Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Kawagoe, Shinjuku, Shinbashi, Hamamatsucho, Ginza, Etc."

Past the heat of August, the temperatures in September are just about perfect.  It would be nice if this wonderful weather would stretch out into December or something.
It's been kind of an active couple of weeks - with exhibitions in Ginza (including my own), trips to Kawagoe, Shinjuku, Ueno, Shinbashi, Hamamatsucho, etc. etc.  I'll comment on some of the video links below.
Narrow Passageway in Otsuka 大塚の細い道 (130907)

Passing Streetcar and Rails for Posts (130907)

This is something that people almost never seem to notice, but old rails (railway rails - after wearing down and being replaced) used to be used for various things, most commonly walkways, platform roof supports, etc. at railway stations, but also as fence posts, as shown in this video.

Shinjuku to Tokyo (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-東京駅 中央線左側 (130907g)
Yoyogi-Uehara to Shinjuku (Odakyu Line) 代々木上原駅-新宿駅 小田急線 (130907)

新宿駅西口から中央線ホームまで Shinjuku Station - West Exit to Chuo Line (130907)

銀座奥野ビル501号室 Lyle H Saxon 2013 Exhibition-1991 - Rondo - Okuno Bldg (130914)

I had a solo exhibition earlier in the month - focusing on still photos taken from video material I took in (mainly) 1991, but also with videos I took in that period playing into the back of where Room-501's round window used to be.  These videos (above and below) give a fairly good view of how the exhibition looked.
Lyle Hiroshi Saxon 2013 Exhibition-1991 銀座奥野ビル501号室展示会 (130914)

Kokubunji to Nishi-Kokubunji (Chuo Line) 国分寺駅-西国分寺駅 中央線 (130911)

Ueno Art Gallery Outside Escalators (130910)
Summer Insect Songs in September (130910)
During the hottest days of August, you are so preoccupied with thinking about - or trying not to think about - the heat, that you don't have much contemplative room to really take in details like the sound of insects.  Once the weather cools a little, but before the summer insects disappear from the scene, then the sound of them singing away produces a combination thought, the first part being "They sound really nice in the woods...", but as you contemplate the sound, a melancholy feeling comes over you as you envision the sound fading away, the wind getting colder, the leaves falling, and another unpleasantly cold winter beginning....

Kanda Station Under Construction (Chuo to Yamanote) 短い (130910)

Kanda to Ueno (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-上野駅 山手線 (130910)

Ueno Sky and Clouds 九月の上野空と雲 (130910)
Ueno Park to Ueno Station to Akihabara 上野公園-上野駅-秋葉原駅 (130910na)

Akihabara to Yurakucho (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 秋葉原駅-有楽町駅 京浜東北線 (130910)

Twilight in Yurakucho (Quick View) 有楽町夕暮れ (130910)

Twilight Sky and Crosswalk 夕暮れ空と横断歩道 (130910)

Tokyo to Kanda (Chuo Line) 東京駅-神田駅 中央線 (130910)
Kanda Station Under Construction 工事中の神田駅 (130912)

Kurota Kobun 黒多弘文 Abe Yusuke 阿部祐輔 Room-306 306号室プロジェクト (130912)

Ando Nobuhiro Exhibition 安藤信弘展示会インスタレーション Y's Arts-508 (130912)
Yokoyama Mitsunobu 横山光伸 Art Gallery Ishi アートギャラリー石 (130913)

Seibu Line Train Departing Takadanobaba Station 西武高田馬場駅 (130913)
New Plant Wall on Yaesu Side of Tokyo Station 東京駅八重洲口 (130914)
Tokyo Station Yaesu Construction Zone 東京駅八重洲口 (130914)
Shinjuku to Ikebukuro (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-池袋駅 山手線 (130913)

Entering Subway 地下鉄に入る (130913)

Walking by Departing Train in Takadanobaba 高田馬場駅の東西線を出発 (130913)

高田馬場駅の忙しい夜 Busy Evening at Takadanobaba Station (130913)

Kanda to Yurakucho Train Watching in Yurakucho 神田駅-有楽町駅 (130912)
Kiki in Hamamatsucho 浜松町ライブのKiki (130919)

Kiki (from Kagoshima) put on another good performance in Hamamatsucho.  Incidentally, I did a write-up of them that you can see here:

"Kiki Live in Hamamatsucho - Summer 2013"

浜松町ライブKiki (A) Live in Hamamatsucho (Kiki - Shiraso) 130919
浜松町ライブKiki 金木犀 Live in Hamamatsucho (Kiki - Kimokusei) [B] 130919

浜松町ライブKiki カテゴライズ Live in Hamamatsucho (Kiki - Categorize) [C] 130919

Hamamatsucho Stage と Izakaya と Night Scene 浜松町駅前居酒屋 (130919)
Masses of Birds in Kawagoe (in the trees) 川越の鳥鳥鳥 (130918)

A very boring video - I don't recommend this one, unless you want to hear what they sounded like in the trees.  As I was nearing the area, there were great masses of them flying together in the sky, but by the time I got there, they had mostly settled down (noisily) to perches in the trees.  I was hoping they would perform another mass flyover, so I kept the camera rolling for a couple of minutes.  If you're into birds, you might like this one.

Yamanote Line Departing Yurakucho 夜の有楽町駅から山手線が出発 (130919)
Late Night Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅-東京駅 夜の京浜東北線 (130919)

Tokyo to Kanda (Chuo Line) 東京駅-神田駅 中央線 (130919)

Thursday Night Yurakucho-SB 木曜日の夜のYSB (130919)
Yurakucho Izakaya (September) 九月の有楽町居酒屋 (130919)

Kanda to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 神田駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (130917)
Yamanote Line Train Departing Yurakucho Station 有楽町駅 (130917)

本川越駅に到着 西武線 Arriving at Hon-Kawagoe Station (Seibu Line) 130918

Looking out the front cab of a Seibu-Shinjuku Line train as it comes into Hon-Kawagoe Station.

Insect Sounds in the Woods (130918)

Kawagoe Rooftop Amusement Park Monorail (130918)
I wrote a short blog entry while on the rooftop, which I posted here:

"Kawagoe Rooftop Amusement Park - 2013"
Looking Around at Rooftop Amusement Park in Kawagoe (130918)

Temple in Kawagoe 川越にあるお寺 (130918)
Kurazukuri Building Interior in Kawagoe 川越蔵造り (130918)

Kawagoe September Evening Green 川越九月緑 (130918)
Kawagoe Kenryuji Temple September Evening 川越見立寺 九月の夕方 (130918)

Kawagoe Evening Kashiya-Yokocho 川越夕方の菓子屋横丁 (130918)
川越菓子屋横丁の道焼き物 Street Tiles - Kawagoe Kashiya-Yokocho (130918)

川越の昭和時代の店 Kawagoe Old Shops on way to Hon-Kawagoe Station (130918)

Tokyo to Hamamatsucho (Keihin-Tohoku Kaisoku) 東京駅-浜松町駅 京浜東北快速 (130919)

Hamamatsucho Train Watching 浜松町駅で電車を見る (130919)
Arriving at Shinbashi Station (Yamanote Line FCV) 新橋駅に到着 (130919)

Another front cab view - this time watching as the train arrives at Shinbashi Station.

Shiodome Escalator 潮留エスカレーター (130919)

Shiodome Buildings and Passageways 潮留ビルと通路 (130919)
Yurikamome Line Train Passing Between Shiodome Buildings ゆりかもめ線 (130919)

Shinbashi SL-Plaza Quick 360 新橋駅前SL広場360 (130919)
Shinbashi Station Platform - Waiting for a Train 新橋駅ホームの様子 (130919)

Shinbashi to Hamamatsucho (Yamanote Line) 新橋駅-浜松町駅 (130919)

Nighttime Hamamatsucho (Near Station) 夜の浜松町駅辺り (130919g)
Hamamatsucho to Yurakucho (Yamanote Line) 浜松町駅-有楽町駅 山手線 (130919)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Kawagoe Rooftop Amusement Park - 2013"

September 18th, 2013 - Kawagoe department store rooftop kids' amusement area.  It used to be that there were rooftop kids' amusement areas with various amusement park style rides (something similar in concept to miniature golf) on department store roofs all over Japan, but with declining birth rates and home entertainment they have been disappearing one by one over the years.

That history out of the way, I'm now sitting on a bench at one of the few remaining old style department store rooftop amusement parks.  Being a weekday afternoon, you wouldn't expect it to be really busy, but still - there's a kind of melancholy sadness in an amusement park (however small) with very few people.
While sitting here I've observed several young couples, each with one two or three-year-old child riding the three-minute Ferris wheel, but there has been a gap between all of them, with the ride alternating between being fully empty and having just one threesome on board (young parents with one small child).  Without wishing for a population explosion (there are too many people on the planet already), you look around and hope that this old type department store with its rooftop amusement park can continue.  Something like... nostalgic 1960's culture...?

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Goldfish Bowl Syndrome"

September 10th, 2013 - Ueno Park

I just visited a... new(?) or extensively remodeled public art gallery in Ueno today (I think extensively remodeled).  In fact I just walked out of the building about ten minutes ago.  To explain the experience briefly:

1) Confusion - there are many display areas in the museum, along with many stairs, elevators, etc., and I had a little (not much, but a little) difficulty finding the right floor, and then the right entrance area.
(General illustration photo taken in a different enclosed structure.)

2) Good first impression - high ceilings, large display space, very nice paintings.  Nice-looking rest area rooms with no ventilation, but a nice view of the green outdoors - one enclosed rest area for each display space (several of which were used for the single group exhibition I was there to view/experience).

3) Fatigue - I'm tempted to say "extreme fatigue", but I suppose that would be a slight exaggeration.  Why fatigue?  Primarily due to bad air.  Bad quality air with chemical smells and an uncomfortably warm/stuffy temperature.  Towards the end I had an almost overpowering urge to open a window (none of the windows can be opened however), and a growing feeling bordering on panic that I *needed* to get out of that horrible air - or more accurately - that I very badly needed fresh air outside.

4) Another element of fatigue - but regarding the horrible lighting only.  The lighting is - I suspect - the new variety of stark-white intense LED lighting that seems very nice for about five minutes, and then the longer you're exposed to it, the more difficult it is to keep your increasingly painful eyes open.  "That's it?  Bad air and bad lighting?"  Yeah... but if you can barely breathe and barely keep your eyes open, then what's left?  Sound?  It wasn't a concert, and anyway, when you can barely breathe and your eyes are in pain, nothing is enjoyable.
Conclusion: If I need to enter that space again for an exhibition, next time I'll make a note of the time I enter the building and get myself back out of there within about ten minutes.  It was that bad.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"August Heat and Tourists Everywhere"

August 21st, 2013 (水) Osaki
Out and about in central Tokyo in August.  Tourists everywhere, train stations very busy, and everything is imbued with the feeling of people traveling about outside their usual routines.  I got back onto the train system just in time to miss a thundershower, went across town, and now I'm sitting in an air-conditioned space with office workers - away from the tourist routes.  The high humidity and heat of the past couple of weeks has me feeling deeply grateful for air conditioning.  I get out into the heat, and immediately I start thinking, "Okay... this is uncomfortably hot.  Now what air conditioned space can I get into to escape the heat..."  I don't think I've ever liked air-conditioning quite so much in my whole life.

Didn't get enough sleep last night... now I'm having trouble staying awake.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Shinjuku, Takasaki Line, Ueno Park, Hamamatsucho, Ginza, etc."

It was so hot in Tokyo throughout August that I wasn't particularly motivated to go out and walk around in the heat, but there's a little of that - particularly walking through Ueno Park one very hot day.  I think other people also weren't exactly eager to be outside either - the kids' amusement park within Ueno Park was nearly deserted, and I seemed to see more foreign tourists out and about than locals.
Shinjuku East-West Tunnel and Omoide-yokocho 新宿思い出横丁など (130820)

Shinjuku - Waiting for Midnight Train 新宿駅夜遅くホームの様子 (130820)

Omiya Station - Late Morning Platform 大宮駅昼近くホームの様子 (130821)

Omiya to Akabane (Takasaki Line) 大宮駅-赤羽駅 高崎線 左側 (130821)

Akabane to Ueno (Takasaki Line) 赤羽駅-上野駅 高崎線 左側 (130821)

Walking into Ueno Park - Hot August Day 上野公園に入る_暑い八月の日 (130821)

Ueno Park Kids Amusement Park 上野公園子供遊園地 暑い八月の日 (130821)

Ueno Park - Cicada Concert-360 上野公園の蝉コンサート360度 (130821)

Ueno - Side Street to Ameyokocho 上野の横道からアメ横丁まで (130821)

Ueno Ameyokocho Passing Train Etc 上野アメ横丁 通る電車など (130821)

Ueno Station - Big Skylight Area 上野駅 強大スカイライトの広場 (130821)

Shinkansen Passing Yurakucho Station 新幹線が有楽町駅を通る (130821)

Overhead Shinkansen - Under-Bridge Sounds Yurakucho 有楽町駅の新幹線音 (130821)

Ginza Sony Outside Aquarium (A) 銀座Sony八月外のアクアリウム (130821)

They had an outdoor aquarium in front of the Sony Building last year as well, so maybe this is a yearly event?  I have memories of them putting something unusual on the corner every summer, but my impression was that it was something different every year - until last year and this year anyway.

Ginza Sony Outside Aquarium (B) 銀座Sonyアクアリウム (130821)

Tokyo Station New Yaesu Side 東京駅新八重洲口の様子 (130821)

Tokyo to Shinagawa (Tokaido Line) 東京駅-品川駅 東海道線 (130821)

Shinagawa Station - Afternoon Tokaido Line Platform 品川駅 (130821)

Shinagawa to Osaki (Yamanote Line) 品川駅-大崎駅 山手線 (130821)

Narita Express Train Passing Osaki 大崎駅 雨の日 (130821)

Seibu-Shinjuku Station - Train Arriving 西武新宿駅で電車の到着 (130822)

Late Night Higashi-Murayama Station 夜遅く東村山駅の様子 蝉など (130822)

Nighttime Osaki 大崎駅近くの道路と電車 (130821)

Nighttime Marunouchi 夜の丸の内と東京駅など (130821g)

Nishi-Shinjuku - Walking Down the Street 西新宿大通散歩 (130822)

New Building in Nishi-Shinjuku 西新宿の新しいビルを入る (130822)

Nighttime Shinjuku 4-Chome 新宿四丁目の夜散歩 工事現場など (130822)

Shinjuku Southern Terrace Pedestrian Bridge Night View (130822)

Tokyo Station Yaesu Construction Zone 夜の東京駅八重洲口 (130827)

Tokyo to Yotsuya (Chuo Line) 東京駅-四ッ谷駅 夜の中央線 (130827)

Shinjuku Chuo Line Platform 新宿駅中央線と南口 (130827)

Takao to Takaosanguchi (Keio Line) 高尾駅-高尾山口駅 京王線 (130826)

Takao Cable Car Lower Station Area (130826)

Takao - Singing Insects at Cable Car Lower Station Area (130826)

Takaosanguchi to Takao (Keio Line) 高尾山口駅-高尾駅 京王線 (130826)

Keio Takao Station Nighttime Platform 夜の京王線高尾駅のホーム (130826)

A Station Somewhere on the Chuo Line (130826)

Nakano Station Platform 夜の中野駅ホームの様子 (130826)

Old Night Hallway in Ginza (130827)

Kyobashi Side Streets at Night 夏夜の京橋横道 (130827)

Yokoyama Mitsunobu 横山光伸 Art Gallery Ishi アートギャラリー石 (130905)

Yurakucho to Tokyo (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 有楽町駅-東京駅 京浜東北線 (130905)

Shinjuku Station Inbound and Outbound Chuo Line Platforms 新宿駅 (130903)

Waiting for Late Night Train (Shinjuku) 新宿駅夜ホームの様子 (130903)

Shinjuku Construction Site 新宿工事現場 (130905)

Shinjuku to Ebisu (Shonan-Shinjuku Line) 新宿駅-恵比寿駅 湘南新宿ライン (130905)

Shiba-Koen Park - Sparrows and Insect Noises 九月の芝公園 (130905)

Tokyo September Green 東京九月の緑 (130905)

Walking up to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Promotional Event (130905)

Media People at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Promotional Event (130905)

Lookaround at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid Promotional Event (130905)

Entering Hamamatsucho Station 浜松町駅の北口から入る (130905)

Yurakucho Station Evening Yamanote Line 夕方有楽町駅ホーム (130905)

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

"Visiting 'The Dug' in Shinjuku"

August 20th, 2013 (火曜日) Shinjuku (18:18)

Shinjuku Dug - B1 - the only space left, but a nostalgic and greatly appreciated atmosphere it is!  (The whole three-story building used to be completely filled with "The Dug".)  Brick walls (real brick in front of concrete?, old mechanical clock to my left melodically, steadily ticking away.  On the glass of the clock, in gold letters, it says "Little Joker", then (in smaller letters) "Big Golden" (in all capital letters), and on the bottom of the glass, in larger font again, it says "Long Cut." (including the period).
There is an old wooden counter beneath the paper I'm writing on, mellow jazz music playing through old speakers, dim, atmospheric lighting, a candle inside what looks like old glass in an interesting shape that casts interesting patterns of light and shadow across the old wood counter and onto the sheet of paper I'm writing on.  The clock is four minutes fast - a man in his twenties(?) at a nearby table reads a book in the dim light.

Until a few minutes before, another man, seemingly in his early twenties, was reading a book - smoking a cigarette... and... maybe my mis-perception, but it seemed as though he was in a perfect space - savoring the historic "the Dug" atmosphere, and was slightly perturbed that a stranger from distant lands across the seas sat two seats down at the counter that had been all his.  I glanced over after sitting down and seemed to perceive ripples in the pond....  He left soon thereafter, and now - at the counter - there is just me and a woman (down around the bend) in her twenties talking up a storm (slight exaggeration - but in the mellow atmosphere with cool jazz music and ticking clock, it seems like a storm).

The ear her speech is aimed at is the bartender in his... twenties (again!).  Another bartender appears to be in his thirties and there is a mysterious customer sitting off in a corner apparently in his... sixties?

Running shy on time - time to stop writing and just savor the atmosphere a bit before moving on.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Dragonfly Pair in Ueno / 蜻蛉がやってくる"

Dragonfly Pair in Ueno / 蜻蛉がやってくる
Dragonfly Pair in Ueno / 蜻蛉がやってくる
Dragonfly Pair in Ueno / 蜻蛉がやってくる
Dragonfly Pair in Ueno / 蜻蛉がやってくる
Copyright 2013 by Lyle H Saxon
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon