Friday, March 30, 2012

"Yurakucho Plaza in the Rain" - (120323)

"Yurakucho Plaza in the Rain"
Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"1990 Shibuya, 1991 Takayama, 2012 Ginza, Yurakucho, Tokyo Trains, Etc."

First, I should point out that my summary of this batch of video clips is not in any particular order, so keep that in mind if you go looking for one of the things I mention in this introduction.

More than usual, I have posted several video-time-machine views - this time from May 1990 (Shibuya, Asakusabashi, Shinjuku, Takadanobaba, subway views, Sendagaya, Akabane, etc.), as well as clips from an August 1991 trip to Takayama via a very cool mid-engine micro-car - a Honda Beat.  Unfortunately, since I was driving the car and it had a manual transmission, I couldn't take footage of a very fun fast drive along a mountain road that I took, and only recorded being stuck in a traffic jam and accelerating away from one traffic light.

After spending what felt like a lot of time in the video time machine, I came back to 2012 and took footage of (naturally) train views (Ginza, Chuo, Tozai, Yamanote, Keio, etc. lines), as well as views from Ginza (including a clip from an exhibition and two from exhibition opening parties), and Yurakucho, Shinjuku, etc.

There are three basic formats I uploaded this time - digitized versions of analog material recorded over 20 years ago, HD material, and re-processed material (due to a technical problem at YouTube that allowed uploading of some files with the picture, but only one second of sound).

1990 Harajuku and Shibuya Stations at Night - (900510)

Takao Station at Night - (120312)

Takao to Takaosan-guchi - (120312)

Keio Line Train Arriving at Takao Station - (120312)

Racing the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station - (120315)

1990 - Sobu and Yamanote Lines (Side Window Views) - (900511)

May 11th, 1990 - Looking out side windows of Sobu Line and Yamanote Line trains (as well as station platform views).  Towards the end is a view of Kanda Station just as they were beginning construction of the Shinkansen tracks towards Omiya.

1990 - Asakusabashi Area - (900511)

May 11th, 1990 - Walking around in Asakusabashi and riding the Sobu Line.

1990 - Shibuya at Night - (900514)

May 14th, 1990 - Walking around in Shibuya at night.

1990 Nightwalk - Yoyogi to Shinjuku - (May 1990)

Walking from Yoyogi to Shinjuku late at night in May 1990.

1990 Takadanobaba May Walkabout

Walking around in May 1990 in Takadanobaba - beginning with a view from the Yamanote Line platform and ending with a view inside a Tozai (subway) train as it departs Takadanobaba.  This shows the atmosphere of May 1990 Takadanobaba.

1990 - May Subway Views (A)

Views of a number of stations and trains on the Tokyo subway system - taken in May 1990.

1990 - Here and There in May (A)

Going about in May 1990 Tokyo.  Missing a train home, meetings friends at an izakaya, etc.

1990 Sendagaya Station Area in May (900522)

May 22nd, 1990 - Looking around the Sendagaya Station Area.

1990 Here and There in May (B) Akabane Station, Etc

May 1990 - Various places, including Shinjuku Station and a several views of Akabane Station.

1991 - Honda Beat Drive - (910811)

August 11th, 1991 - Driving a Honda Beat in the mountains on the way to Takayama.

1991 Takayama Walkabout (910811)

August 11th, 1991 - Walking around in Takayama.

1991 - Takayama Matsuri - (910811)

On the evening of August 11th, 1991, walking around during a festival in the mountain town of Takayama.

Takizawa Tatsushi 滝沢達史展 Steps Gallery - (120323)

Takizawa Tatsushi (滝沢達史) Exhibition/Installation at Steps Gallery - (120323)

Balcony View in Ginza 1-Chome - (120323)

Mysterious Hallways - (120323)

Yurakucho Station - Waiting for Train - Ride to Tokyo - (120323)

Near Yurakucho Station - Rainy Night - (120323)

Yurakucho Plaza in the Rain - (120323)

Yurakucho Evening Rain Walk - (120323)

YSB Yurakucho Street View - (120315)

Tozai Line Train Departing Nihonbashi Station - (120315)

Hamamatsucho to Shinbashi - Nighttime Yamanote Line - (120326)

Osaki to Gotanda - Nighttime Yamanote Line - (120326)

Shinagawa to Osaki - Nighttime Yamanote Line - (120326)

Tamachi to Shinagawa - Nighttime Yamanote Line - (120326)

Shinbashi to Hamamatsucho - Yamanote Line - (120326)

Yurakucho Station - Yurakucho to Shinbashi - (120326)

Tokyo Station - Yamanote Line Departure - (120326)

Yurakucho to Tokyo - Nighttime Yamanote Line - (120326)

Ginza Harumi-Dori - (120326)

Ginza Chuo-Dori Stroll - (120326)

Ginza Chuo-Dori - Long View - (120326)

Ginza 4-Chome and Harumi-Dori - (120326)

Ogawa to Kodaira - Construction Zone, Etc. - (120326)

Gallery Exhibition Opening Party-A - (120326)

Gallery Exhibition Opening Party-B - (120326)

Abe Chihiro Exhibition at Art Space Rashinban - (120326)

Abe Chihiro (安倍千尋展) Exhibition at Art Space Rashinban (アートスペース羅針盤) - (120326)

Tachikawa Platform - Late at Night - (120326)

Nihonbashi to Ginza - Ginza Line - (120326)

Late Night Chuo Line Interior - (120326)

Edge of Ginza - Evening Stroll - (120326)

Late Night Chuo Line - Departing Tokyo Station - (120326)

Scenes of Tokyo and other areas in Japan by
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, March 16, 2012

"Outbound Chuo Line Ride" - (120229)

"Outbound Chuo Line Ride" - (120229)
Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Ginza, Mitaka, Kichijoji, Chuo-Line, Low-Resolution, HD, Etc."

Regarding the picture quality (resolution) of this batch of videos; it is either high in the HD clips (first five below and a few others), or else very low resolution in LD (Low Definition) clips that ended up in that state through YouTube no longer (for a week at least - I'll be doing more testing later) accepting video clips in the AVI format that one of my cameras generates.  I have no idea what the *reason* for this is, but the *result* is that all of the uploaded video clips in that format show up as 1-second videos, so I had to convert the file format before uploading to get YouTube to accept the files - which works, but with very poor picture quality.  Anyway - be forewarned that many of these clips have shockingly bad picture quality.

The first five (HD) videos are of Shinbashi, Ginza, Yurakucho, and Tokyo Station.  Moving into the LD videos, there are views of Tachikawa, Mitaka, the Chuo Line, Kichijoji, etc.

I'm hoping to find a way to upload the files from that camera without losing (so much) picture quality.  I am confident there is some way of doing this, but with the tools I have at hand - I haven't been able to do it... yet!

(HD) Shinbashi Station - Watching Trains Come and Go - (120307)

(HD) Ginza Suzuran-Dori - Construction Noises - (120307)

(HD) Suzuran-Dori - 4:00 PM - (120307)

(HD) Yurakucho to Shinbashi (Looking Back - Yamanote Line) - (120307)

(HD) Tokyo Station - Boarding Yamanote Line - (120307)

Mitaka Shotengai (B) - (120307)

Mitaka Shotengai (A) - (120307)

Tachikawa Station (Inside Ticket Gates) - (120307)

Shinjuku Crosswalk - (120306)

Tokyo to Yurakucho (Looking Back - Yamanote Line) - (120307)

Bus Side of Mitaka Station - (120307)

Chuo Line Side View - To Ogikubo - (120301)

Hayashi Nobuaki (林伸朗) Installation at Gallery Hinoki (ギャラリー檜) Close-Up - (120306)

Mitaka Shotengai Stroll - (120307)

Mitaka Station Mall (and Walk to Platform) - (120307)

Walking Through Mitaka Station - (120307)

Night Side Window View - Chuo Line to Mitaka - (120301)

Ogawa to Hagiyama - Construction Area - (120306)

Yamanote Line - Departing Shinbashi Station - (120307)

In Front of Ogikubo Station-360 - (120301)

Shinbashi Side Street Construction - (120307)

Musashisakai to Mitaka - Chuo Line Side Window View - (120301)

Kichijoji Side Streets (D) - (120301)

Kichijoji Side Streets (C) - (120301)

Kichijoji Side Streets (B) - (120301)

Kichijoji Side Streets (A) - (120301)

Kichijoji Shotengai Stroll (C) - (120301)

Kichijoji Shotengai Stroll (B) - (120301)

Kichijoji Shotengai Stroll (A) - (120301)

Exiting Shinbashi Station - (120307)

Kichijoji Station Area - Construction, Etc. - (120301)

Kyobashi Side Street - Construction - (120306)

New-Old Tokyo Station (Under Construction) - (120307)

Kichijoji Evening Shotengai (C) - (120301)

Kichijoji Evening Shotengai (B) - (120301)

Kichijoji Evening Shotengai (A) - (120301)

Nishi-Ogikubo to Kichijoji - Chuo Line, Etc. - (120301)

Entering Kichijoji Station - (120301)

Kichijoji Narrow Passageways - Evening Old Shotengai - (120301)

Chuo Line Escalator at Tokyo Station - (120307)

Chuo Line Arriving at Mitaka - (120307)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, March 09, 2012

"78-Year-Old Staircase" (120214)

78-Year-Old Staircase (120214)
Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"May 1990 Shinjuku and Shibuya, 120229 Snow, Tachikawa, Kichijoji, Mitaka, Ginza, Etc."

A large chunk of the videos in this batch were affected by some kind of issue with AVI format files not uploading properly to YouTube, so I converted many of them to FLV files, which uploaded easily, but have degraded picture quality.  If the next batch of AVI files I attempt to upload doesn't work, then I'll try to (if I understand the process well enough) convert them into MP4 files (rather than FLV).  That technical bit out of the way....

On the last day of February - the 29th this year - there was a pretty big snowfall in Tokyo (big for Tokyo anyway) and I took several clips of the unusual appearance of the city under all that white snow.  Most of the snow scenes are of Tachikawa, but there are some other angles thrown in, including train window views.

I went to both Kichijoji and Mitaka recently and took a few clips of the shotengai areas in each place.  Back in central Tokyo, while checking out art galleries, I took some video of Ginza - including a couple of exhibitions/installations that were interesting and very colorful - "No doubt the artist is thinking of spring" thought I.  And of course there are the usual train views from various lines - primarily the Chuo, Ginza, Tozai, Yamanote, and Keihin-Tohoku lines.

May 1990 - Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho

May 1990 - Shibuya Station Platform

Tachikawa - Elevated Walkway - (120229)

Snow - Takao Station - (120229)

(x2) Walking from Kyobashi to Ginza - (120228)

Video recorded at 15fps and then played back at 30fps for double-time video with no sound.

(x2) Elevator Up - Stairs Down - (120228)

Video recorded at 15fps and then played back at 30fps for double-time video with no sound.

Kichijoji Mall (Short) - (120301)

Snow - Tachikawa Station Platform - (120229)

Ginza Chuo Dori - Looking Both Ways - (120228)

Snow - Nishi-Kokubunji to Tachikawa - (120229)

Looking at a rare snowfall from a side window of a Chuo Line train while going from Nishi-Kokubunji to Tachikawa.

Path to Tachikawa Shopping Arcade - (120229)

Kono Satomi (河野里美) Exhibition at Y's Arts-508 - (120307)

A beautiful and colorful exhibition.  Someday I hope to have internally illuminated pictures like these on my walls!  For now at least, the artist told me that the pictures are for the exhibition only and are not for sale.

Ginza Chuo-Dori - February 28th, 2012 - (120228)

Yurakucho-SB (A) - (120307)

Yurakucho-SB (B) - (120307)

Yurakucho to Tokyo - (120307)

KT-Line at Yurakucho Station - (120307)

Watching a Keihin-Tohoku Line train at Yurakucho Station.

Nihonbashi to Ginza (Ginza Line) - (120306)

Snow - Tachikawa Station (Both Sides) - (120229)

Snow - Tachikawa Station Area - (120229)

Snow - Tachikawa Station Area and Streets - (120229)

Snow - Tachikawa Station Area Stroll - (120229)

Snow - Tachikawa Streets - (120229)

Snow - Tachikawa to Hachioji - Chuo Line - (120229)

Snow in Tokyo Suburban Park - (120229)

Ginza Line - Nihonbashi to Ginza - (120228)

Tachikawa - Reserved Seat Train Arrival and Departure - (120229)

Tachikawa Station Shops - (120229)

Tachikawa Platform - Old Type Train, Etc

Tachikawa Evening Rush - February 29th, 2012 - (120229)

Tachikawa Station Shopping Arcade - (120229)

Tachikawa Elevated Walkways (With Snow) - (120229)

Tachikawa Platform on Rare Snow Day in Tokyo - (120229)

Tachikawa Side Streets - Evening Slush - (120229)

Tachikawa Station - Ticket Gates to Platform - (120229)

Tachikawa - Shopping Mall to Chuo Line Platform - (120229)

Tachikawa - Walking Towards Station (Some Snow) - (120229)

Tachikawa Outside Escalator (Snow Day) - (120229)

Tozai Window Reflections - Takadanobaba to Waseda - (120228)

Yamada Keiko (山田恵子) Exhibition at Steps Gallery - (120307)

Ginza Harumi-Dori (晴海通り) - (120307)

Ginza Chuo-Dori (A) - (120306)

Ginza Chuo-Dori (B) - (120306)

Hayashi Nobuaki (林伸朗) Installation at Gallery Hinoki (ギャラリー檜) - (120306)

A very colorful and fun installation/exhibition!

Yamanote and Shibuya (May 1990-A)

Views of the Yamanote Line (mainly inside) and Shibuya at night - taken in May 1990.

Train Watching - Shinbashi Station - (120307)

At Shinbashi Station - looking down the tracks towards Kanagawa.  The many tracks and trains are quite an impressive sight - although I wonder why the railway is letting the overhead steel structure that supports the power cables rust.  I suppose there's been a decision to replace them with something else, and so to just let them rust until the point where they need to be replaced....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Saturday, March 03, 2012

"Tozai Line - Takadanobaba Station" - (120214)

"Tozai Line - Takadanobaba Station"
Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Takadanobaba, Ginza, Tokyo, Shinjuku, Yurakucho, Etc."

General winter scenes in Tokyo - with walking scenes in Takadanobaba, Ginza, near Tokyo Station (which is under renovation/reconstruction), in Shinjuku, Yurakucho, Kyobashi, etc.  And at this point a roadblock to further video uploads struck in the form of YouTube's avi reformatter breaking, preventing me from uploading anything else.  I did (in the middle of about 80 failed uploads), somehow luck out and get one short video posted showing a single street during Tokyo's February 29th, 2012 big snowfall, but if the broken avi-reformatter issue isn't solved (I suspect the real issue is that YouTube has reached (surpassed actually?) the breaking point with the vast number of - ever-increasing in intensity - uploads it's been taking in non-stop for all this time...) - if a way to again upload avi files doesn't present itself, this could be the end of most of my video uploading.  I tested a couple of alternative sites - Vimeo and MetaCafe - but in both cases the video plays strangely, and in one case with no sound - so there doesn't appear to be any (practical) alternative to YouTube... although I hear other file formats may be okay, so I need to find a way to convert my avi files into something else (MP4 is best apparently).

Takadanobaba Side Streets - (120221)

Takadanobaba Station Area - (120221)

Ginza Chuo Dori - Afternoon Stroll - (120221)

Winter Shadows Near Tokyo Station - (120221)

Tokyo Station Area - Under Renovation - (120221)

Shinjuku Station Evening Stroll - (120221)

Boarding Seibu Train at Ogawa - (120221)

Kokubunji Station Area - (120220)

Late Night Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform - (120221)

Beside Tokyo Station - (120221)

Edge of Ginza 1-Chome - (120221)

Yurakucho Izakaya Path - (120221)

Yurakucho Evening Stroll - (120221)

Ginza Evening Stroll - 6:00PM - (120221)

Kyobashi Sky - (120221)

Undertracks Izakaya in Yurakucho - (120221)

Yurakucho Electronics Store Stroll - (120221)

Snow In Tokyo Suburb - (120229)

Kokubunji Trains - Snow - (120229)  [via Vimeo]

Looking around at trains at Kokubunji Station on a snowy February 29th, 2012.  (Note: In testing this one, it didn't play back very well on my computer, so I'm not sure how it will look for others....)

Boarding Tozai Line at Takadanobaba - (120228)  [via MetaCafe]

Watching a Tozai Line come in to Takadanobaba Station and then boarding it.  (Note: This clip also didn't play very well when I tested it, so I'm not sure how it'll do.)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, March 02, 2012

"Heading Towards Tokyo Station" - (120214)

"Heading Towards Tokyo Station"
Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Roads, Trucks and Cars, Etc. 1959 and 2012"

Continuing to read "All the Best in Japan" by Sydney Clark (published by Sidgwick and Jackson Limited  in 1959), I notice the road and vehicle traffic situation has radically changed, while rail travel has basically the same reputation (with some changes).  Looking at the section entitled: "But There Are Things to Cope with Too":

"In the interest of balanced reporting I have to state that motor touring in Japan, while perfectly practicable almost everywhere - I have enjoyed a lot of it - leaves much to be desired.  From the tourist's angle poor roads are Japan's most noticeable fault and the fact that a vigorous ten-year reconstruction plan has just got under way does not lend much comfort to those who plan to come now or soon.  Great stretches of the roads you'll want to use are narrow and bumpy and many portions are thick with dust in dry weather, gooey with mud in wet.  ......"

Well, ten years from 1959 was 1969, and here we are in 2012, from which I can report that it's exceedingly rare to find any road that isn't covered with smooth asphalt now.  So much so, that when I find myself standing on dirt (an exceedingly rare occurrence), I look down and marvel, "Wow!  Real dirt!  Just think, this dirt may actually have never been buried under asphalt before!  Amazing!", which is unfortunately not even sarcasm (not much anyway).  It really does seem like some kind of wonderful thing to be standing on actual dirt [comment from 1996].

"Statistics before me reveal that of Japan's vehicles officially tallied in a recent year, buses totaled a surprising 10 per cent.  The figure for trucks (but the majority of these are in and near the big cities, not on the open highways) is a whopping 60 per cent, while that for passenger cars is only 25 per cent, the remaining 5 per cent being scored as 'Special'."

There are still a lot of buses and trucks, but certainly trucks are not 60 percent of the vehicles on the road now.  I do remember being struck with the large number of trucks on the road when I first came here though (in the eighties).  In fact, I think there are probably many more trucks on the open highways now than in 1959 (with a lower percentage - but certainly not absolute number - in the cities).  They have cut rail freight use way down (the Shiodome office tower area near Shinbashi Station used to be a freight rail yard, for example), and have been feverishly burying ever more of the country under asphalt over the past 50 years, so it's gotten to the point where I wish for the opposite of what Mr. Clark wished for back then.  It would be an altogether happier situation if they were now making new plans to *reduce* the number of roads in the country and stop doing everything for the sake of petrol-burning internal-combustion machinery.

"..... If highway travel is bad, railway travel is quite wonderful, for Japan is perhaps the most railway-minded great country in the world.  Rail service is excellent in quality and the punctuality of trains, all trains, is nothing less than spectacular.  I think Japan comes the nearest of any country in the world to keeping its trains so precisely on time that 'you can set you watch by them'."

This is still true, although they have been building large new bus terminals beside major rail stations (Tokyo and Shinjuku immediately come to mind) and more and more people are traveling from Tokyo to other areas of Japan via night buses, which is a horrible development in my view (horrible to be using bloody buses when they could be running trains).  Meanwhile, rail travel on many train lines away from the mega-cities is way down.  Making Japan a car culture is one of the more horrible mistakes of the 20th century I think, and - although young people are less interested in owning cars than their age group used to be, the Godzilla construction industry continues to work hard in the 21st century at burying ever more of the country under asphalt for the sake of bloody internal combustion engines.  I hope oil runs out in the world in a hurry - to put a stop to this suicidal madness.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon