Saturday, February 09, 2013

"1990 Ueno; 2013 Ueno Station, Ameyokocho, Haijima Line, Kanda Station, Etc."

It wasn't so long ago that I last went to Ueno, but this time around, I had a closer look at the old station building.  I ran into an old postcard of the station from the early 1930's (below) and comparing the old postcard with today's station, an amazing (for Tokyo) amount of the original building is still there.
And then, while previewing the videos I took of Ueno this week, I began thinking "It's changed so much since 1990... wait... I think I have video of 1990 Ueno!", and it turns out I did, so I added a video of March 1990 Ueno to this batch as well.

Ameyokocho Walkabout (Ueno) アメ横丁魚市場など (上野) 130205g

This clip shows a fair amount of the Ameyokocho area, starting with the fish market near the entrance to the area, walking through that part and then down to where they're selling clothing, followed by walking through an under-tracks tunnel-like passageway full of various small shops.  When this area is overly crowded or under-crowded, it's hard to take pictures, but the balance was almost perfect on the day I took this (above video).

Pre-war postcard looking towards what became the famous Ameyokocho area after the war.

Ueno - Near Entrance to Ueno Park 上野 - 上野公園入り口 (130205hdg)

Looking towards Ueno Station and then up the stairs (near Keisei-Ueno Station) that lead up to Ueno Park.  As is pretty obvious in this video, the rail bridge is rusting away...  I don't understand why they aren't repainting bridges in this condition.  There are many bridges rusting like this.  I presume they've decided to replace the bridge with something new - it's the only thing that makes sense.  The more the bridge rusts, the weaker it becomes... they must know what they're doing, but it's alarming to see the bridges deteriorating all the same.

1990 - Ueno Walkabout (Cherry Blossoms, Station, Etc) 上野駅など (900323)

This starts out on a train as it approaches Ueno Station, and then shows inside-the-station scenes, the train yards near the station, and then the crowds enjoying hanami parties in Ueno Park.  Towards the end of the video, you can see the same station area shown in my videos from this week.  Comparing the two, it's apparent that much has changed in 23 years!

Ueno Station - Open Concourse Area 上野駅中央コンコース (130205hdg)

A relaxed scene of people walking through the main plaza-like roofed area leading to the Central Entrance to Ueno Station.  This was taken in a kind of twilight zone between the very relaxed afternoon, and the pressures and speed of the evening rush.

Ueno Central Entrance to Yamanote Platform 上野駅中央改札からホームまで (130205g)

Looking around while walking to the Yamanote Line from the Central Entrance of Ueno Station, including views of the old type roof just inside the ticket gates, etc.

Akihabara to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 秋葉原から有楽町まで (山手線) 130205g

Looking out a left-side window of a Yamanote Line train as it rolls from Akihabara to Yurakucho.  (The ongoing construction of new Shinkansen tracks can be seen in places.)

Suburban Side Streets (A) 130203

(Above and below)  Typical Tokyo winter suburbia street scenes as seen from a bicycle... I'm looking forward to the weather getting warmer and things becoming greener again!

Suburban Side Streets (B) 130203

Road Widening Construction (130203)

This street is being widened to convert it into a four-lane main road for trucks, etc... there used to be a row of big beautiful trees here, but they were cut down to make way for dead black asphalt.  I think that within mega-cities, it would be a good idea to make personal car use illegal.  Nothing ruins the quality of life in a big city like vast numbers of internal combustion engined machines running around on dead black asphalt, pumping noxious gases into the air all the while.

Sunday Ride Along a Main Street (With Unusually Little Traffic) 130203

Back in the very old days, roads were usually just dirt, and I guess compared to that, black asphalt is nice, but it's so lifeless!  And there's so much of it!  If you're walking on a street like this, generally the first thing you do after turning down a side street and walking a block, is to heave a big sigh of relief that you've (temporarily) escaped the noise, vibration, and noxious gases of the bloody automobiles and trucks.  When I took this, there was very little traffic, which just accentuated the desolation of the vast expanse of dead black asphalt.  Presumably people in the future will be (relatively) free of this form of self-destructive behavior.  You have to envy them that.  I wish the internal combustion engine had never been invented.

At the Grocery Store (130203)

Typical grocery store scene....

Power-Off Chuo Line Train 停電中央線 (130130)

It's not every day that you walk up to a train and find that the power is off and the doors half-ajar!  In fact, in about 30 years, I think this is the first time I've seen this.  What happened is that there was an accident where construction scaffolding fell onto the overhead power cables and onto a train (which had one of its pantographs torn off).  So they shut off the power to deal with that, which is why this train was sitting at the station with the power off - with only the emergency lighting on (one light per car if I remember correctly).

Not long after this they had (in this train) power on for the doors, which were set for manual operation via open and close buttons (electrically and pneumatically operated, [electro-pneumatic]) .  This type of train car has the manual option for the doors, but they almost never use it on the Chuo Line.  When it's particularly cold or there is some special reason, they can activate it (see video below).  [Note about the term "manually operated":  It's a bit confusing in this case, since the term could refer to both manually operated by directly sliding the doors open and closed with your hands, or by pushing an open or close button.  I experienced both on the same train within about ten minutes on this particular day.]

Manually Operated Doors (Chuo Line) 中央線の手動ドア (130130)

Incidentally, there are some pictures of the fallen scaffolding that caused all the trouble on the Chuo Line - here (text in Japanese):
(画像) JR中央線・国分寺-西国分寺駅間で火事!鉄柱落ちてきてバーン!

Haijima Line Cab View (to Higashi-Yamato-shi) 東大和市駅まで (拝島線) 130130hd

This batch of "Haijima" videos are mainly front cab views taken on the Seibu-Haijima Line.  The "thunk-thunk-thunk" sound that almost sounds similar to the type of sounds that old steam engine trains made is apparently due to a flat spot on a wheel, so with each rotation of the wheel, there's that "thunk" sound, and (naturally) the frequency of the sound increases as the train runs faster.  I seem to remember hearing this noise a little more frequently back in the mid-eighties, and then it seemed to become very rare; and now, maybe it's just a coincidence with the particular trains I've been taking, but I've been hearing it more frequently recently.  Hopefully it doesn't signify less stringent maintenance of the trains.

Higashi-Yamato-shi to Tamagawa-Josui 東大和市から玉川上水まで (130130hd)

Haijima Front Cab View (to Musashi-Sunagawa) 武蔵砂川まで (拝島線) 130130hd

Haijima - Front Cab View - Haijima Line 拝島線で拝島駅まで (130130)

After getting off of the Seibu-Haijima Line train at the end of the line at Haijima Station (above video), I transfer to a Hachiko Line train (following videos).

Haijima Station Transfer 西武拝島線からJRまでの乗り換え (130130)

Haijima Station - Waiting for Hachiko Line Train 拝島駅で見回る (130130)

Departing Haijima Station - Winter Afternoon 拝島駅から出発 (130130)

Hachiko Line Side Window View (Winter Afternoon) 冬の八高線景色 (130130)

Hachiko Line to Hachioji Station 八王子駅までの八高線 (130130)

Above and (several) below - after taking the Hachiko Line to Hachioji, I transfer to the Keio Line.

Keio-Hachioji Station 京王八王子駅 見回りと出発 (130130)

Keio Line to Kitano Station 京王線で北野駅まで (130130)

This includes a transfer (between different Keio Line trains) at Kitano Station.

Kitano to Hazama (Keio Line) 北野から狭間まで (京王線) 130130

Arriving at Takao Station via Keio Line 高尾駅到着 (京王線) 130130

1991 - Hibarigaoka and Kiyose - Seibu Ikebukuro Line (910202)

I didn't have much time for time-tripping this week, so there are just two clips - one this look back at 1991 - showing two stations on the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line (西武池袋線) - Hibarigaoka (ひばりヶ丘駅) and Kiyose (清瀬駅).  The other is a 1990 look at Ueno (further up the page).

Shinjuku - Chuo Line Platform to Upper Concourse 新宿駅の忙しい夜 (130205)

Shinjuku Chuo Line Night Platform Walk (130205hdc)

Nighttime Chuo Line Platform (130205hd)

Gallery Kazuki 画廊香月 - February Group Exhibition (130205)

Matsuda Shizumune 松田靜心 Exhibition at Gallery-58 (Ginza 銀座) 130205

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Yamanote Line) 御茶ノ水から神田まで (山手線) 130205

Construction continues on the former Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅) - with more and more of its old platform being ripped out.  I hope they don't completely remove it... there's such interesting history there.  Here's what the original building looked like:

Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (130205)

Walking through the construction zone that Kanda is right now.

Kanda Station Middle Platform 神田駅真ん中のホーム (130205)

(Above and below)  Looking around from Kanda Station's middle platform while waiting for a train (on my way to Ueno).

Kanda Station Middle Platform (Waiting for a Train) 神田駅ホーム景色 (130205hd)

Kanda to Ueno (Yamanote Line) 神田から上野まで (山手線) 130205

Looking out a left side window of a Yamanote Line train as it rolls from Kanda Station to Ueno Station.

Ueno Trackside Side Street 上野横道ガードの下 (130205hd)

Walking along the elevated tracks in Ueno - on the opposite side from the famous Ameyokocho street (written on a huge sign over the street as "Ameyayokocho アメヤ横丁", but I've always heard the locals call it "Ameyokocho").  You can't really plan for mood, but when I went here, things seemed very calm and relaxed.  On weekends and during more crowded periods, the atmosphere is quite different.

Ueno Side Street to Main Ameyokocho Area (130205hdc)

Ueno Ameyokocho Stroll 上野アメ横丁散歩 (130205hd)

The stereo soundtrack of this one captures some of the ambiance provided by background sounds.

Ueno - Old Style Corner Store (Ameyokocho) 上野昔風の角店 (アメ横丁) 130205

Ueno Streetside Market Stroll 上野アメ横丁散歩 (130205hd)

Walking back over to the clothing stores on the opposite side of the tracks from the main part of Ameyokocho.

Ueno Side Street Izakaya Places, Etc 上野横道居酒屋など (130205hd)

This area is a lot more active when the weather is a bit warmer.

Ueno Park Saigo Takamori Square (Under Construction) 130205

Part of this section of the park is actually the roof of a building, but it's seamlessly integrated into the park, so you wouldn't notice if you didn't look hard at the design and size of the building that's there.  They tore down the building that used to be there, and reconstructed a new one (of a similar size), and they're still in the process of putting everything back together on top.  At around the 03:20 mark, I enter the building and head down the stairs - walking past the many restaurants in the building.  There was a restaurant in this building that I rather liked before - I'm not sure if they're back in the building or not - I don't remember the name of it.

Restaurant Building Near Ueno Station (130205)

Walking around in, and in front of, the new restaurant building next to Ueno Station (and near to Ameyokocho).  The front of the building as seen at the end of this clip used to be where a row of souvenir shops were.  They thrived when the yen was weak in the old days, but once the yen shot up in value, people had so much more buying power of things from overseas, that they started shopping in different ways and business fell off for the old souvenir shops.  Now that they are completely gone, it feels like something from very long ago, and it's hard to believe how busy they used to be how different the atmosphere was on this street.

After writing the above, I checked my old material and found some video of the area taken in March 1990 - the old souvenir shops can be seen towards the end of the video (which is also listed further up the page):

1990 - Ueno Walkabout (Cherry Blossoms, Station, Etc) 上野駅など (900323)

Ueno Rail Bridge-360 上野駅の橋下 (130205)

Ueno Station Original Building Side Entrance 上野駅オリジナルビル (130205)

Walking in the side entrance of the old original Ueno Station building.  It's very unusual for a 1930's building to still exist in its original form (aside from interior changes) in Tokyo, so this building has come to have a special historical significance for Tokyo I think.

Ueno Station Original Building Side Staircase (130205)

At 00:02, it looks as thought the handrail has been cut.  I suspect the staircase used to continue down into the basement, and when they made it into a first-to-second floor only staircase, they cut it then... I imagine.  It looks that way anyway.  Up on the second floor are a bunch of restaurants.  I imagine the upstairs area was originally used for station office space?  I need to look into this.  An old building is that much more interesting when you know how it was originally used.

Ueno Original Station Building (Upper Area) 130205hd

Ueno Station - Original Station Building Area (130205hdc)

Looking at this again - I end up pondering why I've (until recently) had so little interest in the Ueno area and this station.  I've come through this area on and off from time to time, but the station never seemed as interesting to me before as it does now.  Of course, they've made it nicer.  The huge skylight effect with the translucent material used over the central concourse used to be a standard opaque material.  Making it into one huge skylight while preserving the original metal structure was a great idea!  It's quite a nice space now.

Ueno Station - Underground Walkabout 上野駅地下散歩 (130205)

Walking down the long ramp into the subway and basement to the station.  Watching this, I get a flashback.  In the eighties, there were homeless people sitting all along this stretch, and they weren't exactly friendly, so I stopped using this ramp to avoid their hostile stares, comments, etc., until... now basically.  Come to think of it, that might be a large part of why I ended up not having an interest in Ueno.  It always seemed like the almost official campground for the city, and the atmosphere generally seemed hostile to me (due to not very friendly campers), so it was unpleasant to be there.  Well, there it is.  No wonder I haven't spent much time in Ueno over the years.

Ueno to Akihabara (Yamanote Line) 上野から秋葉原まで (山手線) 130205hdc

Looking back out a left-side window as the train rolls from Ueno to Akihabara.  Watching this now, it occurs to me that the new walls on the edge of the railway might be to stop the noise of Shinkansen trains?  Presently the Shinkansen trains are run underground here, but they are expanding the Shinjuku tracks, so maybe some of the Shinkansen trains will be running up at this level?  Pure speculation, but the new elevated rails near Kanda Station would certainly suggest that they will be running more Shinkansen trains overhead.

Yurakucho Plaza - Passing Shinkansen, Etc 有楽町広場など (130205hdc)

Watching a Shinkansen train passing Yurakucho Plaza and then walking towards Ginza.

Building with Fujiya Gallery in Central Ginza (130205)

Ginza - Building Shortcut from Chuo-Dori to Back Street 銀座 (130205)

Trying out a building shortcut one evening.

Ginza Twilight Alley (130205)

Something quite rare in Ginza - an empty bit of land that you can actually access.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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