Sunday, March 03, 2013

"Shinjuku, Nakano, Koenji, Hamamatsucho, Tokyo Monorail, Yurakucho, Tachikawa, Etc."

The "Nakano" and "Koenji" in the title this time refers to a late-night visit I made to the two neighboring stations.  Nakano I've visited several times over the past few years, and while I have visited Koenji at night with the camera running, I'm not sure I've ever recorded it this late at night before.

Somewhere I hadn't visited in quite a while is the Tokyo Monorail, which I've always thought of as the Haneda Monorail, since it goes to Haneda Airport, but paying a little more attention this time, I realized (after decades!) that the proper name is "Tokyo Monorail" (東京モノレール).  I rode it to the first stop, Tennozu Isle Station (天王洲アイル駅), and after looking around a little there (only a little though) I returned to Hamamatsucho, recording the view out the windows as the train moved along its concrete path (it's a monorail-type train, but there is no rail, as it actually runs on a strip of concrete via rubber tires).  Then at Hamamatsucho Station, I show the transfer from the monorail to the Yamanote Line.

Shinjuku Station (Platform to Lower Concourse) 新宿駅下の通路 (130226hdc)

A relaxed afternoon view of Shinjuku Station.  The station always has a fair number of people walking about, changing trains, etc., but it's more intense during the morning and evening rush zones.  (I'm not sure "zone" is the best term, but it sure isn't "hour"!)

Actually, the end of the video shows a rather crowded part of the station - probably a Keio Line or Odakyu Line train had just come in (or both) and those people were pouring through the direct transfer gates into the JR area... which brings up another point.  It's not just the time of day, it's the timing of the ebb and flow of people throughout the day.  When a ten-car train dead-ends at Shinjuku (and the Keio Line and Odakyu Line are both heavily used lines that dead-end in Shinjuku), with each train that arrives and unloads, you get a wave of people.

Shinjuku Station (Lower Concourse to Lower West Exit Passageway (130226hdc)

Right on the heals of what began as a relaxed and not crowded Chuo Line platform.  Like I mentioned above, I think this crowd of people must have poured off of either a Keio Line or Odakyu Line train.  Anyway, after watching the flood of people for a little, I exit the JR area of the station and walk through the passageway that leads to Nishi-Shinjuku on the west side of the station.

Shinjuku Station (West Side Temporary Market) 130226

They have various temporary things in this space - generally marketing of things from one area or another of the country.  I bought some stuff from Okinawa here before.  (I just walked through in a hurry this time, and didn't notice whether it was another regional market or not.)

Nishi-Shinjuku - Walking Towards Shinjuku Station (130226)

Shinjuku Evening Rush - South Exit to Chuo Line 新宿駅夕方ラッシュ (130226g)

The reason the Chuo Line platform in this video is so sparsely populated, is that it's the platform for the Inbound Chuo Line trains.  At this time of the evening, the outbound Chuo Line platform has a lot more people.

Evening Kanda to Yurakucho Y and KT 夕方神田-有楽町 (山手京浜東北) 130226

The "Y" of the title stands for the Yamanote Line and the "KT" for the Keihin-Tohoku Line.  At Kanda, I get on a Keihin-Tohoku Line train and then walk across the platform at the next stop, Tokyo Station, and get on a Yamanote Line train.  Since I was going to Yurakucho and either train would get me there, I just changed for the variety of it.  Why ride one train somewhere when you can ride two - ho-ho!  (When you're already standing on the train, it makes no difference effort-wise....)

Okuno Building and Y's Art (夜の奥野ビル) 130226

Standing on the street in front of the 1932/1934 Okuno Building... looking around, including up at the city-light-illuminated clouds in the sky, and then into the round window of the Y's Art antique shop and art gallery.

Ginza Chuo-Dori Night Stroll 銀座中央通り夜散歩 (130226)

Chuo-Dori - I think this is about the widest long sidewalk in Japan.  And to walk freely when it's crowded, you really do need about this width.  On this street, the term "Ginbura" (銀ブラ) always comes to mind.  The (rather old) term was made by putting together the first part of "Ginza" (銀座) and "bura-bura" (ブラブラ), with the "bura-bura" part meaning (among other things) to wander about.  Now there are modern shopping areas just about everywhere in Tokyo, but Ginza was the first modern glitzy shopping street and for a long time (and still now somewhat) it's a place people like to wander around in.  Aside from the high-end shops, there are galleries, etc., although the double punch of the bad economy and ever higher rents has been driving galleries out of the area - many over to neighboring Kyobashi.

Walking Towards Yurakucho - No More Toshiba Bldg (130226)

At around the 00:07 mark, there's a white construction wall across the street where the Toshiba Building (which was actually called the "Ginza TS-Building" apparently... although also referred to as the Ginza Toshiba Building - 銀座TSビル[銀座東芝ビル]) used to be.  Sigh... another missed chance!  About a year ago, I observed that the upper floors were dark, and only the first floor of shops appeared to be open.  Seeing that, I was pretty sure they would be be tearing the building down in the not-too-distant future, but before I got around to walking through the first floor of retail shops... it's gone.  Tokyo is like that.  Again and again, there are things you get used to seeing and kind of expect to stay there, but one day you find them - one by one - demolished.  The building didn't have any special meaning for me, but still I wish I'd walked through it at least once!

Looking on-line, I see this: "モザイク銀座阪急が核テナント。 かつては「銀座東芝ビル」と呼ばれ、東京電気(東芝)が本社を置いていたこともある。 2007年に東急不動産が1610億円でビルを購入。 新たな商業ビルへの建て替えを決定した。"  Um... I don't have time to do a proper translation of that, but it says (among other things) that it was called (irrespective of the proper name) the "Ginza Toshiba Building", and it was the headquarters for the Toshiba Corporation at one time.  In 2007, it was bought by Tokyu and they will be putting up a new building there.

Anther interesting thing is this: "竣工年:1934年・1966年増築", which appears to mean there was a 1934 building there, then a 1966 building (the one that's just been torn down) and so the next one will be the third building for that spot.  There's a picture of each building at this site - I think the 1934 building looks nice, but it's clearly much smaller horizontally (although about the same height as the 1966 one):

Nishi-Shinjuku - Late Night Crowds 西新宿居酒屋人々 (元淀橋) 130226

Walking through a crowd of people who had apparently just come out of an izakaya in the area - who were standing in the street talking before heading off for the trains.  Logistically, it generally works like that.  You meet up with workmates at an izakaya that is somewhere between the workplace and where the majority of the people attending live, and then there's a brief period after leaving the izakaya where everyone gets together in the street, and then they head off to trains headed off in different directions towards the various suburbs of Tokyo.

Shinjuku Southern Terrace - Trains and Clouds 新宿サザンテラス電車雲 (130226)

Looking around on the edge of Shinjuku Southern Terrace - near one end of the wide pedestrian bridge that crosses the railway tracks - leading towards the department stores on the other side.

Nakano Late Night Back Streets (from Station) 中野北側夜横道散策散歩 (130226g)

Starting on a platform of Nakano Station, and then walking downstairs from the elevated tracks to the station concourse and out the north exit.  Once out of the station, I walk towards Sun Mall, turn right before entering it, and then dive down a dark alley on the left - walking past a small izakaya and into the maze of back streets that give Nakano its character.  It was pretty late, so things were beginning to wind down for the night.

Late Night Nakano - Side Streets to Station 中野横道から中野駅まで (130226)

Walking back to Nakano Station from the back street maze area.

Koenji Station to Izakaya Street 高円寺駅から居酒屋街まで (130226)

The video above shows the walk from the elevated Chuo Line platform at Koenji Station to the beginning of the restaurant and izakaya area.  Then the four videos below show various back street (and alley) scenes in Koenji, followed by heading back towards the station.

Koenji Izakaya Alley (Late at Night) 高円寺北の居酒屋路地 (夜遅く) 130226g

I didn't notice it at the time, but in playing this one back, there's a lot of graffiti on the walls of the alley.  I'm not sure exactly when that started, but there didn't used to be graffiti here - at least I never saw any.

Koenji-kita Izakaya Late Night Side Street Stroll 高円寺北横道散策散歩 (130226)

Getting close to the last trains for the night, so this is nearing the "lonely streets" time zone between late night people and early morning people.

Koenji Izakaya Alley 高円寺居酒屋道 (130226hd)

Another walk through the izakaya alley - this time with a wider view and with stereo sound.

Koenji Station Bound - Late Night Streets 高円寺駅向き (夜遅く) 130226

Koenji Station - Express Zooms Through 高円寺駅特急を通る (130226g)

Anraku Eiko Exhibition (安楽瑛子個展-無無無展) at Gallery Shorin (130226)

At this exhibition, the artist explains (in Japanese) each of the paintings of her exhibition.  I had intended to interpret each of her explanations, but while I understood (nearly) everything she was saying while she was talking, as soon as she stopped, I realized that I didn't remember all the details (and wasn't sure of the best way to translate some terms), so my English translations for the paintings at the beginning of the video are lacking (a lot of... most...) details.  Towards the end, I already had the concept firmly in mind from discussing it with the artist (before I began taking the video), so I got that part right at least.  It was an interesting exhibition, and hopefully you can understand Japanese so you'll get all of the artist's explanations!

Kawamura Satoru (河村悟展) Exhibition at Gallery Kazuki (画廊香月) 130228

A quick look around in at an art exhibition in Ginza.  This one runs from March 1st through to March 23rd, 2013.

Late Night Chuo Line Train Arrives and Departs from Kokubunji (130226hd)

Watching a late-night Chuo Line train come and go.

Late Night Kokubunji Station 夜遅く国分寺駅 (130226hd)

Walking around a little in Kokubunji Station late at night - including trying out one of the elevators that lead form the platform to the upper in-station concourse area, as well as a quick look at the large concourse on the other side of the ticket gates.

Afternoon Tachikawa Station Platform 午後立川駅ホーム (130227hd)

Midnight Inbound Chuo Line Interior 夜中の中央線内 (130301)

People Waiting for Late Night Train in Tachikawa 夜遅く立川駅人々 (130301)

Late Night Nearly Empty Tachikawa Station 夜遅く立川駅ホーム (130301)

Midnight Tachikawa Station Walkabout 夜中立川駅散歩 (130301)

Last Inbound Chuo Line Train from Tachikawa 最終上り中央線立川から (130301)

Express Train Speeds Through Kokubunji Station 特急が国分寺駅を通る (130228)

Watching this, I think this must be about the third video I've posted recently of one of these trains speeding past.  I guess the next time one comes along I shouldn't bother to record it, or if I do, I shouldn't bother to post it!

Chuo Line Trains Departing Kokubunji Station 国分寺駅中央線 (130228hdc)

Ochanomizu to Hamamatsucho 御茶ノ水駅から浜松町駅 (130228)

Flowering Plum Tree at Zojoji 増上寺の春梅木 (130228)

The cherry blossom trees are the most famous, but the flowering plum trees are the earliest to put out flowers in the (very early) spring.

Old Wooden Buildings in Central Tokyo (130228)

Looking Across a Main Road (Hamamatsucho) 浜松町大通り (130228hd)

When I look at scenes like this, I ponder how much nicer cities would be if traffic was restricted and not so much of the city was buried under dead black asphalt....

Hamamatsucho Station - Lower Level to Platform to Upper Level (130228)

Entering Hamamatsucho Station through the lower concourse, walking up to the elevated platform, and then walking down the platform and going up (again) to the upper level concourse.

Hamamatsucho Tokyo Monorail - Ticket Machines to Train 東京モノレール (130228)

Since just about everyone uses the rechargeable IC cards for traveling around on the train system, the ticket machines are primarily used just to put more money into the card from time-to-time, but I thought it might be good to show where the ticket machines for the Tokyo Monorail are nonetheless.

Hamamatsucho to Tennozu Isle (Tokyo Monorail) 浜松町駅-天王洲アイル駅 (130228)

Riding one stop on the Tokyo Monorail - to Tennozu Isle Station.  At about the 00:32 mark, is a view of three outbound trains running in parallel - a Shinkansen train, and... I'm not sure, but I think a Tokaido Line train, and maybe... a Keihin-Tohoku Line train.  From about the 01:36 mark, is a really large construction site... I haven't been on the Tokyo Monorail for a while, so I didn't know about this.  That's how it is in Tokyo; if you don't go somewhere for a little while, when you return, brace yourself for radical change.  The city is undergoing constant (never-ending) reconstruction.

The area shown in this video is all landfill, by the way.  After what happened up north in the March 11th, 2011 Tohoku earthquake, I don't think I'd like to live in a landfill area next to the ocean myself....

Tennozu Isle - Water, Bridge, Sky, Evening Sun 天王洲の空水橋夕日など (130228hd)

Looking around on a rather lonely steel bridge near Tennozu Isle Station in the evening.

Tennozu Isle Station (Tokyo Monorail) 天王洲アイル駅 (東京モノレール) 130228

Beginning on escalators leading up to the smaller of the two entrances to the station, I go through the ticket gates, down the platform, up some stairs, and into the main station area - and then over the trains to the other platform in order to catch one of the monorails headed towards Hamamatsucho Station.

Tennozu Isle to Hamamatsucho (Tokyo Monorail) 天王洲アイル駅-浜松町駅 (130228)

Watching an inbound monorail train come in, boarding it, and riding through the evening to Hamamatsucho while looking out the side windows at the neighboring highway, landfill islands with their high-rises and industrial buildings, water, Rainbow Bridge, etc.  Incidentally, the automated announcements on the train are in Japanese, English and - I think - two forms of Chinese.

The nice thing about monorail trains is they tend to be up high, so they're good places to check out the surrounding scenery from.  (I wanted to show more of the interior of the train, but there were too many nearby people facing the camera.)  As the train goes over the many railway tracks just before arriving at Hamamatsucho Station, you get an idea of how much rail traffic there is between Yokohama and Tokyo.  At the 05:33 mark, you can see the design of that cool old building near Hamamatsucho (name?) - possibly one of the few 1930's buildings still remaining in the city.  And - near the end of the video, at the 05:48 mark, you see people lined up to catch the (soon-to-be) outgoing train.

Originally, the Tokyo Monorail was primarily used for Haneda Airport access and also access to the various industrial buildings on the landfill islands, but as they've begun putting up luxury vertical-gated-community high-rises (I noticed one with a convenience store up on the third floor - probably only used by the residents of the building) in the area, it's also used by people commuting to and from work now.  From that background, and judging by the appearance of most of the people lined up on the platform, I'd say most of them were heading somewhere other than the airport.

Hamamatsucho Transfer from (Haneda) Tokyo Monorail to Yamanote Line (130228)

I was asked about the transfer from the Tokyo Monorail to the Yamanote Line by someone who will be visiting Japan for the first time and going to Ikebukuro, so I added some narration to this one explaining about the signs primarily.  Ikebukuro is pretty easy to find from Hamamatsucho, as it's one of the station names listed on the Yamanote Line signs (which list just a few of the major stations).  When transferring *from* a JR train to the monorail, it's pretty direct, but when going from the monorail to a JR train, you have to take a roundabout route - down, across, and back up.  After I board a Yamanote Line train, I go to Shinbashi.  (Incidentally, in the video, I mention two platforms in a way that I should have said two tracks.  The problem is that in stations, in Japanese, what should be track numbers are called platform numbers [using the English term "platform"], with the edge of a platform called a platform, so what should be called "track number three" becomes "platform number three".)

Shinbashi to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 新橋駅から有楽町駅まで (山手線) 130228

Looking out a left-side window of a Yamanote Line train riding through the twilight of a late February evening.

Yurakucho Plaza (Evening) 夕暮れの有楽町プラザ (130228hd)

Looking around in Yurakucho Plaza in the twilight of the day.  This is what a big city should look like.  The areas along the major internal-combustion machine highways are hellish places of noise, noxious fumes, and truck vibrations.  The internal combustion engine is the curse of humanity.

Twilight Shinkansen and Kei-Van 夕暮れ新幹線と軽自動車 (130228hd)

Looking back at a passing Shinkansen and then walking towards Ginza from Yurakucho.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

No comments: