walkabout 池袋 東口散策散歩 (911123n)

Fukuda Akio 福田璋夫 Woodblock Print Exhibition 木版展示会 (131128)

I've always been attracted to and interested in the old woodblock prints of Japan, so I found this to be a really fascinating exhibition (of new woodblock prints made with traditional techniques).  The artist explained the historically and artistically interesting process in some detail for me (and the camera).  It's in Japanese, but even if you don't understand the language, much of the process can be understood just from carefully watching, as he points to the areas on the actual wood blocks he hand carved and the printed results on washi-paper.  If you're interested in woodblock prints and the techniques involved, you may well want to see this one.

Thinking back, there was something he told me that I think might not be in this video - specifically, the way the paper must be kept a little damp, from the beginning of the process to the end, for two reasons.  One is that ink isn't absorbed well by dry paper (leading to uneven coloring) and the other is to keep the *size* of the paper the same, as paper shrinks when it dries.  (The reason it's important that the paper size not change during the multi-plate printing process is for registration purposes.)

中央線特別快速 三鷹駅-中野駅 Chuo Line Special Rapid - Mitaka to Nakano (131128)

Shinjuku to Ebisu Left Side View 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 左側の風景 (131128)

Yoshikawa Kiyoshi 吉川潔 (A) Exhibition at Ginza Hakko 木の香 (131128)

Yoshikawa Kiyoshi 吉川潔 (B) Exhibition at Ginza Hakko 木の香 (131128)

Former Under-Bridge Area in Ginza 銀座元橋の下 (131128)

Tokyo Station Yaesu Side Construction Zone Etc 東京駅八重洲口 工事など (131128)

Trains Arriving at Kawagoeshi Station (Tobu-Tojo Line) 川越市駅電車 東武東上線 (131127)

Autumn Woods 秋の森 (131127)

End-to-End Cabs on Tobu-Tojo Line 東武東上線社内部分 (131127)

Chuo Line Window View on Way to Mitaka 中央線窓風景 三鷹駅向かう (131128)

Ginza - Old Wooden Izakaya Area 銀座木造居酒屋 (131128)

I don't think this area is long for this world - in fact, when I saw construction a block over, I at first thought it had already been eaten by the Godzilla construction industry, causing me to think "I wish I had recorded it in more detail while it was still there..." and then I walked over a block and "Oh! - There it is!  It *is* still there!", so I immediately acted on the urge to record it before GCI gets it.

1991 - Ikebukuro to Tabata (Yamanote Line) 池袋駅-田端駅 山手線 (911123)

1991 - Tabata Walkabout 田端駅辺り散策散歩 (911123)

1991 - Tabata to Ikebukuro 田端駅-池袋駅 山手線 (911123)

1991 - Ikebukuro Brief Stroll 池袋ちょっとした散歩 (911123)

1991 - Ikebukuro to Shinjuku (Saikyo Line) 池袋駅-新宿駅 (911123)

1991 - 新宿花園神社の酉の市 Shinjuku Hanazonojinja Torinoichi Festival (911123)

This is a fairly long video (about 20 minutes), that gets off to a slow start as I slowly walk within a slow crowd towards a shrine during a festival, but has some interesting scenes in the thick of it later on, watching people buying things from stalls on the grounds of the shrine.

1991 - Shinjuku to Shibuya (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-渋谷駅 山手線 (911123)

1991 - Shibuya Evening Walkabout 渋谷夕方散策散歩 (911123)

1991 A Friends Apartment 友達のマンション 911124

This is a good example of one of the nicer apartments in Tokyo, which my friend's company was paying for.  (The apartments I've lived in have been smaller and of a rather different design.)  The overseas corporate people tend to have it nice while they're here....

1991 Early Morning YukigayaOtsuka 朝早くの雪谷大塚町 日曜日 911124

1991 Gotanda to Meguro ll Yamanote Line 五反田駅 目黒駅 山手線 911124

[File name note: I wanted a "-" between "Meguro" and "Yamanote" (Meguro - Yamanote), but YouTube performed an auto-filename-mutate function on the name and wouldn't allow me to fix the broken result, so - in desperation - I put the "ll" there to take the place of the eradicated "-".]

1991 Shibuya to Gotanda ll Yamanote Line 渋谷駅 五反田駅 山手線 911123

1991 Yamanote to Ikegami Transfer at Gotanda 山手線 池上線乗り換え 五反田駅で 911123

1991 YukigayaOtsuka to Gotanda ll Ikegami Line 雪が谷大塚駅 五反田駅 東急池上線 911124

These two videos (above and below) show much of the Ikegami Line in some detail - one at night, and the other in daylight.

1991 五反田駅ー雪が谷大塚駅 東急池上線 Gotanda to YukigayaOtsuka ll Ikegami Line 911123

1991 五反田駅散策散歩 東急池上線とJR線 Gotanda Station Walkabout 911124

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Virtual and Actual Gated Communities"

Standing at a bus top in one of the "new town"s in a Tokyo suburb, I thought how to explain the feeling I had, and the first word that came to mind was... "creepy".  That's probably a little bit of an overstatement, but while walking down the streets lined with attractive houses and carefully maintained yards/gardens, I had a very powerful feeling of not belonging to the area.  Only a few of the people I came near overtly stared at me, but there was a feeling of my every move being watched.

Not wanting to test that uneasy feeling, I heeded the urge to get out of there and went/hurried to the bus stop.  On foot, the houses seemed to stretch uncomfortably into the distance, but after boarding the nearly empty bus, it motored out of the area rather rapidly.  There's nothing like walking to give yourself an appreciation (via contrast) for the convenience of power-driven wheeled transportation.

It wasn't a gated community exactly, but in its isolation (an island of houses not connected with anything else and accessible only via car or bus), I think you could put it in the same category as a gated community.  As I write that, one experience in particular comes to mind.  I sat down on a public bench for a few minutes near the (only?) grocery store, and a man sat on a bench opposite from me and stared very openly/rudely at me with a look that seemed to say "What are you doing in my area?".  That alone wouldn't be a big deal, but the whole area felt very strange and had a radically different atmosphere from what I'm used to in more central/normal areas of Tokyo.

As the bus motored back to civilization, I felt relieved and thought I was free of gated communities for the day, but then I (for old time's sake) went to an area (on the other side of town) that I used to spend a lot of time in.  Walking out of the rebuilt station, I looked over and - lo! there was a rather tall residential tower (read "vertical gated community") near the station.  I walked over to try and comprehend this new beast in an area of town that still felt like an old friend.  Walking around it, I stopped on the far side and looked up - feeling a little dumbfounded at all that mass reaching up into the sky.

The interior lighting seemed to be about evenly split between yellow-tinted and stark white.  Continuing around towards the station, I thought I'd walk up near the entrance of the tower for a few seconds.  I walked up, looked at (the outside of) the entrance doors, and then walked a few steps over towards a covered area apparently for taxis, delivery vehicles, etc.  Comprehending the design, I was about to leave when I noticed a security man approaching me.  Seeing the expression on his face, I said "Oh, sorry!  I used to often come to this area... I was just taking a quick look".  He looked at me as though I were some kind of horrible criminal and said, "So you don't have business with someone in the building?", to which I replied, "No, I don't.  Sorry to have disturbed you", and I took my leave.  [The conversation on both sides was in Japanese, BTW.]

It was a much more unpleasant experience for me than it should have been.  From the radio waves emanating from the guard and the way he was looking at me, you would think he had caught me inside the building doing something terrible and wrong.  I guess, in the messed up era we live in, *looking* at the *outside* of the entrance doors to a vertical gated community is a really terrible thing?

After that, I walked around the area a bit, both finding old familiar things and feeling a little disoriented at all the things that had vanished without a trace.  As I walked around, with the tower always in line of sight (it's quite tall), it suddenly seemed ugly, unfriendly, and even menacing in a real, but hard to explain/define way.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"1990 Tamachi, Machida, Etc; 1991 Friday Night; 2013 Osaki, Ginza, Shinjuku, Etc."

Starting off with a look back via scenes from April 1991, and then jumping to typical Tokyo scenes in the last week of October 2013, and then looking back via scenes of October 1990, and wrapping up this batch with a return to more views of 2013.

1991 - Out Friday Night - Back Saturday Morning (910426)

Setting out one evening (in 1991) via bus and train to visit a friend on the other side of town for a general rant session and several beers while watching videos, etc.  I missed the last buses and trains for the day and took the first ones the next morning to get back home.  Not sure how this looks to people outside Japan, for for Tokyo residents, this should look and sound very familiar.

The 5th Floor - October 17th (131017)

This photo isn't actually from the 5th floor, but it's from the same building, so the atmosphere is right and it was taken on the same day as the video.

Freight Train Passing Kita-Asaka Station Platform 貨物電車 北朝霞駅 (131023)

1932 Wooden Flooring in Ginza (131024)

The 2nd Floor (A) October 24th (131024)

The 2nd Floor (B) October 24th (131024)

Learning Kanji Via a Beer Can 缶ビールから漢字を勉強する (131024)

Just talking with a local about the kanji name of the beer of I was drinking.

Yurakucho-SB (Quick Look) 有楽町SBの一見 (131024)

This view doesn't appear in the video of the Yurakucho-SB - but I passed by here on the way to YSB, so it's a part of that evening's atmosphere.

Tokyo Station - Reserved Seat Express Train Departing 東京駅特急 (131024)

Osaki Station Metal Staircase - New Train Etc 大崎駅 ホームの様子 (131025)

E-233 Walkthrough E233の内部の様子 大崎駅 (131025)

The scene in this photo isn't specifically in the Osaki videos above and below, but is in Osaki and was taken during the same evening, so it's relevant in that sense.  Just don't expect this scene to appear in the videos - it doesn't.

Osaki to Ebisu (Saikyo Line) 大崎駅-恵比寿駅 夜の埼京線 (131025)

Shinjuku Stationside Construction (131017)

Shinbashi to Yurakucho (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 新橋駅-有楽町駅 京浜東北線 (131017)

Takadanobaba Tozai Line Platform - Waiting for Train (131022)

Otemachi to Nihonbashi (Tozai Line) 大手町駅-日本橋駅 東西線 (131022)

Nihonbashi to Kyobashi (Ginza Line) 日本橋駅-京橋駅 銀座線 (131022)

Haba Fumihiko Exhibition 羽場文彦展 LIXILギャラリー (131022)

Hayama Mariko Exhibition (A) 羽山まり子展 マイホーム LIXILギャラリー (131022)

This installation was interesting to me as the old material (wrapped in some kind of transparent sheets) taken from a house that was remodeled contained several things that were similar to things in an old apartment that I used to live in.

Hayama Mariko Exhibition (B) 羽山まり子展 マイホーム LIXILギャラリー (131022)

London Abbey District Double Decker Bus in Tokyo (131022)

I think this is the all-time coolest design for a bus.  I wish they were still making them like this.

Tokyo to Manseibashi (Chuo Line) 東京駅-元万世橋駅 中央線 (131022)

To the platform (without stopping) of the former station that is.

Trains in the Night - Shinjuku Southern Terrace (131022)

新宿の夜電車の光と音 総武線橋の音 Night Trains - Lights and Sounds (131022)

Shinjuku Lonely Boardwalk at Night (131022)

Walking by Shinjuku Stationside Construction Zone at Night (131022na)

Seibu-Shinjuku to Saginomiya 西武新宿駅-鷺ノ宮駅 西武新宿線 (131022)

Very unusually
(unfortunately) these days, a window was open and I was able to be right by it, so I took some video out the open window.  It would be a lot better if the sound wasn't ruined by the wind, but my camera microphone doesn't have a wind screen on it.

Tanashi to Kodaira (Seibu Line) 田無駅-小平駅 西武新宿線 (131022)

Seibu-Shinjuku to Saginomiya 西武新宿駅-鷺ノ宮駅 西武新宿線 (131022)

Musashino Line Window View 武蔵野線窓の風景 (131024)

Nihonbashi to Kyobashi (Ginza Line) 日本橋駅-京橋駅 銀座線 (131024)

Evening Yurakucho Plaza 夕方有楽町広場 (131024)

Yurakucho to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 有楽町駅-東京駅 山手線 (131024)

Shinjuku to Osaki - Shinjuku Construction 新宿駅-大崎駅 新宿工事現場 (131025)

Osaki Station - Train Departing Station 大崎駅 (131025)

Elevated Passageway by Osaki Station 大崎駅向く (131025)

Yurakucho Evening Stroll 夕方有楽町散策散歩 (131024g)

1990 - Tamachi (To and From) 田町へ (電車など) 901015

1990 - Shinjuku (To and From) 新宿へ (電車など) 901016n

1990 - Machida (To and From) 町田へ (電車など) 901017

1990 - Yamanote Line - Tamachi Shinjuku Etc 田町 新宿など (901018n)

1990 - Friday Trip to Machida 金曜日の町田旅 (901019)

1990 - Akasaka Ark Hills Walkabout Etc 東京彼方此方 (901020n)

Tsutsumi Yoshihiko つつみよしひこ Y's ARTS-101 (131031)

Sketch by Tsutsumi Yoshihiko つつみよしひこ Y's ARTS-101 (131031)

Watching Baseball Game at Yurakucho-SB 有楽町SB野球見 (131031)

有楽町SB野球見 Watching Baseball Game at Yurakucho-SB (131031)

Shinjuku to Osaki (Shonan-Shinjuku Line) 新宿駅-大崎駅 湘南新宿線 (131101)

Shinjuku to Otsuka (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-大塚駅 山手線左側 (131102)

大塚駅-新宿駅 山手線右後ろ向き Otsuka to Shinjuku (Yamanote Line) 131102

Entering Shinjuku Station via South Entrance 新宿駅南口で入る (131102)

Outbound Chuo Line Window View 下り中央線左側の風景 (131102)

Arriving at Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 新宿駅に到着 中央線 (131029)

Shinjuku Station Open Platforms - Waiting for Train 夜新宿駅 (131029)

Nishi-Tachikawa to Tachikawa 西立川駅-立川駅 中央青梅線 (131030)

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Shonan-Shinjuku Line) 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 湘南新宿線 (131031)

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (131031)

Kanda to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-東京駅 山手線 (131031)

Twilight Osaki Stationside 夕暮れ大崎駅辺り 黄昏線路 (131101)

Shinjuku Yamanote Line Platform (Saturday Morning) 新宿駅山手線 (131102)

夕暮れ大崎駅辺りの散歩 Twilight Osaki Station Area Stroll (131101)

夜の大崎の反射と光と電車 Osaki Reflections and Light (131101)

夕暮れ山手線前向き 浜松町駅-神田駅 Twilight Yamanote FC View (131031)

Shiba-Koen Twilight-360 夕暮れ芝公園360黄昏 (131031)

大崎の夕暮れ踊り Twilight Dance in Osaki (131101g)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"1990 Urawa, Ueno, Etc; 1991 Korakuen, Shinjuku, Tokyo Monorail, Etc; 2013 Manseibashi Station, Shinjuku, Hamamatsucho, Etc"

Out and about, here and there in Tokyo in 1990, 1991, and 2013.  a couple of things that stand out in this batch for me personally are:

- The former Manseibashi Station platform (the one that remains) has reopened (as a shopping and restaurant complex) with much of a couple of its old staircases (one dating back to 1912) intact (I think both passageways are from 1912, but the stone *steps* of one were apparently replaced with concrete some decades ago).

Watching construction on the platform while passing the site on the Chuo Line, I had been worried about whether they were going to preserve the original remaining elements of the old Manseibashi Station, so I was quite happy to see they had, and spent a bit of time looking the place over, having a coffee on the platform (now a cafe by day and pub by night), and going back later that evening to have a beer (see "Manseibashi" videos below).

- Riding my Hi8 time machine back to 1991 and riding on the Marunouchi Line.  I have posted views of the old type Marunouchi Line trains coming into various stations before, but I don't think I've ever recorded the inside as extensively as I did on Friday, April 19th, 1991.  It was during the late morning and it wasn't crowded, so the conditions were good, and the sounds of the old trains are possibly more interesting even than the visual elements.  (It's a strange thing about sound - it's a huge part of atmosphere, but is easily forgotten... until heard again, when so many memories come back upon hearing long-forgotten sounds.)

1990 - Urawa Bus Rides Etc 浦和バスなど (900926)

1990 - Urawa to Ueno 浦和駅-上野駅 (900926)

1990 - Ueno Station (Evening) 夕方の上野駅 (900926)

1990 - Ueno to Hibarigaoka 上野駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 (900926)

1990 - Ikebukuro to Tamachi (Morning) 朝の池袋駅-田町駅 (900927)

1990 - Shiba Walkabout 芝散策散歩 (900927)

1990 - Tamachi to Shinjuku 田町駅-新宿駅 (900927)

1990 - Night Out in Shinjuku Etc 夜の新宿など (900927)

The bubble era is much overrated by young people today, but there was an optimism about the time that is definitely different from the worrisome times we now live in....  A little of that optimistic atmosphere can be seen and heard (somewhat) in this 1990 video.

Musashikogane to Mitaka 武蔵小金井駅-三鷹駅 中央線 (130926)

Mitaka to Nakano (Chuo Line) 三鷹駅-中野駅 中央線 (130926)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅-新宿駅 中央線 (130926)

End of Platform Bound (Shinjuku) ホームの様子 (130926)

A ten (or eleven, or fifteen) carriage long train is fairly long, and depending on where the exit is where you want to get off and how much time you have, it's sometimes important to get on the train towards one end or the other.

アートギャラリー石 グループ展 Art Gallery Ishi Group Exhibition (130926)

Ginza Main Street Bound 銀座横道から中央通りまで (130926)

Yurakucho Izakaya Street (Quick View) 有楽町居酒屋道の一見 (130926)

EF 64 37 八王子駅 Hachioji Station (131002)

A quick look at a freight locomotive from the window of a passing Chuo Line train at Hachioji Station.

Shinjuku to Ebisu - Shonan-Shinjuku Line 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 湘南新宿ライン (131003)

These trains tend to be quicker to Ebisu than the Yamanote Line (depending on how long you have to wait to board the train in the first place), but you have to be careful about what type of train it is, as not all of them stop at Ebisu.

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 浜松町駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (131003)

Kawase Kazuyo (A) 河瀬和世 Exhibition at Art Space Rondo (131003)

Kawase Kazuyo (B) 河瀬和世 Exhibition at Art Space Rondo (131003)

Kikuchi Megumi キクチメグミ Tsutsumi Yoshihiko つつみよしひこ Y's ARTS-508 (131003)

Yurakucho to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 有楽町駅-東京駅 山手線 (131003)

Shinjuku Construction Site 新宿駅隣工事現場 (130926)

At the moment, there's a pretty spectacular view of a large construction project right next to Shinjuku Station.  With the unusual condition of the railway forming a barrier, there's a clear view from the Saikyo Line platform of the project and it looks quite amazing, considering this kind of thing is usually out of sight behind high white construction walls.

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 山手線 (130926)

Hamamatsucho Street Corner 浜松町の角 (130926)

Evening Yurakucho Station 夕方有楽町駅ホーム (130926)

Bridge Dance Yurakucho 橋踊り 有楽町 (130926)

Meaning looking around *under* a rail bridge, not *on* it.  The steel bridges make the coolest sounds when trains go by overhead....

ある有楽町の夜 Windy Evening in Yurakucho (130926)

Yurakucho Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 夜の有楽町駅 (130926)

有楽町駅-東京駅 中央線 Yurakucho to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 130926

東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 中央線 Tokyo to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 130926

Departing Shinjuku - Chuo Line Window View 新宿駅から西へ (130926)

Platform View of Chuo Line Departing Hino Station (130926)

Platform views at elevated Hino Station late at night on a warm night.  This kind of platform can be really cold on a cold and windy night in the depths of winter, but is... (well... can be) an interesting experience when the temperatures are warm.

夜の日野駅 Waiting for a Train at Hino Station (130926)

Kokubunji to Nakano (Chuo Line) 国分寺駅-中野駅 中央線 (131003)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅-新宿駅 中央線 (131003)

Evening Hamamatsucho 夕方浜松町 (131003)

Twilight Walk to Hamamatsucho Station 夕暮れの浜松町駅 (131003)

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho FCV 浜松町駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (130926g)

1990 - Tokyo Here and There 東京の彼方此方 (900928)

There's a lot to see in this 1:11:19 (one hour, eleven minute, and nineteen second) video (taken Friday, September 28th, 1990).  From waiting for a Saikyo Line train in Ikebukuro, to a rare view of people tightly packed together inside the train (including myself) at around the 00:50 mark (rare, because I almost never *attempted* to take pictures under those conditions inside the trains), continuing on to a look at the south exit area at Shinjuku Station, and then a relaxing ride on a reserved seat express train from Shinjuku to Machida.

After that, a trip to Harajuku (via the Chiyoda Line); a view of a passing right-wing group in a parade of trucks and cars; many more train scenes; walking scenes, etc.; culminating in a visit to the old 1935 haunted hotel in Ryogoku (near the Ryogoku Bridge), which has since been demolished and replaced with a large condominium residence building.

Most of the old hotel part of the video I've posted before, and I posted a video combining a little less of what is shown at the end of this long clip with material from the next tape.  Just covering the hotel (with a little leading into it) is this older clip (combining material from two different tapes):

Old 1935 Ryogoku Hotel - Haunted in 1990 - (900928) - 1935年の両国ホテル

The following is (edited) text I previously posted in the "Description" section of that video post of the old hotel:

I was walking around recording images & sounds of the area along the river and soon after crossing over the Ryogoku Bridge (Ryogoku-bashi) and arriving on the Ryogoku Station side of the river not far from Ryogoku Station (just upriver), I noticed unusual-looking doors in an old building....

Taking a closer look, I peered through the glass doors and saw what looked like a hotel front desk, although there was no one in sight and it was clearly not being used as a hotel as I stood there, in September 1990.  I walked in (not something I would do now, in the security-conscious 21st century, but at the time, it wasn't so outrageous), and after looking around the halls a little, and seeing what I thought were vacant apartment rooms on the top floor, I ran into a tenant who told me that the hotel was built in 1935, and was a luxury hotel at the time, with nice views of the river (now obscured by the expressway).

He went on to explain that the building had been requisitioned by the US military following the end of WW-II and used as a residence for US military women.  It used to have high-ceilinged hallways, but fake ceilings had been put in (with florescent lights).

There were plans to tear the building down, but the last ten (or so) tenants were resisting.  Apparently the building had been used in some old movies as well.  He told me it was alright to take pictures in the halls, but to be careful of the second floor, as a few people lived there.  That building is long gone now, but I'm still hoping to find out more about it.  I did see one photo taken from across the river that shows it looking modern at the time (1930's).

1991 Korakuen Amusement Park 後楽園遊園地 (910223)

Korakuen Amusement Park has since been extensively rebuilt, so this may be of some historical interest as it shows how it used to look.

1991 Korakuen to Ikebukuro Etc 後楽園駅-池袋駅など (910223)

1991 Hibarigaoka to Shinjuku Etc ひばりヶ丘駅-新宿など (910226)

1991 Shinjuku Bookstore Visit Etc 新宿本屋など (910226)

A fairly long look inside a large bookstore in Shinjuku - mainly on the foreign books floor.  Now that most foreigners nearly always buy books on-line, it's more difficult to find English books in (physical) bookstores than it used to be, although the large stores of Kinokuniya and Maruzen still carry them.  I don't buy nearly as many books as I used to (too much reading on-line material...), but it's nice to look at real books and pick one out in person now and then (as opposed to clicking on pictures on the screen).

1991 Shinjuku Here and There 新宿の彼方此方 (910226)

1991 Shinjuku to Shibuya Etc 新宿駅-渋谷駅など (910226)

1991 東急田園都市線 Riding the Denentoshi Line (910226)

This video is important among my material from 1990-93 in that I didn't use the Denentoshi Line very often, and so this footage recording an outbound trip during the evening commute is fairly rare (among my own material in any case).

1991 Out Late in Suburban Tokyo 終電車を間に合わない時 (910226)

1991 彼方此方と新宿駅新改札口物語 Manual Ticket Gates in Shinjuku (910228)

This shows part of the transition process they went through in converting from manual ticket gates to automatic (machine) ticket gates.

1991 Walking Around in Ikebukuro Etc 池袋の彼方此方とか (910301)

1991 Tokyo Monorail Heiwajima-AF Etc 東京モノレールーで平和島へ (910302)

While riding the Tokyo Monorail out to an antique fair, I stood in the middle of the carriage and recorded video out both sides of the train - looking to the right, then to the left, back to the right, etc.

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Shonan-Shinjuku Line) 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 湘南新宿ライン (131004)

Shinjuku to Otsuka (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-大塚駅 山手線左側 (131005)

Asagaya to Shinjuku (Chuo Line-UD) 阿佐ヶ谷駅-新宿駅 中央線 上下 (131011)

The "UD" in the title stands for "upside down".  You might want to skip this one.  I was experimenting with a steep angle and the result isn't particularly good.  If you *do* watch it, keep in mind that the world is round and "up" is just a state of mind....

Shinjuku to Kanda (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-神田駅 中央線 (131011)

御茶ノ水駅に総武線が到着 Sobu Line Train Arriving at Ochanomizu (131011)

Descending Stairway at Ochanomizu Station 御茶ノ水駅の階段 ホームに向かう (131011)

Twilight Train Arriving at Osaki Station (131004)

Descending Osaki Narrow Escalator 大崎駅エスカレーター (131004)

Tokyo Yaesu-Side Big Roof Look Around 東京駅八重洲口新しい屋根 (131004)

The big roof on the Yaesu Side of Tokyo Station has been unveiled and looks fairly interesting.  Not being a big fan of form over function though, I'm not overly enthusiastic about it.

Tokyo Yaesu-Side Construction Site Viewed from 2nd Level Under Big Roof (131004)

Otsuka Station Platform to Exit 大塚駅の様子と通る成田エクスプレス (131005)

Chuo Line at Speed 中央線のドア窓の風景 (131005)

Shinjuku Evening ST-Construction (Pedestrian Bridge Etc) 夕方の新宿南口 (131008g)

The "ST" in this title is for "Southern-Terrace" as in "Shinjuku Southern Terrace" (I should have called it SST...).  The construction is *next to* the terrace - not on the terrace itself.  (But the terrace is actually in Shibuya-ku, so maybe it's best to just call it "Southern Terrace" after all.  On the other hand, the "southern" part of that refers to the fact that it's south of Shinjuku Station, by the Shinjuku Station exit that is... in Shibuya....)

Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho Etc 新宿思い出横丁など 夜の散策散歩 (131008)

Old Houses in Toranomon 虎ノ門の古い家 (131010)

Walking about in Tokyo, you used to see old houses like these here and there all over the city, but they are becoming extremely rare (in central Tokyo in any case).

Hamamatsucho - Ticket Gates to Platform 浜松町駅 改札口-ホームまで (131010)

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line FCV) 浜松町駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (131010)

Yamanote Line Train Departing Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅 夕方山手線 (131010)

Inner-Outer Ginza Barrier Road (131010)

My term - I find this huge expanse of asphalt to be the barrier between the walkable Ginza I know and love and the outer Ginza I don't know very well and usually don't feel motivated to cross all this asphalt and machine noise to get to.

Tokyo would be a much nicer city if personal cars were outlawed and the focus shifted back to pedestrians and mass transit....

Yurakucho Overhead Trackside October Evening 有楽町ガードの隣 (131010)

Hmm... not a good title!  If the rails were on the ground, it would have just been "Yurakucho Trackside" and I probably should have just stuck with that, regardless of the rails being elevated.  In any case, this video (above) shows the area next to the elevated tracks in Yurakucho.

Yurakucho to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 有楽町駅-東京駅 山手線 (131010)

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (131011)

North Side of Kanda Station 神田駅北口から散策散歩を出発 (131011)

Kanda-Sudacho 1-Chome Construction 神田須田町一丁目工事現場 (131011)

Former Manseibashi Station Platform Stairs 元万世橋駅階段とホーム (131011)

After watching the construction work on the old Manseibashi Station platform over the past year or so, when I looked out the right side window of an inbound Chuo Line train on this particular day and suddenly noticed people sitting at tables on the old platform, I jumped off the train at Kanda and hurried back to have a look (better to have walked there from Akihabara though).

Later - sitting at the glassed in, but open air (no roof) area on the platform while drinking an ice-coffee ("iced coffee" I guess, but I'm used to the local term), it was fun to watch the Chuo Line trains going by and to think of the history of the platform I was sitting on.

風と草 元万世橋駅ホームカフェ Wind in the Grass - Manseibashi Station Cafe (131011)

Twilight in Osaki 大崎の夕暮れ (131011)

Osaki Reflections and Station Entrance 大崎夜の反射と駅入り口 (131011)

Akihabara Station at 800PM 午後八時の秋葉原駅 (131011)

Manseibashi Station Area 元万世橋駅辺りの散策散歩 (131011)

Making a mental note of the fact that the Manseibashi platform cafe becomes an izakaya at night, I returned in the evening to see what it was like to have a beer on the open part of the platform (where I had earlier had a cup of coffee).  Thinking back on it - I can't say one is better than the other - they are both interesting and good experiences; warm and sunny in the afternoon, and slightly mysterious and moody at night with the many reflections of the lights of the passing trains on the glass walls.

Incidentally, some signs at the entrance refer to the newly developed part of the platform as the "2013 Platform", but it's the 1912 platform with a 2013 section built onto/into the middle.  The reason for this confusion is probably the same cause of the railways calling one side of a single platform - for example - "Platform One" and the other side of the very same platform "Platform Two" (rather than more correctly saying "Track One" and "Track Two").  With the import of the word, unfortunately its meaning as a single item was lost and it has some fuzzy meaning in Japanese ("area" maybe?), thus a new cafe/izakaya built atop an authentically old 1912 platform gets named "2013 Platform".  It's unfortunate, as people will misunderstand the fuzzy terminology and not realize the fascinating history of that platform - mistaking the 1912 platform (with the new 2013 part built onto the middle of the 1912 structure - and with the old 1912 passageways used for access) as having been built in its entirety (save the passageways) in 2013....

I mean... I *do* understand the thinking behind the name "2013 Platform" and there is a logic to it, but only if you ignore the actual meaning of the English word, so it would probably be best not to write the name in English (using katakana instead).  I wish they had called it "Platform 1912" which would be - in my view - a vastly better name.  So - here's my recommendation: Just *imagine* that the name is "Platform 1912" and enjoy the cool experience of having a beer on the old platform in the new izakaya *called* "2013 Platform".  1912... two years before the opening of the 1914 Tokyo Station building.

元万世橋駅散策散歩 夜の様子 Manseibashi Station Site Night Walkabout (131011)

Chuo Line Trains Passing Manseibashi Station Cafe 中央線と万世橋駅カフェ (131011)

Manseibashi Station Platform Night Stroll 万世橋駅ホーム散歩 (131011)

Water Reflections by Manseibashi Bridge 夜の万世橋 (131011)

夜の昌平橋 Nighttime Shoheibashi Bridge Area (131011)

Restaurants Near Former Shoheibashi Station 元昌平橋駅辺りのレストラン (131011)

Windy Railside Near Ochanomizu Station 風のある夜 御茶ノ水駅へ向かう (131011)

1991 - Marunouchi Line Etc 丸ノ内線 赤坂 彼方此方 (910419)

Friday, April 19th, 1991 - This is one of the things I mentioned at the top of this post.  Within this 39-minute video are some fairly detailed looks at the inside of the old type of Marunouchi Line trains, including the many distinctive noises they made.  All of the Marunouchi Line trains that appear in the video are of the old type, save one, which shows that they were just starting to phase the much-liked old type of Marunouchi Line trains out.

In addition to street views in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, I walk around in noontime Akasaka as well.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Mysterious Mr. Blue-Suit-Blue-Shoes"

2013/10/03 - (20:03) - I was going to call this "Mr. Blue-Suit, Half-French, Half-English", but then I realized that no one would read that and think I was referring to the man speaking half in French and half in English - this is an inconvenient aspect to the English language that it uses the same words for nationality and language.  In Japanese, you start with the country and add one character to specify if you're referring to its people or its language.  So, for Japan-Japanese-Japanese, you get  日本-日本人-日本語 (Nippon/Nihon - Nihonjin/Nipponjin - Nihongo/Nippongo).  In any case, no sooner had I given up on my first choice for a title than I listened more closely to the monologue (half of a cell phone call) in the park this story is about and realized I wasn't sure the non-English half of the conversation was French - more on that below...

Now to the text I wrote in my notebook at the time:

(16:30) - Actually, as I listen, I think the main non-English component probably isn't French, although - considering the way he mixes in English with his other sounds, he may well be speaking a mix of Something + English + French.  (The imagination works away trying to imagine who's on the other end of the conversation!).  Whatever it is he's speaking, Mr. Blue-Suit (+ Blue Shoes), who is sitting on a park bench, mysteriously sitting sideways and directly facing me (sitting two benches down), talks like this on his DG-Cell Phone:

"Dabba-munba, jungin.., eh?  Why?  There are two sides.  Dabba-munba, jungin.., eh?  First of all, dabba-munba, jungin.., money is perish, dabba-munba, jungin...  You now come to disappointment... dabba-munba, jungin.., eh?  He's a human being, dabba-munba, jungin, all human beings dabba-munba, jungin, etc. etc."

Naturally, the DMJ parts (dabba-munba, jungin) I can't accurately transcribe, since they are unintelligible to me, but the English parts are direct quotes I've transcribed as Mr. BSBS speaks.

Okay - the above part was written in Real Time, as Mr. BSBS spoke - now let's jump back in time about twenty minutes.

There are three benches in a row in the park I'm sitting in.  When I came to the park, there was one foreigner sitting on the middle bench.  I sat down on the bench to his left.  After looking around and taking in the cooling, but still green park for five minutes or so, a large man, possibly from Africa, wearing an immaculate blue suit, with matching blue shoes, strode upon the scene with active cell phone in hand, and proceeded to sit on the bench on the far right (from my perspective of sitting on the leftmost of the three benches in a row).

As he jabbered away on his cell phone, I thought "I'm glad Mr. Blue-Suit, Blue-Shoes, Cell-Phone-Dude isn't sitting right next to me... d**n cell phones!".  After a few minutes, the man sitting on the middle bench stood up and walked away.  Soon thereafter, Mr. BSBS swiveled on his bench 90 degrees to his left and directly faced me.  It seemed/felt a little weird, so I glanced that way, and he was staring at me from inside that blue suit of his.  I looked away - back to the scene in front of me, but Mr. BSBS's eye-beams still appeared to be on me, so I turned a little to the left so his eye-beams wouldn't hit my face.

However, it soon occurred to me that the view to the left wasn't what I wanted to see, so I looked forward again at the wonderful green trees.  But I could sense those BSBS eye beams again....  For a few seconds, I thought I'd leave, but it suddenly occurred to me: "Wait... that may be *why* he's staring at me!  To make me uncomfortable so I'll leave and convert the public park into Mr. BSBS's private telephone space.  なるほど!  But that's Very Uncool!  Now it's a matter of honor, as a free-park-going human being, that I *not* leave...".

And so I tried to focus on and appreciate the beauty of the not-much-longer (autumn very near) green leaves of the trees in the park again... and then it suddenly occurred to me that Mr. BSBS's way of talking was actually quite interesting, and begging to be preserved....

So - I pulled out a notebook and pen, and began writing.  Suddenly, the situation transformed into one where Mr. BSBS was providing me with pleasurable verbal entertainment.  Not long after coming to this realization, Mr. BSBS's eye-beams bounced off the titanium cover of my "Recording History is Fun!" force-field, and he stood up and walked off.  In the corner of my vision, I noticed that he stopped out on the main street sidewalk, so I looked over.  We looked at each other for a few seconds and I got the feeling I was looking at a boy who had been chased off of a 20th century swing set....


2013/10/03 - (20:03) - Izakaya under the tracks.  With interesting shadows on the page, animated conversation from a group of three to my right, a silent, contemplative man to my left... and a westerner (country?) at the next table diagonally, and last, but certainly not least, the cool industrial rumble of the trains passing by overhead, I sit with my uronhai and edamame, waiting for a few sticks of yakitori.  ............

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Kawagoe, Shinjuku, Shinbashi, Hamamatsucho, Ginza, Etc."

Past the heat of August, the temperatures in September are just about perfect.  It would be nice if this wonderful weather would stretch out into December or something.

It's been kind of an active couple of weeks - with exhibitions in Ginza (including my own), trips to Kawagoe, Shinjuku, Ueno, Shinbashi, Hamamatsucho, etc. etc.  I'll comment on some of the video links below.

Narrow Passageway in Otsuka 大塚の細い道 (130907)

Passing Streetcar and Rails for Posts (130907)

This is something that people almost never seem to notice, but old rails (railway rails - after wearing down and being replaced) used to be used for various things, most commonly walkways, platform roof supports, etc. at railway stations, but also as fenceposts, as shown in this video.

Shinjuku to Tokyo (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-東京駅 中央線左側 (130907g)

Yoyogi-Uehara to Shinjuku (Odakyu Line) 代々木上原駅-新宿駅 小田急線 (130907)

新宿駅西口から中央線ホームまで Shinjuku Station - West Exit to Chuo Line (130907)

銀座奥野ビル501号室 Lyle H Saxon 2013 Exhibition-1991 - Rondo - Okuno Bldg (130914)

I had a solo exhibition earlier in the month - focusing on still photos taken from video material I took in (mainly) 1991, but also with videos I took in that period playing into the back of where Room-501's round window used to be.  These videos (above and below) give a fairly good view of how the exhibition looked.

Lyle Hiroshi Saxon 2013 Exhibition-1991 銀座奥野ビル501号室展示会 (130914)

Kokubunji to Nishi-Kokubunji (Chuo Line) 国分寺駅-西国分寺駅 中央線 (130911)

Ueno Art Gallery Outside Escalators (130910)

Summer Insect Songs in September (130910)

During the hottest days of August, you are so preoccupied with thinking about - or trying not to think about - the heat, that you don't have much contemplative room to really take in details like the sound of insects.  Once the weather cools a little, but before the summer insects disappear from the scene, then the sound of them singing away produces a combination thought, the first part being "They sound really nice in the woods...", but as you contemplate the sound, a melancholy feeling comes over you as you envision the sound fading away, the wind getting colder, the leaves falling, and another unpleasantly cold winter beginning....

Kanda Station Under Construction (Chuo to Yamanote) 短い (130910)

Kanda to Ueno (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-上野駅 山手線 (130910)

Ueno Sky and Clouds 九月の上野空と雲 (130910)

Ueno Park to Ueno Station to Akihabara 上野公園-上野駅-秋葉原駅 (130910na)

Akihabara to Yurakucho (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 秋葉原駅-有楽町駅 京浜東北線 (130910)

Twilight in Yurakucho (Quick View) 有楽町夕暮れ (130910)

Twilight Sky and Crosswalk 夕暮れ空と横断歩道 (130910)

Tokyo to Kanda (Chuo Line) 東京駅-神田駅 中央線 (130910)

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (130912)

Kurota Kobun 黒多弘文 Abe Yusuke 阿部祐輔 Room-306 306号室プロジェクト (130912)

Ando Nobuhiro Exhibition 安藤信弘展示会インスタレーション Y's Arts-508 (130912)

Yokoyama Mitsunobu 横山光伸 Art Gallery Ishi アートギャラリー石 (130913)

Seibu Line Train Departing Takadanobaba Station 西武高田馬場駅 (130913)

New Plant Wall on Yaesu Side of Tokyo Station 東京駅八重洲口 (130914)

Tokyo Station Yaesu Construction Zone 東京駅八重洲口 (130914)

Shinjuku to Ikebukuro (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-池袋駅 山手線 (130913)

Entering Subway 地下鉄に入る (130913)

Walking by Departing Train in Takadanobaba 高田馬場駅の東西線を出発 (130913)

高田馬場駅の忙しい夜 Busy Evening at Takadanobaba Station (130913)

Kanda to Yurakucho Train Watching in Yurakucho 神田駅-有楽町駅 (130912)

Kiki in Hamamatsucho 浜松町ライブのKiki (130919)

Kiki (from Kagoshima) put on another good performance in Hamamatsucho.  Incidentally, I did a write-up of them that you can see here:

"Kiki Live in Hamamatsucho - Summer 2013"

浜松町ライブKiki (A) Live in Hamamatsucho (Kiki - Shiraso) 130919

浜松町ライブKiki 金木犀 Live in Hamamatsucho (Kiki - Kimokusei) [B] 130919

浜松町ライブKiki カテゴライズ Live in Hamamatsucho (Kiki - Categorize) [C] 130919

Hamamatsucho Stage と Izakaya と Night Scene 浜松町駅前居酒屋 (130919)

Masses of Birds in Kawagoe (in the trees) 川越の鳥鳥鳥 (130918)

A very boring video - I don't recommend this one, unless you want to hear what they sounded like in the trees.  As I was nearing the area, there were great masses of them flying together in the sky, but by the time I got there, they had mostly settled down (noisily) to perches in the trees.  I was hoping they would perform another mass flyover, so I kept the camera rolling for a couple of minutes.  If you're into birds, you might like this one.

Yamanote Line Departing Yurakucho 夜の有楽町駅から山手線が出発 (130919)

Late Night Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅-東京駅 夜の京浜東北線 (130919)

Tokyo to Kanda (Chuo Line) 東京駅-神田駅 中央線 (130919)

Thursday Night Yurakucho-SB 木曜日の夜のYSB (130919)

Yurakucho Izakaya (September) 九月の有楽町居酒屋 (130919)

Kanda to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (130917)

Yamanote Line Train Departing Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅 (130917)

本川越駅に到着 西武線 Arriving at Hon-Kawagoe Station (Seibu Line) 130918

Looking out the front cab of a Seibu-Shinjuku Line train as it comes into Hon-Kawagoe Station.

Insect Sounds in the Woods (130918)

Kawagoe Rooftop Amusement Park Monorail (130918)

I wrote a short blog entry while on the rooftop, which I posted here:

"Kawagoe Rooftop Amusement Park - 2013"

Looking Around at Rooftop Amusement Park in Kawagoe (130918)

Temple in Kawagoe 川越にあるお寺 (130918)

Kurazukuri Building Interior in Kawagoe 川越蔵造り (130918)

Kawagoe September Evening Green 川越九月緑 (130918)

Kawagoe Kenryuji Temple September Evening 川越見立寺 九月の夕方 (130918)

Kawagoe Evening Kashiya-Yokocho 川越夕方の菓子屋横丁 (130918)

川越菓子屋横丁の道焼き物 Street Tiles - Kawagoe Kashiya-Yokocho (130918)

川越の昭和時代の店 Kawagoe Old Shops on way to Hon-Kawagoe Station (130918)

Tokyo to Hamamatsucho (Keihin-Tohoku Kaisoku) 東京駅-浜松町駅 京浜東北快速 (130919)

Hamamatsucho Train Watching 浜松町駅で電車を見る (130919)

Arriving at Shinbashi Station (Yamanote Line FCV) 新橋駅に到着 (130919)

Another front cab view - this time watching as the train arrives at Shinbashi Station.

Shiodome Escalator 潮留エスカレーター (130919)

Shiodome Buildings and Passageways 潮留ビルと通路 (130919)

Yurikamome Line Train Passing Between Shiodome Buildings ゆりかもめ線 (130919)

Shinbashi SL-Plaza Quick 360 新橋駅前SL広場360 (130919)

Shinbashi Station Platform - Waiting for a Train 新橋駅ホームの様子 (130919)

Shinbashi to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 新橋駅-浜松町駅 (130919)

Nighttime Hamamatsucho (Near Station) 夜の浜松町駅辺り (130919g)

Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 浜松町駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (130919)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Kawagoe Rooftop Amusement Park - 2013"

September 18th, 2013 - Kawagoe department store rooftop kids' amusement area.  It used to be that there were rooftop kids' amusement areas with various amusement park style rides (something similar in concept to miniature golf) on department store roofs all over Japan, but with declining birth rates and home entertainment they have been disappearing one by one over the years.

That history out of the way, I'm now sitting on a bench at one of the few remaining old style department store rooftop amusement parks.  Being a weekday afternoon, you wouldn't expect it to be really busy, but still - there's a kind of melancholy sadness in an amusement park (however small) with very few people.

While sitting here I've observed several young couples, each with one two or three-year-old child riding the three-minute Ferris wheel, but there has been a gap between all of them, with the ride alternating between being fully empty and having just one threesome on board (young parents with one small child).  Without wishing for a population explosion (there are too many people on the planet already), you look around and hope that this old type department store with its rooftop amusement park can continue.  Something like... nostalgic 1960's culture...?

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Goldfish Bowl Syndrome"

September 10th, 2013 - Ueno Park

I just visited a... new(?) or extensively remodeled public art gallery in Ueno today (I think extensively remodeled).  In fact I just walked out of the building about ten minutes ago.  To explain the experience briefly:

1) Confusion - there are many display areas in the museum, along with many stairs, elevators, etc., and I had a little (not much, but a little) difficulty finding the right floor, and then the right entrance area.

2) Good first impression - high ceilings, large display space, very nice paintings.  Nice-looking rest area rooms with no ventilation, but a nice view of the green outdoors - one enclosed rest area for each display space (several of which were used for the single group exhibition I was there to view/experience).

3) Fatigue - I'm tempted to say "extreme fatigue", but I suppose that would be a slight exaggeration.  Why fatigue?  Primarily due to bad air.  Bad quality air with chemical smells and an uncomfortably warm/stuffy temperature.  Towards the end I had an almost overpowering urge to open a window (none of the windows can be opened however), and a growing feeling bordering on panic that I *needed* to get out of that horrible air - or more accurately - that I very badly needed fresh air outside.

4) Another element of fatigue - but regarding the horrible lighting only.  The lighting is - I suspect - the new variety of stark-white intense LED lighting that seems very nice for about five minutes, and then the longer you're exposed to it, the more difficult it is to keep your increasingly painful eyes open.  "That's it?  Bad air and bad lighting?"  Yeah... but if you can barely breathe and barely keep your eyes open, then what's left?  Sound?  It wasn't a concert, and anyway, when you can barely breathe and your eyes are in pain, nothing is enjoyable.

Conclusion: If I need to enter that space again for an exhibition, next time I'll make a note of the time I enter the building and get myself back out of there within about ten minutes.  It was that bad.

"August Heat and Tourists Everywhere"

August 21st, 2013 (水) Osaki

Out and about in central Tokyo in August.  Tourists everywhere, train stations very busy, and everything is imbued with the feeling of people traveling about outside their usual routines.  I got back onto the train system just in time to miss a thundershower, went across town, and now I'm sitting in an air-conditioned space with office workers - away from the tourist routes.  The high humidity and heat of the past couple of weeks has me feeling deeply grateful for air conditioning.  I get out into the heat, and immediately I start thinking, "Okay... this is uncomfortably hot.  Now what air conditioned space can I get into to escape the heat..."  I don't think I've ever liked air-conditioning quite so much in my whole life.

Didn't get enough sleep last night... now I'm having trouble staying awake.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Shinjuku, Takasaki Line, Ueno Park, Hamamatsucho, Ginza, etc."

It was so hot in Tokyo throughout August that I wasn't particularly motivated to go out and walk around in the heat, but there's a little of that - particularly walking through Ueno Park one very hot day.  I think other people also weren't exactly eager to be outside either - the kids' amusement park within Ueno Park was nearly deserted, and I seemed to see more foreign tourists out and about than locals.

Shinjuku East-West Tunnel and Omoide-yokocho 新宿思い出横丁など (130820)

Shinjuku - Waiting for Midnight Train 新宿駅夜遅くホームの様子 (130820)

Omiya Station - Late Morning Platform 大宮駅昼近くホームの様子 (130821)

Omiya to Akabane (Takasaki Line) 大宮駅-赤羽駅 高崎線 左側 (130821)

Akabane to Ueno (Takasaki Line) 赤羽駅-上野駅 高崎線 左側 (130821)

Walking into Ueno Park - Hot August Day 上野公園に入る_暑い八月の日 (130821)

Ueno Park Kids Amusement Park 上野公園子供遊園地 暑い八月の日 (130821)

Ueno Park - Cicada Concert-360 上野公園の蝉コンサート360度 (130821)

Ueno - Side Street to Ameyokocho 上野の横道からアメ横丁まで (130821)

Ueno Ameyokocho Passing Train Etc 上野アメ横丁 通る電車など (130821)

Ueno Station - Big Skylight Area 上野駅 強大スカイライトの広場 (130821)

Shinkansen Passing Yurakucho Station 新幹線が有楽町駅を通る (130821)

Overhead Shinkansen - Under-Bridge Sounds Yurakucho 有楽町駅の新幹線音 (130821)

Ginza Sony Outside Aquarium (A) 銀座Sony八月外のアクアリウム (130821)

They had an outdoor aquarium in front of the Sony Building last year as well, so maybe this is a yearly event?  I have memories of them putting something unusual on the corner every summer, but my impression was that it was something different every year - until last year and this year anyway.

Ginza Sony Outside Aquarium (B) 銀座Sonyアクアリウム (130821)

Tokyo Station New Yaesu Side 東京駅新八重洲口の様子 (130821)

Tokyo to Shinagawa (Tokaido Line) 東京駅-品川駅 東海道線 (130821)

Shinagawa Station - Afternoon Tokaido Line Platform 品川駅 (130821)

Shinagawa to Osaki (Yamanote Line) 品川駅-大崎駅 山手線 (130821)

Narita Express Train Passing Osaki 大崎駅 雨の日 (130821)

Seibu-Shinjuku Station - Train Arriving 西武新宿駅で電車の到着 (130822)

Late Night Higashi-Murayama Station 夜遅く東村山駅の様子 蝉など (130822)

Nighttime Osaki 大崎駅近くの道路と電車 (130821)

Nighttime Marunouchi 夜の丸の内と東京駅など (130821g)

Nishi-Shinjuku - Walking Down the Street 西新宿大通散歩 (130822)

New Building in Nishi-Shinjuku 西新宿の新しいビルを入る (130822)

Nighttime Shinjuku 4-Chome 新宿四丁目の夜散歩 工事現場など (130822)

Shinjuku Southern Terrace Pedestrian Bridge Night View (130822)

Tokyo Station Yaesu Construction Zone 夜の東京駅八重洲口 (130827)

Tokyo to Yotsuya (Chuo Line) 東京駅-四ッ谷駅 夜の中央線 (130827)

Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform 新宿駅中央線と南口 (130827)

Takao to Takaosanguchi (Keio Line) 高尾駅-高尾山口駅 京王線 (130826)

Takao Cable Car Lower Station Area (130826)

Takao - Singing Insects at Cable Car Lower Station Area (130826)

Takaosanguchi to Takao (Keio Line) 高尾山口駅-高尾駅 京王線 (130826)

Keio Takao Station Nighttime Platform 夜の京王線高尾駅のホーム (130826)

A Station Somewhere on the Chuo Line (130826)

Nakano Station Platform 夜の中野駅ホームの様子 (130826)

Old Night Hallway in Ginza (130827)

Kyobashi Side Streets at Night 夏夜の京橋横道 (130827)

Yokoyama Mitsunobu 横山光伸 Art Gallery Ishi アートギャラリー石 (130905)

Yurakucho to Tokyo (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 有楽町駅-東京駅 京浜東北線 (130905)

Shinjuku Station Inbound and Outbound Chuo Line Platforms 新宿駅 (130903)

Waiting for Late Night Train (Shinjuku) 新宿駅夜ホームの様子 (130903)

Shinjuku Construction Site 新宿工事現場 (130905)

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Shonan-Shinjuku Line) 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 湘南新宿ライン (130905)

Shiba-Koen Park - Sparrows and Insect Noises 九月の芝公園 (130905)

Tokyo September Green 東京九月の緑 (130905)

Walking up to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Promotional Event (130905)

Media People at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Promotional Event (130905)

Lookaround at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Promotional Event (130905)

Entering Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅の北口から入る (130905)

Yurakucho Station Evening Yamanote Line 夕方有楽町駅ホーム (130905)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Visiting 'The Dug' in Shinjuku"

August 20th, 2013 (火曜日) Shinjuku (18:18)

Shinjuku Dug - B1 - the only space left, but a nostalgic and greatly appreciated atmosphere it is!  (The whole three-story building used to be completely filled with "The Dug".)  Brick walls (real brick in front of concrete?, old mechanical clock to my left melodically, steadily ticking away.  On the glass of the clock, in gold letters, it says "Little Joker", then (in smaller letters) "Big Golden" (in all capital letters), and on the bottom of the glass, in larger font again, it says "Long Cut." (including the period).

There is an old wooden counter beneath the paper I'm writing on, mellow jazz music playing through old speakers, dim, atmospheric lighting, a candle inside what looks like old glass in an interesting shape that casts interesting patterns of light and shadow across the old wood counter and onto the sheet of paper I'm writing on.  The clock is four minutes fast - a man in his twenties(?) at a nearby table reads a book in the dim light.

Until a few minutes before, another man, seemingly in his early twenties, was reading a book - smoking a cigarette... and... maybe my mis-perception, but it seemed as though he was in a perfect space - savoring the historic "the Dug" atmosphere, and was slightly perturbed that a stranger from distant lands across the seas sat two seats down at the counter that had been all his.  I glanced over after sitting down and seemed to perceive ripples in the pond....  He left soon thereafter, and now - at the counter - there is just me and a woman (down around the bend) in her twenties talking up a storm (slight exaggeration - but in the mellow atmosphere with cool jazz music and ticking clock, it seems like a storm).

The ear her speech is aimed at is the bartender in his... twenties (again!).  Another bartender appears to be in his thirties and there is a mysterious customer sitting off in a corner apparently in his... sixties?

Running shy on time - time to stop writing and just savor the atmosphere a bit before moving on.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"Odds and Ends - June, July, and August"

This is a collection of stuff I wrote by hand while out and about in Tokyo (from inside coffee shops, inside trains, etc.)  It basically covers notes written in summer 2013 - with material from June, July, and August.

June 18th, 2013 - (Tozai Line / 東西線)  That old writing issue - the longer you don't write, the harder it is to start - and the more you write, the easier the words flow.  Looking back at things I've written in years past, I wrote the most often when I carried a laptop around all the time.  Some of that was handwritten, and then typed up (pounded into electrons, as I used to say) later.

In fact, this is being handwritten right now.  It *was* going well, but then a vampire space hog biped sat down next to me...  Anyway, my station approaches - better to stand than to have my energy stolen by a vampire.

15:35 - Ginza side street (銀座) - It's harder to write while standing up, but so much nicer to be standing on a Ginza side street on a warm, but not overly hot day.  "A picture is worth a thousand words" goes the old saying, and "a video clip with sounds is worth 100,000 (10,000?, 1,000,000?) words" Lyle adds (is that original, or just a common expression now?), but some things need words to be expressed - which I guess it's all a strong suggestion that I narrate my videos?  Naw... the spoken word interferes with with the pictures.  It needs to be text on paper and/or on the screen.  The trouble with writing by hand of course is that it takes time.  [130824: *Some* narration is good in video, so I aim to do a little more of that.]

Off to see an art exhibition.

2013/06/20 (Chuo Line / 中央線)

"Members Only"

I was recently asked (by an e-friend) what I thought the reason for local resistance to outsiders knowing the local culture was about after they had read something I posted some years ago, specifically this:

   I looked over at him expecting him to be joking, but he didn't smile, and he didn't look at me - so it came across as a bona fide warning more than a joke.  I have often remembered those words, particularly tonight....  The Russian IT guy gave written notice, and the president tore it up - which has a special meaning in Japan that I don't entirely understand myself, but in any case it seems that there's this ritual where someone will submit an intent to quit in writing, and if it's accepted, then that's it - they're out, but if it's torn up (as I've often seen in Japanese movies), then the person keeps working...
   [00/12/20 note: I've been asking around about this, and everyone I've mentioned it to says that letters of intent to quit are not generally torn up - given back, yes, but not usually torn up... maybe Prez has been watching too many television dramas?]
   [10/08/15 note: There's something else too.  In 1984, I mentioned to a woman here about the model "Skyline" car, and she told me "No, there's no such car as that."  Later, I was with her in her car going somewhere, and - lo and behold - a Skyline was right in front of us, with "Skyline" written on the back.  I pointed it out to her and she seemed very displeased.
   Around 1996, I began to notice that young people were dropping the final "i" with words like "samui", "atsui", etc., so they became "samu", "atsu", etc.  I mentioned it to a local friend, and again he said "No, no such thing.  You're mistaken."  Later, I was with him when some friends of his joined us outside, and one of them said it was "samu" instead of "samui".  I basically said "Behold! - It is as I told you!"  Again that displeased look and he claimed it was because they were from Osaka. 
   Etc. etc. etc. - I could go on and on with similar examples.  The point is - there seems to be a basic rule that outsiders are not qualified to notice something [outside the tourist routine] about the local culture, and this thing of the resignation letter may well have been just such a situation.  I wasn't supposed to know about that, so it was denied?  It doesn't sound plausible, but if you'll go back with me in a time machine, I'll show you and you can see for yourself.]

It baffled/irritated me initially, but I've gotten to the point where if someone - whenever, wherever - doesn't seem to accept that I'm from Planet Earth, I (naturally) still don't like it, but instead of feeling/thinking "What is *wrong* with this person?!" - I think something along the lines of "Oh... this is *that* type of person then..." and do one of a number of things - from heading immediately for the exit, to introducing myself as a fellow Earthling (in a joking way), etc.

Incidentally, I've found racists are sometimes actually more reasonable human beings than hard-core fanatical political people.  Hard-core political people fiercely believe whatever their preferred political organization has told them and just become ever more enraged the more you show them solid evidence that they are mistaken about something.

In stark contrast, many of the racists I've met I've been able to reason with and often they will accept logic, reason, evidence, etc., and change their thinking somewhat when you show them conclusively that they're being wrong-headed about something.

Anyway, when you are willfully shut out, there's only so much you can do.  But back to the question, "Why?".  Well... "Members Only" says it all I suppose.  People like their groups and want to protect them.

2013/07/30 (Seibu Line / 西武線)

"Leaving the Camera Off"

Decided to (basically, but not completely) leave the camera off today.  The ironic thing about taking pictures is that while it can bring so many memories back later, at the time you take the pictures, the machine interferes with your perception of the scene you're in.  I often think it would be great to have a time travel machine, but cameras (especially video cameras) are - in a way - time machines, and it's then a perceived (and real?) connection to the future that ripples the waters of current time and interferes with the here and now.

And so a photographer must be, pretty much by definition, a perpetual outsider - looking back on the present from a future imagined.  ......

While writing this (by hand - ink on paper), I ponder text, which is another kind of recording, but the feeling I get while writing this is that writing (by hand at least, and with machines also?) feels very much a part of the present - in fact, it seems to enhance the present somehow.  An age-old heightening of the senses in order to mentally record things?

....  A man (from across the seas) wearing a bottle or two of some nasty-smelling artificial scent just sat next to me... concentration broken - more later.  Man I hate foul-smelling artificial smells!  I think they should be illegal!

(Shinjuku / 新宿) - It was amazing how one biped with a couple of liters of noxious scent ruined the rest of my train ride!  Speaking of scents ("noxious fumes" would be a more accurate term), recently there's been a barrage (in Japan) of advertising saying that older (50s-up) men smell bad, and - noxious fume bottles to the rescue - "If you just douse yourself in noxious fumes from our company, you won't stink any more!"

A particularly obnoxious form of this kind of advertising shows pictures of attractive middle-aged women (one at a time - with different pictures for different versions of the same ad) supposedly saying "My husband smells nice!".

Prior to that, they had pictures of attractive young women supposedly commenting on the smell of their fathers.  (Nothing is said about the female half of the population by the way.  Apparently it's a male curse to stink past 50.)  I've been here for about 30 years and I don't recall there being a particular problem with older men smelling bad... until now that is, when gullible individuals who have bought into the advertising hype are walking around fouling the air with noxious artificial fumes from the companies manufacturing that horrible stuff.

Gee, I don't suppose the media people who have talked about smelly upper-middle-aged men have accepted advertising money from the noxious fume manufacturers....  You can kind of see the gears turning - Japanese men traditionally don't douse themselves in noxious smells, so they haven't been buying that horrible stuff.  How to get them to start shelling out for it....

August 4th, 2013 - Decided to write something, but after looking over my schedule, etc., I realize I don't remember what I thought I'd write about.

2013/08/07 - (Osaki / 大崎)

"Writing by Hand in Public"

I used to wish my handwriting was more legible, but it's begun to be handy that it's difficult to decipher - I can pull out a piece of paper in a public space and write in front of people, and they have a lot of difficulty making out what the words are.  Not that it really matters if they do read what I'm writing, but still....  The other interesting thing is regarding how ever fewer people are even taught to read/write cursive handwriting.  So suddenly it feels like I have a special skill.  Almost like being able to write in code or something.

I'm in a public space as I write this (by hand) and soon after I sat down, the man sitting next to me (at a long counter in one of the best public spaces in Tokyo that I know of), pulled his laptop closer to himself and re-angled the screen so I wouldn't be able to see it.  I then pulled out a piece of paper and began brazenly writing right in front of him, feeling safe that the tiny cursive script I'm writing would basically be Greek to him.  Whatever.  The one bad thing about this public counter is that it never seems to be cleaned, and what with people eating lunch here, etc., it gets kind of... greasy.  (I wanted to use some other word than "greasy", but that seems to be the most accurate term.)  It's an easy thing to deal with though - you just come with an A3 sheet of paper - lay that over the greasy counter, and you've got a clean space to work on.

Well, that's enough for now.  I do find writing by hand (after not doing so for quite a while) to be quite nice.  There's something profoundly fatiguing about using a computer.  I'm still trying to figure out why that is, but I imagine the stress of thinking about all that is going on with the machine, combined with the multi-tasking functionality of it, puts a pretty heavy load on a biped's CPU....

Okay - and that brings us back to today - August 24th, 2013.  I've got a load of things I want to get done this weekend, so I'll stop here.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon


"1990 Taito-ku, Ikebukuro; 1991 Gotanda, Etc; 2013 Osaki, Asakusabashi, Etc."

The element of this batch of video files that most stands out to me personally, are views of 1990 Taito-ku, and - after watching the footage I took in 1991 - some modern views from 2013 of part of the same area (near Asakusabashi Station) that I visited in 1990.  Otherwise there are typical views of here and there in Tokyo.

Nishi-Shinjuku Side Street Quick Look Around 西新宿 (130803)

Summer Grass Plants Weeds Butterflies Etc (130803)

Summer Air-Conditioner Sound (Seibu Line) 130731

One of the elements of Tokyo summers for me is hearing the sound of the air-conditioning units on trains.  Newer ones are quieter, so I took this video just to get the sound of the type I associate with summer recorded before the sound disappears (since the trains are continually being replaced with newer ones).

Entering Nihonbashi Station Near Tokyo Square Garden 銀座線日本橋駅 (130731)

From street level, down to the entrance, through the ticket gates, and then down to the platform of Nihonbashi Station.  As there was time before the train arrived, I walked down to a more convenient part of the platform (closer to the transfer stairs at the station I was headed for).

Takadanobaba to Seibu-Shinjuku (Seibu Line) 高田馬場駅-西武新宿駅 西武線 (130730)

Shinjuku - Waiting for the Walk Light to Change - Twilight View 新宿 (130730)

Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho Twilight Stroll 夕暮れの新宿思い出横丁 (130730)

Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform Walk 夜の新宿駅中央線ホーム (130730)

Inbound Chuo Line Side Window View 中央線窓からの景色三鷹辺り (130731)

Mitaka to Nakano (Chuo Line) 三鷹駅-中野駅 中央線 左側 (130731)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅-新宿駅 中央線 左側 (130731)

Shinjuku to Osaki (Tokaido Line) 湘南新宿ライン東海道線直通快速平塚行き (130731)

By the tracks being used, this is the Saikyo Line, but the train continues on to the Tokaido Line tracks, and they introduce it as "Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Tokaido-sen Chokutsu, Kaisoku" (Hiratsuka-yuki), so....  Since "sen" is "line" in English, I'm a little puzzled at the thinking behind using "line" written with katakana (ライン) for "Shonan-Shinjuku Line" (instead of 線 [sen] for line), but when one country borrows a term from another country, it usually is used a little differently than in its native habitat, so I guess it's one of those situations.  That said, I'm wondering what exactly the local meaning is for ライン....

Osaki Station Walk-through 大崎駅 駅内の様子 (130731)

500 pm Melody Behind Office Tower in Osaki 大崎高層ビル裏の午後五時メロディ (130731)

Depending on the time of year, they have a "It's getting late... time to go home kids" melody they play over public address systems - this one played at 5:00 p.m. on July 31st, 2013 in Osaki.

Osaki to Shinagawa (Yamanote Line) 大崎駅-品川駅 山手線 (130731)

Shinagawa to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 品川駅-有楽町駅 夜の山手線 (130731)

Ikebukuro to Shinjuku (Saikyo Line) 池袋駅-新宿駅 埼京線 (130803)

Kawagoe Evening Shotengai Street Corner 川越夕暮れの商店街 (130802)

Old Type JR Train Passing Through Kokubunji Station (130803)

I like this type of express train, but they are getting old so there are fewer and fewer of them still in use.

Shinjuku to Shin-Okubo (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-新大久保駅 山手線 (130803)

Streetcar Crossing and Streetcar in Otsuka 大塚辺りの市電 (130803)

Flowers by Streetcar Line in Otsuka 大塚市電の線路隣の花 (130803)

市電の踏切注意 Streetcar Crossing in Otsuka (130803)

Entering Otsuka Station from South Side 大塚駅南側-池袋駅まで (130803)

Before entering the station, I look up at a new building that was nearing completion at the time (completed external structure, with detail work being done on the interior).  Then I go through the ticket gates, up to the platform, onto a Yamanote Line train, and then look out a right side door window as the train rolls to Ikebukuro.

Ikebukuro Station Platform Scene 池袋駅ホームの様子 (130803)

Summer Saturday Ikebukuro Station 夏の土曜日池袋駅内 (130803)

Hot Summer Sidewalk by Ikebukuro Station 池袋駅前の暑い夏の様子 (130803)

Saturday Afternoon Ikebukuro Station 土曜日午後の池袋駅 (130803)

1990 Taito-ku Walkabout 台東区散策散歩 浅草など (900813)

This is a long video at one hour and 53 minutes, but it covers a lot of ground.  It begins not far from Asakusabashi Station on the Sobu Line, and then I walk (while looking around in some detail at the areas I pass through) to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, and from there (as night falls) I walk to Uguisudani Station.  Here are some of the areas (in Japanese) that I walked through in the mainly residential area near Asakusabashi:

浅草橋三丁目, 鳥越二丁目, おかず横丁, 鳥越一丁目, 小島一丁目, 小島二丁目, 三筋二丁目, 元浅草四丁目, 元浅草三丁目, 寿二丁目, 東京本願寺, 入谷一丁目, 下谷一丁目

After watching the 1990 scenes (again) in 2013, I decided to go back and have a look at how it is now.  Some parts look very similar, but the shotengai had a very different feel to it.  I think some of the upper-middle-aged people I saw running the shops there in 1990 were the rather old people I saw still running them in 2013.  Walking down the street (on a holiday it should be noted), I didn't see so much as a single customer at any of the open shops on the street....

The biggest change in the area as a whole are the many new apartment buildings, typically 15-20 stories high.

There's more from my August 12th, 2013 visit further down the page, but here are a batch of modern views from just one area, Torigoe 1-Chome (鳥越一丁目), which I also walked through some 23 years before:

台東区鳥越一丁目 (A) 散策散歩 Taito-ku Torigoe 1-Chome Walkabout (130812)

台東区鳥越一丁目 (B) 散策散歩 Taito-ku Torigoe 1-Chome Walkabout (130812)

台東区鳥越一丁目 (C) 散策散歩 Taito-ku Torigoe 1-Chome Walkabout (130812)

台東区鳥越一丁目 (D) 散策散歩 Taito-ku Torigoe 1-Chome Walkabout (130812)

台東区鳥越一丁目 (E) 散策散歩 Taito-ku Torigoe 1-Chome Walkabout (130812)

And back to 1990:

1990 Uguisudani to Ikebukuro 鶯谷駅-池袋駅 山手線 (900813)

1990 Ikebukuro Station 910pm 午後の池袋駅 (900813)

1990 Ikebukuro Night 池袋の夜 (900813)

1991 Harumi Fireworks 晴海花火 Walk to Yurakucho 有楽町まで散歩 (910810)

1991 Yurakucho to Ikebukuro 有楽町駅-池袋駅 有楽町線 (910810)

1991 Ikebukuro to Gotanda 池袋駅-五反田駅 山手線 (910819)

1991 Gotanda Afternoon 五反田午後 (910819)

1991 Gotanda to Nishi-Magome and Back 五反田駅-西馬込 都営浅草線 (910819)

1991 Gotanda to Shinjuku 五反田駅-新宿駅 山手線 (910819)

1991 Nishi-Shinjuku Stroll 西新宿散策散歩 (910819)

1991 Tokyo Shopping Etc 東京買い物など (910819)

1991 Tokyo - Here and There 東京の色々 (910822)

1991 Gotanda to Togoshi Walk 五反田-戸越の散策散歩 (910822)

Nishi-Shinjuku Side Streets (Quick-360) 西新宿の夜道 (130813)

Musashino Line 武蔵野線 Nishi-Kokubunji Station 西国分寺駅の最終電車 (130807)

Shinjuku to Shibuya (Tokaido Line) 湘南新宿ライン東海道線直通快速平塚行き (130807)

Shibuya to Ebisu (Tokaido Line) 湘南新宿ライン東海道線直通快速平塚行き (130807)

Ebisu to Osaki (Tokaido Line) 湘南新宿ライン東海道線直通快速平塚行き (130807)

Tokaido Line Departing Osaki 東海道線 大崎駅から出発 (130807)

Gate City Osaki Atrium ゲートシティ大崎のアトリウム (130807)

Ebisu Station East Exit 恵比寿駅の東口 (130808)

Waiting for a Train in Suburbia 電車来るまでを待っている (130813)

Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho at Night 夜の新宿思い出横丁 (130813)

Looking Out and Over Tokyo in Osaki 大崎オフィス街から東京の様子 (130807)

Nighttime Approach to Osaki Station 夜の大崎駅に向かう 東側から (130807)

Evening Osaki Station Entrance 夕方大崎駅入り口 (130807)

Osaki Station Platform - All Green Yamanote Line Passing By 大崎駅 (130808)

Gotanda to Meguro (Yamanote Line) 五反田駅-目黒駅 山手線 左側 (130808)

Nighttime Park in Ebisu (Quick View) 夜の恵比寿にある公園 渋谷川隣 (130808)

Inside of Pub (Quick View) 130808

Yoyogi to Shinjuku (Yamanote Line) FCV 代々木駅-新宿駅 山手線 (130808)

Nakano Station (Waiting for Train) 中野駅で電車来るまで待っている (130808)

The thing that is striking for me in this video is the sound of crickets (or is it just one?) at about the 0:21 mark (and lasting just a few seconds).  They're pretty prominent in September as the nights get cooler, but not so common in the heat of August, and at a major train station with no apparent green anywhere, you have to wonder where exactly the sound is coming from!

Red Arrow (Seibu Line) Departing Station 西武鉄道特急レッドアロー出発 (130808)

Tokyo Station Summer Concourse Crowds 夏東京駅内の通路 (130812)

Ogikubo (Walk to Station) 荻窪駅までの散策散歩 暑い日 Hot Summer Day (130812)

Reserved Seat Express Train Passing Ogikubo 荻窪駅から特急が通る (130812)

東京駅夏休みの間 ある暑い日 山手線 Tokyo Station (Tokyo to Yurakucho) 130812g

Yurakucho Station to Ginza 有楽町駅から銀座までの散策散歩 (130812)

Construction Site on Chuo-dori in Ginza (130812)

A very quick look at construction workers on Ginza's Chuo-dori putting up a barrier around a new construction site over in Ginza 1-chome.

Tokyo Station Summer Crowds 東京駅の夏休み人々 (130812)

東京駅-川崎駅 東海道線 右側後向き Tokyo to Kawasaki (Tokaido Line) 130812

Kawasaki Station Platform View 川崎駅ホームの様子 (130812)

Kawasaki to Tokyo (Tokaido Line) 川崎駅-東京駅 東海道線 右側前向き (130812)

Akihabara Station (Wooden Roof Etc) 秋葉原駅総武線ホーム (130812)

There's not much wood left in Tokyo's train stations, but you find glimpses of it here and there if you look carefully.

Akihabara to Asakusabashi (Sobu Line) 秋葉原駅-浅草橋駅 総武線 (130812)

Taito-ku Torigoe 2-Chome Walkabout 台東区鳥越二丁目 散策散歩 (130812)

Taito-ku Kuramae 4-Chome Walkabout 台東区蔵前四丁目散策散歩 (130812)

台東区春日通り 木造建物と緑 Old Buildings with Plants on Kasuga-dori (130812)

An aspect of older versions of Tokyo that was much nicer than modern Tokyo is how people would put a variety of potted plants around their homes, making for nice, plant lined walkways in the city.  As the old places are torn down, generally new buildings cover all of the ground with asphalt and/or concrete and often don't have any plants.  The old style - as you can see in this video - was a little haphazard with a mix of assorted plants, seemingly chosen at random, but made for a nice effect.

Shipping Container Building in Taito-ku (130812)

Taito-ku Misuji 1-Chome Walkabout 台東区三筋一丁目 散策散歩 (130812)

For more views of this area taken on August 12th, 2013, see further up the page where I posted some of the views that were originally in with this batch (to show the contrast with 1990 views of the same area).

Asakusabashi Stationside Walkabout 浅草橋駅辺り散策散歩 (130812g)

Rainy Asakusabashi 1-Chome Evening Streets 夕方雨の浅草橋一丁目 (130812)

Train Stop Buzzer Warning by Yotsuya Station (Seen from Shinjuku-ST) 130813

Night Trains Near Shinjuku Station 新宿駅と代々木駅の間の夜電車 (130813)

Shinjuku Station South Exit Street Musician 新宿駅南口辺り道音楽人 130813na

Old Type JR Two-Door Train at Shinjuku 暑い夏 新宿駅で2ドアJR車両 (130814)

Full Length of Shinjuku Saikyo Line Platform 新宿駅埼京線ホームの様子 (130814)

Shinjuku to Osaki (Tokaido Line) 新宿駅-大崎駅 東海道線 右側 (130814)

大崎ニューシティ辺り 目黒川隣 Osaki New City Plaza Quick Look-around (130814)

New E233 Saikyo Line Train (Inside and Outside) 新型E233埼京線内外 (130814na)

This is a new train, and it's nice, although the new (LED I think) interior lighting is quite powerful.  I think if I spent much time under those lights, I would like to use sunglasses.  If you compare the appearance of the interior of the train while it's stopped at the platform with the lighting on the platform, the platform appears dark, but actually the platform is very well-lit (bright), and the interior is that much brighter still.  Not sure why operating room brightness levels are popular....

Shinjuku Nighttime Saikyo Line Platform 新宿駅埼京線ホームの様子 (130814)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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