Thursday, April 11, 2013

2000年のあっちこっち - Here and There in 2000 Tokyo

After letting them sleep in storage for over a decade, I had a look at some of the pictures I took in 2000, the year I first bought a digital camera.  The year 2000 isn't exactly ancient history, but things change fast in Tokyo, so many aspects of these pictures are already looking downright historical.
(Above) - An evening view to the west in Shinjuku.  As many companies do here, the company I was working at at the time played musical desks from time-to-time and my second desk location in the company was in front of a west-facing window.  The location was - in that company's hierarchy - Siberia, but for me who loves to look outside, it was actually a quite nice place to be (especially since the window opened - which is how I could take this picture with no glass reflection issues).  The variations in the evening clouds and seeing the sun set in a different location day by day were great to experience.
(Above) - After work, I would walk by this street on my way to Shinjuku Station.  The round glass bulb street lighting was pretty standard on a lot of streets in Tokyo at the time, but it's since been replaced with more energy-efficient lighting.
(Above) - Shinbashi Station.  The metal structures for the older platform roofs are always interesting.  Newer designs are no doubt superior strictly from the standpoint of keeping people dry with a reliable roof, but this old type of riveted steel seems more real in a way - similar to wood almost?  Actually, I'm not exactly sure what it is, but there's something nice about these old steel structures.
(Above) - A station on (I think) the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line that has since (I'm fairly certain) been demolished and replaced with an elevated modern station.
(Below) - A corridor of a new subway station on the Ginza Line.  I think this is part of Tameike-Sanno Station (溜池山王駅 - G-06), which was a new station at the time.  It seemed really ultra-modern at the time, but this is becoming the new norm.
I'm going by the appearance of the pictures, and from memory, so there's a chance I've got this wrong, but I'm pretty sure the above picture is the main street Yasukuni-Dori (靖国通り) in Shinjuku, and the underground parking is about three or four levels down below the street - after a couple of levels of an underground shopping mall.
(Above) - Looking out on the city from the east side of the building I was working in.  (Below) - A scene captured on the way home while walking towards Shinjuku Station.
Train views.  The one above is on the Keikyu Line (京急線) and the one below is on the Saikyo Line (埼京線).
(Below) - I'm glad I found this picture, because while this old railroad car is still in the park where it was in 2000 when I took this picture (hooked up to a steam locomotive), it's now locked up and you can't go inside.  Probably there was a vandalism and/or theft issue.  It really is a shame how just a tiny handful of bad people ruin things for everyone.  In 2000, this was a great place to have a picnic while in the park.  It's hard to see in this photo, but the seats face each other, forming a kind of booth, so four people can sit together, and with the windows open on a spring or autumn day, it was quite nice inside.  You could basically touch history and enjoy the park at the same time.
(Below) - Taken from one of the high-rise office buildings in Shinjuku - probably the Sumitomo Building.
(Above and below) - Ueno Station on the lower level that is almost at street level, but functions like a basement (I think the station is built on a hill).  The restaurant is no longer there, and I'm trying to figure out exactly where it used to be.  A lot of modifications were made to the 1932 station building, and part of this area was used to build a new escalator that leads up into the main station building (see photos further down the page).  Having found this picture from 2000, I'll try comparing it to how the station is now the next time I go there.
The windows are basically the same now, but they extended the second floor balcony and added an escalator.  The under-construction area on the left in the above picture is where they added the escalator that leads to/from the subway, and the under-construction area on the right of the picture below is where they built an escalator that leads up to the second floor balcony.
I'm glad I found these pictures, because I was wondering how the roof was before the current full-surface skylight version.  The steel structure is the same, but they removed all the wooden parts and have (apparently) some kind of lightweight material for roofing on it now.
(Below) - See the extra windows on top?  I was quite surprised to see this picture, because I didn't remember the building as having that (I guess I didn't notice it at the time) and it doesn't have that now, so I presume it was an added floor, and they removed it to restore the building to its original shape.  I had noticed in an aerial photo of the station (via Google Maps) that there appear to be what look like blocks on the roof.  Seeing this, I suppose they are concrete blocks installed to support the extra (now removed) third floor.  (See how hard it is to keep track of things in Tokyo?)
(Below) - Another sunset seen from my old office....
(Below) - An old(er) apartment building in Shinjuku.
The Enoden Line down in Enoshima and Kamakura.  They retired these old train cars since this was taken.
(Above and below) - The old Virgin Record Store in Shinjuku.  They had comfortable chairs set up looking out the windows where you could relax, look at the scenery, and sample-listen to CD's.  One of my favorite guitar CD's I bought this way.  Unfortunately, some very rough street-campers took a liking to those chairs and the store had to remove them because the smell alone keep everyone well away from the area and it became something that drove customers away instead of pulling them in.  Currently, the record store isn't there any longer either.  Tokyo - one constant stream of perpetual change!
(Below) - Aboard the Hikawa Maru (氷川丸), a 1930's ship (launched in 1929) that miraculously survived the roving packs of ship-sinking submarines in WW-II.  Apparently Charlie Chaplin used the ship when he visited Japan in the pre-war years.
(Below) - A hallway inside the Hikawa Maru (氷川丸).  You used to be able to roam about just about everywhere on the ship, but the last time I visited the ship (a few years ago), they had many sections blocked off.  This particular hallway had bare bulbs where there are light fixtures in this picture.  Seeing the bare bulbs in combination with the "Do not enter" sign, I had to conclude that some idiot(s) had stolen parts of the ship and so access to many areas was restricted, and they installed cameras in the remaining areas to prevent any further damage.  Just a few uncivilized idiots really do ruin things for the rest of us....
(Below) - I'm still wondering about that very old-looking box of cleanser... it seemed ancient in 2000, and when I visited this same house last year, that same box was still there!  It was almost empty though, so probably it's been thrown away by now.  Maybe it should have been donated to a museum....

And that's it for now.  I'm not sure if this is of much interest to other's, but it's been quite interesting for me to look at scenes again that I had only dim memories of and think back on past events that I had mostly forgotten about.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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