Monday, December 17, 2012

"2012 Chuo Line, Kami-Nakazato, Etc.; 1990 Shinjuku, Hibarigaoka, Omiya, Etc."

This batch of video clips includes typical 2012 scenes of Tokyo, riding around on trains, etc., and I visited Kami-Nakazato for (I think) the first time ever, but after nearly three decades of going here and there in Tokyo, I'm not entirely sure.  Being December, there are Christmas decorations here and there.  And there are several views from 1990 - mostly taken around Shinjuku, although there are a couple of short clips from Omiya (in Saitama).  In one clip, I visit the old Dug coffee shop and bar, which was going strong at the time, but has mostly disappeared (only the basement remains).

Tokyo to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 東京から新宿まで (中央線) 121211g

Looking out a side window (at night) of a Chuo Line train as it rolls from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station.

Marunouchi Building Lobby and Area in Front of Building (121211g)

After walking through the Marunouchi Building and finding myself on the front sidewalk, I looked off to the left and had a flashback to visiting the original Marunouchi Building....  At the time, it seemed like such a solid piece of Tokyo that I never imagined that they would tear it down.  When they did, I was busy with other things and didn't find out until it was gone.  Looking down that same sidewalk today, almost all the buildings that were visible at the time have been demolished and new ones built in their place.  Fortunately the Tokyo Station Building was repaired/rebuilt (some parts of the original structure remain) and the front part of the former Central Post Office was preserved, so in looking straight ahead and to the right there's some form of visual reference that ties the present to the past.

Actually, I can show you one of my 20th century visits to the original version of the building - here's a video I took back in 1991:

"Marunouchi Building - March 1991"

The point where I walk out onto the street in 1991 is the same spot I walk out onto the street in the 2012 video.  So much has changed since then - and so the facade of the old post office building and rebuilt Tokyo Station are much appreciated!  Without those, it would be disorienting/depressing for anyone who remembers how it was before.  I think it's important to have at least a few links to the past.

Kanda Central Platform Stroll 神田駅真ん中ホーム散歩 (121211g)

Walking around on the middle of Kanda Station's three platforms.  The old platform roof pillars and beams are a welcome change from newer designs.  It's hard to conceptualize the exact reason, but there's something quite nostalgic about the remaining old structures in Tokyo.  Is it simply because there is so little of anything old in Tokyo, and/or is there something of the past that emanates from the old iron - providing a needed time reference and a kind of anchor to maintain balance while change swirls all around?

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (121211g)

This construction has been going on for a long time... and seems to be related to the construction of new Shinkansen line tracks over the station, but (based on what has been done with other JR stations in Tokyo), they are probably converting the station into a mini-mall/restaurant complex.  I've been told that JR makes more money from it's retail operations in the stations than it does from running the trains, and - judging from the way more and more stations are becoming mini-shopping malls - this may indeed be the case.  In which case, Kanda Station may end up being completely transformed into something different than what it is now.

New Track Construction Beside Kanda Station (121211)

1990 - A Night on the Town (Bubble Era Shinjuku) 新宿の夜 (901122)

Taken on Thursday, November 22nd, 1990 - towards the end of the "bubble" era, a time when a lot of money was being spent on after-work entertainment, etc.  I was just recording my own evening, but a little of the atmosphere of the time is perceptible in this.  There are also some scenes from inside the legendary Dug coffee shop and bar - from inside the above-ground section, which was closed some years ago, leaving only the basement as a bar.  It was a great place to go for coffee, jazz music and conversation with friends.

1990 - Hibarigaoka to Shinjuku ひばりが丘から新宿まで (901122)

1990 - Omiya, Miyahara Car Ride 大宮市宮原 (埼玉県) 901121

1990 - Bus Ride Near Omiya 大宮あたりのバス (901121)

Historical now that they've introduced lower-riding buses and these old ones are off the roads (in Tokyo anyway).

1990 - Train Scenes from Trip to Saitama (901121)

1990 - Late Night Transfers and Trains, Etc. (901120)

1990 - Shinjuku to Ikebukuro (Saikyo Line) 埼京線 (901120)

1990 - Saikyo Line Platform Walk (Under Construction) 901120

It was around this time that they began running Takasaki Line and Utsunomiya Line trains through to Shinjuku, and I think the signs of construction you can see on the Saikyo Line platform in this clip were connected with the extension of the platform to handle the 15-car trains from those two lines.  Also they were working on the new exits (at Shinjuku Station) that are on the Shibuya side of the station - across the main road from the South Exit.

1990 - Shinjuku Station - Lower Concourse (Late at Night) 901120

1990 - Shinjuku Manual Ticket Gates 新宿手動改札口 (901120)

Before they installed the automatic ticket gates, it was just a part of riding the trains in Tokyo to have a station employee manually punch your ticket at the ticket gates.  Some other cities in Japan had automated ticket gates sooner than Tokyo - probably the vastness and complexity of Tokyo's rail system prevented it from becoming automated until computers caught up with the complexity.

1990 - Shinjuku Izakaya, Etc. 新宿居酒屋など (901120)

1990 Walking Into Nishi-Shinjuku 西新宿に入る (901120)

1990 - Shinjuku Station (South Exit) 新宿駅南口 (901120)

1990 - Hibarigaoka Station Area at Night (901119)

1990 - Hibarigaoka to Ikebukuro (901120)

1990 - Ikebukuro Station - Evening Rush 池袋駅 (901120g)

Ikebukuro Station is similar to Shinjuku in that there are a number of train lines that converge on the station, and large numbers of people who use the station every day.  This clip shows how the station is during a busy period.

1990 - Nishi-Ikebukuro 西池袋 (901120)

1990 - New Automatic Ticket Gates (Ikebukuro) 池袋新改札口 (901120)

In 1990, they were just beginning to install the automatic ticket gates, and there were a lot of ticket types that couldn't be used in the machines, so they had people standing by the early installations to help people out - directing people without magnetic tickets to the window were a person manually checked tickets, and telling others to just insert their tickets into the machine, etc.

1990 - Ikebukuro to Shinjuku 池袋から新宿まで (901120)

Small Park with Water Fountain Geyser (121211)

The type of water fountain shown in these two clips (above and below) I really like, but there are fewer and fewer of them as they replace them with ones that only allow a very low flow rate.  Aside from it being fun to crank one of these open and see the water shoot up high in the air, you can quickly get the hot water out of them in the summer and then drink cooler water.

Geyser Water Fountain Explanation (121211)

Kanda to Kami-Nakazato 神田から上中里まで (山手線と京浜東北線) 121211

In the non-rush afternoon hours, they run the Keihin-Tohoku Line trains as kaisoku (rapid) trains that skip several stations (meaning they are basically express trains), and so I took a Yamanote Line train to where I could transfer to the faster Keihin-Tohoku Line (and I needed to be on the Keihin-Tohoku Line anyway in order to get to Kami-Nakazato Station).

Kami-Nakazato Station (Afternoon) 上中里駅 (午後散歩) 121211

Kami-Nakazato Station Area 上中里駅辺り (121211)

Kami-Nakazato Residential Area (121211)

Hiratsuka Shrine Kami-Nakazato 平塚神社 (上中里) 121211

Train Arriving at Kawagoeshi Station (Tobu-Tojo Line) 121212

Shinjuku Station South Exit 新宿駅南口 (121211)

Outgoing Chuo Line Platform (Shinjuku) 中央線 (新宿) 121211

Nishigahara Side Street 西ヶ原横道 (121211)

Walking to Kami-Nakazato Station 上中里駅に向かう (121211)

Kami-Nakazato to Tabata 上中里から田端まで (121211)

Tabata to Ueno (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 田端から上野まで (京浜東北線) 121211

Ueno to Tokyo 上野から東京まで (快速京浜東北線) 121211

Tokyo to Yurakucho (Elevator) 東京から有楽町まで (山手線) 121211

Normally I don't take elevators just one level down like this, but I had never used an elevator at Yurakucho Station before, so I wanted to try it out (there didn't use to be elevators or escalators at the stations).

Ginza Evening Side Streets 夕方の銀座 (121211)

Yurakucho Lottery Ticket Line (121211)

When they are selling lottery tickets, this location in Yurakucho tends to be crowded - I hear that lottery winners in the past are reported to have bought their lottery tickets here, and so people think it's a lucky place to buy the tickets?  Something like that.  In any case, it's often crowded like this.

Yurakucho Plaza - Evening of December 11th, 2012 (121211)

Yurakucho Station (Waiting for a Train) 121211

Tokyo Station (Yamanote Platform and Concourse) 121211

Ramen Stand Between Tokyo Station and Marunouchi Building (121211)

This kind of thing dates back to a completely different era.  I hesitate to comment on what that era was, although I feel that I witnessed a tiny part of it when I first came here in the early eighties.  Whatever it was, it's at least partly (maybe mostly?) a nostalgia trip now.  As I walked by, I noticed a bowl of ramen was being sold for Y700 - which isn't the cheapest ramen out there... but you get the time-trip aspect and that makes it worth it probably.  (I've always wanted to try out one of those portable restaurants, but have never actually done so...)

Marunouchi Illuminated Trees and Marunouchi Building Lobby (121211)

Since both the Marunouchi Building and the Shin-Marunouchi Building were torn down and new buildings with the exact same names were constructed where the old ones were torn down, I've often visited the Shin-Marunouchi Building, but not the Marunouchi Building, so when I looked over and noticed that I was standing by the back side of the Marunouchi Building, I decided to walk through.  The new one depresses me a little, because the old one had a lot of character and was one of those buildings in Tokyo that I wish was still here....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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