Jumping back to 1991 with views of Ueno, Toride, Uguisudani, Shibuya, Gotanda, etc., and in 2013, a trip to Takao, as well as typical views of Ginza and various trains in Tokyo.
Walking through the former black market area Ameya-Yokocho (or Ame-Yokocho) in 1991.... Watching this now, I sense/remember a difference between then and now. Back then, a good percentage of the people on the street were there to buy something, and spent money in the area. What tends to happen now is people go there specifically to see the crowds and the crowd density is so high that basically you *can't* shop. All you can do is flow along with the river of people. Other days, there aren't many people there. These shops don't appear to be doing good business these days...
Of course, a huge change that has very strongly affected this area has been the strong yen, which happened just a few years before this was taken. When the yen was weak, you really could get a number of things more cheaply in this area, and people would come in from afar just for shopping. What with the bad economy and persistently strong yen however, people increasingly put effort into not spending money, and there has been a constant increase in the number of low-cost retail stores throughout the country answering that demand. And so this area is more of a theme park now, with people coming by to savor the atmosphere of days gone by, but buying little or nothing at all. In any case, in this 1991 video, the shops were still doing pretty well.
1991 Toride Walkabout 取手散策散歩 (910727)
Looking around in Toride - starting with temple scenes, after which I walked around in the city - ending up at Toride Station. Toride is outside of Tokyo, but since it's an easy commute into central Tokyo via the Joban Line, it's kind of a suburb of Tokyo, with a lot of people who live in Toride commuting into Tokyo every day.
Architectural change comes to where the land prices are highest first, so the old buildings around the 04:32 mark are a good example of Showa Era buildings that were mostly already gone in Tokyo at the time. (I haven't been to Toride recently, but I suspect those buildings are gone at this point.) That type of building used to be quite common - with a shop on the first floor, and the shopkeeper and their family living on the second floor. (There's still a little of that - even in Tokyo - but not much.)
Sometimes I stop and try to imagine how that would be, and I find myself envying the 15-second commute they had from shop to residence. Zero time in the sardine trains, zero time in traffic jams, etc. On the other hand, I suppose it could get boring always being in the same place. An attraction to commuting a long distance to work is that it's a daily journey and so you are guaranteed a certain amount of variety in life. And when the trains aren't overly crowded (which they usually are...), the train rides can be quite pleasant themselves.
Watching this as I type - around the 10:00 mark, I ponder the feeling I get of a less frenetic pace to life... and realize the higher pace to BigCity/MegaCity life is (I suddenly realize for some reason) due to time pressures. There are many more options for things to do, so you schedule more and then have to rush to hold to the schedule? That's at least part of it.
Around the 12:20 mark - the kids' pictures in the pedestrian underpass: That's something they often do here in Japan that I like (and think is a good/important idea). Kids paint pictures in art class in elementary school, and then they have exhibitions to show the results. Generally at the school, but also public ones like in the video. I've seen exhibitions of kids' pictures on trains before as well.
Art education and promotion (in the world) tends to be disrespected by the Short-Term-Profits-Are-Everything crowd, but art is an important element in a healthy society....
1991 Toride to Tokyo 取手駅-東京駅 (910727)
The "Tokyo" in the title means "Tokyo Station". This was a busy day, as I had gone out to Toride early in the morning and then left in time to go to a few places back in central Tokyo. The sounds of the train as it speeds back to Tokyo are quite different from most of the current generation of JR commuter trains. The sound of the motor, the clanking of metal parts, etc. Also the suspension was a purely passive one with big steel coil springs and no air involved, holding up steel carriages that were much heavier than current types. You actually have a feeling of something substantial thundering through the countryside. With new trains with all the windows closed and no ceiling air vents, it's more like riding in an elevator or something. It's hard to explain exactly, but the overall feel and atmosphere of the old type carriages was quite different and - somehow - more real in some earthy way (iron instead of aluminum maybe?).
At around the 04:37 mark, I change trains (from the Joban Line to the Yamanote Line) in Ueno, where the train dead-ends. (They've been working on an extension so some of these trains will continue down the line to Tokyo Station, saving people from having to make the train change I make in this video.)
At the 6:38 mark, I watch a Yamanote Line train going in the other direction pull into a neighboring platform. The round sign on the front advertises the very new (at the time) 6-door car that had been added to the Yamanote Line to make the previously ten-car train an eleven-car train. The six-door cars were to help with crowded conditions in the morning, and they were the first cars on the Yamanote Line to have LCD monitors over the doors playing video images (which is just a standard feature on almost all trains here now). The six-door cars were a good idea (for crowded conditions - it did mean fewer seats) but they had to go back to all eleven cars being four-door (per side) in order to facilitate easy match up with the platform wall doors that they are currently installing at all Yamanote Line stations.
At around the 7:28 mark, I exit Tokyo Station (on the Marunouchi side) and there are views of the Central Post Office (which has since been half-demolished, leaving just the front part of the building, which is now part of the JP Tower).
1991 中央郵便局 地方切手 Tokyo Central Post Office (910727)
At the time, they issued regional stamps every month(?) that were sold only in the region they were issued for (Fukuoka, Kyoto, etc.) and here - at the Central Post Office in Tokyo. Since this was taken (1991), they demolished the back half of the building (to build JP Tower) and while there's a reopened post office in (part of) this space, with the same high ceiling, I'm not sure the regional stamp system continues as before... certainly computers have radically reduced the number of physical letters that people send.
Some years after this was taken, I began seeing region stamps for sale on and off at branch post offices, which I took to be a sign of the post office having difficulty selling them. Back when I took this, they often sold out just at this one location. People would come in and buy 100 *sheets* of them at a time!
Just after stepping outside at the end of this video, I look over towards the Marunouchi Building and the Shin-Marunouchi Building - both of which were later demolished to make way for office towers with the same names. (I understand the system of using the exact same name, but wish they'd modify it slightly or even come up with a new name. It makes it difficult to identify the former building, since there's no unique name for it.)
1991 Entering Tokyo Station 東京駅を入る (910727)
To see how different the dome area of Tokyo Station (on the post office side) was before being renovated, this is a good clip. Actually... there have been three distinct versions of Tokyo Station. The original version, the post war version (repaired after the fire-bombing of Tokyo), and the renovated/rebuilt version that is there now. While the external appearance/shape of the building as been restored to the original design, internally, (other than restoring the upper dome design) it's quite different now from when the building was originally built. (Not a complaint - just a comment after looking at photos of the original interior design of the building.)
1991 Tokyo to Ueno 東京駅-上野駅 (910727)
The opening scenes of this video show a Tokyo Station platform looking a bit different than most of the platforms look now. I think there's just one platform now (the one for Shinagawa-bound Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Line trains) that sill has one of the old type wooden roofs - all the other platforms have had new roofs installed.
If you're familiar with the buildings along the Yamanote Line now, you can see a number of differences in this the view out the window as the train rolls to Ueno Station.
1991 Hiyoshi to Hibarigaoka 日吉駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 (910706)
Abstract - Flaming Sun (TSG Tokyo) 130710
田中睦子個展 Art Space Rondo 有田焼睦 Tanaka Mutsuko Exhibition (130710)
Old 1930s Hallways 7-B1 and B1-2 (130710)
Walking through an old 1932/1934 (built in two sections) building. New buildings might be nice, but old buildings like this one have so much more character!
Hayashi Hiroko Exhibition (A) 林裕子展 インスタレーション Gallery Kobo 巷房 (130710)
This exhibition/installation turned out to be quite interesting/fun. The different colors and shadow patterns were fun to watch while walking around the room. The videos (above and below) only partially capture the experience (in person is definitely the best way to see this kind of thing), but if you didn't go to this one, this gives you some idea of how it was at least.
Hayashi Hiroko Exhibition (B) 林裕子展 インスタレーション Gallery Kobo 巷房 (130710)
Takao to Takaosanguchi (Keio Line) 高尾駅-高尾山口駅 京王線 (130709)
高尾登山電鉄ケーブルカー (上向) Mt Takao Cable Car Ascent (130709)
No Lights Ahead Recording (130709)
高尾登山電鉄ケーブルカー (下向) Mt Takao Cable Car Descent (130709)
Takaosanguchi to Takao (Keio Line) 高尾山口駅-高尾駅 京王線 (130709)
Otemachi to Nihonbashi (Tozai Line) 大手町駅-日本橋駅 東西線 (130710)
Kyobashi Station to Tokyo Square Garden Building (130710)
New Passageways and Frosted Glass - TSG Tokyo (130710)
New Lines - New Lobby - TSG Tokyo (130710)
Office Tower Water Reflections (130710)
Tokyo to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 夜中央線 (130710)
Shinjuku Summer Night (Glimpse) 新宿夏の夜 (130710)
Usuki Hideyuki (臼木英之) Kamei Jun (亀井潤) Gallery Ginza 1-Chome ギャラリー銀座一丁目 (130710)
1991 Nihonbashi to Tokyo Station Walkabout (910706)
This starts off with a look around mostly deserted streets near Tokyo's waterfront area, and then changes pace as I walk over to Tokyo Station. The first part by the waterfront isn't exciting, but it captures a side of Tokyo most people tend not to see. After that, the scenes depict the usual busy side of Tokyo that is its most well-known face, including a look inside Maruzen Bookstore in Nihonbashi.
1991 Quick View of Saturday Night Shibuya (910706)
Exiting Shibuya Station and walking into the crowds on a Saturday night, and then going back to the station and entering the Toyoko Line part of the station.
1991 東横渋谷駅 Toyoko Shibuya Station (910706)
1991 Shibuya to Hiyoshi 東横線 渋谷駅-日吉駅 (910706)
1991 Yamanote Front Cab View 池袋駅-五反田駅 (910708)
Looking out the front cab window of a counterclockwise Yamanote Line train. Certain stations were quite different when this was taken - the Saikyo Line hadn't been extended to Shibuya yet, so to the left of the train at Shibuya Station is just tracks and open space, and Ebisu Station is pretty radically different. It was only the Yamanote Line and the station consisted of one open-air platform with no department store built over it.
1991 南馬込散策散歩 Minami-Magome Stroll (910708)
This clip also includes a section in front of Nishi-Magome Station set up with racks of stuff selling for Y100, which was something relatively new at the time (made possible by the strength of the yen).
1991 西馬込駅-五反田駅 都営浅草線 Nishi-Magome to Gotanda (910708)
The yellow tint of this is because I left the camera's white balance set to "Sun" (or the *symbol* for sun, to be precise). My thinking at the time was that I thought it was a good way to show the relative colors of lighting in different places.
Anyway - what I think is interesting about this video is the view down the train with all of its internal doors open, so you can see all the way to the front of the train, and also see the curvature of the train as it goes to the left and right, as well as (at one point) up.
1991 Early Recorded Train Announcement (910708)
The announcements on just about all the trains are recordings now, but in 1991, they had just begun to use them. All the buses I used even back in the early eighties used recordings for the bus stop names, but not the trains. I was thinking when I heard the recording in this video "Hmm... I guess that works... they've been doing that for a long time already with buses after all...", but now, in 2013, I really hate most of the recordings. It's like back in the days of radio when they kept playing a song that you hated - with each playing it becomes ever more annoying.
Actually, the local language recordings aren't too bad, but most of the English language ones I've heard are extremely irritating - over-pronounced, over-intonated, and obviously read by a rank amateur.
1991 Tokyo to Uguisudani 東京駅-鶯谷駅 山手線 (910706)
Starting on the Yaesu side of Tokyo Station, I have a roast beef sandwich inside the station (just a brief view of the inside of the place in the video) and then take a Yamanote Line train to Uguisudani in order to see a festival there (see next video).
Looking out a left side door widow, there are some radically different (from 2013) scenes, for example from around the 3:29 mark, is a view of part of pre-highrise Akihabara, with already demolished empty space and some mysterious buildings in the background that appear to be warehouses, etc.
I think... (I need to research this) that there was probably a freight yard in this area for freight trains that came to Tokyo from northern Japan. I know there was a huge freight yard in Shinbashi ("Shiodome Freight Terminal" - the current site of the Shiodome office towers), and... well... let me try Google for Akihabara...
Um... OK... things are come up fast and thick! A Wikimedia Commons photo is identified as: "Akihabara Freight Station (秋葉原貨物駅)" and another website calls it "Akihabara freight yard". Here are a couple of links:
"As part of this project, the former site of the Kanda produce market and national railway (Akihabara freight yard) was redeveloped."
1960 Photo (above) from Wikimedia Commons:
1991 鶯谷駅 朝顔まつり 朝顔市 Asagao Matsuri (910706)
Summer festivals can be fun - with the food stalls, lighting, casual crowds, etc. (Which reminds me... I haven't been to one this year yet...) Watching this, I remember that I was exited by the event at the time - I didn't grow up with this type of thing after all - but after all this time, while I still like festivals like this, I don't know if I'd spend as much time at this same event now, since it doesn't seem exotic any more. But who knows - you get to a place that you find to be interesting, and then you end up spending a lot of time there.
Incidentally, the Internet has created a problem for popular events. If the word gets around a little too well in a city with a population of (including the suburbs) 30,000,000 people, a dangerously high number of people can turn up. A couple of events in the past year were canceled due to being too popular (and therefore potentially dangerous). Watching this video, imagine what would happen if you tripled the number of people there [shudder!].
1991 Uguisudani to Shibuya 鶯谷駅-渋谷駅 山手線 (910706)
That tunnel at Uguisudani Station is still pretty much as it appears in this video.
1991 工事中日吉駅 Hiyoshi Station Under Construction (910706)
1991 Hibarigaoka to Ikebukuro ひばりヶ丘駅-池袋駅 (910708)
1991 Gotanda to Nishimagome 五反田駅-西馬込駅 (910708)
1991 五反田駅前 Gotanda (Near Station) 910708
After watching all this stuff from 1991, so many memories of that time have come back that I find myself wondering if I'll get some kind of future-shock when I step away from the computer and go back out into 2013 Tokyo!
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon