Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Yurakucho 'Shokuan' Stand Bar - June 2010"

I dropped by the Shokuan Stand Bar last week and talked with the owner,  Ozawa Kiyoshige (小澤聖茂), whereupon he told me about his place being featured in a magazine (see second photo below).
The photo above is from the vantage-point of standing across the street from the Shokuan Stand Bar, looking down the street towards Yurakucho Station (with the shop outside the frame on the right).
Ozawa Kiyoshige (小澤聖茂), holding up the magazine featuring his shop (opened to the article).  The photo in the magazine on the right is his place - with the photographer looking straight at it from across the street.

Regarding the term "stand bar" - this is also translated as "standing bar".  Both can sound odd in English, but could be used in the following sentences:

a) "It's a bar where everyone stands, so it's called a 'stand bar'."

b) "All the people are standing in this type of bar, so it's a fundamentally a standing-room-only bar, thus 'standing bar'."

Aside from the Japanese pronunciation being "stand bar", I think 'a' above makes more sense, so that's what I use.  Also, as non-English English, using the term verbatim is treating it like an imported (into English that is) foreign word/term, which it basically is.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Photos on this page by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon, all rights reserved. Copyright 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Ogikubo, Shinjuku, Ginza, and the Chuo Line"

Beginning with a few looks at Ogikubo, focusing on old-style shotengai streets (first Kyokai-Dori, and then a section of old streets near the station), followed by looks at Shinjuku and Ginza, and wrapping up this set of video clips with midnight views of the Chuo Line out at Hino Station.

"Ogikubo Kyokai-Dori (Late Morning)" (100528Fr-1122)

Walking down most of Ogikubo's Kyokai Dori just before lunch - probably the least crowded time of the day; after the morning rush and before lunch.  Also looking down a few side-streets as I walk along.

お昼ちょっと前の荻窪協会通り  東京

"Ogikubo Old Shotengai Walkabout" (100528Fr-1205)

Walking through a small network of shotengai shopping streets near Ogikubo Station.  Notice that there are some empty gaps and there is a mix of old and new shops.

The fact that most of the shops are fairly old makes it an interesting area.  When shops are independently run, they have some character - once they become chain clones, they may be nice stores, but chain stores never have much character of their own (not that I've seen anyway).

荻窪古い商店街のお昼散歩  東京

"Ogikubo Station - Boarding Inbound Chuo Line" (100528Fr-1216)

Boarding an inbound Chuo Line train at Ogikubo Station.  (Notice the recorded bird sounds.)

荻窪駅で上り中央線電車を乗るところ  東京

"Ogikubo to Asagaya (Inbound Chuo Line)" (100528Fr-1217)

Looking out a right side window of an inbound Chuo Line train as it departs Ogikubo Station, and watching the scenery flow past during the ride to Asagaya Station (the next station).

荻窪駅から阿佐ヶ谷駅まで - 中央線の右側ビュー  東京

"Exiting Shinjuku Station via South Exit" (100528Fr-1229)

Exiting Shinjuku Station via the south exit.

新宿駅の南口から駅を出ます  東京

"Shinjuku - Walking Downhill from South Exit" (100528Fr-1231)

Walking downhill towards Nishi-Shinjuku (after exiting Shinjuku Station from the South Exit) - walking past a political speech group and a wild-paint-job bus.

新宿駅の南口から坂を下りる  東京

"Nishi-Shinjuku Stroll (Near Yodobashi Camera)" (100528Fr-1232)

Walking through a section of Nishi-Shinjuku near Yodobashi Camera.

西新宿散歩 - ヨドバシカメラの近く  東京

"In Front of Yodobashi Camera in Nishi-Shinjuku" (100528Fr_1234)

Looking around while standing in front of the main Nishi-Shinjuku Yodobashi Camera store.

西新宿のヨドバシカメラの前  東京

"Kanda Station - Inbound Chuo Line" (100528Fr-1421)

Inbound Chuo Line train at Kanda Station.

神田駅 - 上り中央線  東京

"Kanda to Tokyo to Yurakucho (Train Typhoon in Yurakucho)" (100528Fr-1422)

Getting on a Yamanote Line train in Kanda, riding it to Tokyo with a Keihin-Tohoku Line train running in parallel - continuing on to Yurakucho, where I watch a number of trains go by - including an outbound Tokaido Line train and an inbound Shinkansen.

山手線で、神田駅から東京駅まで、そして東京駅から、有楽町駅まで。 有楽町駅で、電車台風  東京

"Yurakucho Station - Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Lines" (100528Fr-1430)

Watching a Yamanote Line train arrive and depart, a Shinkansen go by, and a Keihin-Tohoku Line train fly-by.

有楽町駅から山手線と京浜東北線の電車を見る  東京

"Ginza - Crossing Chuo-Dori" (100528Fr-1451)

Looking in a shop window, and then walking to a corner and beginning to cross Chuo-Dori in Ginza.

銀座中央通りを渡るところ  東京

"Ginza Chuo Dori Stroll" (100528Fr-1452)

Walking along Chuo-Dori in Ginza - looking up, etc.

銀座中央通り散歩  東京

"Midnight Hino Station - Outbound Chuo Line" (100529Sa_0044)

Standing at the leading edge of the Hino Station platform as a midnight outbound Chuo Line train whooshes into the station.

夜中の日野駅で下り中央線が遣って来る  東京

"Tachikawa Station - Last Inbound Chuo Line Train" (100529Sa-0050)

Looking out the front cab of the last inbound train as it pulls into Tachikawa Station, and then looking out on the platform about ten before one in the morning.  The station guy who runs down the platform is making sure there isn't anyone milling about or asleep on the platform before they close the doors on the last train.

夜中の立川駅で、最終上り中央線電車  東京

"Midnight Chuo Line Front Cab View" (100529Sa-0052)

Looking through the front cab of a midnight Chuo Line train as it nears Kunitachi Station.  Also a few looks in the other direction at the interior of the train.  This was the last inbound train of the day.

夜中の最終上り中央線  中と前のビュー  国立駅の近く  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, June 25, 2010

"Chuo Line, Tachikawa, and Tamagawa-Josui"

Views on the Chuo Line west of Kokubunji, and then a few views of the elevated walkways on both sides of Tachikawa Station.  After that, a view inside a coffee shop and a look at the walkway along the Tamagawa-Josui Canal - wrapping up with a quick look in a park on a fine late-spring day.

"Kokubunji Line Running Parallel with Seibu-Kokubunji Line" (100526We-0904)

Riding a Chuo Line train out of Kokubunji Station while a Seibu-Kokubunji Line train simultaneously departs from its platform parallel to the Chuo Line, runs alongside, and then veers off to the right.

中央線と西武国分寺線が平行線で走っている  東京

"Chuo Line - Construction at Kunitachi Station" (100526We-0907)

View of both rail construction and station construction through the front cab window of a Chuo Line train as it pulls into Kunitachi Station.  This is part of a fairly extensive construction project on the Chuo Line between Mitaka and Tachikawa, with the rails being elevated and new platforms being built with parallel tracks where express trains can get around local train - a very important improvement, especially during the morning rush, since there are so many trains on the rails.

中央線が工事中の国立駅に入るところ  東京

"Late Morning Tachikawa Station Platform Walk" (100526We-0912)

Walking up the platform in Tachikawa after getting off a train about ten past nine in the morning.  (One hour earlier would have been considerably more crowded.)  Rather than wait for the narrow escalator, I walked around to a wide (and mostly empty) staircase.

立川駅の午前プラットフォーム散歩  東京

"Tachikawa Station South Side Elevated Walkway" (100526We-0913)

Exiting Tachikawa Station on the south side and walking across the elevated walkway there.

立川駅の南口二階横断歩道  東京

"Tachikawa North Elevated Walkway" (100526We-1021)

Exiting Tachikawa-Kita Station and riding an escalator down to the elevated walkway on the north side of Tachikawa Station.  (Tachikawa-Kita Station is one of the monorail stations that is up above the already elevated walkway.)

立川駅の北口二階横断歩道  東京

"Tachikawa - North Side to Chuo Line" (100526We-1026)

Beginning with a look down a main street in Tachikawa (facing away from the station), and then walking from the elevated walkway on the north side of Tachikawa Station, through the ticket gates, and down to the Chuo Line Platform and onto a Chuo Line Train.

立川駅の北口から、中央線の電車まで  東京

"Chuo Line Live Announcement" (100526We-1029)

Looking around on the inside of an inbound Chuo Line train at Tachikawa Station before departing, listening to a live announcement from the conductor.  (No big deal, but when you're blasted with horrible recorded voices all the time, hearing a real human being making a live announcement sounds quite nice sometimes.  Of course - if the recordings were better, it would be less of an issue...)

立川駅の出発前中央線内の生アナウンス  東京

"Coffee Shop Near Takanodai Station" (100526We-1108)

This type of coffee shop used to be everywhere, but now are are becoming fairly rare, so it's a bit of a nostalgia trip to go to one these days.  ("Rare" might not be the best term, but there used to be many more coffee shops of this type, so by comparison....)

鷹の台駅近くの喫茶店  東京

"Tamagawa Josui Walk (May 26th)" (100526We-1127)

Walking down the footpath that runs alongside the Tamagawa-josui Canal in late May - listening to the sound of birds overhead in the trees.  Living in mega-city Tokyo, this type of thing within the city is very much appreciated!

玉川上水の散歩  東京

"Light and Shadows in a Tokyo Park" (100528Fr-1045)

Walking through light and shadows in a Tokyo park in late May of 2010.  The contrast of mega-city life makes moments like this pure pleasure....

公園の五月光と影  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, June 21, 2010

"'Tokyo 1990' Friends - Thank you!"

Yesterday was the final day of my "Tokyo 1990" video exhibition/installation.  A couple of friends came by and we stayed there late talking about things while I displayed the video on the ceiling (making it visible on the street to passers by).  By the time I noticed the time, it was just before the last train, so I missed it while cleaning up and spent the night there - sleeping on a row of chairs, using my backpack for a pillow, and getting up in time for the first train at around 5:00 a.m. (which is a story in its own right - especially the crowd of Kabukicho nightclub women who pour onto the train (the first outbound one in the morning) at Shinjuku Station).

It's been an interesting week - meeting people, showing them the hour-long collection of 1990 views of Tokyo (with some parts from 1991), explaining some scenes and seeing how people reacted to the video; which parts were interesting to different people and how different people reacted quite differently to some sections.

On Friday evening, one man noticed the changing light coming from the third floor window as he passed, and went into the building to investigate.  He sat down and watched the video intently for two and a half run-throughs (two-and-a-half hours), making comments about details such as maps for sale in front of a bookstore (what with Internet access from cell phones, no one buys maps anymore), and benches, bicycles and various junk under a rail bridge in Shibuya (now all strictly forbidden - with pedestrian traffic only), etc.  I'm sure he would have commented on many more things, but a friend from the UK came by, and since we were yakking away in English, he probably held off on saying anything more.

In general, people were (not surprisingly) interested in seeing areas that they are (or were) familiar with.  One regret I have now is that I probably put in too many scenes of the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line and Hibarigaoka, which are out of central Tokyo.  For this type of exhibit, it would have been better to have focused more on the areas most Tokyo residents are already familiar with, and kept scenes of fringe areas of Tokyo to a minimum.

Through it all, the backdrop of Room-306 in the Okuno Building made the experience a pleasant and interesting one for me.  I enjoyed sitting in a historical room in a comfortable old building with the windows and door open, allowing a breeze to blow through (passing through the building via a window in the back by the stairs, and also through an open door to the emergency staircase), and with no artificial lighting (save for the light of the video being projected onto the wall).  One of my big complaints in this life, has been suffering in stuffy airless sealed box-like buildings with 100 times more light (of the worst, most glaring type) than necessary.  So it was pure pleasure to sense the slight changes in lighting from the sun through the open windows as I sat in florescent-light-free bliss.  I can only envy pre-air-conditioning and pre-florescent light people their complete freedom from these modern forms of (slight, but long-lasting and persistent) torture.

What's next?  Good question!  I have plenty of material for more videos from the same time period, and hopefully can have more exhibits once I get more material edited.

A big thank you to my friends (new and old) who visited, as well as all the other visitors who spent some of their time in Room-306 watching my video and discussing it and ever-changing Tokyo.  And... maybe this sounds strange, but I would also like to thank the people who designed and built the Okuno Building (originally called "Ginza Apartment[s]", and all the tenants who lived there, giving the building its warm and settled atmosphere - especially Yoshi Suda, who used Room-306 for nearly the entire history of the 1932 building, being the room's first tenant and staying there until her death at 100 years of age in early 2009.

Oh - I almost forgot - during my exhibit, I took a break on June 16th and made a quick tour of the building, which I recorded and posted as follows:

"Okuno Building - Quick Tour (June 16th, 2010)" (100616-1444)

A quick tour of the Okuno Building, from the 7th floor down to each of the two basements (the building is actually two buildings internally joined, but the basements are separate).

奥野ビルのクイックツアー - 2010年6月16日  東京

Referring back to an earlier post - this is where I introduced the exhibit:

Tokyo 2010 (20年前の東京) / Lyle (宏) Saxon

There are some more stills from the video on this page:

Tokyo 1990 (20年前の東京) Video Exhibition by Lyle (宏) Saxon

(This link is at the top of this post as well, but - for convenience - I'm putting it here at the bottom with the other links as well.)  The short video clip I took showing a little of the inside of the Okuno Building and of the exhibit itself, can be seen here:

"Tokyo-1990" (2010 Video Exhibit - Saturday-A) (100612-1902)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, June 14, 2010

"20-78 - A Look Back in the Okuno Building"

The Okuno Building in Ginza was constructed about 78 years ago and I have a video exhibition/installation there now showing views of Tokyo 20 years ago (until the 19th).  Sitting in room 306, where the last tenant, Ms. Suda, lived until her death at 100 years of age in 2009, time and the passage of it are very much on my mind.  Just the past 20 years have brought about more change in Tokyo than you might think, but once you take a close look at pictures taken in 1990 (with some in 1991), it becomes apparent that you're looking at a different generation.

Analyzing that, it begins to make sense when you realize that someone 25 years old in 1990 is 45 now, and a baby in 1990 is 20 now.  It's a new set of young human beings walking around on the streets, and the previous young generation,  now middle-aged, are changed with life experience and aging, so everyone is different.  Add in Tokyo's Godzilla construction industry which never, ever, tires of tearing down anything older than two or three decades, and Tokyo 2010 is not the same city as Tokyo 1990.

That said, how about 1932, when the Okuno Building was built?  The 306-Project team is currently diligently looking into Ms. Suda's past, but almost all traces of former addresses (where she ran a chain a beauty parlors) have vanished beneath name changes, road building, etc., and when someone lives to be 100 years old, and died over a year ago, it's highly unlikely any of their friends are still alive.  If 20 years ago is one generation back, then 78 is nearly four generations back, and that's pretty much a whole different world.

One last comment.  Japan is currently in the "Heisei" era, which began in 1989.  An older woman yesterday, while watching my video from 1990, commented that it looked to her like a look back at the Showa era.  I hadn't thought of it that way until she told me that, but I think I agree.  No time to explain exactly why right now, but I agree.

And... here's a video I took on the 3rd floor of the Okuno Building, which shows the hallways and stairwells there, and then has a look into room 306:

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Tokyo 1990 (20年前の東京) / Lyle (宏) Saxon

This exhibit/installation by Lyle (宏) Saxon, entitled "Tokyo 1990 (20年前の東京)" runs from June 9th, 2010 through to June 19th.  This consists of an edit of some of the video material I took 20 years ago in Tokyo.  For those with the time to watch the entire video, it runs for an hour, but if you only have time for two minutes, or five, or ten, that's fine too!

20年前の東京 / ライル宏サクソン
Harajuku 原宿 (1990)

Near Harajuku 原宿の近く (1990)

There are some additional still images from the video on this page:

Tokyo 1990 (20年前の東京) Video Exhibition by Lyle (宏) Saxon

I took a short video clip showing a little of the inside of the Okuno Building and of the exhibit itself, which can be seen here:

"Tokyo-1990" (2010 Video Exhibit - Saturday-A) (100612-1902)

Some comments I wrote after the exhibit are here:

"'Tokyo 1990' Friends - Thank you!"

Some photos of the Ginza Okuno Building:

奥野ビル - http://ginzaokuno.blogspot.com/

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

"Kanda to Yurakucho and Hibiya Park Octoberfest (in May)"

Beginning this batch with typical train scenes - riding from Kanda to Tokyo and then from Tokyo to Yurakucho, looking out a right side window of a Keihin-Tohoku Line train.

After that are three clips from this year's Hibiya Park (May) Octoberfest, featuring German beer and music in Hibiya Park.  The weather was a bit rainy this year, but it was a nice (and dry) night when I dropped by and took these videos.

"Kanda to Tokyo, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Right Side View" (100525Tu-1713)

Keihin-Tohoku Line train from Kanda to Tokyo, looking out a right side window, facing rearward.

京浜東北線で、神田駅から、東京駅まで (右側風景)  東京

"Tokyo to Yurakucho, Keihin-Tohoku Line, Right Side View" (100525Tu-1715)

Keihin-Tohoku Line train from Tokyo to Yurakucho, looking out a right side window, showing the track-side view of Kokusai Forum as the train passes it.

京浜東北線で、東京駅から、有楽町駅まで (右側風景) 国際フォーラム  東京

"Yurakucho Station, Platform to Exit" (100525Tu-1717)

At Yurakucho Station, starting on the platform and then walking down the stairs and towards the ticket gates.

有楽町駅で、プラットフォームから、出口まで  東京

"Hibiya Park May Octoberfest (1/3)" (100525Tu-1914)

Hibiya Park's annual May Octoberfest, which I suppose could be called "Mayfest", since it's held every spring here.  Taken right after I arrived.  (First of three clips.)

日比谷公園五月のオクトーバーフェスト  東京

"Hibiya Park May Octoberfest (2/3)" (100525Tu-2055)

Hibiya Park's annual May Octoberfest, which I suppose could be called "Mayfest", since it's held every spring here.  (Second of three clips.)

日比谷公園五月のオクトーバーフェスト  東京

"Hibiya Park May Octoberfest (3/3)" (100525Tu-2106)

Hibiya Park's annual May Octoberfest, which I suppose could be called "Mayfest", since it's held every spring here.  Walking past some of the tables set up around the fountain.  (Third of three clips.)

日比谷公園五月のオクトーバーフェスト  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"Trains, Yurakucho, Ginza, and Trains"

Starting with a rare clip from the inside of a morning rush hour(s) Chuo Line train ("rare" because usually it would be rude to record video in morning rush conditions, but one morning, no one was facing me, so I was able to take a quick clip without showing anyone's face), then train clips from a ride to Yurakucho, followed by views of Yurakucho and Ginza, and wrapping up with more train views.

"Inside Rush Hour Chuo Line Train" (100524Mo-0931)

Normally I don't take pictures of the inside of trains during rush hour, but I looked over and noticed that no one was directly facing the camera, so I figured it wouldn't be rude to take a quick clip.  It was also easy to take due to it getting a little late (just past 9:30 a.m.), so the people density wasn't particularly high.

朝通勤ラッシュ中央線の中  東京

"Kanda to Tokyo (Left Side Forward View)" (100524Mo-1005)

Riding the Yamanote Line from Kanda to Tokyo, looking out a left-side window - looking ahead (at about a 45-degree angle).  Reaching Tokyo Station, I get off and observe the unloading and loading ritual.

山手線 - 神田駅から東京駅まで、左側前向き風景  東京

"Tokyo to Yurakucho (Left-Side Rearward View)" (100524Mo-1007)

Riding a Yamanote Line train from Tokyo Station to Yurakucho Station, looking out a left window, facing rearward (for most of the ride anyway).

山手線 - 東京駅から有楽町駅まで、左側後向き風景  東京

"Yurakucho - Various Passing Trains" (100524Mo-1009)

First, watching the Yamanote Line train I rode into Yurakucho on depart, and then watching a few trains (Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku) coming and going - after which I descend the stairs and head towards the exit.

有楽町駅のプラットフォームから見て、あっちこっち通る電車  東京

"Walking Down Rainy Street in Yurakucho" (100524Mo-1011)

Walking down a street (away from Yurakucho Station) in the rain.

有楽町道 - 雨中の散歩  東京

"Yurakucho Rain - Nearing Ginza" (100524Mo-1013)

Continuing towards Ginza - still within Yurakucho, but with the central Ginza area straight ahead.  At this point, it was raining fairly hard, but the amount of water falling from the sky lessened soon after this was taken.

有楽町道、銀座に近くなる - 雨中の散歩  東京

"Walking in the Rain..." (100524Mo-1026)

Walking down a side street in the rain.  I walked into Tsukiji from Ginza that day, so I'm not sure if this street was in Ginza, or in Tsukiji.  Maybe... Tsukiji?

雨中の散歩 - ここは、銀座だったのか、築地だったのか、ちょっと分からないですが、すみません!  東京

"Exiting Typical Tokyo Building" (100524Mo-1112)

Walking down and out to the street from a typical building in Tokyo - this particular one in Tsukiji - near to Ginza.

オフィスから、道までの階段散歩  東京

"Walking Over Highway in Ginza" (100524Mo-1115)

Walking over the highway that runs through Ginza.  Since it runs down in a culvert, it's not noticeable once you're a little way from it.

銀座の高速道路を渉る  東京

"Chuo-dori Stroll to 4-Chome Intersection" (100524Mo-1153)

Walking down Chuo-dori in Ginza - up to the 4-Chome crossing, waiting for the light to change while standing across from the Nissan Showroom.

銀座中央通散歩 - 銀座四丁目交差点まで  東京

"Crossing Ginza 4-Chome Intersection in Rain" (100524Mo-1156)

Crossing the street at the 4-chome intersection - walking towards the Nissan Showroom.

銀座四丁目交差点の横断歩道を渉る  東京

"Ginza Clock Tower Building Bells Ringing" (100524Mo-1203)

Listening to the old clock tower building bells ringing out twelve noon, and then heading down Chuo-dori for a stroll.

銀座四丁目交差点の古い時計ビルのベルが鳴る  東京

May 2010 Tokyo-ten / サロンと東京展五月 - オープニングパーティ

At the opening party for the May group-exhibition of the Tokyo-ten art group at Gallery Ginza-One, the artists sang a few lines from an old song for the camera.

銀座の奥濃ビルアートスペース銀座ワン - サロンと東京展五月 - オープニングパーティ  東京

"Boarding Late-Night Chuo Line at Tokyo Station" (100524Mo-2332)

Watching a late night Chuo Line train come in and then boarding it.

東京駅で、夜遅く中央線電車に乗る  東京

"Orange 201-Series Chuo Line - May 25th, 2010" (100525Tu-0010)

I noticed several posts to YouTube of "Sayonara 201-Series" Chuo Line clips dated April 17th, so I was a little surprised to see an orange 201-Series Chuo Line train early morning May 25th, 2010 (or late night May 24th, 2010, since it was just past 12:00 midnight).  I was in a hurry, so I didn't stop and take a close look, but in any case, you can see the train in this clip, still on the rails, stopped at the platform, and with people aboard.

オレンジ201-シリーズ中央線電車、2010年5月25日、国分寺駅  東京

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon