Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"1990 Drive, Tokaido Line, Bus; 1991 Kiyose Walkabout; 2013 Hamamatsucho, Shinbashi, Etc."

Time tripping to 1990 and 1991, as well typical modern (2013) stuff taken in Tokyo.  The interesting thing about going back in time via my videos taken 22-23 years ago, is that typically a lot of related things I haven't thought about for a very long time come to mind as I'm watching and remembering the scenes recorded with my camera back in the early nineties.  Some of the old memories are welcome and some are the reality version of nightmares.  When you come upon a long forgotten good memory, it's a great thing, but for the bad stuff, the expression "Some things are best forgotten" comes to mind.  In any case, good and bad, so much of our life goes missing as we get older.  When the bad memories come back, I find myself pondering "So this is probably the mechanism through which people experience PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)..."  Which brings up a thought - how about the opposite?  Is it PFFAO (Post-Fun, Fun Again Order)?

1990 - Bus Ride to Chigasaki Station (Kanagawa-ken) 900324

It's interesting to see this type of bus again (in the video), new buses have a very low floor at the front (for easy access), along with a low roof, but to accommodate the rear engine and wheels, the rear of the bus has a higher floor.  The seats over the front wheels are also rather high, so the whole interior is a kind of complicated multilevel arrangement.  Since the roof is also lower at the back (in spite of the higher floor there), you can't stand back there without bending your head down if you're taller than about 160cm.

The announcement has probably been rerecorded for this too, although maybe not.  They use bus stop announcement recordings for a pretty long time.  What else... from the sound of it, it's a manual transmission.  Some bus lines still use a lot of manual transmission buses, but automatic transmissions seem to be the norm now (in most of the buses I've ridden in recently in any case).

1990 - Inbound Tokaido Line Left-Side View 上り東海道線 (900324)

Starting at Chigasaki Station on the Tokaido Line (notice the "JRちがさき" (JR-Chigasaki) sign written with plants at the beginning of the video).  I lived down that way for a little while back in the eighties, so the ride in the old type Tokaido Line train makes me nostalgic for that time.  The sound of the motors, the announcements, etc., bring back a lot of memories.  For whatever reason, those old heavy all steel trains had a lot more atmosphere than the newer more lightweight ones.  My favorite Tokaido Line rides were when it was an off-peak time and I had one of the seating booths to myself (when you had to share the space with three other people, leg room was an issue, but for the most part, they were a nice design, and comfortable enough - so long as the person opposite you wasn't too tall!).

One reason for the better atmosphere in the trains then comes to mind... less blindingly bright florescent lighting!  These old trains also used florescent lighting, but it wasn't as overdone and unpleasant as on the newer trains.

In these old videos, also notice how the station names are written on metal plaques.  Now they're soulless plastic.  The plastic signs are functional, but soulless.

1991 - Kiyose Walkabout 清瀬散歩 (910202)

Kiyose.  It wasn't an area I needed to go to - then or now - but I went there on February 2nd, 1991 to walk around and see what was there, and it turned out to be more interesting than I might have expected.  Watching this now makes me want to go back and see how much it's changed in 22 years.  The residential areas probably haven't changed all that much (or have they?), but I imagine the area immediately around the station has changed a bit.

At the 02:51 mark I'm on camera saying "Because of the war in the Gulf..." referring to the first gulf war.  It's kind of strange to see myself mentioning that via the time-slip window on my computer screen.  I didn't imagine the world would be in the mess it is now back then....

Incidentally, Kiyose Station is in Tokyo, but an arm of Saitama comes near there as well, and the sign at 03:54 (新堀 - Shinbori) is from within that arm of Saitama.  Just from memory, I had been thinking of Kiyose as being all in Tokyo, but this video turns out to be a mix of Tokyo and Saitama.  This was before the Internet, so I didn't look up this kind of detail at the time - rather just walked around and recorded address signs from time-to-time (which is why I know where I was now - watching this in the future).

Around 07:38, I look at some foreign cars.  The yen had only been strong for a few years at this point, so foreign cars stood out a bit then (although they were beginning to be seen more frequently).  Back when the yen was really weak, foreign cars were really expensive and hardly ever seen in Japan.

At 11:14 - a look at an old style shop.  You hardly every seen this kind of shop these days.  Convenience stores have really taken over.  They're - as the name suggests - convenient, but not very interesting culturally, and really incredibly over-illuminated (presumably as an anti-theft/anti-robbery measure).

The various small shops on the shotengai shopping street near the station.  The rarer they become, the more nostalgic I feel about them (17:54, etc.).

1990 - On the Road in Tokyo and Kanagawa 東京と神奈川ドライブ (900324)

First off, I should mention that since I began living in Tokyo, I'm not a great fan of automobiles.  Not within Tokyo in any case.  Tokyo was - naturally - originally a no-automobile city, and as they have forced through strips of dead black asphalt throughout the city, quite often the fire-breathing, noxious-gas-emitting vehicles are running right next to narrow sidewalks, people's homes, etc.  I really think they should have outlawed personal car ownership in Tokyo right at the start.  A city needs commercial vehicles for commerce, deliveries, taxis, etc., but not personal automobiles (other than occasional use of rent-a-cars).  I'm not sure what you perceive/think/etc. when you watch this video, but for me it represents what a noisy and unpleasant place main roads in Tokyo are - one example being 12:15 - have a good look at that.  Would you like to live right next to that?  Later on, after getting on an expressway it doesn't seem so bad - but within Tokyo, the city would be so much nicer without so much internal combustion machinery.  Would that the internal combustion engine had never been invented!

1990 - Old Saikyo Line Train (Non-Air-Conditioned Car) 900300

I'm really glad I took this video, because I'd been thinking that I wish I had had a video camera back in the early eighties in order to take the pre-1985 version of the Yamanote Line, but this old Saikyo Line train is exactly that type of train.  In fact, this might even be a former Yamanote Line train - they could easily have shifted some (or all?) of the Yamanote Line trains over to the newly expanded Saikyo Line when they introduced the new type of Yamanote Line trains.  Anyway, on to some details about the train:

At around 00:20, you can seen the central air conditioning unit on the roof of the number-two train carriage I'm walking by.  This type of air conditioning unit was retrofitted to originally non-air-conditioned carriages.  During my first summer in Japan, that's one of my more durable memories - watching Yamanote Line trains coming in, and there were a few trains that didn't have air conditioning, and also some trains that had a few non-air-conditioned carriages within the train, which was easy to tell, because on a hot August day, the windows would all be closed with the air conditioning on, and then suddenly there would be a couple of carriages with all the windows open (and if you stepped back and looked up at the roof, there was no air conditioning unit there - just the round air intakes for the ceiling fans).  And the train in this video is of that type.  At the time, I'm not sure I even noticed (it was winter, so the air conditioning wasn't running, naturally), but the carriage I boarded (carriage number seven or eight I think - which I was prompted to board by the "doors about to close" warning sound) turned out to be one of the rare non-air-conditioned ones.  Look at the ceiling at 01:50 - the ceiling ads are much higher up than on the air-conditioned carriages, and you can see the curvature of the roof.  Once they designed air-conditioning into the carriages, the roofs became completely flat.  One advantage of the high ceiling, by the way, is that the florescent tubes are further away and less irritating.

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水から神田まで (山手線) 130207

Passing by the remains of Manseibashi Station (万世橋) again.  Recently, every time I pass by, they've destroyed a little more of the old platform... I hope they're not going to completely destroy it.

Kanda Station Construction Tunnel, Etc 工事中の神田駅 (130207)

Walking through the fairly long construction tunnel at Kanda Station in order to get to a Yamanote Line train headed towards Tokyo and Shinagawa.

Kanda to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 神田から浜松町まで (山手線) 130207

At about the 00:27 mark, there's a building with what looks like empty scaffolding on the top - that's an example of something that's increasingly common - unsold advertising space.  Spaces like that used to never be empty, but companies are obviously making less use of this type of advertising now, as building-top advertising space like this is often empty now.

A look up at the wooden roof (from the open door of a Yamanote Line train) - the last one at Tokyo Station I think - is at 02:02.  This might even be prewar?  I'm basing that on a September 1945 aerial photo I saw of Tokyo Station that showed some of the platform roofs destroyed, but not all.

Exiting Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅を出る (130207)

Walking Towards Zojoji Temple 増上寺に向かう (130207)

The flowering tree you can see at the start of this video (behind the old white wall) is the first thing I've noticed that's reminded me of spring this year.

Hamamatsucho Evening Walkabout 浜松町夕方散歩 (130207)

Winter walk down a main street heading towards Hamamatsucho Station.

Entering Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅に入る (130207)

Shinbashi Station - Platform and Stairwell Stroll 新橋駅夕方散歩 (130207)

Shinbashi Tokaido Line Platform Stroll 新橋駅の東海道線散歩 (130207)

Old Type Reserved Seat Express Train (130207)

Back when I lived on the Tokaido Line, they sometimes ran this type of train as a regular train, so if you lined up early, you could go home in style with a standard ticket (first-come, first-grab).

Tokaido Line Platform at Shinbashi Station 新橋駅の東海道線ホーム (130207)

Actually, this one is more than just the platform that I mention in the title.  I also head downstairs and exit the station.

Shinbashi Old Building Stroll 新橋古いビルの散歩 (130207)

Beginning outside the building and then walking through it - including part of the first floor and the B1 basement floor.

Shinbashi Plaza and Station 新橋広場と駅 (130207)

Starting on Shinbashi SL-Plaza, and then entering Shinbashi Station and going up to the platform.  At about 02:28, the railway employee is helping a woman retrieve her cell phone from beside the rails, where she apparently dropped it.

Shinbashi to Yurakucho 新橋から有楽町まで (京浜東北線) 130207

Walking from Yurakucho to Ginza 有楽町から銀座への散歩 (130207)

Walking from Yurakucho Station to Ginza (with a look under a rail bridge along the way).

JD on the Ginza 銀座のJD (130207)

A quick look in the window at the Jack Daniel's shop on Ginza's Chuo-Dori before continuing down the boulevard.

Yurakucho SB-Area 有楽町SBエリア (130207)

A winter view of the SB area near Yurakucho Station in central Tokyo.

Entering Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅に入る (130207)

A bit more than the title suggests - this starts with a walk down the street heading towards Yurakucho Station, then goes through the ticket gates, up the stairs to the elevated platform, and onto a Keihin-Tohoku Line train.  Finally it ends midway to Tokyo Station.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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