Sunday, October 11, 2009

"GR-III Video Clips (+1935/1990 Haunted Hotel)"

This batch of videos were all taken with a Ricoh GR-III camera (except for one that was taken in 1990), which works well for medium-range resolution videos, with the caveat that something in the processing for YouTube leaves them with very poor sound, so I'll probably not be using that camera much for video (unless I need to take video when I don't have a proper video camera on me).

I'm a bit disappointed about this, since the picture quality was pretty good (for its range of definition - 640x480), I was thinking of using it fairly often, but if the sound is bad, then it would be better to use an HD video camera with good stereo sound.

"'Burbs Bound - September 2009"

Looking out the window of a Suburbia-bound commuter train one evening in September 2009.

The new trains don't have shades that pull down in front of the windows (good, so I can see outside!), but in place of that, they have green tinting in (or on?) the glass which can look kind of ghoulish at night sometimes. Also, a coating on the glass makes it so there is a sort of double reflection sometimes, often ruining what can be a very cool scene-overlay effect with clear glass when the lighting is right.

"The Hallway" - September 2009

Exploring a mysterious path in an old Tokyo building....

Taken in an old wooden apartment building most likely not long for this world, as it's not full, and the owner is probably waiting for the last tenants to leave so they can tear the building down.

"Nishi-Ogikubo Nostalgia Street" - September 2009

Walking down an old street in Nishi-Ogikubo (in September 2009) that has become something like "Nostalgia Street" - since old streets like this in Tokyo are becoming quite rare. It used to be just that they were just older areas with character, but now some areas like this are almost becoming tourist attractions - sort of like theme parks. Lots of people (cough-cough) taking pictures, etc....

"Cruising Tokyo in a 1955 Chevy Bel Air" - September 30th, 2009

Going for a cruise in central Tokyo in a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, followed by Mr. Racer. Also featuring the Yurakucho SB (at the beginning of the clip). Taken on September 30th, 2009.

My parents had a 1955 Chevy when I was a little kid, so it was great to see and ride in this car - as though it had come back from the past as a sort of time machine.

"Watching Clouds, Taxis & Trains - October 2nd, 2009"

Standing in front of the "Shokuan Stand Bar" in Yurakucho, which is across from the Denki Building. Just like the title indicates, I was watching the low clouds blowing by overhead, the taxis driving by, and the overhead Keihin-Tohoku Line trains coming into Yurakucho Station. The temperature was just about right on the evening of October 2nd, 2009, but cold weather is on the horizon....

Probably not very interesting for most people to see, but it shows to some extent the type of motion and scenery that is part of life in Tokyo, with the overhead Yamanote loop line defining and giving character to the central part of the city.

"Couple in Evening Yurakucho" - October 2nd, 2009

A couple walks off down a wet sidewalk in Yurakucho in-between rain showers beneath speeding clouds. It was a nice evening, with clean air, comfortable temperatures, and a romantic/dramatic atmosphere.

"Old 1935 Ryogoku Hotel - Haunted in 1990"

I was walking around recording images & sounds of the area along the river, and soon after crossing over a bridge and arriving in the Ryogoku Station area, 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 pushed one of the door - it was open! So I walked in (not something I would do now, in the security-conscious 21st century, but at the time, it wasn't so outrageous).

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 it had been a luxury hotel when it was built in 1935, 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 (probably to mount the curse of the 20th century - florescent tube lighting). 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, and I'm not seeing info about it under "old Ryogoku Hotel" or "Chiyoda Heights Building", so more research is in order.

"Ebisu Station View & Yamanote Platform" - October 6th, 2009

Starting with a look out on city buildings from the east side of Ebisu Station, then continuing with a walk through the ticket barrier, down an escalator to the platform, and a view of the platform announcer with his wifeless microphone, followed by a Yamanote Line train coming in.

This is a raw clip from the camera and should have had some of the boring walking scenes in the middle cut out. The beginning and end are (in my opinion) not too bad however.

"Tokyo-Iroiro - October 2009A"

Various scenes taken in Tokyo, with many train and train station views, including on a Seibu Railways branch line, the Yamanote Line, The Ikegami Line, the Chuo Line, and some scenes from Yurakucho (both the station and the area).

Note: My usual video editing software won't play the files from my Ricoh-GR camera, so I tried using different software, which worked, but the conversion into YouTube's format seems to have ruined the sound....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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