Monday, December 28, 2009

"Christmas Eve in Tokyo, 2009 - Ebisu"

Like everything that looks similar to other countries on the surface, there are many detail changes and also fundamental changes in imported culture and ideas. Here are some video clips from December 24th, 2009 Tokyo.

"Seibu-Kokubunji Line Old Three-Door Train" (091224-1232)

View of one of the older type three-door trains on the Seibu-Kokubunji Line as it comes into the station, and then a quick view inside, where you can see that more seating area is the advantage of fewer doors. When it's really crowded though, this is a liability, as it's also more difficult to get on and off the train. (Some train cars have six doors now for exactly this reason.) (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 12:32 p.m.)

"Rear Cab Reflections in Old Three-Door Seibu Train" (091224-1235)

View into the rear cab of an older type three-door train on the Seibu-Kokubunji Line. Notice how the conductor hank-cranks the destination sign at the end of the video. This train - being old - actually requires a human being at the controls to operate it. The newer trains are increasingly automated and I get the feeling that drivers and conductors of manually operated trains have much more pride in their jobs than the drivers and conductors of computer-driven trains. With the computer-driven trains, they're not doing much other than sit there monitoring the computer-driven controls. (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 12:35 p.m.)

"Racing Chuo Line Trains - Cab View" (091224-1255)

Looking out of the front cab of an inbound Chuo Line train as it runs in parallel with another inbound train. (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 12:55 p.m.)

"Boarding Yamanote Line at Shinjuku" (091224-1421)

Watching from a Shinjuku platform as a Yamanote Line train and a Chuo Line train come in - and then getting on the Yamanote Line train. (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 2:21 p.m.)

"Ebisu 'Yebisu Skywalk' to Ebisu Garden Place" (091224-1622)

Walking on the moving walkways (one after another) that lead from Ebisu Station to Ebisu Garden Place. An old spelling for "Ebisu" is "Yebisu" and it's still used for beer and the walkway, etc. (and for Ebisu/Yebisu Garden Place, but I'm ignoring the archaic spelling here for Garden Place in the interest of correct pronunciation). (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 4:22 p.m.)

"December 24th - Couple's Night at Ebisu Garden Place" (091224-1637)

Couple City in Ebisu. December 24th in Japan is a little like December 31st in western countries in that it's popular for couples to go out for dinner and to certain parts of Tokyo that have Christmas lighting on trees and buildings (such as in Ebisu), etc. Notice the young couples here and there in this clip. This was taken just past 4:30 p.m. - later on it gets much more crowded. (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 4:37 p.m.)

"Taking Ebisu Skywalk Back to Ebisu Station" (091224-1643)

Heading back to Ebisu Station in order to have a look at the Christmas lighting in Marunouchi. The moving walkway is a good idea, but I think they should run it about three times faster than it goes now. As it is, it runs slower than walking speed, which is being overly cautious I think.... (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 4:43 p.m.)

"'Christmas Cake' & Sparkling Wine for 12/24" (091224-1648)

For whatever reason, it's a tradition in Japan to buy & consume strawberry shortcake and roast chicken on Christmas Eve. The roast chicken part is easy to understand as an import from the west, but the origins of strawberry shortcake (referred to locally as "Christmas Cake") are harder to figure out. A modified import no doubt. In any case, in this video you can see store clerks (some dressed like Santa) selling Christmas cake and sparkling wine. (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 4:48 p.m.)

"Ebisu Station Long Escalator to Street Level" (091224-1649)

Continuing down the elevated mall between the two ticket barriers to Ebisu Station (one above the platforms and one below); I then take the long escalator down to street level and have a look at the large Christmas tree on display in front of the station. (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 4:49 p.m.)

"Past the Tree, Through the Gates, to Ebisu Station We Go" (091224-1658)

I walk past a Christmas tree and then through the upper level ticket gates (to Ebisu Station) and then down an escalator to the platform to take the Yamanote Line around to Tokyo Station. (Recorded on Wednesday, December 24th, 2009, at 4:58 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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