Monday, July 08, 2013

"1991 Okutama, Musashi-Itsukaichi, Kofu, Etc.; 2013 Kyobashi, Chuo Line, Etc."

There are a few views from 2013, but this batch is mainly several trips back to 1991 - with three destinations out in the summertime mountains - Okutama, Musashi-Itsukaichi, and the train ride to Kofu City in Yamanashi Prefecture.  It was one of a number of long-distance unplanned trips I took that year.  I would pick a train line to use and set off without any specific destination in mind.  When the train ride itself was interesting, I tended to end up going pretty far from Tokyo (far for a one-day out-and-back trip anyway), and the trip to Kofu was one such trip.  I took an early morning train and was planning to spend most of the day in Kofu, but not long into my wanderings in the city, the camera broke... more on that later.

Most notable for 2013 are views of a squeaky new high-rise office tower in Kyobashi (next to Ginza).  I tend not to like new office tower buildings very much, but this one is pretty cool, with retail shops and restaurants on the lower floors and a very nice elevated... maybe "terrace" is the right word?  Whatever the term, it is a bit like a nice little park sitting up on the side of the building.

With that - let's look at the clips one-by-one.

1991 Okutama Mountain Area Walkabout 奥多摩駅辺り散策散歩 (910622)

At over 58 minutes, this is a long one.  I spent about six hours walking around in the area around Okutama Station, which is the last stop on one of the branches of the Chuo Line (the Okutama Line).  It was a rainy day, with mist in the mountains... looking a little like one of those pictures of misty mysterious mountains in old Chinese scrolls (said primarily because there's a rounded mountain near the station not really typical of Japan, but looking like those old Chinese prints).  Nothing exciting exactly, but it captures the atmosphere of a mountain town in Japan somewhat.  Strangely, this is still in Tokyo!  It's on the western edge, and the nearby lake is probably the reason this belongs to Tokyo (water control).  (In the same way, Sagamiko Lake (just past Takao on the Chuo Line) belongs to Kanagawa-ken.)

1991 奥多摩駅-拝島駅 青梅線 Okutama to Haijima (Ome Line) 910622

1991 Haijima Station 1991年の拝島駅 (910622)

I got to Haijima Station just as middle school and high school students were headed home, and I ran into scores of them on the platform.  The trains all look very historical to me now.

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the way the ordinary present becomes the nostalgic past....  Just a really ordinary thing on the one hand, but... when I watch old footage like this, I keep running into the feeling of "Wait... how can that have changed so drastically?  All those high school girls are now middle-aged women?  Really?"....

1991年 拝島駅-武蔵五日市駅 五日市線 Haijima to Musashi-Itsukaichi (910622)

Rolling away from central Tokyo, the Chuo Line branches at Tachikawa, and if you take the Ome Line branch of it, it again branches at Haijima, with one line going to Ome and then on to Okutama as the Okutama Line and the other called the Itsukaichi Line and going to Musashi-Itsukaichi Station.  Heading towards Tokyo on the Okutama Line (and then Ome Line), I got off at Haijima Station so I could head back towards the mountains via the Itsukaichi branch line... it was a busy day!

When I get to Musashi-Itsukaichi Station (in 1991) it's a typical countryside style station that hasn't changed for decades.  Fast forward to 2013, if you go to this same station now, be prepared to discover no trace of anything shown in this video!  Nothing remains of the old station at all.  The new station is nice enough, but the old one had so much more character.

1991年の武蔵五日市駅から散策散歩 Musashi-Itsukaichi Station Area Walkabout (910622)

Similar to the long walkabout I did earlier in the day at Okutama, I spend a fair amount of time walking around in the area around the Musashi-Itsukaichi Station, much of it shown in this 46-minute video.  Personally, I like this one, if for no other reason than thanks to the deserted temple I stumbled upon.

There's nothing like walking around alone for picking up the faint radio waves a place gives off....

1991 - Ringing Temple Bell (910622)

Not recommended and in fact probably not possible - the ringer logs are generally locked when not in use so wandering tourists with cameras can't ring them at random times.  That said, this video gives a fairly good idea of the melodious sound this type of bell makes when struck.

1991 Temple Tea House (910622)

1991年の武蔵五日市駅 Musashi-Itsukaichi Station (910622)

To cover the now vanished-in-the-mist-of-time version of this station as best as I can, I put together the footage I took both when arriving and when I came back a few hours later.  Fortunately I had some time before my train departed, so I captured images of the station office, a train arriving, etc.  If you knew this station before it was rebuilt, you might like this one.

1991 Musashi-Itsukaichi to Tachikawa 武蔵五日市駅-立川駅 (910622)

Some overlap with the previous video, but this one focuses on the train ride from Musashi-Itsukaichi Station to Tachikawa Station, beginning in the twilight of the day and ending when it's fully night.

1991 Tachikawa Station 立川駅 (910622)

Tachikawa Station itself had already been recently rebuilt in a modern style, but the trains are all previous generation.  Looking at this now - the station looks squeaky-new, which it probably was at the time.  The station is still nice, but the large concourse as you come out of the ticket gates has a different feel to it now.

1991年の立川駅辺り Tachikawa Station Area (910622)

The video above is the first half of my time in Tachikawa, and the one below the second half.  These would have been one file, but are on different tapes - I ran out of tape while taking the first half.

I suppose these narrow streets in Tachikawa I'm wandering around on have changed... I don't recognize most of them in comparison with what I've seen in Tachikawa recently.

1991 Tachikawa Nighttime Walkabout 夜の立川 (910622)

1991 Late Night Tachikawa Station 夜の立川駅 (910622)

1991 Tachikawa to Ikebukuro Etc 立川駅-池袋駅など (910622)

Ogikubo to Shinjuku - Night Chuo Line 荻窪駅-新宿駅 夜中央線 (130625)

By title, this looks like it would be another of my standing-by-the-door videos, but I stumbled upon a very rare thing - a Chuo Line train that was half empty!  I don't know how that happened, but I took advantage of the situation and recorded the view out one of the large side windows (instead of through one of the small door windows, which is what I usually have to do).  The other thing that prompted me to pull out the camera, is that the view looked so clean... possibly the window had just been washed?  In any case, it's a clear/clean view of a night train window.

New Multi-Speed Escalator (130627)

There's been some confusion about these escalators, so I probably should explain how they work.  In contrast with the type often used in train stations that stop when not in use and automatically start up when someone trips a sensor, these don't completely stop when not in use, but slow to a barely moving crawl (probably to both show they are open for use and indicate direction) and then come up to speed when a sensor is tripped.

What I found interesting is how they don't jump from the crawl-speed to regular speed, but smoothly slide up to speed with no sudden change.  They change speed so smoothly that you can't feel the change, although on one of them, I was walking in full speed mode when I got on, and since it hadn't started accelerating yet, there was a different-from-expectations sensation when I stepped onto it.  A mild form of the feeling you get when you think you're going to be stepping onto moving stairs and discover that they're stopped.

Basement Gallery 地下画廊 (130627)

This gallery - unfortunately - will be closing in a few weeks.  The gallery owner gave me permission to record the space.  This space was originally a sento (communal bath) for the apartment building overhead (which this building originally was).  Apparently during WW-II the iron equipment for the steam heat and bath was removed (for the war effort) and never re-installed following the war, so the bath was only used for about ten years.

Tokyo New Building Stroll - Escalators Elevator Etc (130627)

Imitating Irritating Elevator Electronic Voice (130627)

OK... I probably shouldn't mock the poor elevator machine lady, but I figure computer chips don't really care, and man - I really hate those over-pronounced horrible-sounding English recordings they torment passengers on the train system with, and now they're doing the same thing in the elevators!

Upper Floor Lobby of New Building in Tokyo - Walk to Basement (130627)

Entering Kyobashi Subway Station 京橋駅を入る (130627)

Kyobashi to Kudanshita (Ginza-Tozai) 京橋駅-九段下駅 銀座線-東西線 (130627)

Subway all the way, there's not much to see outside the window while the trains are in motion - just the blurred motion of the subway tunnel walls.  This does include the transfer from the Ginza Line to the Tozai Line (at Nihonbashi Station) though.

Takadanobaba Tozai Line Platform Walk 高田馬場駅ホームの様子 (130627)

Takadanobaba Night Street View 高田馬場夜ストリートビュー (130627)

Takadanobaba is basically a college student area and the students were out in force when I walked through - making energetic student noises.  It still looks like fun, but that level of overflowing energy isn't generally mine to tap into any more....

Shinjuku Station Lower Plaza at Night 夜新宿駅下の広場 (130625)

Much of Shinjuku Station has been renovated, but this area leading up to the west entrance ticket gates hasn't changed for a while.  It feels familiar to me at this point, so an alarm went off and I thought "Wait... it feels familiar?  Then its days are very probably numbered!  Better record it if you want to see it again some time in the future."  And that's what this video is.  Note to future-shock self (in the future): "Here it is dude.  What have they done with it in the future?"

Tokyo Station - Southwest Dome to Tokaido Line 東京駅西南ドーム-東海道線 (130626)

Tokyo to Shinagawa - Tokaido Line 東京駅-品川駅 東海道線 (130626)

Shinagawa Station Walkabout 品川駅内の様子 散策散歩 (130626)

Yurakucho to Tokyo (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 有楽町駅-東京駅 京浜東北線 (130626)

Tokyo to Kanda - Nighttime Chuo Line 東京駅-神田駅 夜の中央線 (130626)

Chuo Line from Kanda - Into the Night 神田駅 中央線 (130626)

Tokyo to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 東京駅-浜松町駅 山手線 (130627)

Shinbashi to Yurakucho FCV (Yamanote Line) 新橋駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (130627)

Yurakucho Station Afternoon Platform View 有楽町駅 午後の様子 (130627)

Tokyo Square Garden B1 Restaurant Floor to Ginza Subway Kyobashi (130627)

I like the way they have the open-to-the-sky section between the B1 level of the building and the entrance to the subway system (Kyobashi Station on the Ginza Line) - it's so much nicer than just walking through an underground tunnel from the building's basement to the train.

風中の七夕飾り物 (130703)

TSG Elevated Tree Garden Stroll (130703)

The sensation from this balcony tree garden (my term - I hope it makes sense) feels very much like looking down on a city from a hill.

TSG Kyobashi Plaza 京橋TSG広場 (130703)

Tokyo Station Yaesu Side to Concourse 東京駅八重洲口と通路 (130703)

Nishi-Shinjuku Side Street Stroll 西新宿夕方散歩 (130703)

Shinjuku - Boarding Late Night Train 新宿駅で夜の中央線電車を乗る (130703)

1991 Ikebukuro Afternoon 池袋駅辺り (910715)

1991 Ikebukuro to Nishimagome 池袋駅-西馬込駅 (910715)

1991 Minamimagome Stroll 南馬込散策散歩 (910715)

1991 Gotanda と Otsuka Station と Suburbia Etc 五反田駅 大塚駅など (910715)

1991 踏切 The Railroad Crossing (910627辺り)

A piece of Tokyo suburbia: street-level rail crossings.  At times, the number of people waiting grows to quite a crowd by the time the crossing opens.

There are several views of (mostly) the same crossing in this one.  Watch from around the 01:40 mark for an example of a large crowd being generated by the wait.  Even so, it was often much more crowded than that... but this set of different views of the same crossing shows how it was generally.

Off on the right is the empty space where they were beginning to build the combination Parco Store and apartment building.

1991 Early Morning Suburbia - Western Tokyo 朝早く東京の西側 (910629)

I stumbled upon an area of housing with narrow walkways running between the houses - which is how it generally was done in old Tokyo - before the fire-breathing machinery came, and more and more land was buried under wide expanses of black asphalt.  It's true enough that if there's a fire, closely packed wooden housing is liable to all burn down, but when it's not on fire (most of the time, hopefully never) it's so much nicer to walk on a people-only path than it is to share space with the machines  with their noise, pollution, vibration, and danger.  Many more people die in traffic accidents than fire, after all.

I would put the address in here, but while I know the road I was walking down when I discovered this area, I'm  not sure which section of it exactly this was.

1991 Musashisakai Station 武蔵境駅 (910629)

Yet another station that has been completely rebuilt.  Knowing what it looks like now, it's hard to believe that this is really the same station.

1991 Musashisakai to Kofu 武蔵境駅-甲府駅 (910629)

Another long one at 42-minutes, this has some (to me at least) great footage of the countryside well away from Tokyo as seen out an open window on a speeding train - the best way to see the countryside.  Fortunately the camera held up all the way to Kofu.

1991 Kofu-shi Yamanashi-ken 山梨県 甲府市 (910629)

This would have been much more extensive - having come so far from Tokyo, I had intended to spend most of the day having a good look at Kofu, but the camera part of my analog video camera broke.  It would play previously recorded material back with no problem, but something in the camera part (maybe the CCD sensor?) was broken.

I came really close to losing this tape actually - when the camera broke down, I went to a Sony store in the center of town to see if they might be able to fix it (they couldn't), and while the guy in the shop was trying to get the camera to work, at one point, when he ejected the tape, it hadn't properly re-spooled and some of the tape was out of its cassette and got crumpled a little (which shows up as damaged sound and horizontal lines in the picture).  Fortunately it didn't break though.  I lost at least one (maybe two?) tape(s?) that way before.  The tape physically broke in a jam, and while I didn't (I don't think...) throw the tape away, I gave up on it and it's sleeping in a box somewhere.  I lost somewhere between one and three hours of material that way (the more I think about it, the more I think there were two tapes that happened to).

Anyway, back to this footage of Kofu - at the time I remember thinking "After coming all this way!  And I was just getting started!", but in re-watching this as I write this, there's actually a bit more material than I had remembered being able to take.... and while the guy at the Sony shop was busy with my camera, he let try out a demo camera in the store, so I got some footage of the shotengai mall that the store was in, as well as a view of the Sony guy trying to figure out what was wrong with my camera.

Incidentally, I had been having a problem with the camera producing lines in the picture, that I was able to clear up by (gently?) whacking the side of the camera.  The service center was secretive about repair details (over a variety of break-downs, they always said that they changed the heads, even when that was clearly not the problem.  I'm pretty sure they replaced the CCD sensor and/or camera unit(?) to fix this.  Remember that playback was fine (sound and picture) even after it broke; there was just no picture information at all, but it was still recording sound (see around 11:22 for the moment when it broke).

Well, whatever they did to fix it, they did a proper repair job, because (after I got the camera back two weeks later) I was able to use the camera for many more hours of recording before performance began to deteriorate again (those analog 8mm cameras didn't like being used very heavily).

Anyway... more camera maintenance details than you wanted to hear about!  Sorry about that.  It was an important issue for me at the time, so it's still pretty clear in my memory and further forward than it should be.  Maybe by writing down the above details I can push it into the back archive vault of the mind and forget about it.  Strange how some things stick so vividly in mind for so long....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

No comments: