Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"1990 Night Trains, Etc., 1991 Tsukiji, Etc., 2013 Akihabara, Etc."

Looking back at material I recorded in 1990 and 1991, it occurs to me the atmosphere of go-go-go!, on-to-a-brighter-future! that was much in evidence during Japan's "bubble" economy years was still pretty much still near full strength in 1990, but less so in 1991, when it was beginning to sink in that things were really not going to go up-up-up forevermore.  It's hard to pin down exactly, but while most people's lifestyles were not suddenly changed in those years of spiraling land prices, the dramatic strengthening of the yen and the many big projects put in motion at the time contributed to an energetic atmosphere that was evident even in the mundane act of transferring from one train line to another in the hub stations.
I'm not entirely confident that will be evident to everyone who sees the video records of 1990 and 1991 I've included below, but keep the thought in mind and see how much of the atmosphere of the time makes it way through the screen into the 21 century.
Trains at Ochanomizu お茶の水の電車 (130503hd)
A short video, taken from the middle of a bridge, with the timing such that Chuo Line trains and Marunouchi Line trains were both running at the same time.  (The Marunouchi Line is a subway, but it briefly comes out of its tunnels to pass over a river here.)

Shinjuku East Side Night Walkabout 新宿東口夜の散策散歩 (130507)
Starting just across the street from Studio Alta and then doubling back and entering Shinjuku Station and walking by the east side ticket gates and back up to street level towards the south, ending after I arrive at the plaza by the southeast entrance.
新宿駅東南口 Shinjuku Station Southeast Entrance Plaza (130507)
I go by here from time to time anyway, but I took a harder look than usual this month after watching the following video that I took of the area in 1991:
"1991 Shinjuku Old Squatter Area (910410)"
There's not a trace of what was there before, but I've gotten used to it... until watching the 1991 video a few times, after which I could sense the immense change that has taken place.

新宿夜の散策散歩 (思い出横丁など) Nighttime Shinjuku (West Side Etc) 130507g
For experiencing a lot of the trackside atmosphere of (mostly) the west side of Shinjuku Station, this video covers a lot - from the under-steel-bridge sounds of a rail bridge to the izakaya alley "Omoide-Yokocho" and then the concrete pedestrian tunnel that leads over to the east side, which has its own distinctive sounds while trains are passing overhead.  A vital component to the overall atmosphere of Tokyo are the overhead trains - I hope they never put them underground (and indeed - in spite of the added transfer convenience - the Toyoko Line being underground in Shibuya now is kind of depressing).
1991年築地市場散策散歩 Exploring the Tsukiji Fish Market (910518) [Reload]

As I say on the YouTube post: "This a higher (not 'High' with a capital 'H', but 'highER') resolution version of a video I previously posted of my May 18th, 1991 exploration of the Tsukiji Fish Market."

This came about due to my original post of this video having been of very low resolution.  Normally I wouldn't worry about an old post too much, but I spent some time editing this one and wanted a better-looking version available, so I made a higher resolution version (with the same edit points), which is what this version is.

Keio Line Train Passing Park in Hachioji 京王線電車 春公園を通る (130428g)
No big deal, but I thought the appearance of the train through the green on a beautiful spring day was nice to see.

Takao to Takaosanguchi (Keio Line) 高尾駅-高尾山口駅 (京王線) 130428

Takadanobaba to Seibu-Shinjuku (Seibu Line) 高田馬場駅-西武新宿駅 西武線 (130507)
Seibu-Shinjuku Station Platform Walk and Stroll into Kabukicho 西武新宿駅 (130507)
歌舞伎町の散策散歩 - ある風が強い日 Walkabout in Kabukicho One Windy Day (130507)
Kokubunji to Nakano (Chuo Line) 国分寺駅-中野駅 中央線右窓の眺望 (130504)
Speeding along in an afternoon Chuo-Tokkai (中央特快) from just after Kokubunji - looking out a right-side window until the train arrived at Nakano Station.  Some of the angles are a bit wild, but this video conveys the speed of a Chuo-Tokkai (rapid) train fairly well I think.  (They're not particularly fast early in the morning, by the way, since the tracks are crowded then.)  I'm not sure how this one plays for others, but I rather like it.
1990 Tokyo Evening Crowds Etc 東京夜の人々 (900524)

1990 Shiinamachi at Night 夜の椎名町駅あたり (900524)
The analog camera I took this one with didn't record dark scenes very well, so this looks  a bit darker than it actually was at the time.  It was also overly sensitive to florescent light tubes, which are used in many signs for small shops and restaurants.
1990 Late Night Trains 夜遅くの電車 (900524)

One thing that stands out to me when I watch this - is how many windows were open.  In May, when the temperatures are nice, it's a perfect time to open windows, but even though the newer trains still have a few windows that can be opened, people seem to prefer to suffer in a stuffy sealed box.  I can never quite figure this aspect of people out - it's as though they think fresh air is dangerous or something....

1990 Nakano Late at Night 夜遅くの中野 (900526)

Two things that stand out in this video are the manual ticket gates and the buses in front of the station.  For some reason, the buses have been moved into inconvenient locations and there's a huge area of unused space in front of the station now - for what purpose this was done I have no idea.

1990 Midnight Chuo Line (900526)
Again I'm struck by the open windows.  As the old type Chuo Line comes into the station, notice all the open windows.  This is one aspect of the older trains that is vastly superior to the new ones - ventilation.  There were also vents in the ceiling that could be opened up.  The new trains have no vents in the ceiling and only some of the windows open... but people hardly ever open then - unfortunately.

Another general difference between videos from 1990 and 2013 is that in 1990, people read books, magazines, and newspapers on the train, rather then jabbing at little screens on electronic devices with a finger or thumb.

1990 Musashi-Sakai Station 武蔵境駅 (900526)

1990年 夜中の武蔵野市 Late Night Musashino-shi (900526)

Keio Line - Right Side Window View 京王線右窓からの景色 (130428)
Chuo Line - Left Side Window View on Inbound Train 中央線左側窓からの風景 (130428)
Takaosan Bound - Golden Week Crowds 高尾山向きのゴールデンウィーク人々 (130428)
Spring Green Near Takaosan 高尾山近くの春緑 (八王子市) 130428
A very short clip (26-seconds), but it shows the spring green of early May near Mt. Takao.
Bosozoku Near Takao in Hachioji 八王子高尾近くの暴走族が通る (130428)
A group of bosozoku motorcycle riders goes by - making their signature sounds.
春の緑 Green Leaves - Spring Closeup of Maple Leaves in a Breeze (130428)
Riverside Green in Hachioji 八王子の川隣の緑 ゴールデンウィーク (130428)
Takaosanguchi Station Golden Week Crowds 高尾山口駅GWの人々 (130428)

高尾山口駅ホームからの風景 End of Platform View from Takaosanguchi Station (130428)
Takaosanguchi to Hazama (Keio Line) 高尾山口駅-狭間駅 (京王線) 130428
Takaosanguchi to Hazama
Akihabara - Golden Week Scene 秋葉原夕暮れ道の様子 ゴールデンウイーク (130503)
I went to Akihabara twice over the Golden Week holiday period and was a little surprised at how many people were there.
Akihabara Walkabout - Station Area GW-Stroll 秋葉原電気街散歩 駅辺り (130503)
Akihabara Plaza Twilight View (Golden Week) 夕暮れの秋葉原駅前広場 (130503)
Akihabara Station - Plaza to Platform 秋葉原駅 - 広場からホームまで (130503)
Twilight Views - Akihabara to Ochanomizu 夕暮れ都市眺め - 秋葉原駅-御茶ノ水駅 (130503g)
Ogikubo to Asagaya (Chuo Line) 荻窪駅-阿佐ヶ谷駅 (中央線) 130509hdc
Koenji to Nakano (Chuo Line) 高円寺駅-中野駅 (中央線) 130509hdc

Yurakucho-YSB View (130509)
Yurakucho-YSB Night Dance (130509)
Yurakucho to Tokyo (Yamanote Line) 有楽町駅-東京駅 (山手線) 130509
Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅-新宿駅 (中央線右側風景) 130509
Shinjuku to Kanda (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-神田駅 (中央線右側風景) 130509
Kanda to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-浜松町駅 (山手線) 130509
Hamamatsucho - Walking Towards Station 浜松町駅へ向かう (130509)
Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 浜松町駅-有楽町駅 (山手線) 130509
Nihonbashi Night Walkabout 日本橋夜散策散歩 (130509)
Part of Nihonbashi appears to be a little like Kabukicho in Shinjuku.  Maybe it's always been that way, but I never noticed it until a year or two ago.
中央特快が西荻窪駅を通る Chuo-Tokkai Passing Nishi-Ogikubo Station (130509)
In this video, you can see how smoothly the train is rolling on the tracks - with no sign of the cars rocking in either direction.
Tokyo Station - Train to Yurakucho 東京駅八重洲口-京浜東北線で有楽町 (130509g)
Yurakucho Night Stroll to YSB 有楽町夜散歩YSBまで (130509g)
1991 - Newspaper Tour 新聞のツアー (910516)

1991 - Ginza to Tsukiji Walk 銀座から築地までの散歩 (910516)
1991 - Edge of Tsukiji Market 午後の築地市場の様子 (910516)
1991 Tsukiji to Ginza (Hibiya Line) 築地本願寺から銀座駅まで (910516)

1991 Ginza to Ikebukuro (Marunouchi Line) 銀座駅-池袋駅 (丸ノ内線) 910516

1991 Ikebukuro East Side Quick View 池袋駅前の様子 (910516)

1991 Ikebukuro to Hibarigaoka (Seibu Line) 池袋駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 (910516)

1991 Basement Grocery Store in Tokyo Suburbia (910516)
1991 Sumiyoshi-cho Suburb 保谷市住吉町 (910516)

1991 Hibarigaoka Early Morning View 朝早くのひばりが丘 (910518)

1991 Hibarigaoka to Ikebukuro ひばりヶ丘駅-池袋駅 西武池袋線 (910518)

1991 Ikebukuro to Shinbashi (Yamanote Line) 池袋駅-新橋駅 山手線 (910518)
1991 Shinbashi to Tsukiji Walk 新橋駅-築地までの散歩 (910518)
This starts off at Shinbashi Station on the Yamanote Line platform, and then I walk through a fairly boring stretch, during which I stop and spend too much time looking around at things, but by the end of the video, the pace picks up with the amazing amount of activity I ran into when I got to the Tsukiji Fish Market.

Not far from Shinbashi Station, I look back and it's a little startling from the viewpoint of 2013 to realize there's no trace of the Yurikamome Line, as they hadn't started constructing that yet.  There is also no trace of the Shiodome office towers - just a large open space with some temporary things (model homes, etc.) where there used to be a freight rail yard.
LHS-Tokyo Abstract, Etc.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

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