Saturday, May 29, 2010

"Musashisakai Station Under Construction / Seibu Tamagawa Line"

This set of clips begins with a transfer walk from the JR part of Musashisakai Station, to the Seibu-Tamagawa Line part of the same station.  The renovated station is still under construction, so when it's complete, transfers will probably be easier.

Once I get on the Seibu-Tamagawa Line, I show the view out the front cab between the stations of that short line.  The train for most of the video clips was painted all-white (as opposed to the Seibu Line's usual yellow) and had the kanji for "haru" (spring) on it.

On the other end of the Tamagawa Line from Musashisakai Station, I walk along the Tamagawa River and - later - take a bike ride.

"Musashisakai Station - Chuo Line to Tamagawa Line" (100520Th-1400)

Transferring at Musashisakai Station from the Chuo Line to the Seibu-Tamagawa Line.

A lot of new construction on this station has been completed, but there is a bit to go yet, with some of the under-construction parts visible in this video.

武蔵境駅 - 中央線から西武多摩川線まで(工事中)  東京

"Tamagawa Line - 'Haru' Train at Musashisakai Station" (100520Th-1405)

Looking down the newly elevated tracks at the Seibu part of Musashisakai Station, and then turning around and looking at an old type Seibu Line train with a new white paint job, named "Haru" (Spring).

武蔵境駅、西武多摩川線の白い「春」電車  東京

"Musashisakai to Shinkoganei (Tamagawa Line)" (100520Th-1409)

Riding a white "Haru" (Spring) Seibu-Tamagawa Line train from Musashisakai Station to Shinkoganei Station.

西武多摩川線で、武蔵境駅から新小金井駅まで  東京

"Shinkoganei to Tama (Tamagawa Line)" (100520Th-1412)

Riding a white "Haru" (Spring) Seibu-Tamagawa Line train from Shinkoganei Station to Tama Station.

西武多摩川線で、新小金井駅から多摩駅まで  東京

"Tama to Shiraitodai (Tamagawa Line)" (100520Th-1415)

Riding a white "Haru" (Spring) Seibu-Tamagawa Line train from Tama Station to Shiraitodai Station.

西武多摩川線で、多摩駅から白糸台駅まで  東京

"Shiraitodai to Kyoteijomae (Tamagawa Line)" (100520Th-1417)

Riding a white "Haru" (Spring) Seibu-Tamagawa Line train from Shiraitodai Station to Kyoteijomae Station.

西武多摩川線で、白糸台駅から競艇場前駅まで  東京

"'Haru' Tamagawa Line Train at Kyoteijomae Station" (100520Th-1420)

Watching an all white (as opposed to the Seibu Line's usual yellow) "Haru" (Spring) train leave Kyoteijomae Station.

There's a boat racing place right next to this station.  The story goes that Fuchu residents allow racing (with betting) in exchange for low property taxes (thanks to the revenue the race-betting brings to the city).

競艇場前駅で、西武多摩川線の白い「春」電車が出発  東京

"Tamagawa River Parkway" (100520Th-1433)

A 360-degree look around from a paved pedestrian path that runs along Tamagawa.  (This was recorded in Fuchu.)

多摩川の川側公園  東京

"Koremasa to Kyoteijomae (Tamagawa Line)" (100520Th-1448)

Riding a regular yellow-colored Seibu-Tamagawa Line train from Koremasa Station to Kyoteijomae Station.

西武多摩川線で、是政駅から競艇場前駅まで  東京

"Tamagawa Riverside Water Treatment Plant" (100520Th-1514)

Walking by and looking over at water output from a water treatment plant next to Tamagawa River.

多摩川隣の水掃除所  東京

"Fuchu Bike Ride" (100520Th-1551)

Riding a bike in Fuchu.

府中の自転車ライド  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Yotsuya to Shinjuku Views and Shinjuku Street Musicians - May 2010"

The first video below is of a vertical look out a right side window of a Chuo Line train as it runs from Yotsuya to Shinjuku.  My favorite part of the clip is at the end, as it pulls into Shinjuku Station.  I like the effect of the platform and the people waiting for the train flowing by the window.

I got off the train in Shinjuku and all the other video clips in this post were taken there, including two individual street musicians and one jazz band.

"Yotsuya to Shinjuku - Chuo Line Vertical View" (100518Tu-1834)

Vertical view out a right side window of a Chuo Line train as it rolled from Yotsuya to Shinjuku - taken at twilight, so the outside scenery flowing past mixes with internal reflections of the inside of the train.

Note: The train enters a short tunnel right after departing Yotsuya Station, and the only thing you can see while in the tunnel, is the reflection of the inside of the train - but once it's past the tunnel, there's a good mix of outside direct views and reflections of the inside of the train.

Also, since I was near the front of the train, nearly the whole of the platform at Shinjuku Station flows by before the doors open.  [ILTO]

中央線で四ッ谷駅から、新宿駅までの夕方(立て)ビュー  東京

"Shinjuku Platform Stroll" (100518Tu-1838)

Walking along the Chuo Line platform as it takes on a load of people and departs for the next station.  Walking next to the train as it accelerates out of the station, I contemplate how platform walls are safer, but that it's much more exciting and visually interesting to have the train right there out in the open.

新宿駅プラットフォーム散歩しながら中央線が出発  東京

"Shinjuku South Exit - May 18th, 2010" (100518Tu-1852)

I walk past a row of unused public telephones in Shinjuku Station, turn towards the right and go through the south exit ticket gates, and then across the street (technically entering Shibuya, although almost everyone considers this area to be Shinjuku, due to its proximity to Shinjuku Station).

新宿南口 - 平成二十二年五月十八日  東京

"Evening Southern Terrace" (100518Tu-1902)

Looking back towards Shinjuku Station from an area of Shibuya that most people don't seem to realize is not actually in Shinjuku.  But it *is* right by Shinjuku Station, so that makes it effectively Shinjuku, since people go by large station names for area identification, more than they go by the actual address.

夕方の新宿サザンテラス(イン渋谷)  東京

"Downhill From Shinjuku Southern Terrace" (100518Tu-1906)

Walking downhill from Shinjuku Southern Terrace.  This street is the line between Shibuya and Shinjuku, and I'm walking on the Shibuya side in this video.

新宿サザンテラス丘から下り道  東京

"M - Mayura Haruri - Live in Shinjuku - May 18th, 2010" (100518Tu-1911)

I stumbled upon Mayura Haruri playing live in front of the Keio Department Store in Shinjuku.  I liked her voice and wanted to buy a CD, but she was still singing when I had to leave for an appointment, so I couldn't.  Oh well... maybe I'll see her live somewhere else.

Her website is:

新宿でマユラハルリ ストリート ライブ、平成二十二年五月十八日  東京

"Shinjuku Station West Side Walk" (100518Tu-2146)

Nishi-Shinjuku.  By "Shinjuku Station" in the title, I mean the area immediately in front of the station - in this case the west side.  (In this video, I don't enter the station.)

新宿駅前(西側)の夜散歩  東京

"M - Yoshida Chuta - Live in Shinjuku" (100518Tu-2151)

Yoshida Chuta playing his guitar live in Shinjuku.

This is the second time I've seen the guitarist Yoshida Chuta playing in Shinjuku - the last time was April 13th, 2010.

His website is:

新宿でストリートライブギタリスト吉田忠太  東京

"M - Jazz Band Live in Shinjuku" (100518Tu-2153)

I think I've seen these guys play before, but I'll have to go back through old videos and take a look.  Unfortunately, I didn't get the name of them the night I took this video.

(Watching this video after the fact, it looks like there might be some kind of flyers in the guitar case... I wish I'd picked one up...)

新宿でストリートライブジャズバンド  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Yurakucho, Ginza, Chuo Line, Etc."

Starting off with a view of the ride from Tokyo to Yurakucho, then a look around Yurakucho and back to the trains, showing the rides from Yurakucho to Tokyo, Tokyo to Kanda, and Kanda to Ochanomizu.

"Yamanote Line - Tokyo to Yurakucho, Left Side View" (100518Tu-1146)

Looking out a left side window on a Yamanote Line train from Tokyo to Yurakucho, where I get off the train and head for the stairs.

東京駅から、有楽町駅まで、山手線の左側風景  東京

"Yurakucho - Short Narrow Path Under Tracks" (100518Tu-1148)

Walking down a short, narrow path right after coming out of Yurakucho Station, and then turning and coming out into the sunlight.

有楽町駅、ガード下の細い、短い道  東京

"Car Culture Ginza Main Street" (100518Tu-1152)

Waiting for the light to change so I can cross an asphalt wasteland without getting run over by fire-breathing machinery.  Large cities, especially mega-cities like Tokyo, would be vastly improved if personal cars were forbidden from entering the city.

To my car-lover friends who may be offended at my criticism of fire-breathing machinery:  Yeah, I know, it's not all that far to the other side, but for pedestrians, cars ruin main roads like this.  The basic feeling is one of stress, with the constant noise and exhaust fumes.  Turning down a side street and escaping the fire-breathing machinery is always a relief.

車文化の銀座大通り、広い面白くないアスファルト  東京

"Crosswalk Between Kokusai Forum and Yurakucho Station" (100518Tu-1723)

Walking from Kokusai Forum to one of the entrances to Yurakucho Station.

国際フォーラムと有楽町駅の間の横断歩道  東京

"Looking Around by Yurakucho SB" (100518Tu-1813)

Looking around while standing on the opposite side of the street from Yurakucho SB.

有楽町スタンドバーの近くの見回り  東京

"Back to Yurakucho Station" (100518Tu-1816)

Walking back to Yurakucho Station as the sun sets....  The sounds of the elevated trains are an important component of the atmosphere in Tokyo.

有楽町駅に戻る  電車の音は、東京の雰囲気の一つ  東京

"Yurakucho Station and Ride to Tokyo" (100518Tu-1818)

Looking around on the platform in Yurakucho, and then getting on a Keihin-Tohoku Line train and watching the scenery flow by outside (on the right side) during the ride to Tokyo Station, where I get off and head for the stairs.

有楽町駅から始まり、京浜東北線の電車を乗って、東京駅に行きます  東京

"Tokyo Station Chuo Line Stroll" (100518Tu-1822)

Walking along the edge of the Chuo Line platform at Tokyo Station as a Chuo Line train arrives at the station.  After watching the train come in, I climb aboard.

東京駅の中央線プラットフォーム散歩  東京

"Tokyo to Kanda - Twilight View" (100518Tu-1825)

Left side window, twilight view, from inside a Chuo Line train from Tokyo Station to Kanda Station, including a look through the train to the other side, where a Keihin-Tohoku Line train is running in parallel.

中央線で東京駅から、神田駅までの左側夕方窓ビュー  東京

"Kanda to Ochanomizu - Vertical Twilight View" (100518Tu-1826)

A vertical view out the left side of a Chuo Line train between Kanda and Ochanomizu - with reflections of the train interior mixed in with the outside view of Tokyo flowing by.

中央線で神田駅から、御茶ノ水駅までの左側窓ビュー(立て)  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Chuo Line Inside Views, Ginza Exhibition, Etc."

Several - probably too many - views from inside Chuo Line trains, which are probably boring to watch for most people, but might become more interesting with the passage of time, since Tokyo never stops changing.  Also, for people not living in Tokyo, they show somewhat how it is to ride the Chuo Line and Tokyo trains in general (although each line has its own character).

There are also some views of the inside of the Okuno Building in Ginza - possible the building with the most interesting atmosphere in all of Ginza.

And just in case there aren't enough train views with all those Chuo Line views, there are a couple of Seibu-Kokubunji Line views (from the inside, looking out) as well.

"Chuo Tokkai - Kokubunji to Mitaka" (100518Tu_1102)

Riding the "Chuo-Tokkai" (Chuo Line Tokubetsu-Kaisoku [Special Rapid]) from Kokubunji to Mitaka.

中央線の特別快速(中央特別快速/中央特快)、国分寺駅から三鷹駅まで  東京

"Chuo Tokkai - Mitaka to Nakano (Almost)" (100518Tu_1108)

Riding the "Chuo-Tokkai" (Chuo Line Tokubetsu-Kaisoku [Special Rapid]) from Mitaka to Nakano - well... *almost* to Nakano.  The train was delayed, so it was taking longer than usual.  I cut off the clip a little before Nakano to stay within ten minutes recording time.

中央線の特別快速(中央特別快速/中央特快)、三鷹駅から中野駅まで  東京

"Okuno Building - 3rd Floor" (100518Tu-1218)

Looking around a little on the third floor of the Ginza Okuno Building.

銀座奥野ビルの三階、平成二十二年五月十八日  東京

"HUST 'In Vitro-II' Installation in Ginza" (100518Tu-1304)

A view of the latest installation by HUST (Hideyuki Usuki and Shingo Toyama) at Gallery Ginza 1-Chome, as well as part of the path through the Okuno Building on the way to the exhibit.  This installation runs from May 18th through to May 25th, 2010.

銀座奥野ビル四階のギャラリー銀座一丁目で、HUST(臼木英之 & 遠山伸吾)のインスタレーション - 5月18日から5月25日まで

"Niramusi Installation at Kobo in Ginza" (100518Tu-1541)

A quick look at an installation by Niramusi at Kobo-2 in the Okuno Building.  This installation runs from May 17th through to May 22nd, 2010.

銀座奥野ビル三階のギャラリー巷房2で新山にらむし展のインスタレーション - 5月17日から5月22日まで

"Yurakucho, Passage Under Tracks, and Yakitori Tunnel" (100518Tu-1719)

Walking down a daylight-bright street towards Yurakucho Station; turning right into the (comparatively) dark passageway under the Shinkansen railway tracks, and then turning left into Yakitori Tunnel (my term).

有楽町の道と新幹線線路下と焼鳥トンネル  東京

"Takanodai to Koigakubo - Left Rear View" (100518Tu-1054)

Left-rear view from Seibu-Kokubunji Line train as it rolls from Takanodai Station to Koigakubo Station.  Looking much greener than it did in the winter (naturally!).

西武国分寺線、鷹の台駅から恋ヶ窪駅まで、左後風景  東京

"From Koigakubo, Halfway to Kokubunji" (100518Tu-1056)

Left-rear view from Seibu-Kokubunji Line train as it rolls from Koigakubo Station towards Kokubunji Station.  (Also a quick look at the interior of the train as it rolls along.)

西武国分寺線、恋ヶ窪駅から国分寺駅の方、左後風景  東京

"Chuo Line - Late Train Rolling into Nakano" (100518Tu-1118)

Riding a Chuo Line train running behind schedule as it arrives at Nakano Station.  A live announcement on the train explains that the train was delayed due to a passenger action ("jinshin jiko") earlier in the day at Suidobashi Station.

遅くなった中央線電車が中野駅に到着 -「遅くなったすみません」のアナウンス  東京

"Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line)" (100518Tu-1120)

A right side view from a Chuo Line train between Nakano and Shinjuku Stations.

中央線の中野駅から、新宿駅まで 右側風景  東京

"Shinjuku to Yotsuya (Chuo Line)" (100518Tu-1126)

A right side view from a Chuo Line train between Shinjuku and Yotsuya Stations.

中央線の新宿駅から、四ッ谷駅まで 右側風景  東京

"Yotsuya (Partway) to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line)" (100518Tu-1130)

A right side view from a Chuo Line train rolling from Yotsuya - going partway to Ochanomizu Station.

中央線の四ッ谷駅から、御茶ノ水駅まで 右側風景  東京

"Ochanomizu to Kanda (Chuo Line)" (100518Tu-1135)

A right side view from a Chuo Line train between Ochanomizu and Kanda Stations.

中央線の御茶ノ水駅から、神田駅まで 右側風景  東京

"Kanda (Partway) to Tokyo (Chuo Line)" (100518Tu-1138)

A right side view from a Chuo Line train from Kanda - going partway to Tokyo Station.  (I stopped recording when the train stopped between stations in order to wait for a slot to open at Tokyo Station.)

中央線の神田駅から、東京駅まで 右側風景  東京

"Yamanote Line Arriving at Tokyo Station" (100518Tu-1144)

Watching a Yamanote Line train arrive from the platform at Tokyo Station.  This is probably the most relaxed time to ride the trains - just before lunch.  At lunchtime, people are moving about, and once past lunch, things begin to pick up with people leaving for home early, students going home from school, etc.

東京駅の山手線電車が遣って来る  東京

"Running for the Yamanote Line - Tokyo Station" (100518Tu-1145)

People running across the platform from a Keihin-Tohoku Line kaisoku (rapid) train that arrives just before the Yamanote Line train departs.

During some parts of the day, the Keihin-Tohoku Line skips some stations to act as an express, so people wanting off at intermediary stations have to change over to the Yamanote Line, which stops everywhere.  (At other times of the day, both the Yamanote Line and Keihin-Tohoku Line stop at all the same stations while the lines are running in parallel.)

東京駅の山手線と快速京浜東北線、乗り換え人々  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Ginza Bound"

It took me about 23 years to develop an interest in Ginza, but now that I've been going by there regularly for a year and a half or so, the place has really grown on me... just in time too maybe, since they seem to be working overtime to tear down all the smaller buildings that make Ginza interesting, and replace them with huge stale-air boxes....
Typical Street in Ginza

Yurakucho Station

Hopefully the value of the smaller buildings will be realized before they are all destroyed and Ginza becomes a wasteland of over-sized boxes....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Yurakucho to Tokyo, and Nighttime Shinjuku in the Rain"

Beginning with a right side view out the window of a Keihin-Tohoku Line train that I took from Yurakucho to Tokyo, and then showing different scenes in Shinjuku - from the Chuo Line platform to scenes from around the South Exit and then views from Nishi-Shinjuku.

"Twilight Yurakucho to Tokyo via Keihin-Tohoku Line" (100511Tu-1831)

Right side window view on a Keihin-Tohoku Line train running from Yurakucho Station to Tokyo Station - running in parallel with an inbound Shinkansen train, which is also pulling into Tokyo Station.  After getting off at Tokyo, taking the stairs down for a transfer.

夕方京浜東北線で有楽町駅から東京駅までに行く - 隣に新幹線が走っている  東京

"Outbound Chuo Line Platform at Shinjuku - 6:51 p.m." (100511Tu-1851)

Getting off of an outbound Chuo Line train at Shinjuku Station, looking at conditions on the platform, and then watching the train depart.

新宿駅の下り中央線の様子  東京

"Shinjuku - Southeast Exit to South Exit" (100511Tu-1857)

Exiting Shinjuku Station from the Southeast Exit and then walking through a shopping passageway to the South Exit.  Being just before 7:00 p.m., it's fairly crowded.

新宿駅東南口から南口までの散歩  東京

"Shinjuku - Japan's Most Crowded Train Station" (100511Tu-1900)

Walking through the area in front of the South Exit of Shinjuku Station at 7:00 p.m.  Shinjuku has the highest number of people passing through it in Japan.  Watching this video, keep in mind that this is just one exit - the East and West exits have about the same number of people passing through.  There are also other, less crowded exits.

新宿駅 - 日本のもっとも込んでいる駅  東京

"Shinjuku - West Side Crossing in Rain" (100511Tu-1902)

Walking up to a crossing in Nishi-Shinjuku, waiting for the light to change, and then walking across in the rain in a sea of umbrellas.

西新宿横断歩道の雨と傘の風景  東京

"Nishi-Shinjuku - Walk to Yodobashi Camera" (100511Tu-1903)

Walking through the rain in Nishi-Shinjuku towards Yodobashi Camera.

西新宿 - ヨドバシカメラまで雨の中の散歩  東京

"Nishi-Shinjuku Rain Walk by Shinjuku Station" (100511Tu-2204)

Walking through the rain on the wide sidewalk in front of the west side of Shinjuku Station.

新宿駅前(西口)雨中の風景  東京

"Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho in the Rain" (100511Tu-2206)

A walk through Omoide-Yokocho in the rain.  Incidentally, at one point, you can hear one of the shopkeepers talking to another shopkeeper - I'm not sure what language it is, but it's not Japanese.

新宿で雨の思い出横丁の様子  東京

"Heading from Nishi-Shinjuku to Kabukicho" (100511Tu-2208)

Crossing a main street and then walking under the tracks from Nishi-Shinjuku - heading towards Kabukicho, which is on the left side of the street after coming out from beneath the rail bridge.  A Sobu Line (Chuo Line local) passes overhead just before I go under the bridge.

西新宿から歌舞伎町に向かう  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Higashi-Ginza, Ginza Stroll, and Yurakucho"

Starting off near Higashi-Ginza after riding into Ginza on the Hibiya Line, and then walking into Ginza and then over to Yurakucho.

"Higashi-Ginza Station Area" (100511Tu-1251)

The above-ground station area for Higashi-Ginza Station, on the Hibiya (subway) Line.  Walking towards the (former) Ginza Kabuki Theater, which workers were just putting up barriers around to prepare for demolishing it.

地下鉄日比谷線の東銀座駅あたり  東京

"Large Asphalt Intersection in Ginza" (100511Tu-1254)

Waiting to cross a large asphalt intersection built for the convenience of fire-breathing machinery.  I can remember an age when large streets and intersections were where people and businesses wanted to be -  now they just feel like toxic zones (full of air and noise pollution) to avoid.  Two-lane streets are not so bad, but four and six lane roads are horrible to be on or near if you're not driving.

To my car-owning friends: I know - you love your cars, and I loved mine when I owned them, but the world will be a vastly better place when humanity gets past using bloody internal combustion engines.

東銀座駅あたり  東京

"Showa-dori Stroll" (100511Tu-1255)

A stroll along Ginza's Showa-dori - which is no fun at all, due to the constant unpleasant noise of internal combustion noxious gas emitting machinery.  I can't believe how much I used to love cars... I hate them now - or, more specifically, I hate them in the city, where they're not necessary and they degrade the quality of life for everyone (via noise, pollution, and space consumed, etc.).

銀座の昭和通り...と言うか、雑音通りを言ったほうがいいのか... (車は嫌いです)  東京

"Ginza Showa-dori, Waiting for Light" (100511Tu-1258)

Standing on a corner, looking around while waiting for the light to change.

Walking would be a lot more pleasant throughout the city if non-commercial vehicles were banned.  When you get to a certain density of population, personal cars don't make much sense any more.

銀座の昭和通り... シグナルを青になるまで見回る  東京

"Nearing Yurakucho Station" (100511Tu-1737)

Walking towards Yurakucho Station in the evening... looking up... watching an outbound shinkansen train pass, etc.

有楽町駅に向かって上に見たり、新幹線を通るを見たり...  東京

"Yurakucho Plaza - Heading Under Tracks" (100511Tu-1738)

Looking around the plaza in front of Yurakucho Station in the twilight just before night.

有楽町駅前の夕方広場  東京

"Yurakucho Crosswalk by Station" (100511Tu-1739)

Walking over to the crosswalk in front of Yurakucho Station on my way to the Denki Building.

有楽町駅前の横断歩道  東京

"Yurakucho - Crossing Sidewalk" (100511Tu-1740)

Walking across the wide sidewalk in front of Yurakucho Station on my way to the Denki Building.

有楽町駅前の横断歩道を渡る  東京

"Yurakucho - Umbrella Stroll to Station" (100511Tu-1828)

Walking back to Yurakucho Station in the rain (from the Denki Building).

有楽町駅までの傘散歩  東京

"Boarding Keihin-Tohoku Line at Yurakucho" (100511Tu-1829)

Looking around the Yurakucho Station platform - watching trains, including a Keihin-Tohoku Line train, which I board as a Yamanote Line train comes in on the other side of the platform.

有楽町駅で京浜東北線電車を乗る  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"New Platform Walls in Ebisu, and Hibiya Line Cab View"

Beginning with a view of the new platform walls being installed at Ebisu Station for the Yamanote Line; continuing with a walk over to the Hibiya (subway) Line, and then a few long, boring views looking through the cab (of a Hibiya Line train) at the tunnel ahead mixed in with reflections of the interior of the train.

If they're boring, why post them?  As time passes, this kind of material can be useful for understanding the ambiance of a given era - the motor sounds of the train, the voice of the announcements, the clothing and posture of passengers.  All these things are just background normalcy now, but become elements of nearly-forgotten history with the passage of time.  Without proper records, these things easily become distorted from the perspective of the future.

So - for those who value the truth, and want to accurately understand the past, I say to you, from my present - to your present (my future, your past), have a good look.  This is how it was.

"New Barriers at Ebisu Station" (100511Tu-1216)

Ebisu Station with new platform barriers half-installed.  Safety is good of course, but it seems like instead of the old common-sense approach, things are getting obsessive.  Don't open windows - Danger!-Danger! - something might fall out!.  Don't trust people to be careful around edges - Danger!-Danger! - put walls up, lock people into a safety zone from which it's impossible for them to hurt themselves.  Maybe this is actually the best way... but it sure feels claustrophobic.

Also, notice all the guys with hard hats and reflective yellow stripes?  Are all those guys really necessary to watch over the partially installed barriers?  Is it really possible that some idiot is going to see an open gate and think "Gee!  An open gate!  It must be safe to step down onto the track in front of a speeding train!"?  I hope nobody on this entire planet is that stupid, but I guess you never know.  Better safe than sorry.

So - safety is good, but it's a sad day for photographers.

恵比寿駅の新しいホームバリヤー、安全はいいですが、写真にとっては、災厄です  東京

"Ebisu - Ticket Gates to Import Store" (100511Tu-1218)

Walking from the upper level ticket gates at Ebisu Station to a nearby import shop that has a number of interesting things - in spite of the limited amount of space they have.

恵比寿駅改札口から輸入の店まで  東京

"Ebisu Station - JR to Hibiya Line" (100511Tu-1224)

Walking from near the upper level JR ticket gates to the Hibiya subway line ticket gates.  More construction - this time for the Hibiya Line Ebisu Station.  It looks as though they are in the process of installing escalators.

One thing that occurs to me is that the level of motorized mechanization requiring maintenance and electrical power is vastly more than just a couple of decades ago.  Will this negatively impact the reliability of the system?

恵比寿駅JR改札口の近くから、日比谷線地下鉄の改札口まで  東京

"Ebisu Hibiya Ticket Gates to Platform" (100511Tu-1226)

Passing through the ticket gates of the Hibiya (subway) Line in Ebisu, and then walking down to the platform to wait for the next train.

恵比寿駅日比谷線改札口から、日比谷線地下鉄のホームまで  東京

"Waiting for Hibiya Line at Ebisu" (100511Tu-1227)

Waiting for the next Hibiya (subway) Line train to arrive at Ebisu Station.

恵比寿駅日比谷線地下鉄のホームで電車来るのを待っている  東京

"Hibiya Line - Ebisu to Hiro" (100511Tu_1231)

Riding the Hibiya Subway Line - looking out the front cab as the train runs from Ebisu to Hiro.

Since some of the Hibiya subway trains seamlessly connect with Tobu Line rails (there is more than one Tobu Line), some of the Tobu Line trains (like the one in this video) are run in the subway tunnels (and some of the subway trains are run on the Tobu rails).

日比谷線地下鉄 - 恵比寿駅から広尾駅までの運転手ビュー  東京

"Hibiya Line - Hiro to Roppongi" (100511Tu-1234)

Riding the Hibiya Subway Line - looking out the front cab as the train runs from Hiro to Roppongi.

日比谷線地下鉄 - 広尾駅から六本木駅までの運転手ビュー  東京

"Hibiya Line - Kamiyacho to Kasumigaseki" (100511Tu-1240)

Riding the Hibiya Subway Line - looking out the front cab as the train runs from Kamiyacho to Kasumigaseki.

日比谷線地下鉄 - 神谷町駅から霞ヶ関駅までの運転手ビュー  東京

"Hibiya Line - Hibiya to Ginza" (100511Tu-1245)

Riding the Hibiya Subway Line - looking out the front cab as the train runs from Hibiya to Ginza.

日比谷線地下鉄 - 日比谷駅から銀座駅までの運転手ビュー  東京

"Hibiya Line - Ginza to Higashi-Ginza" (100511Tu-1247)

Riding the Hibiya Subway Line - looking out the front cab as the train runs from Ginza to Higashi-Ginza, and then getting off at HIgashi-Ginza and watching the train continue on into the tunnel.

日比谷線地下鉄 - 銀座駅から東銀座駅までの運転手ビューと、東銀座駅のプラットホーム風景  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Akishima, Aisle Cruising, Kodaira, and Shinjuku - Late Spring Views"

Starting with a look at the upper level of Akishima Station, and then doing a 360-degree look around while standing at the front end of the outbound platform (actually, there's only one platform, with outbound trains on one side and inbound trains on the other, but from the standpoint of outbound trains, I was at the front), and then watching an outbound train leave Akishima Station.

After that is a cruise through several aisles in a popular discount store in Tokyo.  It's an intriguing store.  The feeling is sort of like going up into the attic of a house where the owner stores an amazing amount of stuff.  You look around with a background expectation of finding something interesting.  Incidentally, the last time I went to this store, one section of the store had several high-frequency pulsating noises... something I have never heard before in my life.  I ended up wondering if it was something along the lines of anti-loitering sounds that I hear are being used in the UK?

Then I jump over to Shinjuku and show a couple of Shinjuku Station scenes, one with an announcement about a "jinshin-jiko" (passenger action) that has delayed some trains, and the other showing a Yamanote Line train come in, that I then board.

And it wraps up with a view of a Shinjuku street band and a view of trains and commuters out in the burbs.

"Akishima Station - Upper Level" (100501Sa-1409)

Looking around on the upper level of Akishima Station, and then going through the ticket gates and heading for the stairs leading down to the platform.

昭島駅二階と改札口  東京

"Akishima Station - Watching Outbound Train Depart" (100501Sa-1419)

While waiting at the front end of a platform for an outbound Ome Line train to depart from Akishima Station, I have a 360-degree look around, and then watch the train as it departs and disappears down the tracks.

昭島駅ホームの下り方向から青梅線の電車出発を見る  東京

"Kodaira Chuo Park - March 3rd, 2010" (100503Mo-1357)

A late spring day in Kodaira Chuo Park.  Notice the man playing some kind of drum, while something (unrelated I think) is going on in the background on the soccer grounds.

小平中央公園、平成二十二年五月三日  東京

"Aisle Cruising in a Tokyo Discount Store" (100508Sa-1253)

Cruising through the aisles at a discount store in Tokyo that maximizes floor space by utilizing narrow passageways and loading a lot of merchandise onto the shelves.

東京ディスカウント店の通路クルージング  東京

"Tree Grove in Kodaira Chuo Park" (100509Su-1253)

Walking through a grove of trees towards a group of people (adults and children) enjoying a Sunday in the park.

小平中央公園の林人々  東京

"Shinjuku Station Jinshin-Jiko Announcement Etc." (100511Tu-1205)

Walking past the bookstore on the upper level at Shinjuku Station, then down the stairs to the counter-clockwise Yamanote Line platform while listening to an announcement about delays due to a passenger-action (jinshin-jiko)

新宿駅内本屋や山手線ホーム、など  東京

"Boarding Yamanote Line at Shinjuku Station" (100511Tu-1206)

Standing on the platform at Shinjuku Station and watching a Yamanote Line train arrive - and then climbing aboard (after waiting for those getting off).

I've always taken this sort of scene for granted, but they're currently putting up barriers (with doors) along the edge of the Yamanote Line platforms, so the trains will be half-hidden by the walls when they come in.  Considering how crowded the platforms can get, it's a great idea for safety, but - visually speaking - the platform edge barriers are hideously ugly.  Good-bye decent pictures from the platforms....

新宿駅で内回りの山手線を乗る  東京

"Sasurai-Meika, Live in Rainy Shinjuku" (100511Tu-2202)

Especially considering they had electric amplifiers, I was surprised to see this band playing live outside in the rain!  They were under the overhang from the Keio Department Store, so they weren't completely exposed, but the ground they were standing on was wet and it was windy....

サスライメイカーストリートバンド、新宿でライブ  東京

"Late Night Burbs Station" (100511Tu-2259)

Looking around at Higashi-Murayama Station as a late night train comes in and outward-bound commuters get off.

夜遅く東村山駅の様子  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Sunday, May 09, 2010

"1990 Japanese Baseball Game and 2010 Discount Store Aisle Navigation"

On August 22nd, 1990, I went to Harajuku, and from there walked off in search of things to videotape.  When I came to the Jingu baseball stadium, I noticed people going in to see a game, so I decided - on the spur of the moment - to buy a ticket and go in myself.  The game was between the Chunichi Dragons and the Yakult Swallows.  The first two videos below are an edited version of the footage I took while enjoying the game.

Watching the spectators cheering on their favored team was - in a way - more interesting than the game itself.  That's not to say the game wasn't interesting - it was a great game, with several home runs, a tied score, etc., which fueled the passion of the spectators.

In the second clip, I was amused at the time, and again while editing/watching the material after two decades had passed, to see how the winning Dragon's fans resisted leaving even while a bullhorn-equipped security man walked among them electronically yelling at them to hurry up and leave the stadium.  As we were leaving, the security guy even walked into the restroom with the bullhorn, verbally blasting away all the while!

The last clip is of a walk through the aisles of a discount store here in Tokyo.  A Facebook acquaintance who posted a photo of a narrow aisle in a store in the US didn't believe me when I said the narrow aisle reminded me of some of the stores I shop at here.  The Facebook acquaintance responded with a "Ha-ha, I went to many shops in fashionable places in Tokyo and saw no such thing" response....

I hate being called a liar when I know what I'm talking about - especially when the person calling me a liar doesn't know what they're talking about!  This thing where a foreigner visits Japan, spends a week or two here, sees a few things, and then thinks they know the city better than anyone, including the city's residents, is profoundly irritating.  I call it "gaijin disease" (hereafter referred to as GD).  So - I went to a discount store, walked around in the aisles recording video of the fact that the aisles are narrower than the posted picture of the aisle in the US store, and posted the proof that I wasn't making things up.  As I half-expected, the Facebook acquaintance didn't admit their error, or apologize for insinuating that I was lying.

Oh well.  Anyway - aside from that ridiculous/pathetic background to the video, I had been wanting to take some video of store aisles like that anyway, so I guess I should thank my Facebook acquaintance with GD, and in the future just let them stay ignorant about Japan, since they apparently don't want to know the truth.

"Japanese Baseball - Dragons vs. Swallows (August 22nd, 1990)-A"

The first half of a two-video set showing the atmosphere at a fairly exciting baseball game between the Chunichi Dragons and the Yakult Swallows.  The competition between cheering sections of the spectators was as interesting as the game itself.

(Since I was sitting with the spectators and not with the baseball teams, the spectators are highlighted in the video.)

1990年8月22日水曜日 - 神宮スタジアムでの野球、中日ドラゴンズ vs. ヤクルトスワローズ (A)  東京

"Japanese Baseball - Dragons vs. Swallows (August 22nd, 1990)-B"

The second half of a two-video set showing the atmosphere at a fairly exciting baseball game between the Chunichi Dragons and the Yakult Swallows.

"Discount Shop Aisle Navigation in Tokyo"

Navigating the aisles in a discount store in Tokyo.  Naturally, not all stores in Tokyo have aisles this narrow, but this is not unusual in shops with limited floor space that want to have a lot of merchandise on display.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, May 07, 2010

"Park in Akishima, Shinkansen Library, Mori Town Mall, and Akishima Station"

Starting with a view of a park in Akishima, and then views of walking up to, and into a first generation Shinkansen, including views in the cab.  The cab car has been converted into a library, but still has some of the original Shinkansen seats in it.  After looking around in the Shinkansen Library, I walk to Akishima Station, stopping for a quick look at Mori Town Mall on the way.

"A Nice Day in an Akishima Park" (100501Sa-1231)

Sitting on a park bench relaxing while waiting for the library to open.  (Not just any ordinary library either!  For an explanation of that, see the next video!)

It isn't often that I get to sit down and relax outside like that, particularly when the temperature is perfect and it's a nice day with a light breeze.  Not exactly "Stop and smell the roses", but "Stop and notice the blue of the sky..." - which is not something to take for granted when living in a mega-city.

素晴らしい天気の日に公園にのんびりして  東京

"Entering Shinkansen Library" (100501Sa-1239)

I stumbled upon this Shinkansen cab (lead/training) car by looking over and suddenly seeing it.  "Whoa!  What?...!?" thought I, as I walked over for a closer look.  There's something striking about the first generation of Shinkansen trains - I think this first version is - in a way - the best looking design of all of the Shinkansen trains, even though I like some of the newer ones a lot, but in a different way.

This particular one is being used as a library!  I was hoping to get the interior in this one clip, but I was stopped and asked to take my shoes off as I came in.  (You don't generally have to remove your shoes when entering libraries, but this one is primarily a children's library, and libraries do typically have no-shoes sections for young children.)

昭島新幹線図書館 - これは、本当に素晴らしい考え!  東京

"Shinkansen Library Walk-Through" (100501Sa-1241)

Walking through a first-generation Shinkansen cab (lead/trailing) car that has been converted into a library.  Adults can order books and then pick them up from the desk at the other end (see previous video: "Entering Shinkansen Library") when they arrive, but mainly this is a children's library (since storage space is limited).

Leaving some of the seats in was a nice touch - as it retains the feeling of a train, and the seats are comfortable places to sit and read a book as well.

In the next video ["1st Generation Shinkansen Cab View (Library)"] I have a look in the cab.

昭島新幹線図書館 - 元の席が半分残っている  東京

"1st Generation Shinkansen Cab View (Library)" (100501Sa-1248)

A look around in the cab of a first-generation Shinkansen cab car that has been converted into a library, but still has several of it's original seats.  For the structure, this is the coolest library I've ever been in!

It's primarily a children's library, but adults can order books and pick them up at the desk in the back of the train car (which is the front of the library), where the checkout desk is.

昭島新幹線図書館 - 運転席の立場からの眺め  東京

"Shinkansen Library - From Cab Section to Books" (100501Sa-1305)

Starting with a last look around the cab, and then going into the book section of the train... um... library.

昭島新幹線図書館 - 運転席から、本棚まで  東京

"Library Shinkansen - From Book Section To Original Seats" (100501Sa-1306)

Going from the bookshelf section to the original Shinkansen seats.  This is a great idea!  The seats are comfortable, so are a good place to sit and read a book.

昭島新幹線図書館 - 本棚から、オリジナル席まで  東京

"Tsutsujigaoka Shopping Plaza, Akishima" (100501Sa-1321)

Walking into a shopping area integrated into an apartment building.  This would have been built before the large grocery store I visited earlier in the day.  With a proliferation of large discount stores being built in Japan, small shops have been going out of business, leaving areas like this with more closed shops than open.

つつじが丘ショッピングプラザー、昭島市  東京

"Brief Look in Mori Town Mall" (100501Sa-1344)

A quick glance inside the first floor of Mori Town Mall.

I would have walked further into this, but since the air was so nice outside, and kind of stale inside, I wanted to get back outside sooner rather than later, and did a quick U-turn.

森タウンモールの一目  東京

"Approaching Akishima Station" (100501Sa-1350)

Walking towards Akishima Station and then turning left and walking into the outside part of Mori Town Mall for a quick look.

昭島駅に近づく、森タウンモールの外部を一目  東京

"Exiting Mori Town Mall Near Akishima Station" (100501Sa-1403)

After a last look at the outside part of Mori Town Mall, I walk out of it and head towards Akishima Station.

森タウンモールの外部を出て、昭島駅に向かう  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, May 06, 2010

"Tamagawa Josui, Kodaira Chuo Park, Ome Line, and Akishima"

Starting with a look at the Tamagawa Josui Canal in it's newfound green after the winter.  (Over the summer, the green turns darker.)  Then having a look at a section of Kodaira's Chuo Park that is under threat from a planned (and opposed) road project.  Hopefully they won't destroy Kodaira Chuo Koen, as they are planning to do.

After that, a trip on the Ome Line out to Akishima, where I walk around for a bit - visiting a large grocery store.

"Springtime Tamagawa Josui Canal" (100430Fr-1444)

The springtime green of the old Tamagawa Josui Canal.  The green belt along the canal is popular for joggers and strollers.

春の玉川上水  東京

"Kodaira Chuo Park - Threatened Section" (100430Fr-1505)

This wooded section of Kodaira's Chuo Park is slated for destruction in order to lay down a hideous four-lane asphalt road, which - beyond the loss of these trees - would ruin the rest of the park as well, since it would be subjected to constant diesel engine truck vibration, noise, and noxious gases.

To city planners:  If you don't have the money to put the road in a tunnel under the park, then don't build the bloody thing!  Protecting a popular park is more important than building yet more lifeless habitat for internal combustion engines.  How much of Tokyo has to be ruined for living people - all in the interest of convenience for noxious gas-producing machinery?

小平中央公園の林 - この林はアスファルトに遣られる予定がある...  東京

"Inbound Ome Line Train Arrives at Nishi-Tachikawa Station" (100501Sa-0857)

An inbound Ome Line train arrives at Nishi-Tachikawa Station.

Nishi-Tachikawa Station is the nearest station to Showa Kinen Park, which was built on the land formerly occupied by Tachikawa Air Base.

Open-air platforms like the one in this video are rather unusual now in Tokyo, but this station is primarily used by people going to the park in fair weather, and not by daily commuters, so there's no real need to cover the whole platform (there's a covered section by the stairs after all).

上り青梅線電車が西立川駅に到着  東京

"Nishi-Tachikawa to Higashi-Nakagami" (100501Sa-0903)

Looking at the scenery out a right-side window of an Ome Line train between Nishi-Tachikawa and Higashi-Nakagami stations.

青梅線で西立川駅から東中神駅まで (右側の窓の風景)  東京

"Higashi-Nakagami to Nakagami" (100501Sa-0905)

Looking at the scenery out a right-side window of an Ome Line train between Higashi-Nakagami and Nakagami stations.

青梅線で東中神駅から中神駅まで (右側の窓の風景)  東京

"Nakagami to Akishima" (100501Sa-0906)

Looking at the scenery out a right-side window of an Ome Line train between Nakagami and Akishima stations.

青梅線で中神駅から昭島駅まで (右側の窓の風景)  東京

"Exiting Akishima Station" (100501Sa-0908)

Exiting Akishima Station - going through the ticket gates and walking over to the stairs leading down to the street.

I was asked before about the ticket gates appearing to always be open - notice the man who had to turn back when the machine refused his ticket.  If you freeze-frame the image at the right spot, you can see the closed gates and also how a large round red light illuminates at the same time the gate makes an error "bing-bong" noise.

昭島駅の中 - 改札口を通る  東京

"Walking in Suburbia in Western Tokyo" (100501Sa-0911)

Walking down the street that runs (almost) in front of Akishima Station - with Mori Town Mall on the right.

昭島駅の近くの道路に歩きながら  東京

"Large Grocery Store Near Akishima Station" (100501Sa-1108)

Walking around in a large grocery store not far from Akishima Station, listening to rather irritating music being broadcast on the store's PA.

Maybe I'm too used to shopping in smaller shops, but I couldn't help looking up and wondering what the advantage was of having the ceiling up that high.  I suppose the space is probably cooler in the summer thanks to that, but isn't it then also colder in the winter?  Maybe it's done for psychological reasons?  How does this look to people living outside Japan?  Just normal?  If so, I really have gotten used to smaller shops....

昭島駅の近くにある大きいスーパーの中に散歩  東京

"Produce Section of Large Grocery Store in Western Tokyo" (100501Sa-1115)

Looking around in the produce section of a large grocery store in western Tokyo.  The way the shop-keepers are calling out is traditional, but the feeling in the store is something else....

昭島駅の近くにある大きいスーパーの中の野菜や果物  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Late Night Burbs, Tachikawa Station, and Yurakucho"

Starting with a view of a late-night, nearly empty station out in suburbia, and then jumping to another day in Tachikawa, making my way through a crowd of people exiting the station while I'm entering it.  After that, a view of the long escalator at Tokyo Station, and platform views at Yurakucho Station.

"Late Night Nearly Empty Burbs Station" (100409-2320)

Late night at a nearly empty station out in a Tokyo suburb - conditions are not always crowded everywhere, all the time!

東京の西で夜遅く西武鉄道の駅  東京  (Recorded on Friday, April 9th, 2010, at 11:20 p.m.)

"Tachikawa Station Ticket Gates - April 28th, 2010" (100428-1036)

Walking through a crowd exiting one of the ticket gates at Tachikawa Station, and then going through the gates myself and heading for the Chuo Line.

立川駅改札口と駅の中  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 10:36 a.m.)

"Tokyo Station Long Escalator Decent" (100428-1117)

Walking from the high elevated Chuo Line platform down to the under-tracks transfer area - walking down the long escalator to get there.

東京駅の長いエスカレーターを下りる  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 11:17 a.m.)

"Tokyo Station - Waiting for Next Yamanote Train" (100428-1120)

Waiting for the next Yamanote Line train at Tokyo Station.

The reason I didn't take the Keihin-Tohoku Line train that came, was because at this time of day (11:20 a.m.), the Keihin-Tohoku Line doesn't stop at Yurakucho, which was my destination.

東京駅で次の山手線電車を待っている  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 11:20 a.m.)

"Yurakucho Izakaya Night" (100428-1957)

Now that spring is completely here (and it's beginning to get hot even), the cold windy evenings of rushing for home are past (for now) and people are wandering around a bit more in typical Tokyo evening fashion.

有楽町居酒屋夜 - 春が完全に来ました!  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 7:57 p.m.)

"Keihin-Tohoku Train Arriving at Yurakucho Station" (100428-2205)

Watching a Keihin-Tohoku Line train arrive at Yurakucho Station.  (During the day, the Keihin-Tohoku Line trains don't stop here, but at this time of night, they do.)

京浜東北線が有楽町駅に到着  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 10:05 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

"Views from Ginza and Yurakucho - April 28th, 2010"

Starting with views from a nearly empty Yurakucho Station just before lunch, and then some views from Ginza, including a look in an old building (of which there are very few left in Ginza) and then views of the walk back towards Yurakucho Station in the evening.

"Arriving at Yurakucho Station on Yamanote Line" (100428-1125)

Riding the Yamanote Line into Yurakucho - looking out a left-side window at a passing Shinkansen just before pulling into Yurakucho station, and then getting off and experiencing the usual station scenes and sounds just before lunch.

山手線で有楽町駅に到着  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 11:25 a.m.)

"Yurakucho Station Pre-Lunchtime Views" (100428-1127)

Looking around at passing trains and people on a nearly empty Yurakucho Station platform just before lunch.

有楽町駅の昼前風景  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 11:27 a.m.)

"Old Building in Ginza" (100428-1556)

A look around the stairwell area of an old building in Ginza.  Old buildings like this have vastly more character than new sealed boxes.

The thing that ruins new buildings is that they don't have proper air circulation!  They have air systems that look good on the drawing board, but in practice, building managers set them to a very high percentage of recirculated air for cost reasons (stale warm or cool air is cheaper to heat or chill than new outside air), and the air ducts get dirty over time.

In an old building, you can open a window and get some air, but in sealed-box buildings, you're just stuck with the toxic recirculated stuff - just like a goldfish in a dirty bowl.

銀座にある古い建物  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 3:56 p.m.)

"Sparkling Empty Mall" (100428-1639)

I strolled into a new building that has several separate shops inside - basically a mall - and got the usual claustrophobic feeling from the sealed box atmosphere and lack of windows, so I did a U-turn to get back out to the street, with its air and sunlight.

The thing is - the building *looks* very nice inside, but it's the type of space I'd only want to spend time in at night when there's a raging storm outside.  On a nice day, it feels stuffy inside.

ピカピカ (ほとんど) 空っぽ銀座ショッピングモール  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 4:39 p.m.)

"Ginza Show Window Reflections" (100428-1720)

Looking through the corner of a glass showcase at the corner of Ginza 4-chome on the opposite side of the block from the Ginza 4-chome intersection (which is between Ginza 4-chome and Ginza 5-chome - maybe they named it after 4-chome due to the clock tower building and the Mitsukoshi Department Store, which are both in 4-chome?).

銀座ショーウインドーの複雑な光  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 5:20 p.m.)

"Ginza Alley Noises" (100428-1728)

A shockingly boring video - I took it mainly to record the electric motor (exhaust fans?) noise in the alley, which conveys a certain atmosphere if you've been here long enough.

銀座裏道の音  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 5:28 p.m.)

"Ginza 4-Chome - 5:52 p.m." (100428-1752)

Walking across a sidewalk at Ginza 4-chome - on my way to the Kabuki Theater to see the scene there, since this was the final day for public performances in that structure before they tear the building down (I've posted a few videos about that scene separately - note the recording times).

銀座4丁目の夕方人々  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 5:52 p.m.)

"Intersection by Ginza Sony Building" (100428-1929)

Walking up to the intersection where the Ginza Sony Building is (across the street from it though), and looking around.

夜の銀座ソニービルの近く  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 7:29 p.m.)

"Walking Towards Yurakucho Station" (100428-1930)

Past the Sony Building intersection, walking towards Yurakucho Station - on a typical Tokyo evening.

歩いて、有楽町駅に向かう  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 7:30 p.m.)

"Passing Shinkansen Trains - Walking Under Tracks" (100428-1931)

As I approach the elevated rails, an outbound Shinkansen train goes by (with an inbound Shinkansen moving very slowly - possibly waiting for an open slot at Tokyo Station to pull into), and then I walk under the elevated tracks, going past a few izakaya places.

歩きながら、有楽町駅に向かって新幹線が通る  東京  (Recorded on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, at 7:31 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, May 03, 2010

"Sayonara Yutori (Relaxed) Education...?"

When I came to Japan in 1984, it wasn't long before I began hearing stories of trouble in schools, with more students exhibiting destructive behavior from around middle school.  The general consensus seemed to be that students were spending all their time studying in high-pressure environments and it was leading to bullying and other problems.

At the time, schooling at both pubic and private schools was from Monday through Saturday (as was the standard office workweek), and then around 1985 or 1986, I began meeting people whose office hours had been cut back to a half-day on Saturday or to five days a week.  The public school week was cut (over a period of a few years) from every Saturday to two Saturdays a week to a five-day school week with all Saturdays off.

Another component to this was the perception that Japan had excelled at taking technology invented elsewhere and improving on it, but wasn't a leading innovator.  It was thought that giving students more free time, along with lessing the traditional pressures towards conformity, would get students away from rote learning for tests and would foster greater creativity.

From the young artists I've been meeting over the past couple of years, I think they were successful in this (regarding art in any case - I don't know how how innovation within companies is going), but there is now more concern over falling test scores than there is over creativity, and things are heading back towards the old way, with the amount of things being studied (and homework), going up.

Navigation is a tricky business - when you realize you've gone too far in one direction, you have to steer back on course, dialing in some extra rudder to make up for being off course, and then - typically - going too far in the other direction, necessitating reverse correction.  How to just stay on course?  I want to believe it's possible, but practically, it seems to be nearly impossible.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Saturday, May 01, 2010

"Rainy Day in Ginza, Shinjuku Night Scenes, Etc."

Starting with daytime views of walking in Ginza in a light rain - continuing with train and station scenes in Yurakucho, Tokyo, and Shinjuku, plus some walking views in Shinjuku and a look out a window of a late night train while listening to wheel thump-thump-thump noises caused by... bad wheel bearings?

"Ginza Side Street in Rain" (100427-1351)

Walking down a Ginza side street in a light rain.  (Later in the evening, this street would have more people walking around.)

雨中の銀座裏道  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 1:51 p.m.)

"Ginza - Walking Along Chuo Dori in Light Rain" (100427-1357)

Walking along one of Ginza's main streets - Chuo Dori - in a light rain.

I used to enjoy this street more, but recently it has mainly huge fortress-like buildings with "brand" stuff that I never, ever-ever-ever buy or even look at.  Fortunately, there are still some interesting things on Ginza's back streets.

雨中の銀座中央通り  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 1:57 p.m.)

"Ginza - Still on Chuo Dori" (100427-1359)

Not much to say - just walking down the main street.  The feeling I always have when on this street is something like this: "Well - here I am in Ginza... just a little further down and I can get off of this boring main street, away from the fire-breathing machinery, and onto the interesting side streets..."

雨中の銀座中央通り(2)  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 1:59 p.m.)

"Approaching Yurakucho Station In Twilight" (100427-1821)

Walking along near the overhead railways - approaching the entrance to Yurakucho Station.

夕方に有楽町駅に近くなる  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 6:21 p.m.)

"Tokyo Station - Exiting Keihin-Tohoku Line" (100427-1827)

Getting off of a Keihin-Tohoku Line train and then walking along the platform to the stairs (that lead down to the transfer passageways beneath the tracks).

東京駅で京浜東北線から降りてホームに歩く  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 6:27 p.m.)

"Shinjuku Platform Walk - April 27th, 2010" (100427-1844)

Walking down the Chuo Line outbound platform during the evening rush.

The interesting thing about walking in these conditions is that the need for constant navigational input keeps you from getting bored, and it seems exciting and interesting, since... you don't have time to think?

新宿駅の中央線下りホームの散歩  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 6:44 p.m.)

"Exiting Shinjuku Station via Southeast Exit" (100427-1846)

Walking towards and then through the Southeast Exit of Shinjuku Station.  Shinjuku Station has a large number of exits, so it pays to be very careful about which one you use if you're pressed for time!

東南出口を使って、新宿駅を出ます  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 6:46 p.m.)

"Omoide-Yokocho - Street-side and Inside View" (100427-2151)

Starting on the street side of Omoide-Yokocho, and then diving into the pedestrian only path that leads into the center of it.

新宿の思い出横丁、道側と内側  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 9:51 p.m.)

"Shinjuku - Walking Under JR Railway Bridge at Night" (100427-2153)

Walking under a JR railway bridge just before 10:00 p.m. - with the noise of a train passing overhead as I am about to come out from under the bridge and back into a light rain.

新宿JRの鉄道橋の下に歩く  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 9:53 p.m.)

"Train Window Night View - Worn Wheel Bearings?" (100427-2238)

Looking out the window of a late-night train - listening to a thump-thump-thump noise as the train changes speed.  This is much less common now than before, but still you hear it from time to time - caused by bad wheel bearings maybe?

カタンカタンの音をしながら電車の夜窓ビュー  東京  (Recorded on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, at 10:38 p.m.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon