Thursday, January 10, 2013

"1990 Ikebukuro, Toyoko Line, Yokohama, Shinkansen Ride; 1991 Setagaya, 1949 Streetcar, Boroichi; Etc."

Time tripping to December 1990 and January 1991, as well as New Year's Day views from 2013 and a few train system views from later in the first week of 2013.  This batch of time-tripping views mainly consists of what are basically day-trips rather than just views from day-to-day life in Tokyo.  To go over the various views in order (with more details after some titles/links):

Beginning with an intensively for-video day I experienced/orchestrated/choose/time-invested-in/etc. on Saturday, December 8th, 1990.  The day (the version I recorded images and sounds of that is, but I had the camera running for nearly the entire day) begins with a look at the west side of Ikebukuro Station, and then shows the inside of always busy Ikebukuro Station; the ride via Yamanote Line to Shibuya; the transfer at Shibuya from the Yamanote Line to the Toyoko Line, and a seventeen-minute video of the (approximately) 30-minute ride to Yokohama, most of it a front-cab view.

In Yokohama are views of Yokohama Station and a long walk - going from one place in Yokohama to another - including views of work on the foundation for the yet-to-be-built Landmark Tower building and some time (too much time maybe) spent in an amusement park in the newly developing "Minato Mirai-21" zone.  After the amusement park, I walk to a subway station and take a train to Shin-Yokohama Station, from where I take a Shinkansen (a Hikari no less) to Tokyo Station.

I think at the time I was hoping to get on a new type Shinkansen, but from the perspective of 2013, I'm really happy my train turned out to be the original type Shinkansen, and I was able to record some views of the dining car, which modern Shinkansen trains no longer have.  There is one 65-minute video that covers nearly all of my time in Yokohama, with separate clips showing the Landmark Tower foundation work and several views of the amusement park (which are part of the long 65-minute video) and then separate (and not part of the 65-minute video) views of the trip back to Tokyo after that (subway, Shinkansen, etc.).

After views of 1990 Ikebukuro and Shinjuku, I jump to this year - 2013 - for a few views from a shrine, taken on New Year's Day.  After that, I go back again - still 22 years ago, but this time to January 1991.

On January 12th, 1991, I visited Setagaya, and while buying a pen in an old store, the shopkeeper (the daughter of the owner) told me that there was going to be a big street market in the area on the 15th and 16th (you can see her writing down the name of it for me in the video I took in the old store), so I returned on the 15th to have a look and found myself in some pretty intense crowds!  Since that area is reached by one of the last two remaining streetcar lines in Tokyo, I also got to experience riding the cool old 1949 streetcars (which have since been retired unfortunately).

And then there are the usual train scenes - from the Keio Line, the Setagaya Line (the streetcar I mentioned), the Saikyo Line, one of the Seibu lines, etc.  And finally, jumping back to 2013, there are a few scenes from one of the Seibu lines.

1990 - Ikebukuro - West Side 池袋 (901208)

Walking along on the west side of Ikebukuro Station, and then entering the station and beginning to walk down the concourse outside the JR and Tobu ticket gates.

1990 - Ikebukuro Station 池袋駅 (901208)

Looking closely at the people rushing by in Ikebukuro Station, one of the more striking differences between 1990 and 2013 is that the women in 1990 still had undyed hair and eyebrows (also black).  The overwhelming majority of 2013 Tokyo women dye their hair some shade of off-black (is that a word?) or brown (drug stores sell hair dye in 759 shades of brown) and have removed most of their eyebrows - leaving just a thin line.  It's not for me to say which is better - I'm just commenting that a big change has come about over the past 23 years!

After walking through the crowds in the under-tracks concourse, I go through the ticket gates (using a strip of kaisuken tickets), and up the stairs to catch a Yamanote Line train.  The model of train that arrives was only used on the Yamanote Line for about ten years I think, after which it was replaced with the type of train currently being used.  Since ten years is a short time for a railway carriage, I think they moved the version shown in this video over to anther line - maybe the Saikyo Line?  (Or the Musashino Line?)  In any case, many of the current Saikyo Line (and Musashino Line) trains appear to be the type that was on the Yamanote Line in 1990.  (The clip ends just as I'm boarding a train - the continuation with views of the inside of the train continues with the next video of Shibuya Station.)

1990 - Shibuya Station 渋谷駅東横線 (Toyoko Line) 901208

This begins inside a Yamanote Line train as it pulls out of Ikebukuro Station, and then shows the transfer from the Yamanote Line to the Toyoko Line - walking through always busy Shibuya Station.  (Manual ticket gates for JR and automated for Toyoko - it wasn't long after this that all the ticket gates in Tokyo were automated.)

1990 - Toyoko Line - Cab View to Yokohama 東横線横浜 (901208)

Notice that the train is bound for Sakuragicho Station 桜木町駅, a station the Toyoko Line no longer goes to, since it was diverted to line up with a subway line that goes through Yokohama with the terminal stop near Chinatown.  Sakuragicho Station is historically interesting as it was the Yokohama side of Japan's first rail line that ran from Sakuragicho (then called Yokohama Station) to Shinbashi Station in Tokyo.

From Wikipedia:

"Sakuragicho is one of Japan's oldest stations. It opened on June 12, 1872 as Yokohama Station when the service between Shinagawa and Yokohama provisionally started. The station was renamed Sakuragicho Station on August 15, 1915 when the next Yokohama Station opened (near Takashimacho Station)."
   Between March 31, 1932 and January 30, 2004, Sakuragicho Station was the terminus of the Tokyu Toyoko Line.

"Shinbashi is the original terminus of Japan's first stretch of railway, the Tōkaido Main Line, and is one of Japan's oldest
stations (the oldest station being Shinagawa, a few kilometres down the line). The original Shinbashi Station, opened on October 10, 1872, was built some way to the east of the modern-day structure and was known as Shinbashi Teishajo (新橋停車場)."

Hmm... for 30 years, I've been reading sentences similar to: "Shinbashi is the original terminus of Japan's first stretch of railway" and hadn't heard anything about Shinagawa.  And regarding that name mentioned: "Shinbashi Teishajo (新橋停車場)" - that means "Train stopping place [in] Shinbashi"!  I guess they didn't use the word 駅 ('eki' - station) back then?

Incidentally, when I came to Japan, JNR (Japan National Railways) correctly I feel, spelled 新橋 (しんばし) "Shinbashi".  At issue is the character "ん" which is basically "n", but in one of the many competing forms of romanization of Japanese, there are (idiotic in my view) rules for converting the (unchanging in Japanese) character ん (n) into "m" depending on what comes after the ん.  I think it's totally wrong (both in concept and actual pronunciation) and refuse to go along with it, so I always write ん as "n" and correct incorrectly spelled "Shimbash" to correctly spelled "Shinbashi" when I come across it.

1990 Yokohama Station 横浜駅 (901208)

This starts with me getting off the Toyoko Line and going downstairs to the manual ticket gates (which were already automated at Shibuya Station at the time) and walking out into the concourse and then out in front of the station where a couple of young men did what was was fairly popular (for young people) at the time - they jumped up in front of my camera (instead of the traditional ducking down).  Back in 1990 and 1991, this happened to me fairly often.  Since it's not really the sort of thing a lot of people would naturally do on their own, I suspect some comedy show on TV did it and enough people thought it was funny that several of them started doing it too?  The awesome/terrible/horrible influence of television...

1990 - Yokohama Walkabout 横浜散歩 (901208)

This - at 65 minutes - is the longest of this batch of videos.  It's not a standard "See the sights of Yokohama" type of video.  Rather, I started walking from Yokohama Station, and basically just kept walking all day long - stumbling into an amusement park that I hadn't even known existed, and also stumbling into foundation work for the Landmark Tower.  Watching this video now, I would say that I probably should have slowed down while recording the various street scenes that I saw, but the material is historically interesting for the large number of street scenes it covers.  Just watch it with quick reflexes and pause it here and there if you want to have a longer look at some of the street scenes.  While out walking, I didn't hold the camera still anywhere for long, although by the time I got to the amusement park, I was a little more relaxed and holding the camera on scenes slightly longer.  Anyway, just remember "the pause button is your friend" and there's a lot to see in this video.

Early on (at about 4:03), I did what I usually did at the time when I went somewhere outside Tokyo (in the era prior to electronic maps on cell phones), I went to the first bookstore I could find and bought a street map of the area - Yokohama City in this case.  With map in hand, I would walk around and periodically check the map (matching area names on utility poles with area names on the map) to keep track of where I was.  I would also change course when something on the map looked interesting.

Hmm.... I'm watching the video now as I type this.  Scenes of food being cooked in a department store restaurant, trucks being loaded... later on there are scenes from a park; a vertical parking garage with electric turnstile, several trains passing at a large crossing (with several train lines running in parallel), the entrance to Minato Mirai-21 (みなとみらい-21), etc. etc.  Well, considering that I basically just kept moving while recording things, there is a lot in this video (I originally typed "a lot on this tape" - which would apply to the original [analog] source tape).  Too much to go over in detail here, so I'll jump to the next video.  Anyway - if you're interested in what the streets of Yokohama looked like in 1990 - this could be of interest.  [Note: the next five videos are isolated parts re-edited from the same stretch of tape that contains this longer 65-minute sequence.]

1990 Yokohama Landmark Tower Under Construction 工事中横浜ランドマークタワー (901208)

1990 - Yokohama Amusement Park 横浜遊園地 (901208)

This covers most of my visit to the Yokohama Cosmoworld amusement park (よこはまコスモワールド遊園地) - where I rode (with my camera rolling most of the time) on several rides.  I've isolated three specific rides and made individual videos of them (see below).  The one I've entitled "Yokohama Cycle-Monorail Ride" I don't remember the actual name of, and since it appears to no longer exist at the Cosmoworld amusement park, I'm not sure how to find out the name of it.  The other two rides are still there.

1990 - Yokohama Cycle-Monorail Ride ペダルモノレール乗り物 (901208)

I went on this one twice.  Once in the evening, and the second time just before leaving the amusement park after dark.  The second time I got on the self-powered ride, since I was the only one on the ride, I figured it would be okay to go slowly and take some pictures, but a couple of the young men running the ride (after shaking it to make it harder to take pictures) jumped on one of the cycle-powered things and rode over and rammed me, and made rude gestures, etc. to hurry me off of the ride for some reason (I wasn't on it for a particularly long time before they came out to harass me - I just stopped a few times to take pictures, which people were doing in the daytime anyway, even with a lot of people on the ride).  I've cut out almost all of that unpleasant aspect of the ride from this version, but several elements of that incident are in the overall "Yokohama Amusement Park" video further up the page.  It was a weird experience - the three of us were all pretending it was fun and games, but there was something else going on below the surface....

1990 - Cosmoworld Galaxy コスモワールド ギャラクシー (901208)

This is a surprisingly entertaining ride that I've enjoyed at other amusement parks as well, for example in this clip (below) from Toshimaen Amusement Park (としまえん遊園地) - also taken in 1990, but a few months earlier (in September), when the weather was basically still summer:

Toshimaen Swing-Around - (1990) としまえん スイングアラウンド

The ride is the same, but the surroundings are quite different!  One of Toshimaen's attractions is all the green within the park.  It's quite a nice space when the weather is nice.  For Cosmoworld, the bayside location is a different kind of attraction - one that can be quite nice in the evening.

1990 - Cosmoworld Super Planet コスモワールド スーパープラネット (901208)

This comment applies equally to all the rides at 1990 Cosmoworld:  Take a good look at the area around the amusement park - it's mainly empty space in these 1990 views.  In 2013, there are a lot of new buildings in and around this area.  As I walked up to the area in 1990, there was a big sign saying "みなとみらい-21" (Minato Mirai-21), announcing the area as a new development project for the coming 21st century.  And now here we are - in the 21st century, and the area is pretty well fully developed.

A comment on how this ride looks to me now (when watching the 1990 video) - it seems a little like how a propeller airplane pilot might have seen the world while buzzing around in an airplane?  Not having ever been in that type of aircraft, I'm not sure, but it reminds me of some movie footage I've seen from old planes with open cockpits.

1990 - Isezaki-Chojamachi to Shin-Yokohama 伊勢佐木長者町駅-横浜駅 (901208)

There's some overlap in this video with the 65-minute Yokohama video, but only at the beginning within the first minute.  After that, it's the trip from Isezaki-Chojamachi Station to Shin-Yokohama Station (via subway).

1990 - Type-0 Shinkasen Ride (Yokohama to Tokyo) 0型新幹線 (新横浜-東京) 901208

A ride in a Hikari Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo.  The fast Hikari Shinkansen trains are scheduled so that if you time it right, you can take one to just about any of the Shinkansen stations.  I don't think so many Hikari Shinkansen trains stop at Yokohama, so it was lucky timing (since it's more interesting to be on a Hikari than it is to be on a local train - even though there is no difference in speed between them when running between Shin-Yokohama and Tokyo [the Shinkansen didn't stop at Shinagawa in 1990]).  One of the things I like about this video are the noises the train makes in the dining car - noises that remind me of passenger trains I rode in as a kid.  Newer trains don't sound like that.

1990 - Tokyo Station - Shinkansen to Chuo Line Transfer (901208)

1990 - Chuo Line, Saikyo Line, and Seibu Line Views (901208)

1990 - Ikebukuro and Ride to Shinjuku (901213)

Jumping back to this year - to January 1st, 2013 for a look at New Year's Day at a Tokyo shrine.

New Year's Day 2013 - Okonomiyaki お好み焼 (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 - Food Stall Banners (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 - Walking by Food Stalls (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 Shrine Visit - Waiting in Line (130101)

New Year's Day 2013 Shrine Visit - Looking Around (130101)

And back to 22 years ago - this time to Saturday, January 12th, 1991, and then Tuesday, January 15th, 1991.

1991 - Old Store in Setagaya 世田谷の古い店 (910112)

This old type of store used to be the norm - a small store in front, with the owners of the store living in the rear of the building.  The shopkeeper allowed me to take pictures and I recorded a little while talking with her.

1991 - Setagaya Line to Shimotakaido 世田谷線の下高井戸駅 (910112)

Shimotakaido is the station where the Setagaya Line terminates and is a transfer point to/from the Keio Line.  It's also an interesting area with narrow streets full of old shops (more so in 1991 than in 2013, but still it's an interesting area).

1991 - Shimotakaido Station 下高井戸駅 (Setagaya and Keio Lines) 910112

1991 - 1949 Setagaya Streetcar 世田谷線の市電 (910112)

I ride a cool old (1949 - 昭和24年) streetcar with a wooden floor, much of the interior also made of wood, and with interestingly/artistically shaped cast-iron pieces supporting the hand grips, etc.  These old streetcars which were still in use in 1991, have unfortunately all been replaced with functional, but soulless new ones.

1991 - Keio Line - Shimotakaido to Shinjuku 京王線下高井戸から新宿 (910112)

1991 - Shinjuku Station - Keio, Odakyu, Mosaic-Dori, JR 新宿モザイク通り (910112)

1991 - Shinjuku Mosaic-Dori 新宿 モザイク通り (910112)

By way of contrast, here is what this street/alley/shopping mall looks like now (video from December 2012 - I enter the street from the opposite direction at about 0:55):

Shinjuku - South Exit to Odakyu Illumination Area 新宿光 (121227g)

Hmm... I didn't notice the change until comparing the two videos, but the old tile sidewalk that probably gave the street its name (Mosaic) has been replaced with something that isn't a mosaic any longer.  So if you were wondering (from the 2012/13 version of the street) where it got its name, here's the answer!

1991 - Saikyo Line - Shinjuku to Ikebukuro 埼京線 新宿から池袋まで (910112)

1991 - Ikebukuro Station - Winter Night Scene 池袋駅冬の夜 (910112)

On January 12th, 1991, the woman in the old shop had told me about the big Setagaya Boroichi street market that was to take place on Tuesday, January 15th, so I went back for a look:

1991 - Hibarigaoka to Boroichi in Setagaya 世田谷ボロ市までの旅 (910115)

1991 - JR Orange Card Booth (Ikebukuro) オレンジカード販売中 (池袋駅) 910115

I had completely forgotten about the "orange card" that JR sold for a short while!  It was sold at a time when all the railways had similar type cards, and each railway's card could only be used in its own machines.  JR had the "Orange Card", and I think (if I remember correctly) Seibu's card was the "Leo Card", etc.  I've forgotten what the others were called.  This system (where the card could only be used to buy tickets,  not as a ticket itself) didn't last long.

1991 - Shimokitazawa Station 下北沢駅 (910115)

Shimokitazawa is the point where the Odakyu and Inokashira lines cross each other - sharing the same station, which is a convenient transfer point from one to the other.

1991 - 1949 Street Cars - Daytime View (Setagaya) 1949年の市電 (世田谷) 910115

Putting these daytime views of the 1949 streetcars together (above and below) with the night views I took on January 12th, 1991 (see links further up the page), you can get a pretty good idea of how these streetcars looked and sounded (the end of the following video, from around 21:00 has some fairly good views from the ride away from the street market).

1991 - Setagaya Boroichi Street Market 1991年の世田谷ボロ市 (910115)

The street market was incredibly crowded.  It's a bit too popular for its own good.  When the crowds get really intense, you can't really shop - about all you can do is struggle through the intense crowds.  When I visited a few years ago, it was still like that - particularly on weekends (the event takes place on December 15th and 16th and January 15th and 16th, regardless of what day of the week those dates fall on).

And back to 2013:

Seibu-Shinjuku Line - Tokorozawa to Higashi-Murayama (130105)

Higashi-Murayama Station Platform at Night (130105hd)

Seibu Line Trains Arriving at Tokorozawa Station (130105hd)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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