Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Street Band, Kinokuniya, Yamanote Line, & Takeshita-dori"

Video clips. From a street band and Kinokuniya Bookstore in Shinjuku, to a few Yamanote Line train clips, and Harajuku's Takeshita-dori. I've been running around off the beaten a path a bit, which I'd like to explain, but it's a bit complicated, so let's just have a look at the videos:

"Shinjuku Street Band - December 8th, 2009"

Two-man street band in Shinjuku - near the south exit/entrance to Shinjuku Station. It might be that I'm going by Shinjuku at the wrong times, but there seem to be far fewer street bands there than when I took a series of Shinjuku street band videos in October of 2008. Of course the weather is nicer in October than December, but I didn't see many this year in October either. Considering how I often saw the police going around last year shutting down performances, maybe it's become nearly impossible to perform there now....

"Foreign Language Section of Kinokuniya Bookstore" (091209-14:40)

Walking around on the foreign language floor of Kinokuniya Bookstore in Shinjuku. Well - actually, this bookstore near Shinjuku Station is sitting within the boundaries of Shibuya, but since there is (or was, I haven't been there in years) a Kinokuniya Bookstore in Shibuya which is not only within Shibuya, but is near Shibuya Station, it's less confusing to refer to this one as one of the Kinokuniya Bookstores in Shinjuku. (There's another Shinjuku Kinokuniya Bookstore near the east exit/entrance of Shinjuku Station that is within the boundaries of Shinjuku.)

Since the vast majority of Tokyo residents get around by train, most places are referred to the name of the nearest surface JR station, unless the area is particularly famous, like Ginza and/or is accessed by subway (which tends to have stations closer together.) In fact, the vast majority of people I've asked have no idea that this bookstore is - address-wise - within Shibuya, since it's right by Shinjuku Station, but once you cross the main road after coming out of the south exit, you're in Shibuya.

"Leaving Shinjuku Station via Yamanote Line" (091209-15:01)

Accelerating out of Shinjuku Station, watching the full length of the platform slide by. This video continues until just after crossing the first bridge out of Shinjuku Station on the way to Shin-Okubo Station.

"Trains Near Shin-Okubo Station" (091209-15:01)

Shin-Okubo Station. View of other trains running in parallel with the Yamanote Line tracks, and then the stop at Shin-Okubo, with the old style "The doors are about to close! Hurry!-Hurry!-Hurry!" bell, which was used all over when I came here in 1984, but has been mostly replaced by more melodic sounds, coded to specific stations. The new system is definitely better, but still, I feel some nostalgia for the old Rush!-Rush!-Rush! bell for some reason....

"Shin-Okubo to Takadanobaba via Yamanote Line" (091209-15:02)

The full run from Shin-Okubo Station to Takadanobaba Station, including all of the Japanese and English announcements about Takadanobaba, and some of the platform announcements in Takadanobaba. There are views of Seibu-Shinjuku Line trains running parallel with the Yamanote Line (from which this video was taken).

"Yamanote Line from Mejiro to Ikebukuro" (091209-15:06)

Leaving Mejiro, a Narita (Airport) Express train goes by in the other direction, followed by (on different tracks) a Yamanote Line train. Nearing Ikebukuro, the train passes under a Seibu-Ikebukuro Line bridge, and a Seibu-Ikebukuro Line train can be seen curving to the left and heading for Ikebukuro.

After arriving in Ikebukuro, I step off the train and have a listen to the station announcements.

"Yamanote Line from Ikebukuro to Otsuka" (091209-15:09)

The full length of the Yamanote Line platform at Ikebukuro Station, and part of the journey to Otsuka Station. View of the inside of the train included.

"Yamanote Line from Otsuka - Partway to Sugamo" (091209-15:12)

Nearly the full length of the platform at Otsuka Station, and part of the journey to Sugamo Station. Both Japanese and English announcements on the way.

"Yamanote Line from Sugamo to Komagome" (091209-15:14)

Accelerating past the platform at Sugamo Station, and rolling over to Komagome Station. Both Japanese and English announcement on the way. Announcements at Komagome Station, as well as Komagome's custom "The doors are about to close" melody and recorded bird sounds (used at many stations unfortunately).

"Yamanote Line from Komagome to Tabata" (091209-15:15)

Accelerating past the platform at Komagome Station, and the trip over to Tabata Station. Both Japanese and English announcement on the way. Announcements at Komagome Station, as well as Komagome's custom "The doors are about to close" melody and (again) recorded bird sounds.

Bird songs.... It's getting so that when I hear bird sounds, I think "Gee - that sounds like the Yamanote Line!". Naturally, the idea is to imagine a nice forest somewhere as you walk down the asphalt platform, but the effect may be to make someone who (eventually) finds themselves in a nice forest, to imagine the asphalt platform when they hear real birds....

"Harajuku Takeshita-dori, Southeast Stroll" (091218-14:57)

Walking away from Harajuku Station down Takeshita-dori in a southeast direction. This clip starts from just before entering the street and ends at the other end. Recorded on Friday, December 18th, 2009, at about 3:00 p.m. In spite of the cold, the women are basically dressed about the way you'd expect them to in summer.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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