The text (and postmark) on the card is as follows (if I'm correctly reading the handwriting):
WORTHING 6:45 PM 10 NOV 1938 SUSSEX
48. Marlowe Rd. Worthing
Many thanks for stamps. Fancy them not knowing me six houses along! Hope this finds you well. All as usual here. Mum still as busy as ever. Hope the "old folk" are well. Shall you be home before Xmas? Must write uncle 6 or 13th.
Miss D. E. Wiggins 4. Cedar Grove Yeovil
I saw this card at Y's Arts (an antique shop with many fascinating items), in the Ginza Okuno Building:
It's been too long since I updated this! It feels like it was a week or two ago when I last posted something, but having a look at the date of my last post, November 20th, I see it's been nearly a month. I've been posting video clips, but other things (participating in a group exhibition in Ginza, visiting the 2011-Tokyo Auto Show, videoing an art gallery event, etc.) have prevented me from getting enough time in front a computer to get new material posted. So - not in exact chronological order (or reverse chronological order), here are some comments about video clips, which pretty closely follow what I've been doing anyway (scroll down for links to the videos):
A look at the seasonal lights in Tachikawa - this time of year, many of the major stations have colorful lighting set up around the station.
Riding in an old JR train - I have fairly strong nostalgic feelings for this type of train, as it's what they used to run on the Tokaido Line, and so riding it brings back memories of going to and from Chigasaki in the Old Days. The box seating arrangement was great on late-night inbound trains when you could get a whole box to yourself - with a drink in hand, staring into the Kanagawa/Tokyo night scenes flowing by as you listened to the various sounds of the train (and there are many! - springs, compressor motors, brake noises, motor noises, etc.). Before the Always-Connected Age, each train ride was an interlude in which you couldn't reach (or be reached by) anyone. I was excited by the ability to always be in touch when I got my first cell phone, but it's gotten to the point where I sometimes miss the old days of being in a non-connected space.
Crowds of people in Tachikawa Station - the flow of people in Tokyo is something like water in a river. The flow just keeps going without letup. Once you get used to it, it just seems like the way it should be.
Walking around in Tokyo Station. Tokyo Station and the area around it has been under construction for what seems like a very long time. If you include the new versions of the Marunouchi Building and the Shin-Marunouchi Building (both rebuilt under the exact same names as the buildings they replaced), I think construction in the area has been nonstop for close to twenty years now.
A quick look at a free concert in a Tokyo Park. I should have stayed longer, but I was on my way somewhere and didn't have much time to check out more than one group of musicians (there were several performing that day).
Views of a couple of exhibitions/installations in Ginza. I wish I could get the artists to go in front of the camera to explain their art, but they tend to be camera shy.
A look at another large-scale, long-term construction area, this one by the south side of Shinjuku Station. The video was recorded at the point where the site was open ground. Speaking of long-term construction sites - both Shinjuku and Tokyo Stations are being rebuilt to accommodate more long-distance buses. A tragic state of affairs I think - considering what a great system of trains the country has - it's depressing to see more and more people traveling by bloody buses.
What with it being bonenkai season and all - there are more than the usual number of late-night scenes - centered around train stations. Without going into details, keep in mind that the entire train system shuts down between around 12:00-1:00 a.m. If you miss the last train home, the typical thing to do (unless you're a dirty bankster/gambler with pockets full of cash for a hotel or taxi), is to wait until the first morning train (the morning trains generally start between 4:30-5:30 a.m.).
An example of video I took that is 100% out-of-focus. I hate - really hate auto focus in video cameras! Any decent video camera should have manual settings that allow the user to escape the error prone-auto-focus system. Auto-focus works pretty well for still pictures, but is a disaster for video.
Chuo Line and Ginza views. What to say about those - I tend to have some of these with every batch of videos I post....
Several video clips of the 2011-Tokyo Motor Show. It was interesting to experience, but - as always - the event itself was more interesting than the cars. It was (thankfully) held at Tokyo Big Site this year, instead of the very distant Makuhari (which isn't technically even in Tokyo).
Incidentally, these are spread out a bit - with some HD videos posted first, followed by (after videos of completely different stuff) more interesting videos taken in the 4:3 format.
A couple of views of rain falling into a puddle on an access road in a park. Very boring stuff, but really looking at this type of thing in person is part of tuning into and being a part of the world. I think it may be that the more people are disconnected from this sort of thing - as they spend an increasing percentage of their time in synthetic boxes - the less human and more deranged they become. It's time to stop destroying the planet as though it were our enemy and get back in tune with things.
A quick look at the light-up in Marunouchi - this area will likely be very thick with people on December 24th, which is the most crowded day for the areas of the city with various light-up exhibitions ("outside installations?).
Various Shinjuku Station scenes. Of all the stations in Tokyo, Shinjuku is probably the one that has most served as a hub for me - and indeed - it's (the last time I checked anyway) the busiest station in all of Japan (measured by the number of people who access the station, including transferring from one line to another without exiting the station area).
The Yurikamome Line, which I took from Shinbashi Station to the 2011-Tokyo Motor Show at the Tokyo Big Site convention center. I was right in front in the computer-driven train, so it was a great view, but it was really hot in the train (no ventilation and packed with people) so I had to keep wiping the glass in order to see outside.
Incidentally, the recorded announcement on this line used to be extraordinarily irritating. Since it didn't bother me this time around, I think maybe they fixed the earlier (very super-duper special ultra-horrible) recording - either that, or I've gotten used to it [shudder!]. It's hard to explain what was so terribly wrong about it before, but one component was that "next" was pronounced "ne-ku-su-to" (four syllables instead of one), which - along with weird intonation - got very very tiring as you heard exactly the same recording ("Za NE-Ku-su-tO su-te-shon i-zu...") at station after station after station, etc. etc. etc. (There's no need for an English announcement anyway - since the station name is the issue and that's the same in any language, baring mispronouncing it.)
An inside view of a bus that I took from the motor show to Tokyo Station. (I would have taken a train, but the bus was free, so...) I wish I had gotten a left-side window seat, as there were some interesting views in that direction on the way to Tokyo Station, including a fireworks display (probably from Tokyo Disneyland). As it was, I was standing in the middle, so I just recorded a short view of the inside of the bus - looking towards the front.
Some wet views of the plaza by Yurakucho Station, when it looks best due to the reflections and the lights, with Shinkansen trains passing by in the background, etc.
Kawagoe - otherwise known as "Ko-Edo", is an interesting area, with a fascinating section of old wooden buildings that date back to the Edo Era. I've been there several times, but it was pointed out to me that I didn't have any video clips posted from there, so I went and took a new batch of clips. There are two batches - the first batch is basically just the main Kawagoe station (JR and Tobu - the Seibu Line is at a separate location), with the second batch (not posted yet as I write this) focusing on the old historical area.
The Maruhiro Department Store rooftop amusement park. Most major department stores used to have this sort of thing for parents to take their young children too, but nearly all of them have shut down (the rooftop mini-amusement parks that is, and some of the department stores), what with fewer children (lower birthrate) and fewer people shopping at department stores (with most people shopping at discount stores and/or on-line these days). For old time's sake, it was good to see one still in operation - and fun to ride the rooftop monorail!
Kagurazaka. I thought I had some video clips of Kagurazaka posted, but apparently not. Recently asked about it, I rode the Tozai Line over there and took a few clips. There's only one small area that really resembles Kyoto, but it's mysterious enough, and the surrounding areas are interesting enough, that it's worth checking out as one of the things to see in Tokyo. In one of the clips (the only one showing the mystery zone, entitled: Kagurazaka Side Street Diving), a woman in a kimono magically appears from a discreet restaurant as I am walking through the area. One thing I was disappointed to discover in Kagurazaka though, was that an old shine had been demolished to make way for an apartment building. At least they rebuilt another shrine on the roof of the parking garage, but still...
The last clip in this batch is a walk down the Tozai Line platform at Nihonbashi as a train was pulling out. I ended up very close to the train as it left, since the area to walk in was so narrow.
This is why I hate auto-focus - it is great for ruining videos. Question to the engineers - why is it that when the camera has trouble figuring out how to focus, it assumes that the picture is macro extreme close-focus? It would be much better if it defaulted to infinity.
There are a lot of video clips in this batch - including the usual Train scenes (riding trains is a big part of life in Tokyo after all), and visits to several areas, as well as a look at an art exhibition. So - where to start... I suppose listing the places visited is probably best, combined with a few comments about what I saw there.
In order (with exceptions) of how they're listed below (which is not strictly chronological in either forward or reverse order in the first place): Nezu, Ueno Park (including an inside view of an old pond-side coffee shop in the park), Ueno (including Ameyokocho), Akihabara (electronics area), Ginza (side streets), Kokubunji, Asagaya (more views of the jazz festival that I mentioned in a previous batch of videos), Yurakucho, Shinjuku, Ebisu (Ebisu Garden Place, etc.), Shibuya (walking around in Friday evening crowds, Hachiko Plaza, etc.), Hachioji (plaza and bus area, etc.), unusual clouds with a rainbow in the middle, masses of birds on power lines, Tagami Masakatsu exhibition in Ginza, Tokyo Station, Otemachi, etc.
It's been too long since I've posted an update regarding video clips - and a number of them have pilled up. Just to quickly mention the different... categories(?) of video clips (some things repeat since I recorded them more than once): Seibu-Takadanobaba Station platform; old elevator arrival; inside Seibu train; Takadanobaba Station crowd; Otemachi Station; tunnel walk and train ride; Asagaya Jazz Festival; Ameyokocho; Seibu Line; Tozai Line; a modern restroom; Kyobashi sky; Chuo Line; Shinjuku; Harajuku; Okuno Building (all floors); Shamisen (with singing) performance in Room-306; Ginza; train views; Nakano Station in the evening (and a back street view); Ginza; Okuno Building; Ginza 4-chome; trying out an old switch; various city trains; a band performing near the south exit of Shinjuku Station; whitewall tunnel; Shinjuku; edge of Kabukicho; more Shinjuku; Yamanote Line views; Chiyoda Line, Ameyokocho (again); Hibarigaoka Shotengai; Tozai and Ginza Lines; Chuo Line, Yamanote Line; etc.