Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Sumida River Boats & Prelude to 1991 Full Train"

Another video trip back to 1991 - to July 6th, when I wandered around in an area along the Sumida River that had been recently largely rebuilt with new office buildings. Pleasure boats motor past on the river and there are a couple of old steel bridges from different eras that find their way through the lens. Since it was Saturday, the area was nearly deserted. The new buildings are in the 10-15 story range, a size that took less time, planning, and money to put up than the 50-story high-rises that were planned then (in the bubble years), but not completed for another decade.

This was at the tail end of the bubble economy, and when looking back to that era now, people often fail to realize that while the many 50-story category high-rise buildings now scattered about Tokyo were *planned* in the bubble years, at the time, they were busier knocking down old buildings to make way to the huge new ones. There is always holdover from one era to another, and there was holdover from the wooden era in 1991, as there is holdover from the bubble era in 2009, and yet there is this image of everything being new in the bubble years, which was not the case.

Just Another Day in February 1991

The train video - again! I'm almost embarrassed to post yet another variation of this, but it has been stolen and copied all over the Internet with lying titles, and so I wanted to show the normalcy of people going through the ticket barrier, walking down the stairs to the platform, walking along the platform, waiting for the train, etc. Certainly the moment of loading is pretty intense, but many people misunderstand the overall situation and the context of the whole thing, or the fact that it was taken in 1991 - it's not nearly as crowded in 2009 (increased number of trains, increased connections with the subway system, etc.). Also the population of Tokyo should never be forgotten - 30,000,000 people if you include the suburbs of Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba. Anyway, here is the video, a longer version of the many-million-seen copied-everywhere train video currently all over the Internet:

Some facts about the video. Taken in February 1991 at around 7:50 a.m., at Hibarigaoka Station on the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line. The train on the right is a "junkyu" ("limited express" in US English), and the train on the left is a "kyuko" ("express" in any kind of English that I'm aware of). Notice how I walk (with the video camera rolling) to the very front of the platform? The front of the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line trains is closest to connections with other train lines, so that's where people need to be if they're going to make tight connections, and they can't afford to waste any time. The next station (that the express stops at) is Shakuji-koen, and then the train goes all the way to the terminus at Ikebukuro, where everyone gets off.

And... that's basically it.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

No comments: