(1997/06/12) - 17:57 Ginza - I'm sitting in an empty corner room with the windows open. The sky out the windows is beautiful, the noise from the busy street eight stories below doesn't bother me (or rather, I'm even glad it's there, for in a concrete jungle, no noise means no life. I just got here from the contract job in Kashiwa.
To get to Ginza from Kashiwa, you have to use the Joban Line, which, more often than not, uses fairly old train cars, but they're fazing in the new ones bit by bit. The new ones are like new high rise buildings, with mostly sealed windows that can't be opened (for the sake of cheaper construction, cheaper maintenance, energy efficiency and safety).... Luckily, the train I rode on today was not only an old one, but a mostly empty one, as in the afternoon, not many people are headed into central Tokyo on the Joban Line. I sat in the back left corner of the second from the rearmost car of the fifteen car train and opened the two sectioned window up into the window frame, so the entire window frame area was completely open, both the larger window on the side of the train and the smaller one on the end of the train car. (This particular window design was made before air conditioning was on all the trains in order to get the maximum amount of air into the train. When it's truly hot, I appreciate air
conditioning, but often it's a nice temperature outside, and when you get on the train, all the windows are shut and it's freezing cold with air conditioning, you could say it's too much of a bad thing.) [Note from 2012: Air conditioning used has been scaled back, and now things tend to be too hot rather than too cold.]
As I looked out the window at the sky, with the wind rushing in, the sound of the train's electric motors whining, and the screech of the steel wheels on the steel rails - smelling that same hot tar smell I remember from railway lines as a child - it occurred to me that people need to have some connection to the world, to the sky. Living in Tokyo, I have come to really appreciate being able to see the sky directly with no glass in the way. People living day after day after day cut off from the sky are drifting away from solid ground I think.
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon