Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Empty Tobu-Tojo Line Train & Ikebukuro Back Streets"

Riding into Ikebukuro on a nearly empty Tobu-Tojo Line train, I exited the station on the west side and walked around in Nishi-Ikebukuro a bit - including into Ikebukuro's version of Kabukicho.  This batch of videos ends at Tokorozawa, while I was waiting for a train.

"Nearly Empty Tobu-Tojo Inbound Local" (100219-1932)

Riding in a Tobu-Tojo Line local train, beginning with a look out the window at a passing Saikyo Line train on the neighboring JR tracks, then swiveling over for a look inside the almost empty train car - including looking over at other trains passing both to the right and left.

東武東上線の各駅停車の電車と左右の電車  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:32 p.m.)

"Nighttime Water Fountain in Nishi-Ikebukuro" (100219-1943)

Nighttime water fountain in Nishi-Ikebukuro - which is in front of a concert hall (with other display spaces, etc. inside).  When the weather is warmer, this is a famous pick-up spot.

西池袋の噴水  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:43 p.m.)

"West Side of Ikebukuro Station" (100219-1944)

Walking in Nishi-Ikebukuro towards the west side entrance of Ikebukuro Station.

西池袋の散歩、池袋駅に向かう  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:44 p.m.)

"Ikebukuro Station West Side" (100219-1946)

Starting by the entrance to Ikebukuro Station, and then walking over towards the drinking area of Ikebukuro.

池袋駅から、池袋の飲街に向かう  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:46 p.m.)

"Ikebukuro Drinking Area" (100219-1948)

Entering the drinking area of Ikebukuro - walking past a large truck sitting right in the middle of a road that typically has only pedestrians on it....  The two men in the cab were laughing - prompting me to imagine that they had taken a wrong turn somewhere and found themselves in what would feel something like being in a truck in the middle of a shopping mall (a typical comedy movie scenario).

池袋の飲街  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:48 p.m.)

"Back Streets in Ikebukuro" (100219-1950)

Walking down a couple of back streets in Ikebukuro.  Not all-inclusive, but showing a few streets.

池袋の裏道  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:50 p.m.)

"Pedestrian Tunnel from West to East Side of Ikebukuro Station" (100219-1954)

Walking through the pedestrian tunnel that goes under several rail lines and connects the west and east sides of Ikebukuro Station (going from the west side to the east side in this video).

池袋の横断歩道トンネル  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:54 p.m.)

"Seibu-Ikebukuro Line Ikebukuro Station Ticket Gates" (100219-2035)

Going through the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line ticket gates in Ikebukuro - the terminal station on the Tokyo side of the line.

池袋駅の西武池袋線の改札口を通る  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:35 p.m.)

"New Type Ikebukuro Line Express Arriving at Ikebukuro Station" (100219-2040)

Waiting in line as a new type Seibu-Ikebukuro Line express pulls into the terminal station Ikebukuro.  Notice the diagonal steel supports in the station - I think these were retrofitted some time after the Kobe earthquake to make the building more earthquake resistant.

池袋駅の西武池袋線の新型急行列車がやって来ます  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:40 p.m.)

"Tokorozawa Station - Waiting for Train" (100219-2124)

Waiting at Tokorozawa Station in the February cold for the next train to arrive.  It occurred to me while looking around the old station that I take it for granted now, but will likely feel nostalgic about it when they (eventually) reconstruct it in some squeaky new style.

所沢駅のホームで次の電車を待っている  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 9:24 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Oyama 'Happy Road', 'Yuza' Road, & Oyama Station"

A revisit to "Happy Road" in Oyama, where I used to live 24 years ago.  Considering how rapidly things change in Tokyo, the area was largely as I remember it, which was a little bit of a surprise actually - I've gotten so used to places I go back to in Tokyo being completely changed!  One change I was surprised about though, was they renamed the second shotengai (shopping street) there "Yuza" (but spelled quirkily as "YOU-ZA") from its original(?) "Sun Road".  What I had most expected to have changed though, Oyama Station, was amazingly the same - apart from its automated ticket gates (tickets were taken by a person before) and new retrofitted elevators and platform-to-platform crossover bridge (to go from one elevator to another - since there is no entrance/exit on the inbound platform).

"'Happy Road' in Oyama" (100219-1731)

Walking along the covered shopping street "Happy Road".  I used to live in this area, so it was a bit of a nostalgia trip to go back there.

大山のハッピーロード  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 5:31 p.m.)

"Yuza Side Street in Oyama" (100219-1848)

A side street off of "YOU-ZA" (more properly spelled "Yuza", but the signs say "YOU-ZA"), which connects with "Happy Road" very near Oyama Station (on the Tobu-Tojo Line).  When I lived in the area, "Yuza" (遊座) was known as "Sun Road" (サンロード).  They may have changed it due to there being several "Sun" this and "Sun" that shopping centers in other areas of Kanto.  (The original name made sense though - since "Happy Road" is covered and "Sun Road" was/is out in the open.)

大山の遊座商店街 (ハッピーロードの近く)  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 6:48 p.m.)

"Crossing Tracks from Yuza to Happy Road" (100219-1853)

The railroad crossing here is the dividing line between the (open) "Yuza" shotengai (shopping street) and the (roofed) "Happy Road" shotengai.

大山の遊座とハッピーロードのつながるところ  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 6:53 p.m.)

"Oyama Happy Road Pedestrian Crossing" (100219-1900)

A 360 degree look at "Happy Road" and the railroad crossing from a pedestrian bridge near Oyama Station in Itabashi-ku.

大山のハッピーロードの横断歩道  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:00 p.m.)

"Oyama Station Evening Ticket Gates" (100219-1901)

Evening commuters on the way home - coming through the ticket gates at Oyama Station, and a look at a kiosk just outside the ticket gates.

大山駅の改札口とキオスク  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:01 p.m.)

"Passing Express Train at Oyama Station" (100219-1903)

An express train passes through Oyama Station.  Only local trains stop at Oyama, so there are several different types of express trains that pass straight through.

大山駅での通過急行  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:03 p.m.)

"Passing Stainless Steel Express at Oyama Station" (100219-1906)

Passing stainless steel outbound express train - seen from the outbound platform at Oyama Station.  There are several types of trains in service on the Tobu-Tojo Line.

大山駅での通過ステンレス急行  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:06 p.m.)

"Local Train Arriving at Oyama Station" (100219-1908)

Standing on one end of the outbound platform at Oyama Station as a local train comes in.  (The speed of the first cars passing by is an indication of the length of the ten-car train.)  I stayed through the door-open & door-close period and recorded the doors-about-to-close bell, which I think is unchanged from when I lived there 24 years ago.

大山駅の各駅電車がやって来ます  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:08 p.m.)

"Inbound Express Passing Oyama" (100219-1927)

A 360 degree look from the inbound platform of Oyama Station - including watching a white (with two-tone blue stripe) express train pass by.  (I don't know the proper name for that type of train car, but it's one of the older (the oldest maybe?) types on the Tobu-Tojo line, and was in use 24 years ago back when I used this line every day.)

大山駅の上り急行電車  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 7:27 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Takadanobaba, Mejiro, and Sugamo Stations"

A set of video clips basically covering a trip from Takadanobaba Station to Itabashi-Kuyakucho-mae Station, and then a couple of short views of the area right by Itabashi-Kuyakucho-mae Station. Taken between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m., the trains and streets are not crowded.

"Yamanote Line - at Takadanobaba Station" (100219-1006)

The sights and sounds of a Yamanote Line train stopped at Takadanobaba Station, including the doors-about-to-close melody.

山手線の高田馬場駅 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 10:06 a.m.)

"Yamanote Line at Mejiro Station as Various Trains Pass" (100219-1008)

Various trains pass as the Yamanote Line train pulls into and stops at Mejiro Station.

山手線の目白駅と通る電車 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 10:08 a.m.)

"Yamanote Line Side View as Train Leaves Mejiro Station" (100219-1009)

A right side view out the window of a Yamanote Line train as it leaves Mejiro Station and heads for the next stop, Ikebukuro. At the end of the clip is a brief look inside the train.

山手線 目白駅から出発、池袋駅へ向かう 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 10:09 a.m.)

"Sugamo Yamanote Line Platform to Toei-Mita Line Platform" (100219-1016)

Beginning with stepping off of a Yamanote Line train at Sugamo Station, this shows the route through Sugamo Station (part of which was under reconstruction when this clip was taken) and down into the tunnels to take the Toei-Mita Line subway.

I was surprised to see that the train was a Tokyu Corporation train, but taking a look at my train map, I see that some of the Tokyu-Meguro Line trains seamlessly connect with the Toei-Mita Line trains, so naturally there are some Tokyu Railways (they operate several lines) trains running out on the Toei-Mita Line tracks. In this video, you can clearly see the Tokyu Corporation logo on the outside of the train.

I used to use the Toei-Mita Line (about 15 years ago I think it was), and it didn't have the safety walls between the platform and the rails back then.

巣鴨駅の山手線から、都営三田線までの乗り換え道 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 10:16 a.m.)

"Boarding Toei-Mita Line Train at Sugamo Station" (100219-1019)

Waiting at Sugamo Station for a Toei-Mita Line train and boarding it when it comes in. (Notice the silver and red "Tokyu Corporation" marks on the side of the train.) After climbing aboard, looking down the middle of the inside of the half-empty train and listening to the announcements.

巣鴨駅の都営三田線 (東急の車両) 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 10:19 a.m.)

"View in front of Itabashi-Kuyakucho-mae Station" (100219-1029)

The view just in front of the entrance/exit for Itabashi-Kuyakucho-mae Station on the Toei-Mita Line. (Notice the elevated expressways in both directions.)

都営三田線の板橋区役所前駅 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 10:29 a.m.)

"Main Road Beneath Elevated Expressway" (100219-1039)

Looking both directions on a main road running below an elevated expressway in Itabashi-ku. (The Toei-Mita Line runs beneath this road.)

高速道路と高速道路の下の大道路 東京 (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 10:39 a.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Just Another Evening in Shinjuku"

For one reason or another... and another... and another, I've spent time in Shinjuku on and off ever since 1984, soon after I stepped off of that 747.  And still it continues.  Here are a few video clips from February 23rd, 2010.

"Shinjuku Rush-Hour South Exit Ticket Gate Area" (100223-1850)

Walking through the crowded (6:50 p.m.) area near the south exit/entrance ticket gates.

新宿駅南改札口あたり  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, at 6:50 p.m.)

"Food Stall, etc., in Front of West Side of Shinjuku Station" (100223-2137)

There seemed to be a lot of students with travel bags heading to the station.  They may have just finished classes and are headed out somewhere for spring break?

新宿駅の西側  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, at 9:37 p.m.)

"Omoide Yokocho - February 23rd, 2010" (100223-2139)

Another walk through Shinjuku's Omoide Yokocho - a time slip area that is increasingly becoming a tourist destination.

新宿の思い出横丁  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, at 9:39 p.m.)

"Crosswalk & Background Trains" (100223-2140)

As people hurry across a large pedestrian crossing, a couple of trains rumble by - providing a backdrop of sight and sound....

新宿の横断歩道と電車  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, at 9:40 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Ikebukuro Station Area - February 19th, 2010"

These videos are the non-music bits that fit in-between the music videos I posted to my art and music blog: "Tokyo Art & Music"

All of them were taken on a Friday night in mid-February 2010.

"Ikebukuro Station, East Side, Friday Night" (100219-2017)

Walking along the wide, long sidewalk that runs in front of the east side of Ikebukuro Station... coming upon a couple of street musicians in the process.

池袋駅前東口  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:17 p.m.)

"Ikebukuro - Looking for the Next Band" (100219_2022)

Looking for the next street band - and homing in on jazz sounds coming from down the sidewalk (which is why I make a U-turn in the middle of the crosswalk).

池袋駅前東口の次のストリートバンドの探し  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:22 p.m.)

"Pedestrian Island - Jazz Music Background" (100219-2029)

As the traffic island band is about to get back in gear, the street-crossers migrate across the wide street to the sounds of the jazz band just down the street.

池袋駅東口前の横断歩道  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:29 p.m.)

"Ikebukuro Side Street" (100219-2031)

This street used to be more interesting - before it had dead zones with no shops, but it still retains a little of its old feel.  I'm beginning to worry about the future of Tokyo.  Modern high-rise buildings may be nice, but an entire city full of them would be really boring.  Tokyo seems to be on a small-building-eradication binge.  I hope some of the older buildings can survive - as having pockets of smaller & older buildings here and there has been one of the attractions of living in Tokyo.

池袋駅東口側の細い道  でっかいビルだらけは、つまらないので、古い小さい建物が少し残った方がいいと思います  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:31 p.m.)

"Homeward-Bound Workers - Ikebukuro" (100219-2033)

8:30 p.m. - and people stream towards Ikebukuro Station to begin their rail journey home.  Some straight from work, and some from restaurants and drinking places.  8:30 being relatively early though, most are likely coming straight from work.

池袋駅東口側  仕事が終わって、うちへ向かう人たち  東京  (Recorded on Friday, February 19th, 2010, at 8:33 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Tachikawa Station Area"

Other than short clip of the Seibu-Kokubunji Line, all clips are of the station area around Tachikawa Station.

"Seibu-Kokubunji Line at Takanodai" (100203-1042)

View of Seibu-Kokubunji Line train coming into Takanodai Station - then the view as the camera & I climb aboard (providing a short view of the inside of the train).

Background noise:  Military jets fly overhead.

鷹の台駅で、西武国分寺線の電車がやって来ます  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:42 a.m.)

"Tachikawa Station, South Exit" (100203-1106)

Looking around on the elevated walkway in front of the south entrance/exit of Tachikawa Station - experimenting with different angles.

立川駅南口の... 色々.  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 11:06 a.m.)

"Tachikawa Station, North Exit" (100203-1239)

Riding the outside escalator from the elevated walkway (connected to Tachikawa Station) down to street level - a main street with tall (for Tachikawa) buildings on both sides.

立川駅北口のエスカレーター道など  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 12:39 p.m.)

"Tama Monorail - View from the Ground" (100203-1259)

Watching a Tama Monorail train pass by from the ground.  The train cars look really tall from the ground, but the passenger compartment is normal size - the extra height comes from the need to wrap around the single concrete road ("rail") that the train runs on.

These monorail trains don't run very fast, but they are high up and the slow speed makes them a good platform for photography.

多摩モノレールの立川北駅の近く、道から、モノレールを通る姿を見る  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 12:59 p.m.)

"Approaching North Entrance to Tachikawa Station" (100203-1313)

Walking toward the north entrance of Tachikawa Station.  The woman handing out brochures is from HIS, a popular discount travel agency.

立川駅の北口の近く  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 1:13 p.m.)

"Tachikawa Station - Outside & Inside the Ticket Gates" (100203-1316)

Within Tachikawa Station, starting on the outside of the ticket gates, and then proceeding through the gates, over to the stairway for the inbound Chuo Line platform, and then starting down the stairs....

立川駅の北口の近く  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 1:16 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Orange 201 Series Chuo Line Trains / Tachikawa Station Area"

Taking a good look at one of the old orange 201-series Chuo Line trains - one of the last (or even the very last one?) still being used on the Chuo Line.  The 201-series has been almost completely replaced with the newer E233-series trains, which could have been nice, except for two horrible aspects to them:  No air "leaks", and thus poor quality stale air, and the curse of the early-21st century in Tokyo - inane and ultra-irritating poor quality recorded English announcements - carefully designed to drive people stark-raving-mad.  And so a ride in one of the old 201 trains is a wonderful experience:  "Air!  I can breathe!" & "No tortuous horribly inane English announcements!  Bliss!!  Banzai!!!".

"201 Series Chuo Line at Kokubunji - February 2010" (100203-1049)

One of the last 201 series Chuo Line trains still in service on the Chuo Line pulls into Kokubunji Station, heading west towards Tachikawa.

The 201 series has separate throttle and brake controls that must be a lot more rewarding to operate than the new type controls (on the E233-series, etc.), which just has one lever to push forward and pull back.

There are some detail views in this - such as of one of the side vents in the train cars, that were an excellent idea, but were shut off permanently from the inside many years ago (probably to save time in shutting down the trains at night), as well as a view of one of the side destination signs.  [As for vents - there were still operational openable vents in the ceiling - a great idea and very much appreciated on many an evening coming come on a sardine run!]

A large part of the ambiance of a train is in the noises it makes - such as the air-compressor pump that you can hear as I & the camera walk past it - the sound of it running - chug-chug-chug - at first, and then the sounds it makes as it shuts off.

中央線の201車両が国分寺駅に到着  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:49 a.m.)

"Tokkyu Train Passes 201 Series Chuo Line at Kokubunji" (100203-1051)

Views of a tokkyu reserved-seat train zooming past a waiting 201 series orange Chuo Line train stopped at Kokubunji Station.

中央線の201車両が国分寺駅で待っている時、特急が通る  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:51 a.m.)

"201 Series Chuo Line Manual Operation - Kokubunji to Nishi-Kokubunji" (100203-1053)

Looking westward from the JR Chuo Line platform; while a 201 series orange train waits on the left, a yellow Seibu-Kokubunji Line train leaves Kokubunji Station off to the right, and as the Seibu train accelerates away,  a newer E233 series inbound Chuo Line train comes from the opposite direction, slowing to a stop at Kokubunji Station (at another platform).

Then the station doors-about-to-close melody plays, the doors close, and the 201-series train gets underway - running from Kokubunji Station to Nishi-Kokubunji Station.  There are also views of the inside of the train - which is not crowded at all - unusual for the Chuo Line!

Sounds:  Being a pre-recording train, an actual human being (gasp!) makes live announcements from the rear of the train about the next stops, etc.  Train rides here were vastly more enjoyable when human beings made the announcements - the recordings (especially the horrible English ones on most lines) detract from the journey.  If nothing else, it would be great if they'd either discontinue the half-speed, over-pronounced, over-intonated, too-loud, ultra-irritating English announcements, or at least make new recordings with someone with a nice voice who speaks genuine English at a normal speed, and keep the volume down at a reasonable level....

国分寺駅から、西国分寺駅まで、中央線の201車両の前から、景色や運転手の電車操作を見る  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:53 a.m.)

"201 Series Chuo Line Manual Operation - Kunitachi to Tachikawa" (100203-1059)

The Chuo Line - running from Kunitachi to Tachikawa on a newly elevated stretch of the rails.  Views of the driver running the manually operated train, and then the driver turning over control of the train to a new driver in Tachikawa.

国立駅から、立川駅まで、中央線の201車両の前から、景色や運転手の電車操作  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 10:59 a.m.)

"Orange 201 Series Chuo Line Train Departs Tachikawa" (100203-1102)

Standing on the end of the platform at Tachikawa Station, watching all ten cars of an outbound/westbound orange 201-series Chuo Line train accelerate out of the station.  As the day approaches when there will be none of the 201-series trains left on the Chuo Line, I'm getting increasingly nostalgic about that model - for a number of reasons:

 - I've spent a lot of time over the past 25 years riding in those train cars - which were still fairly new back in 1984, when I began using the line.

 - There are no evil and ultra-irritating recordings on the 201 series trains.

 - They have vastly better ventilation than the new ones.  The new ones were probably designed with the engineering goal of not "leaking" air - and in that they succeeded.  The result?  The air generally seems stale, uncomfortable, and slightly toxic.  On crowded trains, If they don't pump in fresh air, then air "leaking" is a good thing!  It provides oxygen to breathe!

 - Cool sounds - the old trains seem more like living things with the various noises they make.

立川駅から、中央線の201シリーズ車両西へ出発  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 11:02 a.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"From Train to Train - Shibuya, Kichijoji, & Kokubunji"

Trains, trains, and more trains.  Not a complaint - it's a great thing to be able to go anywhere in a huge city like Tokyo have no need of a car and no car expenses (parking, gasoline, maintenance, car-related taxes, etc.).

"Shibuya Station - Between the Yamanote & Inokashira Lines" (100210-1833)

Starting by the exit gates for the Ginza Line, I walk down the stairs leading to the passage that goes past the Yamanote Line ticket gates and then on over to the Inokashira Line.  Being around 6:30 on a weekday evening, it's typically busy.

渋谷駅、東横線と山手線の間  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:33 p.m.)

"Headed for Inokashira Line in Shibuya" (100210-1836)

Walking through the ticket gates to the Inokashira Line at Shibuya Station, and getting in line for the next express, since the one about to leave is already quite crowded.

渋谷駅、井の頭線  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:36 p.m.)

"Standing in Line for Inokashira Line Express" (100210-1837)

While waiting for the next Inokashira Line express, people in a hurry rush up to get on the one just about to leave.

渋谷駅、次の井の頭線の急行を待っている  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:37 p.m.)

"Kichijoji Transfer - Inokashira Line to Chuo Line" (100210-1906)

After getting off of an Inokashira Line train in Kichijoji (that I boarded in Shibuya after waiting in line for the second one so I could sit down), I walk through the Inokashira Line ticket gates, go down the escalator, and over to and through the Chuo Line ticket gates on my way to the Chuo Line.

吉祥寺駅で、井の頭線から、中央線に乗り換え  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 7:06 p.m.)

"Boarding Seibu-Kokubunji Line in Kokubunji" (100210-1925)

Watching a Seibu-Kokubunji Line train come in and then climbing aboard.  Living such scenes is like breathing air for typical Tokyo residents.  Still - in spite of the world's best train system, Tokyo also has a bad case of internal combustion engine disease and is still busily destroying ever more of the city so it can be paved over to make large gray paths for the machines - at the expense of quality of life for the humans living in the city.

国分寺駅で、西武国分寺線を乗るところ  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 7:25 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Hibiya Subway Stairs, Yotsuya, Hatanodai, & Shibuya Transfer"

Video clips from Hibiya Park, then a subway entrance across from Hibiya Park, and then Yotsuya (from a coffee shop), Hatanodai Station, and Shibuya.

"Hibiya Park Tennis Courts" (100210-1320)

A quick look at the tennis courts in Hibiya Park one Wednesday afternoon.

(I tried to remind myself that it was great to be outside, but I was still steaming from a meeting with a pack of evil lying corporate scum.  Time will heal the wounds - I hope.)

日比谷公園テニスコート  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 1:20 p.m.)

"Hibiya Subway Diving" (100210-1333)

Diving into a subway entrance in Yurakucho 1-chome, across the street from Hibiya Park.  The narrow passage down into the earth is intriguing, but once down there, I always long to be back up on the surface of the earth.

日比谷公園の近くの地下鉄入り口(有楽町一丁目)  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 1:33 p.m.)

"Tully's Coffee Shop in Yotsuya" (100210-1440)

I thought the view towards the door from where I was sitting in the Yotsuya Tully's coffee shop was interesting.  This is probably better as a still picture, but as a video clip, you get the jazz music soundtrack and some of the ambiance of the space, with the mix of voices and music.  The major missing components being the smell of coffee and the cozy warm temperature inside, contrasting with the February chill outside.

四谷のチユーリーズ喫茶店  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 1:40 p.m.)

"Changing Trains at Hatanodai Station" (100210-1800)

Changing trains in Hatanodai - from the Ikegami Line to the Oimachi Line.  The video begins with an interior view of an Ikegami Line train and the walk down the connecting passageway to the base of the escalator that leads to the elevated platform of the Oimachi Line.

旗の台駅で池上線から大井町線に乗り換え  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:00 p.m.)

"Boarding Oimachi Line Train at Hatanodai Station" (100210-1801)

Riding the escalator up to the elevated platform of the Oimachi Line - the clip stops just before the cameraman (cough) gets on the train.

旗の台駅で大井町線の電車を乗る時  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:01 p.m.)

"Jiyugaoka Oimachi Line Platform Sidelines" (100210-1808)

Taking a quick break on a platform bench on the Jiyugaoka Station Oimachi Line platform - watching the train doors close, the train get on its way, and people walking along the platform.

自由が丘駅の大井町線のホームで人々が通る  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:08 p.m.)

"Jiyugaoka Station Toyoko Line Escalator" (100210-1810)

Riding the escalator at Jiyugaoka Station up from the Oimachi Line platform to the Toyoko Line platform.  As I reach the platform, a recorded announcement is just beginning that announces the imminent arrival of a local train that directly connects to (becomes) the Hibiya Line.

Several lines are set up this way, so that if you pick the right train, you can start on a surface train leading towards central Tokyo, and the train is routed straight into a subway tunnel and automatically becomes a different line.  So all you have to do is stay seated and watch for your subway stop.  At the border station between two different lines, the driver and conductor of one line get off and the driver and conductor of the next line that the (same) train becomes get on.

自由が丘駅の東横線のホームまでのエスカレーター  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:10 p.m.)

"Arriving Toyoko Line Train at Jiyugaoka" (100210-1811)

As an outbound Toyoko Line train comes into the station in one direction, an inbound Toyoko/Hibiya Line train comes in in the other.  The subway-bound train itself is one of the subway line trains.

自由が丘駅の東横線のホームの電車  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:11 p.m.)

"Express Train Arriving at Jiyugaoka Station" (100210-1815)

Walking up the platform at Jiyugaoka Station to get to the front of a Toyoko Line express.  (The train that is stopped on the left side of the platform is a local.)

Midway up the platform, the little girl yelling loud enough into her cell phone to be heard in Osaka is saying "It's platform [track] number six, right?"

Note: A sort-of direct translation.  99% of the time, if someone tells you that a translation from Japanese to English is "a direct translation", they are bloody lying!  Most phrases in Japanese cannot be directly translated into English - and vice-versa.  The two languages are radically different and any translation requires interpretation, and no two translators can agree on the best way to translate something.  Some companies (stupidly) have translations back-translated to see if they are accurate.  While this can ascertain whether content is there or not, it cannot verify or deny the very important between-the-lines substance of text, and if the back-translator is making the same vocabulary conversion mistakes (much easier to do than you would think), it can actually mask huge errors.

自由が丘駅の東横線の急行がやって来る  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, at 6:15 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Shinjuku - February 9th, 2010"

Typical evening scenes in Shinjuku, from the Chuo Line platform to the streets around the various entrances/exits to the station.

"Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform - 6:37 p.m., Feb. 9th, 2010"

Since some of the Chuo Line trains split into two parts for some branches of the line, trains for those runs have cab cars in the middle of the ten car train, so they can (down the line) split into one six-car train and one four-car train.  The video starts with a look into one of the empty cabs in the middle of an outbound Chuo Line train as it's stopped at the platform in Shinjuku.  From there, the camera pans out to the platform and I walk down along the train through the evening platform crowd.

The announcements:  First, the recorded female voice politely says that the doors for the train on track number 12 (except they mistakenly call it "platform 12" here, even though there are two tracks per platform) are going to close - so be careful.  Then a man comes on live (from somewhere in the middle of the platform) saying that the doors for track-12 are going to close, and asks that passengers not force their way on at this point.  Then the doors close and as the train gets under way, he says that the train is departing, so please stay behind the yellow line.

新宿駅、西行きの中央線  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 6:37 p.m.)

"Shinjuku Station - Upper Level" (100209-1838)

Walking through the upper part of Shinjuku Station (the south exits are above the tracks, while the west and east exits are below the tracks), then through the south exit, and out onto the winter nighttime street.

Incidentally, notice that the pedestrian bridge (towards the end of the clip) is still lit up in blue, so I guess that's permanent and not just part of the Christmas & News Year's lighting for the Southern Terrace.

新宿駅、上の南口エアリア  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 6:38 p.m.)

"Nishi-Shinjuku - Near Yodobashi Camera" (100209-1841)

Walking through Nishi-Shinjuku 1-chome - heading for Yodobashi Camera, where I've gone for most of the machines I've bought over the years, including my MP3 player, refrigerator, camera, etc.

西新宿、ヨドバシカメラの近く  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 6:41 p.m.)

"Nishi-Shinjuku - Main Street & Drink Street" (100209-2157)

Beginning near the west exit of Shinjuku Station, and then walking through the narrow drink street Omoide-yokocho, and then across the main street and under the rail bridge.

西新宿、大通りから細い思い出横丁を通して、鉄道橋の下まで  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 9:57 p.m.)

"Shinjuku 3-Chome - Nearing East Entrance" (100209-2214)

Walking with the river of people heading for the east entrance of Shinjuku Station, and - eventually - home.  The average travel time to home for most people is around an hour.

新宿三丁目、新宿駅の東口に近づく  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 10:14 p.m.)

"Shinjuku - Between East & South Entrances" (100209-2217)

Walking between the east and south entrances of Shinjuku Station.

There was a band that I just missed seeing over near Kabukicho, and they told me that they would be setting up again later that evening over by the south entrance of Shinjuku Station, so I walked over, but when I didn't see them after a short wait, decided I wanted to go home, so I didn't see them again - maybe I'll catch them another day.

新宿駅の東口と南口の間の散歩  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 10:17 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Ginza Line, Ginza & Yurakucho Couple"

A continuation of February 9th, 2010 - with this batch of videos beginning at Nihonbashi Station, where I transferred to the Ginza Line (from the Tozai Line), and then a couple of clips from Ginza and a couple from neighboring Yurakucho.

"Nihonbashi - Getting on Ginza Line" (100209-1338)

Walking onto the Ginza Line platform at Nihonbashi Station just as a Ginza Line train arrives.  The Ginza Line is Tokyo's oldest subway - which began operation in December 1927, running between Asakusa and Ueno.  (The first surface railway - between Yokohama and Shinbashi - began operation in 1872.)

日本橋駅で銀座線に乗る  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 1:38 p.m.)

"Edge of Ginza 4-Chome Walk" (100209-1345)

Walking along the street that divides Ginza 4-chome and Ginza 5-chome.  The long white barrier on the left is yet another construction site.  Tokyo - the city that (seemingly) has outlawed old buildings.  Anything older than a few decades is considered not fit to exist and is promptly torn down to be replaced by yet another new high-rise building.  New is nice, but a little more old mixed in with the new would be nice....

銀座四丁目の散歩  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 1:45 p.m.)

"Ginza Okuno Building Original Round Window" (100209-1403)

A functionally opening original round window in the over seven-decade-old Okuno Building is quite rare, so I thought it would be good to record it for posterity's sake.  The racket in the background is the construction of the large building going up immediately behind the Okuno Building.  (The "view" from the round window is of the building next door, and yes, you can reach out and touch it - it's that close.)

銀座奥野ビルの丸い窓  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 2:03 p.m.)

"Passing Shinkansen Trains Near Yurakucho Station" (100209-1653)

As I approach Yurakucho Station, two Shinkansen trains pass by overhead.

有楽町駅に近づきながら、新幹線が通る  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 4:53 p.m.)

"Couple Crossing Street in Yurakucho" (100209-1815)

As I head towards Yurakucho Station, I find myself behind a couple... and pondering why it is that this scene seems more fitting in Yurakucho than in many other parts of Tokyo - possibly due to the historical romance of nearby Ginza?

有楽町駅前の交差点を渡る二人  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 6:15 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Shimo-Ochiai, Takadanobaba, & the Tozai Line"

Part of my travels on February 9th, 2010 - starting at Higashi-Murayama, where I took a Seibu-Shinjuku Line train to Shimo-Ochiai Station, and then continued on to Takadanobaba, where I looked around for a bit and then went underground and got on an eastbound Tozai Line train.

"Waiting for Seibu-Shinjuku Line Train at Higashi-Murayama Station" (100209-1004)

10:04 a.m. - just past the morning rush, waiting for a Seibu-Shinjuku Line train at Higashi-Murayama Station.  Riding the morning trains at this time is a whole different experience from the crush-rush hours before this.  I was even able to get a seat on this train....

東村山駅で西武新宿線の電車を待っている  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 10:04 a.m.)

"Crossing Near Shimo-Ochiai Station" (100209-1044)

Waiting for a train to pass at a crossing near Shimo-Ochiai Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku Line.  Section by section, ground tracks are being elevated, but there are still a fair number of non-elevated surface tracks here and there throughout Tokyo.

西武新宿線の下落合駅の近くの踏切  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 10:44 a.m.)

"Seseragi-no-Sato Park in Kami-Ochiai" (100209-1047)

February 9th 2010 was unseasonably warm, and so when I walked through Seseragi-no-Sato Park, the many chirping sparrows there made it feel like spring had arrived.  This park may not look very exciting, but in Tokyo, even small areas of green like this are greatly appreciated!

下落合駅の近くの上落合一丁目のせせらぎの里公園  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 10:47 a.m.)

"Takadanobaba Stroll - Takadanobaba Station Bound" (100209-1306)

Walking down the main street in Takadanobaba that forms the boundary between Takadanobaba 3-chome and Takadanobaba 4-chome - heading towards Takadanobaba Station.

高田馬場三丁目 - 高田馬場駅に向かう  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 1:06 p.m.)

"Wide and Narrow Streets Near Takadanobaba Station" (100209-1308)

Continuing down the street towards Takadanobaba Station, the station platform - which is on a bridge over the road - comes into view as the station melodies and announcements begin to be heard.  The train stations used to all be like this - open to the air and providing an unhindered view in both directions.  Increasingly though, stations are enclosed - which make them warmer in winter and safer, but also more sterile somehow, and more boring.

Just as I'm almost across the street on my way to the station, I decide to make a U-turn and explore a narrow street running off at an angle from the station.  As I do so, a Yamanote Line train pulls into the station above.

高田馬場三丁目 - 歩きながら、高田馬場駅に向かう  駅の近くになると、細い道を探検する  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 1:08 p.m.)

"Takadanobaba Narrow Student Street" (100209-1310)

Walking along a narrow diagonal street in a steady stream of students.  It should go without saying that the number of students on streets like this depends on the time of day and the time of year, but in Tokyo, it's easy to forget, since there are always people out and about most times of the day and very nearly all times of the year.

As there are an amazing number of all kinds of schools scattered about all over Tokyo, the effect of the students from one or another school being out of school is often not noticed due to other schools still holding classes, not to mention all the after-hours activities students are involved in on and off campus, and the juku (cram) schools, which operate late into the night.

高田馬場三丁目 - 細い道の学生散歩  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 1:10 p.m.)

"Takadanobaba Station - From JR to Subway" (100209-1315)

Takadanobaba Station - from the main ticket gates, to the area in front of the station, and then down the stairs into the subway up to the ticket gates for the Tozai Line.

高田馬場駅、JRから、地下鉄の東西線まで  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 1:15 p.m.)

"Tozai Line - Platform Wait & Ride in Tunnel" (100209-1320)

Starting on the platform of the Tozai Line at Takadanobaba Station.  First a westbound train comes in on the other side and then an eastbound train comes in, that I board.  The camera stays on as the train enters and runs through the tunnel.

A highly irritating thing I noticed on this ride on the Tozai Line (that they never used to do) is that they wait *after* the doors are closed before starting the train.  The old process was: 1) Close the doors, 2) Go!.  The new process is 1) Close the doors, 2) Wait... (why?), and finally 3) Go.  There's probably some new safety procedure that's been implemented stating something like "Wait a full five seconds after closing the doors before starting the train."  Hey guys - why not two or three seconds?  That's enough to see if the doors are clear.  Or better still, instead of a blanket time-wasting long interval, why not just have a rule that states "Double check that the doors are clear before starting the train", which would prevent wasting time at every station when its not crowded.

What's that?  What's a few seconds?  On trips within Tokyo with multiple train rides and dozens of stops, adding in five seconds of wasted time at each and every station adds up.  Tokyo's trains *used to* run like clockwork, but due to inane overly cautions procedures being introduced, the times the trains fall off schedule are increasing.  Do I see car drivers shaking their heads?  Yeah... right.  Like you guys are tranquil and happy when you miss a light!  There's almost never enough time in a day - it's better not to waste it!  If nothing else, the feeling of sitting there for no good reason is just plain irritating!  We have brains!  Let's use 'em!

Incidentally, this clip contains a lot of audio information, such as platform announcements (male voice for westbound trains and female voice for eastbound), the sound of an approaching train in the distance, the rush of the train coming into the station, the announcement inside the train, the various tunnel and motor noises as the train progresses (scrapping noises as the train goes through a tight right curve, etc.), both recorded and live announcements, etc.

高田馬場駅 (地下鉄の東西線)  待っている時間から、トンネルの中に走るまで  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, at 1:20 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, February 05, 2010

"Azamino (1991), Tama-Monorail, Shinjuku & Tachikawa (2010)"

I was looking for something else when I came upon a video I took back in 1991 of the area around Azamino Station (taken while I was waiting for a friend who lived there to arrive) - so I decided to toss that up on the screen.

After that are a few fairly high definition clips of a 2010 ride on the Tama-Monorail.  Since it's out in western Tokyo, away from the high rises of central Tokyo, the view is pretty good from the train.

And the last two clips are of Shinjuku - one of Tanaka Aya performing live in front of the west side of Shinjuku Station on a very cold February night, and the other of a walk under a JR railway bridge.

"Azamino Station Area at Night - January 8th, 1991"

Riding the Denentoshi Line out to Azamino Station, I walked around the station area taking video of a grocery store, people lining up to buy train passes, people getting on a bus, etc., while waiting for a friend to arrive.  (At the beginning of the video, there are some visual glitches - which are good examples of the kind of problems I used to encounter with 8mm analogue video tape.)

While waiting, I saw a guy get nabbed by the one man there to manually watch the ticket gates.  These days, to save money, railways have cut back on personnel and typically there is no one there to grab cheaters.

In the grocery store, you can see the local method of counting money twice to make sure there are no mistakes, and how the change is manually pulled from the cash register drawer one coin at a time.  These days, the correct change just drops out of the machine, so it doesn't need to be manually counted.

1991年の一月のあざみ野駅あたり  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, January 8th, 1991, at night.)

"Tama-Monorail - From Takamatsu to Tachikawa-kita (Front View)" (100201-1047)

Tama-Monorail trip from Takamatsu Station to Tachikawa-Kita Station.

多摩モノレールの旅  高松駅から立川北駅まで  東京  (Recorded on Monday, February 1st, 2010, at 10:47 a.m.)

"Tama-Monorail trip from Tachikawa-Kita to Tachikawa-Minami (Front View)" (100201-1050)

Tama-Monorail trip from Tachikawa-Kita Station to Tachikawa-Minami Station.

多摩モノレールの旅  立川北駅から立川南駅まで  東京  (Recorded on Monday, February 1st, 2010, at 10:50 a.m.)

"Tama-Monorail trip from Shibasaki-Taiikukan to Koshukaido" (100201-1053)

Tama-Monorail trip - from Shibasaki-Taiikukan Station to Koshukaido Station.

多摩モノレールの旅  柴崎体育館駅から甲州街道駅まで  東京  (Recorded on Monday, February 1st, 2010, at 10:53 a.m.)

"Tama-Monorail - From Koshukaido to Manganji" (100201-1056)

Tama-Monorail trip from Koshukaido Station to Manganji Station.

多摩モノレールの旅  甲州街道駅から万願寺駅まで  東京  (Recorded on Monday, February 1st, 2010, at 10:56 a.m.)

"Tachikawa One-Look Image Writer" (100203-1310)

The man in this video had a sign saying that he will write something about someone from just one quick look at them.  The pair of women (mother & daughter?) seemed pleased with the result.

立川イメージライターは、人を一目で感想をさらさら書く  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, at 1:10 p.m.)

"Tanaka Aya Live in Nishi Shinjuku - 22-2-2" (100202-2150)

One rather cold evening, as I walked up to the west exit of Shinjuku Station, I came upon Tanaka Aya performing live in front of the station.  Her website is:

西側の新宿駅前で、ストリート音楽家田中亜弥を聞きました。(平成二十二年二月二日)  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, at 9:50 p.m.)

"Night Path Under Shinjuku Rail Bridge" (100202-2201)

Walking under the rail bridge for Ikebukuro-bound Yamanote and Saikyo Line (etc.) trains (at 10:00 p.m.), and then onto the plaza in front of Seibu-Shinjuku Station.

新宿駅近く鉄道橋の下と西武新宿駅前プラザ(平成二十二年二月二日)  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, at 10:01 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon