Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Too Many Frequencies..."

I met a British friend and a Japanese friend of his on Friday, and over drinks tried to alternately tune into UK frequencies and Japan frequencies, adjusting from my NA frequencies. It was awkward... I sort of felt like we should have just made the whole conversation in Japanese, but instead, I and the UK man talked to each other in English, and then took turns translating things into Japanese for his friend. I'm not sure how it would have gone had everything been in Japanese, but it was very tiring as it was.

If I'm in that situation again, I think I'll just do the whole thing in Japanese. Actually, that's just the polite thing to do - if there's a common language among three people meeting, then it should be used. Trouble was, all parties knew some English and all parties knew some Japanese, but it was two-to-one regarding which language was most fluently spoken, and the local representative on Friday apparently didn't have very strong English skills.

Anyway - on to video clips:

"Old Type Chuo Line Train (201 Series)" - October 2009

A view of an old type Chuo Line train (all orange) leaving Kokubunji Station in October 2009. There are very few of these still on the rails, since they've been phasing them out gradually for about two years now. (I think this older type is known as the "Series 201".) Notice how there is only one window open, but nearly every window on the train is openable, and also there are vents in the ceiling that can be opened to let in air from the roof of the train. Unfortunately, the new train cars don't have this feature and half of the windows don't open at all (and the ones that *do* open people seem afraid to open).

It seems as though the new trains (and their passengers) are suffering from "closed box syndrome", I miss old trains and old buildings - they provided vastly better air to breathe....

"Walking Down Stairwell in Okuno Building" - October 2009A

Walking down one of the cool stairwells in the Okuno Building, which used to be an apartment building, but is now used for office space and art galleries. There are very few 1930's era concrete buildings left in Tokyo, and this one may well be the best in terms of character, which radiates from the walls, ceilings, and floors....

"Down Escalator, Onto Platform at Shinjuku" - October 15th, 2009

Walking down escalator and arriving on the platform just as a Chuo Line train is pulling out of the station. Missing a train usually isn't a big deal on most lines in Tokyo though, since the next train usually arrives in just a few minutes.

"Odakyu 1957 'Romance Car' Super Express - Oct. 1990"

This ten-minute video shows the trip I took (from Shinjuku to Machida) via Odakyu "Romance Car" (super express) on October 5th, 1990 - from watching the train pulling in at Shinjuku, to boarding, watching the driver operate the train, views out the front of the train (with many trains passing in the opposite direction), passing local trains, pulling into Machida Station, and getting off the train while a woman from the train (standing on the platform beside the door) bows to departing passengers.

At the time I took this, I was sort of disappointed that it wasn't a newer type, but in retrospect, I was probably lucky to get on the oldest type, since they scrapped this type a few years ago, which makes this video historical. The plaque at the front of the train indicated it was built in 1957 (Showa-32) and refurbished in 1984 (Showa-59).

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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