Sunday, February 03, 2013

"Shinjuku, Ochanomizu, Suidobashi, Odakyu Line, Train Scenes, Etc."

Other than a trip out to Yoyogi-Uehara on the Odakyu Line, I mainly focused on the Chuo Line - with scenes from Shinjuku, Ochanomizu, and Suidobashi - combined with (as usual) several in-motion scenes taken on various trains.

Ochanomizu to Tokyo - Kanda Under Construction 工事中神田駅など (130129g)

This starts off with a platform view at Ochanomizu Station while waiting for the train to get underway.  I stayed mainly on the right side of the carriage in order to get a view of the remains of the Chuo Line's former terminal station, Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅).  You can see the old platform from about the 01:38 mark, then there's a big construction hole (at 01:44) where a section of the platform has been cut away, quickly followed by a quick view of exposed stairs leading to/from the platform.  As I mentioned previously, I have long known there were remains of a former station there, but had never looked up the history and didn't realize there was a big, interesting terminal station building there from 1912 until 1919, when the line was extended.  The cool looking big terminal building was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.  Anyway, I already went into that before, so more information is further down the page (in a previous post).  I mention it again, because suddenly that area seems much more interesting.  I wish I had known this history sooner.

When the train gets to Kanda, I transfer to a Yamanote Line train - walking through what feels like greatly intensified construction activity in Kanda Station (from about 03:24).  The construction at Kanda Station has been going on for quite a while, but this day the atmosphere felt quite different and it seemed as though it's on a verge of a great change - soon.

Speaking of construction - after getting on a Yamanote Line train, it passes another big construction hole just before the platform at Tokyo Station (at around 06:34).  Another big project, but I have no idea what this particular construction is for.  Basically Tokyo is in a permanent state of reconstruction.  If the city lasts for 300,000 years, it will probably be under construction for 300,000 years.  The video ends as I walk through one of the large under-track concourses at Tokyo Station.

Shinjuku Station 1130 p.m. Dash 新宿駅夜遅くのラッシュとダッシュ (130129g)

After walking through the direct-transfer gates between the Odakyu Line and the JR lines, I walk through the late-crowd, people rushing to get the last trains that still make connections to other lines further away out in the suburbs.  The last trains from Shinjuku run pretty close to 1:00 a.m., but for those who have distant transfers to make, they need to get on the system between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m., which is why you see people dashing about on the lower concourse at Shinjuku Station.  Hearing the "doors are about to close" sound, I run up a flight of stairs and jump on a train myself.

Shinjuku to Nishi-Shinjuku Crosswalk 西新宿 (元淀橋) に入る (130129ghd)

Nearing Suidobashi Station (Political Van) 水道橋駅に近づく (130129ghd)

Typical winter street scene in Tokyo.  About the political van that drives by - the timing puzzles me, since there were elections quite recently.  I guess they're getting an early start aiming towards the next elections?

Shinjuku Platform Walk (Chuo Line) 新宿ホーム風景 (中央線) 130129ghd

Walking down a nighttime Chuo Line platform at Shinjuku Station.

Shinjuku Station Upper Concourse (South Exit) 新宿駅上の通路 (南口) 130129ghd

Walking over to and through the South Exit ticket gates.  People passing by in their winter clothing.  Since people tend to wear dark clothing in the winter, it's not exactly colorful.

Yoyogi-Uehara Station - Boarding Odakyu Line 夜遅く代々木上原で小田急線 (130129ghd)

Looking around on one of the platforms at Yoyogi-Uehara Station; then boarding a nearly empty local Odakyu Line train bound for Shinjuku and taking a quick look around inside the mostly empty train.

Ochanomizu - Walking South from Station 御茶ノ水駅から南へ (130129g)

Starting at one end of a bridge and then walking back past Ochanomizu Station and heading south down the main street (towards Meiji University).

Ochanomizu Walkabout - Outside Market 御茶ノ水道バザール (130129g)

The outside market this starts with appears to be a regular event - with basically the same type of things being sold each time.  I don't know what the exact arrangement is, but I remember this from eleven years ago, and I've seen it on and off since then.  Maybe it's a once-a-month event?  Once-a-week maybe?  Probably once-a-month (I need to research this...).

Towards the end of the clip, I walk into Ochanomizu Station, at the entrance with the pleasantly old wooden structure that I hope is preserved.  This design has so much more character than the newer designs.  Both (together) are ideal actually - you can experience both modern designs and older designs by going from station to station.  The contrast from both ends enhances both new and old.

Ochanomizu to Suidobashi 御茶ノ水から水道橋まで Chuo Local Line (130129g)

Suidobashi Station is slightly unusual (for the Chuo Line) in that it has the twin tracks in the middle and the platforms on either side.  More commonly there is one platform in the middle and the tracks (one for each direction) are on either side of the platform.  This is more convenient for riders, since they can just climb the stairs to the platform without needing to verify which platform they need beforehand, and then take whichever train is going in their direction.  Thinking about it, I presume the arrangement at Suidobashi is so the rails are straighter, allowing express trains to go through at a higher speed.  With a center platform, the rails curve out to get trains on either side of it (since the platform is considerably wider than the space between the double tracks between stations).

Walking South from Suidobashi Station 水道橋駅から南へ (130129g)

Fairly typical central Tokyo scenery.  One comment - notice the yellow steel structure at around the 00:26 mark - they have strong steel structures like this in front of some bridges - the beams are slightly lower than the lowest point of the bridge, so if a truck that is too high to get under the bridge comes along, it hits this yellow barrier first, which stops the truck and prevents it from damaging the bridge.  It's a very effective way of preventing overly high trucks from hitting the underside of the bridge.

Tokyo Station Yaesu Construction Tunnel 工事中の東京駅八重洲口 (130129g)

These white-walled construction passageways are moved from place to place as the construction behind them progresses.

八重洲駐車場 (A) Yaesu Underground Parking (Street to B2) 130129g

I have passed this underground entrance many times over the years, but it never occurred to me to go down the steps and have a look until the day I took these two videos (above and below).  I shouldn't have been surprised really, but I didn't realize just how much parking was down there.

八重洲駐車場 (B) Yaesu Underground Parking (B1 to Street) 130129g

Six-Door (Per Side) Train Cars on Saikyo Line 埼京線六ドア車両 (130129g)

I haven't had any particular fondness for this type of train car, but since they took them off of the Yamanote Line (to make all the carriages four-door per side in order to make it easier to install platform walls and doors), it seemed a little like discovering something that was familiar, but you thought had disappeared.

京橋のドゥ画廊に行く Going to Dou Gallery in Kyobashi (130129)

Showing the area immediately around the Dou Gallery in Kyobashi (next to Ginza) before heading inside.

臼木英之展示会 (ドゥ画廊) Usuki Hideyuki Exhibition (Dou Gallery) 130129

A look around at an interesting exhibition of artwork - both paintings and directly painted clothing (each one a one-off, painted by hand).

Shinjuku East Side - Game Centers Etc 新宿東側 (130129hd)

Walking down a side street near Shinjuku Station - past game places, a pachinko parlor, restaurants, etc.

Shinjuku Shadow Street - Winter 2013 新宿影通り(冬) 130129

"Shadow Street" is not a proper name - I just called it that, because the angle of the winter sun was such that there was absolutely no sunlight on the street at all, so it felt like "Shadow Street".

Shadows - Shinjuku South-East Exit Plaza (130129)

I'm not a big fan of winter - but at least the long shadows in the afternoon are interesting.

Shinjuku - Walking West Towards South Entrance (130129)

Shinjuku - Long Shadows by South Exit 新宿南口の長い影 (130129)

People waiting for a walk light to change - casting long shadows near the South Entrance/Exit to Shinjuku Station.

Shinjuku Upper Concourse Walk, Etc 新宿駅上の通路散歩 (130129)

Entering Shinjuku Station via the South Entrance and walking along the upper concourse.  At the end of this clip, notice how *wonderful* [heavy sarcasm] the English announcement sounds.  It's real English, but they obviously didn't use someone professional.  "PLAtfORm... NUmBer...... TEn."  Uh!  Yuck!  Man, I  hate those unprofessional announcements!  You'd think that since they're going to torment people with those recordings over-and-over-and-over again (forever more?), they'd try to get a decent recording of someone who doesn't sound like they're reading a children's book to preschoolers!  (And not even a professional preschool teacher at that!)

Shinjuku to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 新宿から御茶ノ水まで (中央線) 130129

Recently I don't buy much from the platform stores (00:14), but I always feel glad that they are there - something about the option to get a variety of things from most train station platforms being there is very welcome.  It makes the platform a more interesting place to be while waiting for the train to arrive.  And so it was on this day.  Once the train arrived, I climbed aboard (an expression I should change, as it's just a horizontal thing now - like walking onto an elevator) and looked out a left side window at the high contrast landscape flowing past under mid-winter sharp-angle January lighting.  The lighting was generally bad for pictures, but as the train pulled into Ochanomizu Station, the reflections on the river down below the left side of the train were quite nice, so after getting off the train, I hurried over to a spot next to the river to take a couple of videos of the cool reflections (following two videos) before the light changed.

River Reflections (A) Central Tokyo 水の反射 (中央東京) 130129hd

River Reflections (B) Central Tokyo 水の反射 (中央東京) 130129hd

Ochanomizu Station Area Stroll 御茶ノ水駅あたり散歩 (130129hd)

Walking along a narrow street that runs in parallel with the tracks from one entrance of Ochanomizu Station to the other - with both entrances located at an end of the ten-car platform.  Depending on how much time you have, and your perspective, the general ten car length of Tokyo trains is a pretty long distance (and some lines have 15!).

Ochanomizu Station Platform Views 御茶ノ水ホームビュー (130129)

Walking around on a platform at Ochanomizu while waiting for my train to come.  Looking around, it occurs to  me that this station is pretty remarkably intact in its Showa-Era construction and atmosphere.  For the sake of understanding history, I hope they leave at least a few stations like this alone (repainting them of course).

I go on about that a lot I know, but every time I'm at a station like this, it hits me again how much atmosphere and history is in the structure.

Suidobashi Station Afternoon Platform View 水道橋駅ホームビュー (130129hd)

The roof structure for this station is quite interesting I think.  And in this case, the combination of new roofing material over the platforms and old original railway rails (used for I-beams) still there as part of the overall structure works very well aesthetically I think.  This is good to see.

Suidobashi Station - Platform to Exit 水道橋駅_ホームから改札まで (130129)

Aside from the platform, this takes a look at the old wooden parts of the stairway while walking towards the ticket gates (wooden roof, etc.).

Suidobashi Station - Boarding Sobu Line 水道橋駅 - 中央線を乗る (130129)

After taking some pictures in the area around Suidobashi Station (further up the page - out of chronological order), I returned to the station and went to the other platform in order to go back to Ochanomizu (where I could catch a faster kaisoku train).

Suidobashi to Ochanomizu 水道橋から御茶ノ水まで (総武線) 130129

Hachioji to Nishi-Hachioji - Snow on Ground (130128)

Kyobashi 1-Chome Side Street 京橋一丁目横道 (130129)

Approaching Shinjuku South-East Exit 新宿駅東南口向き (130129hd)

Walking down the upper concourse at Shinjuku Station - towards the South-East Exit.

Saikyo Line Train at Shinjuku Station 新宿駅に止まった埼京線電車 (130129hd)

Mainly walking down the platform beside the train as people board it, but with a quick look inside the train as well.  The departure time being a few minutes later, people are relaxed about boarding it (in contrast to jumping on a train that is going to close the doors and depart in a matter of seconds).

And... reviewing the next video, I see it's basically a continuation of the one above - although the second one shows a train arrive at the station, and another train depart.

Saikyo Line Late Night Platform Walk 埼京線夜遅くホーム散歩 (130129hd)

Shinjuku Station Concourse to Platform 新宿駅通路からホームまで (130129hd)

At 00:38 - a view of many people standing in line on an open platform, waiting for their train to arrive.  I've always found this type of view to be fascinating, and so don't look forward to the platforms getting walls (although I must admit it's safer that way).  [01:20]: A man comes running up - on crutches(!).  They are forever telling people not to run for the trains, but it's a natural thing to want to do.  The doors are about to close... you have two or three seconds to get on the train, or be left behind.  The railways present it purely as "It's dangerous to run", while ignoring the natural feelings of "I don't want to be left behind!" and "I want to get where I'm going on time!".  Those two generally being heavier, people run, ignoring the ceaseless barrage of verbal warnings from the railways not to run.

Evening Construction Cranes on Yaesu Side 八重洲口の夕方工事 (130129)

Waiting for the walk light to change to green, I looked around - including over and up at the construction cranes towering over the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station.  After that, I - shock and surprise - walk across the street when the light changes to green.

Gargantuan Metal Shutter Coming Down for the Night (130129)

No big deal really, but this is one of the larger metal shutters I've seen, so when it started to come down right next to me, I pulled out my camera and took this video.

Kanda Lights - Seen from Chuo Line 神田の夜光 (130129)

The businesses, signs, restaurants, etc. are so close to the railways here, that it's always kind of a nice light show when passing through this stretch at night.

Odakyu Line Departing Shinjuku 小田急線 - 新宿駅から出発 (130129)

I don't use the Odakyu Line much these days, so I hadn't realized that they have platform walls up at Shinjuku now.

Nighttime Odakyu Line - Left Side Window View 夜の小田急線 (130129)

Looking out the window of an express train as it rolls towards Yoyogi-Uehara - enjoying the mixture of direct light and reflected light that nighttime views from a train afford.

Yoyogi-Uehara Station - Outbound Trains 代々木上原駅の下り電車 (130129)

Watching a couple of outbound trains depart Yoyogi-Uehara Station after getting off of a train from Shinjuku.

Train-Watching at Yoyogi-Uehara (Romance Car, Etc) 小田急線ロマンスカーなど (130129)

While waiting for a train back to Shinjuku at Yoyogi-Uehara, I walk around on the platform and watch other trains passing, including one of the Romance Car (reserved seat express) trains.

Yoyogi-Hachiman to Shinjuku (Odakyu Line) 代々木八幡-新宿 (小田急線) 130129

The thing about getting on a nearly empty inbound train late at night, is that - after practically always riding in full trains - you suddenly feel like you have all this space to yourself and all this freedom (to move,etc.)... which is how I felt on this evening, so I wandered around a bit inside the train, looking out the windows, at the hanging advertisements inside the train, into the next carriages, etc.

At 04:26, you can see (at the top of the picture) a few illuminated trees up on a two-story high structure - that is the edge of Shinjuku Southern Terrace, which is basically a platform built by Odakyu over the Odakyu railway.  When on the Southern Terrace, even when you know, it's kind of hard to imagine that you're directly over all that train activity below (which is on the surface of the earth, not a subway).

At 04:36, the inbound local train I'm on begins going down to the lower level local train platform while an outgoing express train descends from the upper level platforms.  Odakyu runs a lot of trains, and so they stacked the platforms.

If I remember the history of the railway correctly, it was originally called "Odawara Kyuko 小田原急行" (Odawara Express), and that was shortened (by combining elements of the two words) to "Odakyu 小田急".  I remember reading an article (or was it a book?) about 26 years ago in which the author stated that the name "Odakyu" was initially resisted by the railway itself, but as it was in popular usage (starting with the term appearing in a song), they gave in and begin calling it Odakyu.

Looking on-line - I see there are three Wikipedia pages for the Odakyu Line train system.  I strongly recommend this one:

Odakyu Electric Railway

Personally, I don't think there should be three pages for it - they should merge those other two pages into the one "Odakyu Electric Railway" page.

In any case, looking at the proper page for the railway, the first two paragraphs of the history section are as follows:

   "The 83 km line from Shinjuku to Odawara opened for service on April 1, 1927.  Unlike the Odawara line, rarely were pre-WWII Japanese private railways constructed with double-track and fully electrified from the first day of operation.  Two years later, April 1, 1929, the Enoshima Line was added.
   "The original full name of the railroad was Odawara Express Railway Co., Ltd. (小田原急行鉄道株式会社 Odawara Kyuko Tetsudo Kabushiki-gaisha), but this was often shortened to Odawara Kyuko (Odawara Express).  The abbreviation Odakyu was made popular by the title song of the 1929 movie Tokyo Koshinkyoku and eventually became the official name of the railroad on March 1, 1941."

Also, here is Odakyu's own website:


Which has (on February 2nd, 2013 anyway) the slogan "Odakyu has a Japan".  Um... Odakyu?  What exactly does that mean?  We weren't aware that there was more than one Japan.  Which one exactly is it that you have?  Time for a rant.  In this age of easy communication with nearly all countries on the planet, there is no excuse for putting embarrassing, idiotic English on a corporate website.  From past experience, probably some middle-management scum sent out a group e-mail to people within the company, including a few token foreigners, pretending to solicit feedback.  Then the middle-management scum ignored the feedback - especially the feedback from the native English speakers (what do they know), and then sent back a reply saying 色々な意見を聞きまして、以下の通りに決めました ("After going over feedback from everyone, we have decided on the following"), followed by this idiotic mutant English expression "Odakyu has a Japan".  When problems arise (only a matter of time), the middle-management scum can then point to the foreign names on the group e-mail send list and claim that they didn't say anything.  Of course, if they had, they would have been axed for doing the right thing and saving the company from worldwide embarrassment, but causing middle management scum to lose face (been there, done that, and was fired for doing the right thing - I won the battle [for the company] but lost the war).  Corporations would do well to get rid of at least half of their middle-management scum - they drag the whole corporation down performance-wise, and also bring shame to everyone working there... and (once you're publishing on the Internet) to the whole country.

All of that said, this English language (well, *mostly* English language) website of Odakyu's isn't all bad - it has maps, information, etc.  If I seem a bit harsh in the above paragraph, it's due to having had some very bad experiences helping companies I've worked at battle mutant English promoted by middle-management scum.  Anyway....

And that's all for now - sore-dewa, mata!

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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