Sunday, October 14, 2012

"1990 Motoyawata, Hibarigaoka, Shakujikoen; 2012 Shinagawa, Etc."

The first batch of clips are from October 1990 - with a trip to Motoyawata and Shakujikoen as excursions, and several other out-and-about clips from central Tokyo.  I'll comment after several of the titles/links.  Incidentally, the on-camera commentary I recorded for this 1990 material is in Japanese.  (Back then, for some tapes I used English, and for others Japanese.  This one is in Japanese.)

The main location featured in the 2012 material in this batch is Shinagawa - with several clips featuring a walk to Sengakuji Temple, where the graves of the famous 47-Ronin are.  An e-acquaintance requested footage of Sengakuji, and I went out there to get pictures of the temple... and discovered that the 47-Ronin graves were there when I got to talking with a local at the temple.  He (and many readers perhaps!) was amazed that I had gone there without knowing about that aspect to the temple.  He told me that he often sees people from all over the world visiting the temple specifically to see the graves of the 47-Ronin, so it must have been strange to meet someone who was there without knowing about that.  (I know that story very well, but I never thought to look into where their graves were.)  Again - I'll make additional comments after several of the titles/links.

1990 Hibarigaoka Shotengai ひばりが丘商店街 (901009)

There are some detail changes, but the last time I visited this shopping street, it was largely the same.  An area near to the station that was in the process of being torn down in November 1990 is now completely rebuilt.

1990 Hibarigaoka to Shinjuku (901009)

1990 Midnight Ride - Yutenji to Musashisakai (901006)

Nothing particularly exciting, but this shows what some of the last trains of the night are like - taken sometime between 12:00 midnight and 1:00 a.m.  The entire train system in Tokyo shuts down every night, so there's typically a rush to get on the last trains that go into the suburbs on the one hand, and a fair number of people taking the first trains from around 5:00 a.m. - who missed the last trains the night before - on the other.

1990 Motoyawata Bookstore 本八幡本屋 (901006)

I didn't spend a lot of time there, but I rode the subway out to the end of the line, which was this station, and then returned to central Tokyo via surface trains (which is what the "Motoyawata to Yutenji" video below shows).  In Motoyawata, I just walked around a bit and checked out the inside of a bookstore near the station.

1990 Motoyawata to Yutenji 本八幡から祐天寺まで (901006)

Judging from the many details of my life in these old videos that I had forgotten about until seeing the video footage (that I took myself) again - it's truly amazing how much of our lives go missing in our conscious memories.  You know how some old people tend to repeat what seems like a rather limited number of stories from their past?  It doesn't mean that's all they did - it means those are things that stand out in their memories.  I don't know what percentage goes missing, but I would guess it's something like 95%?  Don't believe me?  Try recalling every single day from your life about two or three decades before.  While some people can actually do that, most of us can just recall large events and a set of sharp memories connected with the large events - along with a range of generic memories that consist of remnants of old templates?  Or something like that.  In any case, had I not seen this video footage again, I don't think I would have ever recalled any event at all from this particular day.

1990 Rainy Day - Hibarigaoka to Tamachi (901008)

1990 Typhoon Approaching - Tamachi, Ikebukuro, Etc. (901008)

The evening produced an ominous-looking sky, and since a typhoon was passing nearby, it seemed as though it might come through Tokyo, but while there were strong winds, things calmed down fairly quickly.  Some of the anticipation/worry/excitement of the event is evident in this video.

1990年 - 日本語を話してくれよ (901012)

I began taking this video mid-way into trying to order a hamburger in Japanese.  As I point out on the video (in Japanese) the shopkeepers seemed to be intensely committed to believing that I couldn't speak Japanese, so they couldn't hear me when I spoke in Japanese.  They figure out I can use the national language at the end of the video though.

1990 Visit to Fast Food Place (901009)

This is historically interesting, as this building was torn down not long after I took this and a combination Parco retail store and apartment building was put up in its place (all of the other small buildings on both sides were also torn down to make way for the large building).

1990 Hibarigaoka to Tamachi, Etc. (901011)

1990 JR to Seibu Transfer (Ikebukuro) 901009

This was a rather long transfer - forcing people who used the Seibu Line to walk past the Seibu Department Store.  I used to look over at the department store with resentment - figuring that someone must have purposely positioned the railway in an inconvenient place that forced people to walk past the department store; no doubt expecting this would generate extra sales.  It backfired in my case at least, I resented the location of Seibu-Ikebukuro Station so much that I boycotted the Seibu Department Store.

1990 Machida Afternoon (901012)

1990 Machida to Hibarigaoka (901012)

1990 Nighttime Hibarigaoka (901011)

The views seen in this video have changed a bit with the reconstruction of Hibarigaoka Station and other new construction (after demolition of older structures).

1990 Nighttime Nishi-Shinjuku (901011)

1990 Seibu Line from Hibarigaoka (901012)

1990 Shinjuku to Hibarigaoka (901011)

1990 Shinjuku to Ikebukuro, Etc. (901009)

1990 Tamachi to Shinjuku, Etc. (901011)

1990 Hibarigaoka to Tanashi via Bus (901013) ひばりが丘 田無

The buses used now are different, so this has a nostalgic feel to it.

1990 Tanashi to Kami-igusa 田無から上井草まで (901013)

1990 Walk - Kami-igusa to Shakujikoen 石神井公園 (901013)

1990 Shakujikoen Park in the Rain 雨の石神井公園 (901013)

I had often seen people fishing in this pond, but this was the first time (and the last time) that I saw someone actually catch a fish.  This was the same pond that reportedly had an alligator in it, which was either a false rumor, or maybe someone actually did put one in, and it died?  Probably it was just a rumor, but for some time after that, whenever visiting this park, there was The Mystery of the Phantom Alligator in the air and you would scan the pond for any sign of protruding eyes.  The rumor(?) was taken seriously enough that they actually organized a search of the pond to determine if there was something like that in there or not.  They didn't find anything.

1990 Walk to Shakujikoen Station 石神井公園駅 (901013)

1990 Shakujikoen Station 石神井公園駅 (901013)

More history - this station has been completely rebuilt since this was taken, so this is pure history (architecturally speaking).  The old wooden stations had a completely different feel to them than the modern stations do.

Majima Hidenori Exhibition 間島秀徳展 (121009)

Takanawa Side Street 高輪横道 (121009)

Shinagawa Main Road (R15) 品川 (121009)

Entering Sengakuji Temple 泉岳寺 (121009)

Front of Sengakuji Temple Building (121009)

Incense and Sky (121009)

Sengakuji Temple (Looking Around) 泉岳寺 Path to 47R (121009)

An e-acquaintance suggested I might want to check out this temple, and so I walked around inside, taking the above video, including (towards the end of this clip) the graves of the 47-Ronin.  The thing was though, I didn't realize what I was recording until I ended up talking with an older local (near the exit gate) who filled me in on the history of the place.  He was surprised/amazed that I had come there without knowing that historical connection (I knew the story of the 47-Ronin of course, but didn't know where they were buried.  After finding out about the history, I went back and recorded the following video.

47-Samurai/Ronin Graves at Sengakuji (121009)

Hamamatsucho to Tokyo 浜松町から東京まで (121009)

Yurakucho to Tokyo 有楽町から東京まで (121009)

Street Down Below (121009)

Looking down at a typical street.  How much more interesting would Tokyo be without all the lifeless black asphalt choking off the earth for the sake of fire-breathing machinery?

Exiting Chuo Line at Tokyo Station (Walk to Exit) 121009

Post Office by Tokyo Station (Newly Reopened) 121009

The very front of what used to be the Tokyo Central Post Office is once again open as a post office, but is - since they demolished most of the building in order to put up a steel and glass office tower - apparently just a typical post office now.  I was at least happy to see the old familiar high-ceiling space again (I used to often buy stamps here).

360-View (Front of Tokyo Station) 121009

There used to be a kind of small park in front of Tokyo Station, but now it's just one huge sea of black asphalt.  Presumably this is temporary and they'll put something nice into this space.  Until very recently, it was a kind of a parking lot for construction equipment and materials while Tokyo Station was undergoing reconstruction.

People Photographing Tokyo Station (121009)

People all seem to be impressed with the rebirth of the 1914 design.  It really is a welcome contrast to 21st century glass and steel towers.

Tokyo Station Renovated Dome Interior (121009)

The original domes were apparently very ornamental, but were destroyed in the fire-bombing raids on Tokyo in 1945, and then rebuilt (for the first rebuild - this current rebuild is the second time) in a simpler, plainer design following the war.  Reportedly, this second rebuild (2012) restores the two domes to their original 1914 design.

Back Side of Renovated Tokyo Station (121009)

Ginza 4-Chome Intersection (121009)

Chuo Line Platform (Tokyo Station) 121009

Takanawa Small Temple (121009)

Mysterious Old House in Shinagawa (121009)

While there are still some old wooden houses (like the one in this video) here and there, this particular one is in Shinagawa - not far from the station!  It's about the most expensive real estate in the entire country.  Probably the main reason the owner of this house has been able to hold out, is the house is in the center at the end of the street.  Taking a close look, it's clear that the property was trimmed on both sides (bought for a substantial sum of money no doubt), and as it now stands, with the newer development there on both sides of the house, it isn't really in the way of anything.  Personally, I think it transforms an otherwise boring street into something with character.  It's not even a fire hazard, since if it burns down, it won't cause anything else to burn with it.  I stood there for a little while, looking at that old house with its history and character, and thinking how it would be great to live in one of the upscale apartments on the side *and* to own that house - and use it as a party house.

But speaking of people not wanting to move as neighborhoods are developed (and they are always relentlessly developed in Tokyo!), what was done in a lot of cases, was developers offered homeowners the top floor (or two for smaller properties) of buildings - essentially penthouse apartments - to live in if they agreed to sell, and so there are a fair number of office buildings in Tokyo with an old couple living on the top floor.

Shinagawa - Walking Along the Main Street (121009)

Entering Shinagawa Station (Afternoon) 121009

Shinagawa (Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Line Platforms) 121009

Shinagawa to Hamamatsucho (Afternoon Yamanote Line) 121009

Tokaido Line Platform (Tokyo Station) 121009

Tokyo to Shinagawa (Tokaido Line - Left Side) 121009

Shinagawa Station and West Side (121009)

Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Garden 旧芝離宮恩賜庭園 (121009g)

This is a very nice traditional garden - dating back to the Edo Era.  It's on landfill, but over three-century-old landfill, so it has a settled feel to it.  According to Wikipedia [full article here]:

"The land was reclaimed between 1655 and 1658. In 1678 the site was used for the official samurai style residence of Ōkubo Tadamoto (1604–1670), member of the Ōkubo clan and an official of the Tokugawa shogunate. The residence garden was designed by garden designers from the Odawara Domain, until 1614 under the rule of Daimyo from the Ōkubo clan. The garden was then known as Rakujuen."

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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