Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Yurakucho, Sakura Blossoms, Hibiya Park Sakura, and 1991 Shinagawa and Ginza"

As people go about their daily lives a month since the March 11th, 2011 9.0 earthquake and tsunami disaster, the radiation leaking from the broken nuclear reactors at Fukushima has shifted slightly into the background of people's thinking, but it's a persistent dark cloud in people's consciousness nevertheless, and reading today that the government has expanded the exclusion zone around the broken reactors isn't exactly cause for optimism.

It affects daily actions in what is becoming a new routine, a new "normal": when it rains, you automatically assume that the rain is at least partly radioactive, and so always carry an umbrella to keep the contaminated rain(!) from coming in contact with your body.  I would have taken some sakura pictures yesterday in a light rain, but decided not to in order to minimize exposure to radioactivity.  Some will say that I have nothing to worry about, and they might even be right, but nevertheless, this way of thinking in Tokyo now is not unusual.

On to the videos - which are a mix of April 2011 Tokyo and 1991 Tokyo.  The last two clips in this batch - one showing 1991 Shinagawa, and the other showing 1991 Ginza, may well be interesting to anyone wanting to see what typical street scenes in those areas looked like at that time.  Anyone familiar with the current east exit (東口) of Shinagawa Station (品川駅) may be shocked at how radically different it was in 1991.  I recorded the scene with my own two hands, and I was still shocked when I watched the video 20 years after taking it - I was thinking "What's that rustic station I entered the train system at?" and then rewound the tape to listen to the bus announcement saying the station name and discovered/remembered with a shock that it was Shinagawa Station!  The west side of the station in 2011 looks much the same from the outside as in 1991, but the east side, which is in this video, is ultra-radically different!

The 2011 videos are of Yurakucho; a late-night view of Tachikawa Station; sakura trees in bloom at a temple; an empty (and long) escalator at Tokyo Station; a quick view of the construction on the Marunouchi side of Tokyo Station; and a few views in and near Hibiya Park, including of the sakura trees in the park.  The park doesn't have a particularly large number of them, but the ones it does have look nice, and since it's less crowded due to there not being a lot of sakura trees there, it actually ends up being a better place to view them than the typical popular spots where there are long rows of sakura trees - unless you want to see the crowds more than you want to see the trees!

Walking Towards Yurakucho Station - (110408-1729)

Walking towards Yurakucho Station in the evening.

Yurakucho Plaza and Stealth Speaker Car - (110408-1745)

Walking across Yurakucho Plaza and by a stealth speaker car painted as a taxi....

Tachikawa Station Platform Late at Night - (110408-2346)

Looking around a Tachikawa Station platform late at night.

Sakura Blossoms at Temple - (110408-0712)

Watching sakura pedals blowing in the wind at a temple.

Empty Escalator at Tokyo Station - (110408-1435)

Looking up and down an empty Chuo Line escalator at Tokyo Station.

Construction Around Tokyo Station - Marunouchi Side - (110408-1441)

A brief look at construction around Tokyo Station on the Marunouchi Side.

Hibiya Park Sakura Blossoms 2011-A - (110408-1616)

Looking at some sakura blossoms in Hibiya Park (2011-A).

Sakura Blossoms with Chainsaw Background - (110408-1623)

Looking at some sakura blossoms with chainsaw noise in the background.

Hibiya Park Sakura Blossoms-2011-C - (110408-1641)

Looking at sakura blossoms in Hibiya Park. (2011-C)

Yurakucho Reflections, Sakura, Etc. - (110408-1726)

Looking around on streets in Yurakucho at reflections, sakura blossoms, etc.

1991 Shinagawa Pachinko

A look into a 1991 Shinagawa pachinko place, with traditional mechanical machines on the ground floor and new (at the time) electronic machines on the second floor.

Shinagawa to Yurakucho - August 1991

Riding a Keihin-Tohoku Line train from Shinagawa to Yurakucho in August 1991.  This opens on a bus as it approaches the east exit side of Shinagawa Station.  The appearance of the east exit in 1991 may be shocking to anyone who is only familiar with the current east exit - it's almost unbelievably different.

Ginza - December 1991

Walking around in Ginza in December of 1991 - way back in the 20th century.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

1 comment:

Mark Monlux said...

It's little comments about radioactive rain that catch my attention in your postings.