Monday, December 10, 2012

"Saikyo Line (Itabashi, etc.), Hibiya Fall Colors, Ikebukuro, Kawagoe; 1990 Kurihama, Etc."

Another batch of video clips - views of stations on the Saikyo Line; fall colors in Hibiya Park; traditional performers in Yurakucho; a cool independent band (Kiki) in Hamamatsucho; the bridge-station Kita-Akabane; Ikebukuro; an art exhibition in Ginza; a stroll through Nishi-Shinjuku; a stroll through a part of Kawagoe that I hadn't been to for a long while (if ever); a ride on the Hibiya Line (the sounds being more important than the view of the tunnel wall going by); Shinbashi with the steam locomotive on display there set up with a Santa Claus in the driver's seat(!); and some 1990 views of Kurihama and views of going from Kurihama to Shinagawa, and then from Shinagawa to Ikebukuro, etc.

Itabashi to Akabane (Saikyo Line) 板橋から赤羽まで (埼京線) 121204g

Hamamatsucho to Shinbashi (Yamanote Line) 浜松町から新橋まで (山手線) 121206g

Shinbashi Evening Izakaya Walkabout 新橋夜居酒屋散歩 (121206g)

Hibiya Park Fall Colors 日比谷公園の秋風景 (121204g)

This year, I didn't go in search of a site to see the colors of autumn, but stumbled upon a couple of good places nonetheless - one an old Japanese garden and the other Hibiya Park (clip above and several below).

Hibiya Park Stroll (Late Fall) 日比谷公園散歩 (秋) 121204

Pond Reflections and Beautiful Sky (Hibiya Park) 日比谷公園 (121204)

Hibiya Park Fountain Square Water Reflections 日比谷公園の噴水 (121204)

Water Reflections and Clouds (Hibiya Park) 日比谷公園 (121204)

Hearing Kiki Sound Check on Walk to Hamamatsucho Station (121206)

As I approached Hamamatsucho Station, I turned my camera on in order to record the sequence of entering the station and walking up the stairs to one of the platforms, but just a few seconds after turning it on, I heard a beautiful voice on the December wind and changed direction - heading towards what turned out to be the group Kiki making a sound check for a later outside performance.  Getting the information regarding when they would start, I came back later and took the following clips of two of their songs - one from their first performance that evening, and one from the second.  They seem to be a nice, tight band, and the singer has a beautiful voice.  The band's website is:

Kiki - Hamamatsucho Live (Set-1, Song-4) 121206

Kiki - Hamamatsucho Live (Set-2, Song-4, Tonight) 121206

Stumbling Upon Kagura Performance in Yurakucho (121204)

Introduction to Kagura Performance from Miyazaki in Yurakucho (121204)

Traditional Kagura (神楽) Performance in Yurakucho Square (121204)

Final Applause for Yurakucho Performance (121204)

Looking Up (Autumn) 121204

Chuo to Saikyo Transfer (Shinjuku) 中央線から埼京線までの乗り換え (121204)

Shinjuku to Ikebukuro (Saikyo Line) 新宿から池袋まで (埼京線) 121204

Ikebukuro to Itabashi (Saikyo Line) 池袋から板橋まで (埼京線) 121204

Itabashi Station 板橋駅-2012 (121204)

I think this is the first time I've ever been to Itabashi Station.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it's a largely old-style station that hasn't been made boring-modern.

Itabashi Station - East and West Sides 板橋駅 - 東側と西側 (121204)

Itabashi Station - West Side to Platform 板橋駅 - 西側からホームまで (121204)

Departing Akabane 赤羽駅を出発 (121204)

Kita-Akabane Station 北赤羽駅 (121204)

This station is built on a bridge over a river.  Exiting the station and crossing the river on a neighboring bridge (following videos) I was able to record what it looks like from the side.

Ukima Bridge (Next to Kita-Akabane Station 浮間橋 (北赤羽駅隣) 121204

River Under Ukima Bridge 浮間橋下の川 (121204)

Walking to Southeast Entrance of Kita-Akabane Station (121204)

Kita-Akabane to Jujo (Saikyo Line) 北赤羽から十条まで (埼京線) 121204

Jujo Station (East and West Sides 十条駅_東側と西側 (121204)

Kami-Ikebukuro Sidewalk Look-around 上池袋 (121204)

Kami-Ikebukuro Stroll (East Side) 上池袋散歩 (東側) 121204

Ikebukuro Station (Walk to East Side) 池袋駅 (東口まで散歩) 121204

Saikyo Line Window View (Winter Heat) 121204

Another sauna ride. This train was extremely hot and uncomfortable - with the windows (and my camera lens at one point) fogged up with moisture.

Jujo - West Side Ticket Gates to Platform 十条駅 (121204)

Yamanote Line - Departing Ikebukuro Station 山手線_池袋駅 (121204)

Tokyo to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 東京から有楽町まで (山手線) 121204

Yamanote Line Departing Yurakucho Station (Platform View) 121204

View from Platform Seats at Yurakucho Station (121204)

I took the above clip to show the view from the platform seats on a Yurakucho Station platform where I sat down after getting off of a train in order to finish writing something in my notebook.

Exiting Yurakucho Station (Hibiya Side) 有楽町駅 (日比谷側) 121204

Yurakucho Under-Railway Izakaya Alley 有楽町ガード下居酒屋 (121204)

Ikebukuro - Seibu to JR Transfer 西武池袋線からJRまで (121204)

Shinjuku Station - South Exit to Inbound Chuo Line (Near 10:00 p.m.) 中央線 (121204)

Yokoyama Mitsunobu Exhibition at Art Gallery Ishi (B) よこやまみつのぶ アートギャラリー石 121204

Yokoyama Mitsunobu Exhibition at Art Gallery Ishi (C) よこやまみつのぶ アートギャラリー石 121204

Nishi-Kokubunji - Trains in the Night (Rail Bridge Noises, Etc) 西国分寺 (121204)

Midnight Chuo Line Train Arriving at Nishi-Kokubunji 西国分寺夜中の中央線 (121205)

Ginza Chuo-Dori - Santa Coca-Cola Truck at Night (121204)

Ginza Side Street - Headed Towards Yurakucho (121204)

Entering Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅を入る (121204)

Yurakucho to Tokyo 有楽町から東京まで (121204)

Tokyo to Kanda (Chuo Line) 東京から神田まで (中央線) 121204

Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform Walk 新宿中央線プラットフォーム散歩 (121204)

Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho 新宿思い出横丁 (121204)

Shinjuku - Walking Under Railway Bridge (Trains Passing Overhead, Etc) 121204g

Someone asked me when this was taken - commenting that it seemed as if it were from another world.  That's basically a commentary on how modernized and rebuilt Tokyo has become - since this sort of atmosphere used to be in more places.  It's true now though, that the space under the rail bridge has a  pretty radically different atmosphere than most parts of the city.

Shinjuku West-Side Nighttime Stroll (121204)

Tokyo Station - Chuo Line to Shinkansen Area (Restaurants, Etc) 121204

Passing Countryside (Saitama) 121205

Manual Transmission Bus (Interior View From Back of Bus) 121205

I liked the sounds of this bus. Increasingly the buses have automatic transmissions, but there are still some manual transmission ones running around.  (Some bus lines use predominately one or the other.  Every time I've used this bus line before, the bus was an automatic, so I was surprised that this one was a manual.)

Late Autumn (Trees and Bird Sounds) 121205

Kawagoe Temple Grounds (Fall Colors, Bare Trees, Birds, Aircraft) 川越 (121205)

I think... I've been to this complex of old temples in Kawagoe before, but I'm not certain.  Kawagoe has a special role in the Tokyo area since it wasn't bombed in WW-II, resulting in it having just about the only pre-war wooden historical buildings (in the greater Tokyo area) that pre-date Japan's modernization.

Kawagoe - Temple on a Hill (Evening Melody) 川越 (121205)

Kawagoe Temple Lookaround (A) 川越 (Bridge to Island) 121205

Kawagoe Temple Lookaround (B) 川越 (Water, Reflections, Etc) 121205

Kawagoe Temple Lookaround (C) 川越 (360, Construction Sounds) 121205

Shinjuku to Shibuya (Shonan Shinjuku Line) 湘南新宿ライン 新宿 渋谷 (121206)

Shibuya Station - Tracks 3 and 4 Platform Walkabout 渋谷駅P3とP4の散歩 (121206)

Shibuya to Ebisu (Window View) 渋谷から恵比寿まで (121206)

Ebisu Station - Upper Exit (Walk to Hibiya Line) 恵比寿駅 (121206)

Hibiya Subway - Ebisu to Hiro (Sounds, Lights, Etc) 日比谷線 (恵比寿, 広尾) 121206

Hamamatsucho Sidewalk Stroll 浜松町駅に向かう (121206)

Keihin-Tohoku Line Train Departing Shinbashi (121206)

Shinbashi to Hamamatsucho 新橋から浜松町まで (京浜東北線) 121206

Shinbashi Plaza - Santa Train 新橋SL広場サンタの汽車 (121206)

Normally I wouldn't like this sort of thing very much, but the Santa and decorations they gave the old steam locomotive in Shinbashi's SL-Plaza turned out pretty cool.  Somehow I like the idea of Santa coming via a steam locomotive better than a sleigh....

Shinbashi December Evening Stroll (Christmas-SL) 新橋12月雰囲気 (121206)

Hamamatsucho Station Platform 浜松町駅 (山手線が遣って来る) 121206

Yurakucho Evening - Izakaya Bound Group 有楽町夜 (居酒屋に向かう人々) 121206

Yurakucho Station (Waiting for Train) 有楽町駅 (電車に来るまで待っている) 121206

1990 - Late at Night (901117)

1990 - Ikebukuro Station 池袋駅 (901117)

1990 - Bus (Ferry Terminal to Kurihama Station) フェリーから久里浜駅 (901117)

1990 - Kurihama Station Area 久里浜駅あたり (901117)

1990 - Kurihama to Shinagawa (Keikyu Line) 久里浜から品川まで (京浜急行) 901117

1990 - Shinagawa Station Interior 品川駅内 (901117)

1990 - Shinagawa to Ikebukuro 品川から池袋まで (901117)

I've been thinking that I haven't been writing enough, so I wrote some things out (by hand into a notebook) on the train system - which I'll go to now.  I was going to put this text at the top, but in reading it over, it seems pretty boring, so I'm putting it at the bottom instead.

2012/12/04 (火) [Inbound Chuo Line train.]  Realizing that I haven't been writing much of anything, I leaned back from my computer and wordlessly asked myself why.  Images of Facebook blurbs (ingoing an outgoing); walking around taking videos; and either looking out the windows of trains (or reading a magazine) came to mind.

The first verbal thought I had was "Facebook! - the early 21st century chat room!  I should stay away from there and write something coherent!"  But deeper reflection indicated that that wasn't the answer.  Time and again, I've had a powerful urge to write about something while outside, but once I'm sitting at the computer hours (or days) later, the concept seems overly grandiose and I put it on hold, where it invariably fades away.

So what's left?  Writing outside!  Direct input to a computer would be nice, but more often than not, I have to stand up (as I am now) and so writing into a small notebook - old reporter style - is the only practical way to go.

As this train speeds towards Shinjuku, another realization/memory comes to me.  Writing by hand takes time!  The extra time helps for carefully thinking about something, but when you have a lot to say, it takes so long to say it!

Train note: It's HOT!!  Just when everyone is wearing their warmest clothing - the trains are the hottest and stuffiest.  They really should lower the temperature a bit!

[Shinjuku... transfer to the Yamanote Line]  I'm finally on a train that isn't too crowded (I'm actually sitting down!) and isn't as hot as a sauna with the windows steamed up - just like a sauna!  The old trains were much nicer in that they had ventilation independent from the train's air system.  There are a few central windows that open in most of the newer trains, but as people hardly ever open them, the train cars are essentially sealed boxes, with the goldfish-like passengers at the mercy of the train's motor-driven air system.

Huh... the driver overshot the platform and had to back the train up.  That doesn't happen very often - it must be a new driver.

The English-language announcements... are seriously irritating, although they improved them a little; at least the amateurish reading/announcement recordings don't include horribly mispronounced station names, the way they used to.

Heading for Ginza - so much to report on there and so little time.  Practically speaking, video may be the only way to actually regularly do it, but artists (and most other people for the matter) don't like to be on-camera very much.

Not far from Yurakucho now... it's amazing how quickly time goes by when you're writing something!

At Yurakucho Station, sitting on a platform seat now.  So much to do - while juggling photo, video, notebook, and pen, I find myself wishing I could clone myself and have a team of three working together - one to take photos, one to take videos, and one to write.

[Inbound Chuo Line]  Back on the Chuo Line.  "Interacting with people."  The same thing happened today that typically happens when I spend several hours focusing on pictures and then re-enter the world of interacting with people verbally.  The initial contacts are awkward and then - after I've spoken with a few people, I finally get back into interaction mode and wonder why it took so long.

I used to work with a guy about ten years older than I am, and he surprised me once when he said "I don't like young people", but now I'm getting closer to the age he was when he said that, I sometimes remember those words when I meet a young person who appears to be making fun of me because I'm old.  I'm still working on figuring this one out, but in any case - I met two young people today (separately, in different locations) who were quite rude and nasty to me, and there seemed to be an age issue in the air....

[Outbound Chuo Line]  If the trains ran 24 hours a day (they don't - the entire system in 30,000,000-people Tokyo (greater area, including Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba) shuts down every night between (roughly) 12:00 midnight and 1:00 a.m.  I'd stay out a little later taking pictures, but with the (effective) curfew, it's time to either head home for the day or end up stranded in central Tokyo with about four hours to consume before going home on the first train in the morning.

[2012/12/05 (水) - Outbound Seibu Line train]
"Good to be Selfish"?  I don't actually think so, but a couple of friendly acquaintances (separately and at different times yesterday) displayed a self-interest-first side that I (thinking about it silently) couldn't really condemn (people do need to look out for themselves after all) but it also made me think "Well okay, I'll remember this and the next time there's a point where my self-interest is different from something you would prefer I do - I think I'll cold-bloodedly look out for my self-interest in the same way you are now and not worry about how that makes you feel".

Mind you, this is just regarding relatively trivial things, but still, you have to make choices, and in the gray areas that could go either way, this sort of thing influences the decision-making process.

[Outbound Tobu-Tojo Line train]
What to write about now....  Less than wanting/needing to write something, I'm stuck standing and need something to say (since I decided to write something...).

I've been told before (by a local) that perceived-of-as-rude behavior seems much worse when the perpetrator is a foreigner (keep in mind how much non-Asian faces stand out here), but I didn't think about it much - until this morning, when I watched some different race bozo unnecessarily pushing to get off the train sooner.  As I watched him, I thought, "You idiot!  What are you doing that for?  It's not going to get you off the train any sooner, and you look really rude!"

So... I guess it's true.  As an outsider, you have to be - basically (in a way) - better behaved than the locals.

But speaking of the trains and disembarking at the end of the line - people have a rather irritating habit of fanning out and all walking slowly - at the same speed!  If you're in a hurry, you can't help but wonder "Why does everyone need to walk at the same speed in parallel?", and conclude that the only way not to get stuck in the crowd is to be in front of everyone.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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