The biggest (as in newsworthy) thing in this batch are views of the (now former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station - which is now devoid of trains and instead has workers stripping out the railway-related equipment and whatnot, and they have put planking over the rails at platform height - making for one large flat surface (where there used to be several separate platforms). According to an article I read about it, there will be some kind of events held in the space over the next few months and then the station will be torn down. It's a little shocking how quickly a decades-long busy station has suddenly fallen silent. It would actually be traumatic, except the trains are still running - underground - and so it's not something to think about too much. Still... the way everything in Tokyo is constantly torn down and rebuilt is a little disorienting sometimes.
Walking along the diagonal street/alley/pedestrian-passageway that connects the west exit area of Shinjuku Station with the south exit area. Once outside on the south side, notice that the big "Olympus" sign [03:52] that used to be at the top of a building over by the Southern Terrace is covered with construction netting. I've been thinking that sign would disappear sooner rather than later. Bright-light complicated signs like that are almost extinct now. Nobody looks up from their cell phones long enough to notice anything anyway, so there's no point in spending money on that kind of advertising any more. In the following video at about the 00:58 mark, there's a closer, clearer view of the building the Olympus sign used to be on (and maybe even still is - under the netting - but I'm betting they're removing it, or else replacing it with something that doesn't burn power, or at least not as much power).
Bookstore (Brief View) 本屋一見 (130317)
Here's something to worry about. I don't very often go to bookstores, but when I want to get something, although I'm not sure what exactly, they're so much nicer than a computer screen. Looking around in the English language section, I noticed that most of the people who walked to the counter with several books in hand appeared to be pretty old - in the 50-70 range. I read a lot of stuff on-line, but for books, I like to read real books. One of the things I like about books is that I like to own my own physical, legal copy. I don't really like the rent-an-electronic-book-temporarily-under-a-draconian-license arrangement very much.
Shinjuku New South Entrance to Chuo Line 新宿新南口から中央線まで (130317)
I don't know what this will eventually end up looking like, but for now it's still a white-walled construction tunnel around the ticket gate area.
Shinjuku to Shimokitazawa (Odakyu Line) 新宿駅-下北沢駅 (小田急線) 130317
The color of this is quite bluish - due to the tinted color of the glass I think. These days I don't use the Odakyu Line very much, so I'm not used to their newer trains. In fact, when I got off of this train and watched it leave the station, I realized I'd never seen that particular type before. At the 02:28 mark, is the English announcement: "Next stop is Yoyogi-Uehara. Please transfer for Chiyoda Line." I always find it irritating to have those badly read announcements telling me to "please transfer" when I don't-want-to / am-not-going-to transfer.
Shimokitazawa to Seijogakuenmae (Odakyu Line) 下北沢駅-成城学園前 (130317)
Incidentally, for anyone listening closely to the sound in the background - the people sitting next to me (on one side) were not speaking Japanese (at the beginning of this video). That's some other Asian language - I'm not sure which one.
Listening to the English announcement - I would have to say it has the virtue of being shorter than the JR ones - that's to be appreciated. Less time to endure irritating sound waves broadcast throughout the train.... Listen, I understand how it is not to understand Japanese. When I came here, I didn't understand Japanese, but I never had any problem with the train announcements in spite of their being only in Japanese (I wish they still were). The place name is the place name. When you're listening for it, you don't need "next stop is" or "the next stop is" - all you need is the station name. I say this all the time, and I'll say it again: I hate the English announcements on the trains here. They're unnecessary, they're read amateurishly, and they're highly irritating.
Odakyu Bus Interior - Setagaya-ku 小田急バス内 - 世田谷区 (130317)
Speaking of irritating English announcements - the buses (or at least the ones I use) are very thankfully free of them! Banzai! You can climb on a bus and not be irritated with unnecessary English announcements at each and every stop. Maybe I should rearrange my schedule and take buses to some places instead of trains. It would take longer, but I wouldn't have to listen to those bloody English announcements on the trains.
Seijo Corty Station Mall Rooftop 成城コルティ駅モール屋上 (130317)
As is apparent when I get to the end of the roof and look out over the tracks, this mall is built over the railway. This is increasingly the design philosophy of Tokyo train stations. This one is more local area friendly though, in that the mall is on the outside of the ticket gates, so anyone in the area can freely access it. Many station malls are inside the ticket gates, so you have to be in the system (past the ticket gates) to access them.
Seijo Walkabout - Setagaya 成城散策散歩 - 世田谷区 (130317)
Seijogakuenmae Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 成城学園前駅 (130317)
The stations were different in the early eighties when I first came to Tokyo - I'm still getting used to this new style. I sort of feel like I'm in a foreign country when I'm in a new station like this....
Waiting for Train at Seijogakuenmae Station 成城学園前駅ホーム-360 (130317)
Seijogakuenmae to Yoyogi-Uehara (Two Trains) 成城学園前駅-代々木上原駅 (130317)
I boarded a local train at Seijogakuenmae, but when the train stopped at Kyodo (経堂駅) in order to let an express get around it (after stopping there also), I decided to change trains and take the express the rest of the way to Shinjuku. Coming into Shimokitazawa, the station is under some kind of reconstruction, but the area by the stairs at the 10:42 mark seems the way I remember it from before. Glad to see *something* that seems familiar, but this is obviously not going to be this way for long.
Yoyogi-Uehara to Shinjuku (Odakyu Line) 代々木上原駅-新宿駅 (小田急線) 130317
Odakyu Shinjuku Station via Express 小田急線の新宿駅 - 急行で到着 (130317)
After getting off the train (which is one of the older white with blue stripe ones with manual controls), I look around at the station a little on my way out the ticket gates.
Toyoko-Shibuya Station - March 15th, 2013 東急東横渋谷線最終日 (130315hdc)
Road that Passes Under Nakameguro Station (Long View) 130319
Looking out over a main road that passes under Nakameguro Station - which is basically sitting on a bridge over the road. The train stopped at the other platform is one of the Tobu-Tojo Line trains, which now are connected with the Toyoko Line via the Fukutoshin Line (副都心線). I knew that was the case even before seeing that train sitting there, but it was still weird to see it. Until the tie in on March 16th, that type of train had never before been seen on the Toyoko Line tracks.
Yurakucho Station Platform - One Afternoon in March 有楽町駅ある日 (130319hd)
Tokyo to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 (中央線) 130319
Minami-Otsuka Quick Night View 南大塚商店街一見 (130319)
Left side window view of the night scenery leaving Shinjuku Station as seen from an outbound Chuo Line train.
Transferring from the Chuo Line to the Yamanote Line via the southernmost escalator at the end of the platform. At the 01:45 mark, I tap my foot... to show the viewer that I wished the couple wasn't blocking the escalator (you're supposed to stand on the left side so people can walk by), but reviewing the video now, it suddenly occurs to me that the man saw my foot tapping! At the time, I though he just picked up on the radio waves or something, but now I think he probably saw the motion of my foot! Oops... it wasn't actually very important to me at the time, so if I had known he would see that, I wouldn't have done it! I meant it as comic effect for the camera, but I think it went down as serious irritation. Oh well....
Shinjuku to Shibuya (Yamanote) 新宿駅-渋谷駅 (山手線) 元東横線渋谷駅 (130319)
This is a fairly long clip (over eleven minutes) - starting with a platform walk at Shinjuku Station while waiting for the Yamanote Line, then the ride to Shibuya, and ending with a look at the ghost station that the Toyoko-Shibuya Station has become (now that they've diverted all the Toyoko trains underground).
Shibuya - from Former Toyoko-Shibuya Station to New Toyoko-Shibuya Subway (130319)
At the beginning of this clip, I pan across the billboards spelling out "HELLO". Looking at those before, on the 15th, I assumed the idea was "Hello to the new - don't feel sad about the old" or some such thing. And on the 19th, when I took this video, at the 03:47 mark at the top of that escalator, and also at the 04:00 mark at the bottom of the escalator, are posters (with the same rising orange sun theme) saying 新+渋谷 - ターミナル - はじまる ("New + Shibuya - Terminal - Begins"), so I guess that's indeed the case.
At the 00:25 mark, the room I look in the window of, is the former ticket office (to handle whatever the automated ticket gates couldn't). Jumping back to March 12th, at the 00:04 mark in this video:
Toyoko-Shibuya Station Walkabout 東急東横線渋谷駅見回り (上と下) 130312
- you can see this ticket office while it was still in operation. I would have taken a closer look on the 12th, but was worried I might be asked not to take pictures of the office, so I just took that view from the other side of that space. Still, you can see what it was, and if you keep watching that video, at the 00:44 mark, you can see a railway employee helping a woman with something - which is a perfect demonstration of that room's use.
Anyway, from the former ticket office, I turn around and head for the stairs that lead down to the new underground Toyoko-Shibuya Station, which is integrated into the subway system now. In the middle of the station, it reminded me a little of Otemachi - which has a large number of train lines and takes some getting used to before you can effortlessly navigate around in it.
New Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Yokohama-Bound Train 新東横渋谷駅の様子 (130319)
The new underground station is nice enough I suppose - and will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the open platforms of the old station, but - personally - I prefer being on elevated platforms, where I can look off ito the distance and feel the wind.
Naka-Meguro Station Afternoon Platform Scene 中目黒駅午後ホームの様子 (130319)
Nakameguro Station - Boarding Toyoko Line 中目黒駅 - 東横線を乗る (130319hdc)
Looking around on a platform at Naka-Meguro Station before getting on an inbound train.
Daikanyama Station - March 19th 2013 代官山駅で東横線から降りる (130319hdc)
Getting off an inbound train at Daikanyama - at the 00:17 mark, notice the extra steps, from a new report I saw, they had to lower the platform and tracks to match the rails up with the downward slope going into the new tunnel. At the 00:42 mark... I'm not even sure what I'm looking at there, but that's not exactly a standard rail bed at a station, so I wonder - considering how much ongoing construction there appears to be at this station - what other changes are coming.
Daikanyama Station Area and Station 代官山駅周りと駅と電車を乗る (130319)
In addition to walking around near the station a little, and inside the station, the camera keeps recording into the tunnel, including listening to the Japanese and English announcements prior to arriving at Shibuya Station. More (much more) on that further down the page!
After going back through the ticket gates and while walking down the stairs towards the platform... from about the 02:52 mark, the sound the express train makes while passing through this station (which is not an express stop) is that of a train going over a bridge.... Hmm.... Wait, let me try running a Google search about that station and see if there is any information about what the ongoing construction is about. [Google search...] Well, so far I've found an old 2002 report about it - so obviously the planning goes way back! The title on the PDF file goes like this: "Transition of Toyoko Line to go underground from Shibuya Station to Daikanyama Station - 27 February 2002 - Extraordinary Explanation Meeting for Investors". Let me try a Japanese search. Um... I'm not seeing any evidence of Daikanyama headed underground, but I do wonder if maybe they're going to stack the rails there to enable express trains to pass underneath local trains stopped at that local station? Or maybe the current rough form of the station has something to do with meeting the completion deadline for the new hookup and the finer details of the construction for Daikanyama Station are yet to be completed? In any case, here's some Japanese text I found regarding the hookup with the subway (at http://www.tokyu.co.jp/railway/railway/east/pr/13go.html):
東横線の渋谷～代官山間の約1.4km区間を地下化し、 渋谷駅で東京メトロ副都心線と相互直通運転します。 この計画によって、 東武東上線・西武池袋線から東京メトロ有楽町線・副都心線を経て、 東急東横線と横浜高速鉄道みなとみらい線までがひとつの路線として結ばれ、 東横線は、 首都圏の広域的な鉄道ネットワークの一翼を担うこととなります。 これにより、 都市交通の利便性向上と円滑化が期待されます。
特急・通勤特急・急行を１０両編成で運行できるよう、 これらの列車が停車する駅を改良します。 あわせてバリアフリー施設の増備、 ホームの拡幅などを行い、 利便性を向上させます。
But listening to the sound of trains coming in... making that hollow drum beating noise - I really do wonder what's under the rails here!
And now we come to... the English announcement! It begins from about the 08:46 mark, and goes like this:
"We will soon make a brief stop at Shibuya. Passengers changing to the Denentoshi Line, the JR Line, the Keio Inokashira Line, the Ginza Line, and the Hanzomon Line, please transfer at this station. This train will merge and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line to Wakoshi. This train will operate as a local train in Fukutoshin Line. Thank you for using the Tokyu-Toyoko Line."
There are a number of problems with the announcement - some nit-picky, and some serious:
- "We will soon make a brief stop at..." - this appears to have been lifted form the decades-old Shinkansen English announcements, and while it makes perfect sense when traveling at 250kph or so for an hour and stopping at some city before the one you are zooming off to, it makes no sense whatsoever to say that for an intercity train that 100% of time (unless there's some problem), always, always, always, always, ALWAYS makes a "brief stop" at each and every station it stops at. Because it works for the prestigious Shinkansen, doesn't mean it automatically works for an intercity commuter line.
- "The JR Line" sounds like there is one railway line called "the JR Line" but actually there are no single lines called "JR". JR is the company that operates a huge range of different lines, and several of them stop at Shibuya, so that should be "JR lines" not "the JR Line". To be even more nit-picky - there was one national railway organization called JNR (Japan National Railways) that was broken up into different groups and privatized. The company that operates trains in this part of Japan is "JR East", or to be really proper about it and go by the name the company uses on their website: "JR-EAST - East Japan Railway Company" in English and "JR東日本" in Japanese.
- "Passengers changing to the ...... // ......., please transfer at this station." Pleading with the passengers to transfer is just creepy. This could be something like "Next stop: Shibuya. Transfers available to the following lines - Denentoshi, Keio Inokashira, Ginza, Hanzomon, and JR lines."
- "This train will merge and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line to Wakoshi." This part is so bad, I'm going to go back and listen a few more times. a) Surely they're not really saying this? The train will merge? Merge with what? How about completing the sentence. "Merge" is not an end in itself! Admittedly, full comprehension of what's happening is a little complicated. The same train continues down the rails seamlessly without interruption (and since the Fukutoshin Line ends in Shibuya, "merge" is the wrong term anyway), but after Shibuya, it is no longer the Toyoko Line! It becomes the Fukutoshin Line. And past Ikebukuro (I think), it is no longer the Fukutoshin Line! It becomes the Tobu-Tojo Line (in this case - or the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line for some other trains). b) Therefore, that "and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line" part is flat-out wrong. (I wonder how that glaring error got into the announcement?)
- "This train will operate as a local train in Fukutoshin Line." *in* Fukutoshin Line? I must be mishearing that... but that's what it sounds like. I have some sympathy for someone who is trying to do a literal (as opposed to virtual) translation of each and every word in the Japanese announcement, but this should be something like "This train runs as a Fukutoshin Line train between Shibuya and Ikebukuro". This is important actually, because fares jump a little when you transfer to a different system, and since the Toyoko Line and the Fukutoshin Line are different systems, Shibuya is a kind of fare barrier. It's all seamless in operation, and the fare is automatically calculated by the computers at the ticket gate when you exit, but regarding what you're paying, that's the way it works.
Phew! What a mess! If you're going to make a *recording* and then play it back day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, you'd think someone would try a little harder to do it right. Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the train system and the people who keep it running smoothly, but what's with these low-quality horrible English announcements anyway? I think there is no need for English announcements in the first place ("Shibuya" is "Shibuya" in whatever language), but if they *are* needed, more effort should be made in doing them right... don't you think?
New Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Tunnel to Surface 新東横渋谷駅地下-地上 (130319)
From riding through the new tunnel between Daikanyama and Shibuya, to getting off the train and making my way back to the surface of the planet through various passageways and escalators - several of which I've never experienced before and even the ones that I had, only once or twice. It's kind of weird (or maybe I should say it's *very* weird) - all these years of visiting Shibuya and it's like they've built a new underground city there. Being down there felt more like visiting another country, or a new outpost on another planet or something. Back on the surface of planet Earth, finally I saw something I've known for many years - the Ginza railway bridge and the (soon to be demolished) just decommissioned Toyoko Shibuya Station (the surface of planet Earth version that is, not the underground city version).
Shibuya - East Side of Station - Meiji-dori 渋谷駅東側 - 明治通り (130319)
Beginning on the elevated pedestrian walkway next to the old station and then walking down the stairs towards the remaining (mainly JR) above-ground part of Shibuya Station... but then getting sidetracked by the entrance to the old pedestrian tunnel I used to use back in the eighties...
Shibuya Pedestrian Underpass - Tunnel and West Side 渋谷地下通路と西側 (130319)
There's something about places that brings memories out of deep storage in the brain - but once the places have been radically changed, the effect is weakened and even lost (almost?) altogether (depending on how radically changed a place is). The east exit of Shinagawa Station is a place that no longer brings back any memories for me, since there's nothing left of what was there before! All of the old things have been eradicated and everything is new.
Shibuya Pedestrian Underpass 東急電鉄渋谷歩行者地下通路 (すぐ閉鎖) 130319hdg
From about the 01:05 mark, the elevated (former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station is to the left, with the elevated tracks going off into the distance. Not obvious in this video (above), the tracks curve sharply to the right not long after leaving the station. The following video (from 2008) shows how it looked on this same side while looking out an open window on an inbound train while the train came around the bend. I really like this view from 2008 - the electric night atmosphere and the noise of steel on steel... I just wish it were longer. It ends as soon as the train finishes going around the bend. Especially since trains no longer run on these tracks, I wish I'd spent more time recording this stretch. I heard about plans to close the station some months ago, but for some reason didn't think about the fact that trains would no longer run on this section of track. How quickly things seem to disappear sometimes. You think things will just be there forever - but they aren't.
In introducing this video to some people on-line, I wrote the following (earlier today):
もと撮るべきだったが、この2008年の動画が、東横線の東横渋谷駅手前のカーブの雰囲気が少し分かる。 開いている窓から、夜の様子、鉄と鉄の音... 東京の電気夜...
I'm really kicking myself now for not leaving the camera running all the way into the station, but still - this shows a little of the atmosphere of the sharp curve leading into the now decommissioned Toyoko-Shibuya Station.
「続けて駅まで撮った良かったのに！」、今は思うけど、一応少し撮ったのは、良かったも思う！ 窓が閉まってると、色々な事が分からなくなる - 窓が開いてると、色々感じる！ こう言う理由で、あまりエアコンは好きじゃない。
Shibuya 3-Chome - Side Streets and Graffiti 渋谷三丁目 - 横道と落書き (130319)
Meiji-dori Stroll - Shibuya Station Bound 明治通り散策散歩 - 渋谷駅向き (130319hd)
Shibuya East Side Elevated Walkway Stroll 歩行者橋の散策散歩 (130319)
Former Toyoko Shibuya Station Entrances 元東横渋谷駅の両方の改札口 (130319)
I wanted to show both of the entrances to the former Toyoko-Shibuya Station, so I started by the lower entrance, and then walked around, up, and over to the upper entrance, which is where most of the pandemonium was on March 15th, the last day the station was open. Once again, people were at the upper entrance with their cameras out. I think the crowds all went there on the last day because you could see the trains there (the lower entrance is under the platforms), and they were there on the 19th both because they wanted "before and after" pictures [cough], and because the railway just put up low barriers there, so the upper area is visually open. For the lower area, I had to hold my camera up over a high barrier. Watching this again as I write this, I'm feeling burned out on the subject, but I'm glad I recorded it in any case!
At about the 01:19 mark, the train approaches Ebisu Station. For a time-slip comparison, have a look at the following video taken in 1991, when Ebisu Station consisted of a single open platform:
Ebisu Station in July 1991 - 1991年7月の恵比寿駅
Shinagawa to Yurakucho - Afternoon Yamanote Line 品川駅-有楽町駅 - 山手線 (130319)
Afternoon Yurakucho Station Platform 午後有楽町駅ホーム (130319)
Baba Mariko Exhibition at Ai Gallery 馬場まり子展 - 藍ギャラリー (130319hd)
Walking Along Edge of Ginza 1-Chome 銀座一丁目の横道散策散歩 (130319)
Tokyo Station Yaesu Bus Area 東京駅八重洲側バスゾーン (130319)
Tokyo Station South Concourse (Evening) 東京駅南通路 (夕方) 130319
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon