Monday, October 26, 2009

"Video Usage & Comment Moderating"

More train video... stuff?, news?, comments?, ..... something. There seems to be some misunderstanding by some people regarding why I would request that an illegal copy of my train video be taken down. First off - I'm not hiding the video, it's freely available for anyone to see. Here:

And while I would prefer that it not be floating around the Internet as an e-mail attachment, someone made an illegal copy of it and has done that. Many of the recipients of that file then posted it on YouTube and elsewhere. And while I would prefer that it not be posted by anyone other than myself, what especially prompted me to ask for some postings to be taken down was rudeness, lies, and inaccuracy in the titles and comment sections. Some examples:

"crazy" - No. No one in the video is crazy. The platform people (including full time workers, part time workers, and the drivers of the two trains (a junkyu and a kyuko) are each just doing their job - which is to get the trains loaded and back in motion according to schedule.

"fail" - There is no "fail" in the video. The people want on the train, and railway employees help them to get on the train. In spite of very difficult conditions, the train departs only about ten seconds late - essentially on time. The overcrowding is not an optimal situation (I rode this line for sixteen years, so I know very well what I'm talking about!), but it's not a "fail" (if anything, it's a "success" in functionality), and the system has been improved since 1991, when the video was taken.

"police" - No. Those are not police or security people helping the passengers get on the train - they are regular railway employees, including the drivers of the two trains at that platform.

"high birthrate" - No. Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. Tokyo has around 30,000,000 people (if you include the suburbs of Kanagawa, Saitama, & Chiba), but the population of the country as a whole is not growing right now.

"more trains" - Close to a good suggestion, and in fact they've added more trains since this video was taken. Still, the rails were pretty full of trains even back in 1991, as the bigger problem was no (or very little) flex-time, so everyone crowded onto the system at the same time. There are a lot of people in Tokyo.

"longer trains" - The trains in this video are ten-cars long, and some other lines have fifteen cars. Ten cars fill up the platforms on this line (the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line), so if the trains were to be longer than ten cars, they would have to extend all the platforms. In any case, ten large cars (carriages) is not exactly short for a commuter train.

Etc. etc. etc. Since the comment sections were unmoderated; racist and inappropriate toxic text piled up....

Anyway, if you are interested in that video, here's a longer version, showing people going through the ticket gates, etc:

Now - on to some recent video clips:

"Shibuya 'Scramble' Crosswalk - October 20th, 2009"

Looking around near Shibuya Station, and walking across the "scramble" crosswalk. This crosswalk is a bit odd in how it seems intense when you're there, but it's hard to convey the feeling of crossing the street in a sea of people accurately in a video, including this one, but still - this might give you at least a rough idea of how it feels.

"Harajuku Northbound Trains + Bridge" - October 2009

Looking towards Harajuku Station at night, as a Shinjuku-bound Yamanote Line train pulls into the platform and another northbound train passes to the right of that. Then, pulling back and swinging 90 degrees to the right, a view of the people on the bridge.

Why is the beginning of the video on its side? This scene was begging for vertical composition, so I complied. The problem now is getting it to play back as a vertical image. I'm confident that this will be commonplace viewing functionality someday.

"Kichijoji Evening Shopping - October 22nd, 2009"

Taken around 6:00 p.m. in Kichijoji, as people shop for food on the way home. Naturally, Kichijoji is full of people doing something or other all the time, but at 6:00 p.m. on a weekday (Thursday, October 22nd, 2009, in this case), shops selling prepared food especially do their best business as people go from work to home. The shops used to do better business, but now that people not only have refrigerators, but fairly large refrigerators, they buy more frozen stuff and do same-day shopping (shopping for the coming evening's meal) less often. Also, people who would have bought some pretty great food for the evening at central markets before, often now buy some junk at a nearby convenience store.

"Exploring Narrow Kichijoji Pathways - Oct. 2009"

Walking around on some of the narrowest streets in Kichijoji. Tokyo used to have a lot of streets like this, which have loads of character, but (understandably) newer development replaces these areas with wider roads (fire-fighting equipment access, etc.), and modern buildings.

"Koiwa Yakitori Street - October 23rd, 2009"

A walk into the narrow street near Koiwa Station with several yakitori drinking places. Near this street, there are several shotengai (shopping streets), but they seemed to have hardly any customers when I went by at around 6:00 p.m. on Friday, October 23rd, 2009. Also several places had closed shutters - indicating either that those shops are simply closed, or maybe not in business any longer.

Probably the shotengai shops are busiest on weekends, but still, the trend away from traditional shotengai seems to be continuing, with people more often shopping at larger discount stores, or having things delivered directly to their homes, etc. (If I lived a little nearer to Koiwa, I'd go by there today (Saturday) and have a look, but it's a bit of a journey from where I live....)

"Asakusabashi to Akihabara at Night - October 2009"

Looking out a right side (open) window on a train between Asakusabashi and Akihabara. Lots of buildings, some reflections of the train in windows as it passes, etc.

"Accelerating Down Platform" - October 2009

Accelerating down the platform of a station somewhere between Koiwa and Akihabara. With the glass out of the way, it's a clear view, and there are a couple of trains in the background as well. The trains would be so much more enjoyable if the windows were all open when the weather is not too cold....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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