Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Shinjuku, Seijogakuenmae, Shibuya Pedestrian Tunnel, Shibuya, Etc."

The biggest (as in newsworthy) thing in this batch are views of the (now former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station - which is now devoid of trains and instead has workers stripping out the railway-related equipment and whatnot, and they have put planking over the rails at platform height - making for one large flat surface (where there used to be several separate platforms).  According to an article I read about it, there will be some kind of events held in the space over the next few months and then the station will be torn down.  It's a little shocking how quickly a decades-long busy station has suddenly fallen silent.  It would actually be traumatic, except the trains are still running - underground - and so it's not something to think about too much.  Still... the way everything in Tokyo is constantly torn down and rebuilt is a little disorienting sometimes.
I also visited Seijogakuenmae Station on the Odakyu Line, a station that I have either not been to before, or else went there so long ago, that I've forgotten about it.  The resulting ride on the Odakyu Line was also interesting.  Whereas they only had double tracks before, now much of the route between Seijogakuenmae and Shinjuku has four tracks - two in each direction.  The character of the line feels different to me now than I remember back when I used it all the time.
And... ah!  The pedestrian tunnel near the old Toyoko-Shibuya Station!  It's open for now, but there are notices on the walls that they'll be closing that next month!  Another element of the Tokyo I knew in the 1980's is disappearing!  I'm glad I noticed that and took some video of it - so there will be something to look at if I should want to see that or tell someone about it at some point in the future.  As long as there's *something*.  Going back to a place you feel some nostalgia for and finding *nothing* remaining of what was there before really isn't very fun.  Given the choice between an eternally changing city and a never-changing city, I'm pretty sure I'd go for the change, but ideally it would be nice if there were some sort of balance between the two?
Shinjuku Mosaic Street - West to South 新宿のモザイク通り - 西口-南口 (130317)

Walking along the diagonal street/alley/pedestrian-passageway that connects the west exit area of Shinjuku Station with the south exit area.  Once outside on the south side, notice that the big "Olympus" sign [03:52] that used to be at the top of a building over by the Southern Terrace is covered with construction netting.  I've been thinking that sign would disappear sooner rather than later.  Bright-light complicated signs like that are almost extinct now.  Nobody looks up from their cell phones long enough to notice anything anyway, so there's no point in spending money on that kind of advertising any more.  In the following video at about the 00:58 mark, there's a closer, clearer view of the building the Olympus sign used to be on (and maybe even still is - under the netting - but I'm betting they're removing it, or else replacing it with something that doesn't burn power, or at least not as much power).
Shinjuku South Exit to Southern Terrace 新宿駅南口からサザンテラスまで (130317)

Bookstore (Brief View) 本屋一見 (130317)

Here's something to worry about.  I don't very often go to bookstores, but when I want to get something, although I'm not sure what exactly, they're so much nicer than a computer screen.  Looking around in the English language section, I noticed that most of the people who walked to the counter with several books in hand appeared to be pretty old - in the 50-70 range.  I read a lot of stuff on-line, but for books, I like to read real books.  One of the things I like about books is that I like to own my own physical, legal copy.  I don't really like the rent-an-electronic-book-temporarily-under-a-draconian-license arrangement very much.
On the Boardwalk in Shinjuku 新宿の日曜日夕方 (130317)

Shinjuku New South Entrance to Chuo Line 新宿新南口から中央線まで (130317)

I don't know what this will eventually end up looking like, but for now it's still a white-walled construction tunnel around the ticket gate area.

Shinjuku to Shimokitazawa (Odakyu Line) 新宿駅-下北沢駅 (小田急線) 130317

The color of this is quite bluish - due to the tinted color of the glass I think.  These days I don't use the Odakyu Line very much, so I'm not used to their newer trains.  In fact, when I got off of this train and watched it leave the station, I realized I'd never seen that particular type before.  At the 02:28 mark, is the English announcement: "Next stop is Yoyogi-Uehara.  Please transfer for Chiyoda Line."  I always find it irritating to have those badly read announcements telling me to "please transfer" when I don't-want-to / am-not-going-to transfer.

Shimokitazawa to Seijogakuenmae (Odakyu Line) 下北沢駅-成城学園前 (130317)

Incidentally, for anyone listening closely to the sound in the background - the people sitting next to me (on one side) were not speaking Japanese (at the beginning of this video).  That's some other Asian language - I'm not sure which one.

Listening to the English announcement - I would have to say it has the virtue of being shorter than the JR ones - that's to be appreciated.  Less time to endure irritating sound waves broadcast throughout the train....  Listen, I understand how it is not to understand Japanese.  When I came here, I didn't understand Japanese, but I never had any problem with the train announcements in spite of their being only in Japanese (I wish they still were).  The place name is the place name.  When you're listening for it, you don't need "next stop is" or "the next stop is" - all you need is the station name.  I say this all the time, and I'll say it again:  I hate the English announcements on the trains here.  They're unnecessary, they're read amateurishly, and they're highly irritating.
Seijogakuenmae Station (Odakyu Line) 成城学園前駅 (小田急線) 130317

Odakyu Bus Interior - Setagaya-ku 小田急バス内 - 世田谷区 (130317)

Speaking of irritating English announcements - the buses (or at least the ones I use) are very thankfully free of them!  Banzai!  You can climb on a bus and not be irritated with unnecessary English announcements at each and every stop.  Maybe I should rearrange my schedule and take buses to some places instead of trains.  It would take longer, but I wouldn't have to listen to those bloody English announcements on the trains.

Seijo Corty Station Mall Rooftop 成城コルティ駅モール屋上 (130317)
Seijo Corty Station Mall (A) 成城コルティ駅モール - 成城学園前駅 (130317)

As is apparent when I get to the end of the roof and look out over the tracks, this mall is built over the railway.  This is increasingly the design philosophy of Tokyo train stations.  This one is more local area friendly though, in that the mall is on the outside of the ticket gates, so anyone in the area can freely access it.  Many station malls are inside the ticket gates, so you have to be in the system (past the ticket gates) to access them.
Seijo Corty Station Mall (B) 成城コルティ駅モール - 成城学園前駅 (130317)

Seijo Walkabout - Setagaya 成城散策散歩 - 世田谷区 (130317)
About a five minute walk from the Seijogakuenmae Station (two or three minutes further down the street than is shown in this video) is a rather nice-looking (and upscale) residential area.  At the time, I thought, "This reminds me a little of Denenchofu...", and then when I got home, I looked up the area on a map and discovered that its location is similar to Denenchofu's - in that it's a Tokyo address within easy commuting distance of central Tokyo (via Shibuya for Denenchofu, and via Shinjuku for Seijogakuenmae); there are no big truck roads near to it; and it's far enough from central Tokyo that people can actually have a house with a yard, something that is very nearly impossible in central Tokyo for obvious reasons.
Walking to Seijogakuenmae Station (Odakyu Line) 成城学園前駅までの散歩 (130317)

Seijogakuenmae Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 成城学園前駅 (130317)

The stations were different in the early eighties when I first came to Tokyo - I'm still getting used to this new style.  I sort of feel like I'm in a foreign country when I'm in a new station like this....

Waiting for Train at Seijogakuenmae Station 成城学園前駅ホーム-360 (130317)

Seijogakuenmae to Yoyogi-Uehara (Two Trains) 成城学園前駅-代々木上原駅 (130317)

I boarded a local train at Seijogakuenmae, but when the train stopped at Kyodo (経堂駅) in order to let an express get around it (after stopping there also), I decided to change trains and take the express the rest of the way to Shinjuku.  Coming into Shimokitazawa, the station is under some kind of reconstruction, but the area by the stairs at the 10:42 mark seems the way I remember it from before.  Glad to see *something* that seems familiar, but this is obviously not going to be this way for long.

Yoyogi-Uehara to Shinjuku (Odakyu Line) 代々木上原駅-新宿駅 (小田急線) 130317

Odakyu Shinjuku Station via Express 小田急線の新宿駅 - 急行で到着 (130317)

After getting off the train (which is one of the older white with blue stripe ones with manual controls), I look around at the station a little on my way out the ticket gates.

Toyoko-Shibuya Station - March 15th, 2013 東急東横渋谷線最終日 (130315hdc)
One more view of March 15th - the last day Tokyu's above-ground Shibuya Station was used as a station.  (I forgot to put this one in with the previous batch of videos covering that event.)

Road that Passes Under Nakameguro Station (Long View) 130319

Looking out over a main road that passes under Nakameguro Station - which is basically sitting on a bridge over the road.  The train stopped at the other platform is one of the Tobu-Tojo Line trains, which now are connected with the Toyoko Line via the Fukutoshin Line (副都心線).  I knew that was the case even before seeing that train sitting there, but it was still weird to see it.  Until the tie in on March 16th, that type of train had never before been seen on the Toyoko Line tracks.

Yurakucho Station Platform - One Afternoon in March 有楽町駅ある日 (130319hd)
Watching a few trains come and go from one of the platform seats at Yurakucho Station.

Tokyo to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 (中央線) 130319
Typical night view out the (right side) window of an evening Chuo Line train - much of it vertically oriented.

Minami-Otsuka Quick Night View 南大塚商店街一見 (130319)
Departing Shinjuku - Late Night Chuo Line 新宿駅夜遅くの中央線出発 (130319)

Left side window view of the night scenery leaving Shinjuku Station as seen from an outbound Chuo Line train.
Shinjuku - Chuo to Yamanote Transfer 新宿駅で中央線-山手線乗り換え (130319)

Transferring from the Chuo Line to the Yamanote Line via the southernmost escalator at the end of the platform.  At the 01:45 mark, I tap my foot... to show the viewer that I wished the couple wasn't blocking the escalator (you're supposed to stand on the left side so people can walk by), but reviewing the video now, it suddenly occurs to me that the man saw my foot tapping!  At the time, I though he just picked up on the radio waves or something, but now I think he probably saw the motion of my foot!  Oops... it wasn't actually very important to me at the time, so if I had known he would see that, I wouldn't have done it!  I meant it as comic effect for the camera, but I think it went down as serious irritation.  Oh well....

Shinjuku to Shibuya (Yamanote) 新宿駅-渋谷駅 (山手線) 元東横線渋谷駅 (130319)

This is a fairly long clip (over eleven minutes) - starting with a platform walk at Shinjuku Station while waiting for the Yamanote Line, then the ride to Shibuya, and ending with a look at the ghost station that the Toyoko-Shibuya Station has become (now that they've diverted all the Toyoko trains underground).
Toyoko-Shibuya Station being Decommissioned as Railway Station (130319)
A look straight across (from an elevated walkway) at the empty platforms of (now former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station, with the sounds of workers decommissioning the station.

Shibuya - from Former Toyoko-Shibuya Station to New Toyoko-Shibuya Subway (130319)

At the beginning of this clip, I pan across the billboards spelling out "HELLO".  Looking at those before, on the 15th, I assumed the idea was "Hello to the new - don't feel sad about the old" or some such thing.  And on the 19th, when I took this video, at the 03:47 mark at the top of that escalator, and also at the 04:00 mark at the bottom of the escalator, are posters (with the same rising orange sun theme) saying 新+渋谷 - ターミナル - はじまる ("New + Shibuya - Terminal - Begins"), so I guess that's indeed the case.

At the 00:25 mark, the room I look in the window of, is the former ticket office (to handle whatever the automated ticket gates couldn't). Jumping back to March 12th, at the 00:04 mark in this video:

Toyoko-Shibuya Station Walkabout 東急東横線渋谷駅見回り (上と下) 130312

 - you can see this ticket office while it was still in operation.  I would have taken a closer look on the 12th, but was worried I might be asked not to take pictures of the office, so I just took that view from the other side of that space.  Still, you can see what it was, and if you keep watching that video, at the 00:44 mark, you can see a railway employee helping a woman with something - which is a perfect demonstration of that room's use.

Anyway, from the former ticket office, I turn around and head for the stairs that lead down to the new underground Toyoko-Shibuya Station, which is integrated into the subway system now.  In the middle of the station, it reminded me a little of Otemachi - which has a large number of train lines and takes some getting used to before you can effortlessly navigate around in it.

New Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Yokohama-Bound Train 新東横渋谷駅の様子 (130319)

The new underground station is nice enough I suppose - and will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the open platforms of the old station, but - personally - I prefer being on elevated platforms, where I can look off ito the distance and feel the wind.

Naka-Meguro Station Afternoon Platform Scene 中目黒駅午後ホームの様子 (130319)
Naka-Meguro has become a really busy station, with trains every two or three minutes for much of the schedule.  I'm wondering if everything will run on time.  The scheduling seems quite complicated as well, with trains from various lines passing through.

Nakameguro Station - Boarding Toyoko Line 中目黒駅 - 東横線を乗る (130319hdc)

Looking around on a platform at Naka-Meguro Station before getting on an inbound train.

Daikanyama Station - March 19th 2013 代官山駅で東横線から降りる (130319hdc)

Getting off an inbound train at Daikanyama - at the 00:17 mark, notice the extra steps, from a new report I saw, they had to lower the platform and tracks to match the rails up with the downward slope going into the new tunnel.  At the 00:42 mark... I'm not even sure what I'm looking at there, but that's not exactly a standard rail bed at a station, so I wonder - considering how much ongoing construction there appears to be at this station - what other changes are coming.

Daikanyama Station Area and Station 代官山駅周りと駅と電車を乗る (130319)

In addition to walking around near the station a little, and inside the station, the camera keeps recording into the tunnel, including listening to the Japanese and English announcements prior to arriving at Shibuya Station.  More (much more) on that further down the page!

After going back through the ticket gates and while walking down the stairs towards the platform... from about the 02:52 mark, the sound the express train makes while passing through this station (which is not an express stop) is that of a train going over a bridge....  Hmm....  Wait, let me try running a Google search about that station and see if there is any information about what the ongoing construction is about.  [Google search...]  Well, so far I've found an old 2002 report about it - so obviously the planning goes way back!  The title on the PDF file goes like this: "Transition of Toyoko Line to go underground from Shibuya Station to Daikanyama Station - 27 February 2002 - Extraordinary Explanation Meeting for Investors".  Let me try a Japanese search.  Um... I'm not seeing any evidence of Daikanyama headed underground, but I do wonder if maybe they're going to stack the rails there to enable express trains to pass underneath local trains stopped at that local station?  Or maybe the current rough form of the station has something to do with meeting the completion deadline for the new hookup and the finer details of the construction for Daikanyama Station are yet to be completed?  In any case, here's some Japanese text I found regarding the hookup with the subway (at

東横線と副都心線の相互直通運転に向けて、 次の工事を行います。

東横線の渋谷~代官山間の約1.4km区間を地下化し、 渋谷駅で東京メトロ副都心線と相互直通運転します。 この計画によって、 東武東上線・西武池袋線から東京メトロ有楽町線・副都心線を経て、 東急東横線と横浜高速鉄道みなとみらい線までがひとつの路線として結ばれ、 東横線は、 首都圏の広域的な鉄道ネットワークの一翼を担うこととなります。 これにより、 都市交通の利便性向上と円滑化が期待されます。

特急・通勤特急・急行を10両編成で運行できるよう、 これらの列車が停車する駅を改良します。 あわせてバリアフリー施設の増備、 ホームの拡幅などを行い、 利便性を向上させます。

But listening to the sound of trains coming in... making that hollow drum beating noise - I really do wonder what's under the rails here!

And now we come to... the English announcement!  It begins from about the 08:46 mark, and goes like this:

"We will soon make a brief stop at Shibuya.  Passengers changing to the Denentoshi Line, the JR Line, the Keio Inokashira Line, the Ginza Line, and the Hanzomon Line, please transfer at this station.  This train will merge and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line to Wakoshi.  This train will operate as a local train in Fukutoshin Line.  Thank you for using the Tokyu-Toyoko Line."

There are a number of problems with the announcement -  some nit-picky, and some serious:

- "We will soon make a brief stop at..." - this appears to have been lifted form the decades-old Shinkansen English announcements, and while it makes perfect sense when traveling at 250kph or so for an hour and stopping at some city before the one you are zooming off to, it makes no sense whatsoever to say that for an intercity train that 100% of time (unless there's some problem), always, always, always, always, ALWAYS makes a "brief stop" at each and every station it stops at.  Because it works for the prestigious Shinkansen, doesn't mean it automatically works for an intercity commuter line.

- "The JR Line" sounds like there is one railway line called "the JR Line" but actually there are no single lines called "JR".  JR is the company that operates a huge range of different lines, and several of them stop at Shibuya, so that should be "JR lines" not "the JR Line".  To be even more nit-picky - there was one national railway organization called JNR (Japan National Railways) that was broken up into different groups and privatized.  The company that operates trains in this part of Japan is "JR East", or to be really proper about it and go by the name the company uses on their website: "JR-EAST - East Japan Railway Company" in English and "JR東日本" in Japanese.

- "Passengers changing to the ...... // ......., please transfer at this station."  Pleading with the passengers to transfer is just creepy.  This could be something like "Next stop:  Shibuya.  Transfers available to the following lines - Denentoshi, Keio Inokashira, Ginza, Hanzomon, and JR lines."

- "This train will merge and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line to Wakoshi."  This part is so bad, I'm going to go back and listen a few more times.  a) Surely they're not really saying this?  The train will merge?  Merge with what?  How about completing the sentence.  "Merge" is not an end in itself!  Admittedly, full comprehension of what's happening is a little complicated.  The same train continues down the rails seamlessly without interruption (and since the Fukutoshin Line ends in Shibuya, "merge" is the wrong term anyway), but after Shibuya, it is no longer the Toyoko Line!  It becomes the Fukutoshin Line.  And past Ikebukuro (I think), it is no longer the Fukutoshin Line!  It becomes the Tobu-Tojo Line (in this case - or the Seibu-Ikebukuro Line for some other trains).  b) Therefore, that "and continue traveling on the Toyoko Line" part is flat-out wrong.  (I wonder how that glaring error got into the announcement?)

- "This train will operate as a local train in Fukutoshin Line."  *in* Fukutoshin Line?  I must be mishearing that... but that's what it sounds like.  I have some sympathy for someone who is trying to do a literal (as opposed to virtual) translation of each and every word in the Japanese announcement, but this should be something like "This train runs as a Fukutoshin Line train between Shibuya and Ikebukuro".  This is important actually, because fares jump a little when you transfer to a different system, and since the Toyoko Line and the Fukutoshin Line are different systems, Shibuya is a kind of fare barrier.  It's all seamless in operation, and the fare is automatically calculated by the computers at the ticket gate when you exit, but regarding what you're paying, that's the way it works.

Phew!  What a mess!  If you're going to make a *recording* and then play it back day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, you'd think someone would try a little harder to do it right.  Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the train system and the people who keep it running smoothly, but what's with these low-quality horrible English announcements anyway?  I think there is no need for English announcements in the first place ("Shibuya" is "Shibuya" in whatever language), but if they *are* needed, more effort should be made in doing them right... don't you think?

New Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Tunnel to Surface 新東横渋谷駅地下-地上 (130319)

From riding through the new tunnel between Daikanyama and Shibuya, to getting off the train and making my way back to the surface of the planet through various passageways and escalators - several of which I've never experienced before and even the ones that I had, only once or twice.  It's kind of weird (or maybe I should say it's *very* weird) - all these years of visiting Shibuya and it's like they've built a new underground city there.  Being down there felt more like visiting another country, or a new outpost on another planet or something.  Back on the surface of planet Earth, finally I saw something I've known for many years - the Ginza railway bridge and the (soon to be demolished) just decommissioned Toyoko Shibuya Station (the surface of planet Earth version that is, not the underground city version).

Shibuya - East Side of Station - Meiji-dori 渋谷駅東側 - 明治通り (130319)
Heading for the old elevated pedestrian bridge after recently returning to the surface of the planet, I walk by a blue bicycle lane.  I'm beginning to see these now and then in the city, but they're still fairly rare I think.  I'm not too sure though, since I never ride a bike in central Tokyo.  Towards the end of this video, I take another look at the (suddenly) former Toyoko-Shibuya Station.  It's still hard to believe that that station is now devoid of trains.
Walking Towards East Entrance of Shibuya Station 渋谷駅東口に向かう (130319)

Beginning on the elevated pedestrian walkway next to the old station and then walking down the stairs towards the remaining (mainly JR) above-ground part of Shibuya Station... but then getting sidetracked by the entrance to the old pedestrian tunnel I used to use back in the eighties...

Shibuya Pedestrian Underpass - Tunnel and West Side 渋谷地下通路と西側 (130319)
Funny how something that was purely a utilitarian detail of daily life suddenly takes on some kind of special meaning decades later... heightened by the fact that it's about to disappear.  Walking through this tunnel again now brings back rather vivid memories of the mid-eighties.

There's something about places that brings memories out of deep storage in the brain - but once the places have been radically changed, the effect is weakened and even lost (almost?) altogether (depending on how radically changed a place is).  The east exit of Shinagawa Station is a place that no longer brings back any memories for me, since there's nothing left of what was there before!  All of the old things have been eradicated and everything is new.

Shibuya Pedestrian Underpass 東急電鉄渋谷歩行者地下通路 (すぐ閉鎖) 130319hdg
Beside old Tokyu-Toyoko Line Tracks 元東急東横線路の隣見回り (130319)

From about the 01:05 mark, the elevated (former) Toyoko-Shibuya Station is to the left, with the elevated tracks going off into the distance.  Not obvious in this video (above), the tracks curve sharply to the right not long after leaving the station.  The following video (from 2008) shows how it looked on this same side while looking out an open window on an inbound train while the train came around the bend.  I really like this view from 2008 - the electric night atmosphere and the noise of steel on steel... I just wish it were longer.  It ends as soon as the train finishes going around the bend.  Especially since trains no longer run on these tracks, I wish I'd spent more time recording this stretch.  I heard about plans to close the station some months ago, but for some reason didn't think about the fact that trains would no longer run on this section of track.  How quickly things seem to disappear sometimes.  You think things will just be there forever - but they aren't.
Approaching Shibuya Station at Night (Toyoko Line) 2008年の東横線 (渋谷駅)

In introducing this video to some people on-line, I wrote the following (earlier today):

もと撮るべきだったが、この2008年の動画が、東横線の東横渋谷駅手前のカーブの雰囲気が少し分かる。 開いている窓から、夜の様子、鉄と鉄の音... 東京の電気夜...
I'm really kicking myself now for not leaving the camera running all the way into the station, but still - this shows a little of the atmosphere of the sharp curve leading into the now decommissioned Toyoko-Shibuya Station.
「続けて駅まで撮った良かったのに!」、今は思うけど、一応少し撮ったのは、良かったも思う! 窓が閉まってると、色々な事が分からなくなる - 窓が開いてると、色々感じる! こう言う理由で、あまりエアコンは好きじゃない。

Shibuya 3-Chome - Side Streets and Graffiti 渋谷三丁目 - 横道と落書き (130319)
I've been noticing what has seemed like gradually more and more graffiti in the city over the years, but I was surprised at how much there was in this area!  It's all over just about everything on the side streets!  It makes me wonder how many people are going about the city throwing paint around.
Graffiti Along Shibuya River 渋谷川の落書き (130319hd)

Meiji-dori Stroll - Shibuya Station Bound 明治通り散策散歩 - 渋谷駅向き (130319hd)
Walking down Meiji-dori.  Events and my schedule have combined in a way that I have hardly ever (if ever) walked down this street before.  I used to just about always feel that way in Tokyo - turn anywhere and a new street awaited - but at this point, I feel surprised if I discover a major street near a major station that I haven't been on yet.  Some combination of being a bit stuck in a rut and not trying hard enough to seek out new things?

Shibuya East Side Elevated Walkway Stroll 歩行者橋の散策散歩 (130319)
There are several interconnected pedestrian bridges in this area, there to safely get people over the vast areas of black asphalt desert with its roaring internal combustion machinery, and (in this video) I walk on this network of bridges again to get back to where I was on the east side of Shibuya Station before I decided to go through the old pedestrian tunnel... and ended up exploring the graffiti side streets and looping back towards the station via Meiji-dori.

Former Toyoko Shibuya Station Entrances 元東横渋谷駅の両方の改札口 (130319)

I wanted to show both of the entrances to the former Toyoko-Shibuya Station, so I started by the lower entrance, and then walked around, up, and over to the upper entrance, which is where most of the pandemonium was on March 15th, the last day the station was open.  Once again, people were at the upper entrance with their cameras out.  I think the crowds all went there on the last day because you could see the trains there (the lower entrance is under the platforms), and they were there on the 19th both because they wanted "before and after" pictures [cough], and because the railway just put up low barriers there, so the upper area is visually open.  For the lower area, I had to hold my camera up over a high barrier.  Watching this again as I write this, I'm feeling burned out on the subject, but I'm glad I recorded it in any case!
Shibuya to Shinagawa - Afternoon Yamanote Line 渋谷駅-品川駅 - 山手線 (130319)

At about the 01:19 mark, the train approaches Ebisu Station.  For a time-slip comparison, have a look at the following video taken in 1991, when Ebisu Station consisted of a single open platform:

Ebisu Station in July 1991 - 1991年7月の恵比寿駅

Shinagawa to Yurakucho - Afternoon Yamanote Line 品川駅-有楽町駅 - 山手線 (130319)

Afternoon Yurakucho Station Platform 午後有楽町駅ホーム (130319)
Yurakucho Plaza - Looking Around 夕暮れの有楽町広場 (130319hd)

Baba Mariko Exhibition at Ai Gallery 馬場まり子展 - 藍ギャラリー (130319hd)

Walking Along Edge of Ginza 1-Chome 銀座一丁目の横道散策散歩 (130319)
Ginza is a nice to walk through at this time of the evening - in the twilight with its magical mix of fading sunlight and electric city lighting.

Tokyo Station Yaesu Bus Area 東京駅八重洲側バスゾーン (130319)

Tokyo Station South Concourse (Evening) 東京駅南通路 (夕方) 130319

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, March 18, 2013

"1991 Kyojima; 1992 Australia; 2013 Chuo Local Line, Sendagaya, Shibuya, Etc."

This batch of videos begins with a few from 1992 Australia - first in Surfers Paradise, and then in Cairns, where I rode on the old Kuranda train in a very historically interesting old rail car, that apparently (from what I was told might happen at the time, and what appears to have indeed happened from what I see on-line) has since had the original interior ripped out and replaced with new hotel lounge style seating.  Then, dropping back another year to 1991, I try out a pachinko machine in Kyojima.  After that are typical 2013 scenes from Tokyo, including a series of videos from the local line version of the Chuo Line - taken between Mitaka and Sendagaya.
Old section of (former) Tamagawa-josui - Copyright 2000 by LHS

1992 Surfers Paradise, Australia (920417)

1992 Surfers Paradise to Cairns Flight (Australia - 920418)

1992 Australia - Cairns - Kuranda Train Ride - Hotel - Etc.

1992 - Kuranda Railway Original 1st Class Carriage Ride - Cairns Australia (920418)

1991 - Kyojima - Trying Out Pachinko (Shitamachi) 910324

Seibu-Kokubunji Line - Front Cab View 西武国分寺線 - 前向き (130311hd)

Mitaka Station Walkabout 三鷹駅のお昼様子 - そして吉祥寺まで (130312g)

Mitaka Station at lunchtime felt rather like a shopping mall, which is sort of is.  It's very convenient for railway passengers to be able to go to restaurants and shops within the stations, but recently I've begun to wonder what effect this must be having on local retail businesses in the area outside the ticket gates....

Kichijoji Station Walkabout 吉祥寺駅のお昼様子 (130312)

Kichijoji is in the middle of a transformation - which you can see in recently remodeled areas by some ticket gates and the area under construction by another.

Inbound Local Chuo Line (to Ogikubo) 上り各駅中央線 (荻窪駅まで) 130312hdc

Ogikubo to Asagaya (Chuo Line) 荻窪駅-阿佐ヶ谷駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

[Above and below]  Taking a local inbound Chuo Line train, it was surprisingly relaxing, and it felt a little strange/detached watching a regular (kaisoku/rapid) Chuo Line train running in parallel (end of video above and all of video below).  I've spent a lot more time *inside* those trains than riding along beside them - looking at them from the outside.  It occurred to me that no matter how crowded they might be inside, from the vantage point of looking at them from another train running beside them, they look... (not sure how to explain the sensation of watching them dispassionately from the side...) they look... normal?  I say this, because I imagined some very stressful times inside those trains, and I imagined someone in a less crowded train running alongside a high-pressure train, and they would have little or no idea what was going on inside the high-pressure train (unless they frequently used it themselves).  There seemed to be something at least semi-profound about the concept, but it's just perspective I guess.

Asagaya to Koenji (Chuo Line) 阿佐ヶ谷駅-高円寺駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Koenji to Nakano (Chuo Line) 高円寺駅-中野駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Nakano to Higashi-Nakano (Chuo Line) 中野駅-東中野駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Higashi-Nakano to Okubo (Chuo Line) 東中野駅-大久保駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Okubo to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 大久保駅-新宿駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Exploring Old Building in Shinjuku (130312)

Walking Down Interesting Old Staircase in Shinjuku (130312)

Yamanote to Chuo Transfer at Shinjuku 新宿駅で山手線-中央線の乗り換え (130312)

Waiting for Outbound Chuo Line at Shinjuku (Late Night) 新宿で中央線を待つ (130312)

There's something fascinating about looking down a long, open platform of people waiting for a train to come alongside the platform and pick them up....  Oh!  By the way, the male voice doing the announcement in the middle of this one I recognized from another day (also in a video) when I thought it was a recording (and maybe it was), but this time I walked by the man while he was making an announcement into a mic, so I know for a fact that it was live this time (and maybe also that other time).  He has a good voice and way of speaking for announcements.

Shinjuku to Sendagaya (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-千駄ヶ谷駅 (各駅中央線) 130312hdc

Sendagaya Station - Train Arriving and Departing 千駄ヶ谷駅 - 到着と出発 (130312hd)
Sendagaya Station - Platform to Exit 千駄ヶ谷駅 - ホームから改札口まで (130312)

Sendagaya 1-Chome Walkabout 千駄ヶ谷一丁目散策散歩 (130312)

Looking Around in Sendagaya 1-Chome 千駄ヶ谷一丁目散策散歩 (130312)

Two-Level Metal Rack Parking in Sendagaya 千駄ヶ谷二段ラック駐車場 (130312)

Walking Under Rail Bridge, Etc., Near Sendagaya Station, 千駄ヶ谷
Black Road Stroll - Near Setagaya Station (130312)

Quiet Spring Day - Side Street Stroll 春の横道散策散歩 (130312)

I think this experience was the first time this year that I really felt like spring had arrived.  It's still rather cold, but it's beginning to warm up a little and several plants are flowering, so the sakura flower viewing season is very near I think!

Crossing Main Road Near Shinjuku 1-Chome 新宿一丁目近くの大通り (130312)

Fire Truck Drives by in Shinjuku (130312)

Entering Shinjuku Station - East Entrance 夕暮れ新宿 - 駅の東口に入る (130312)
新宿駅東口改札から上り中央線ホームまで Shinjuku Station East (130312)

Nighttime Kanda Station - Under Construction 夜の工事中神田駅 (130312)

Kanda to Yurakucho (Keihin-Tohoku Line) 神田駅-有楽町駅 (夜の京浜東北線) 130312

Tokyo Station Night Walkthrough - Yaesu to Marunouchi Northwest Dome (130312g)

In previous videos walking through Tokyo station from the Yaesu side to the Marunouchi side, I've usually walked straight down one of the under-track concourses, but in this video I crossed over from one of the two main concourses to the other and so it's basically a diagonal path through the station that I took.  This shows a lot of the elements of Tokyo Station, including ticket windows and internal transfer gates for the Shinkansen trains.

Tokyo to Kanda - Nighttime Chuo Line 東京駅-神田駅 - 夜の中央線 (130312)

Shinjuku - Chuo Line Platform to Upper Concourse Bookstore 新宿駅本屋 (130312hd)

Shinjuku Station Upper Concourse (Number Ten) 新宿駅上の通路 (130312hd)

That announcement... "... Platform... Number... Ten... - please wait for your train on... Platform... Number... Ten..."  This is what happens when you have someone who may be native to a language, but is an amateur for acting/reading, do recordings like this.  It's kind of comical, but it also really sucks to have to listen to the same bad recordings over and over and over....

Shinjuku South Entrance to Shibuya-Bound Yamanote Line Platform (130312)

Gakugei-Daigaku Station Platform Sounds 学芸大学駅ホームの音々 (130312hd)

Boarding Toyoko Line Train at Gakugei-Daigaku Station (130312hdc)

Running at Speed - Express Toyoko Line Train from Gakugei-Daigaku Station (130312)

Arriving at Nakameguro on Inbound Tokyu Toyoko Line (Motor Sounds, Etc) 130312

Shibuya Yamanote Line - Ticket Gates to Platform JR-渋谷駅の山手線ホームまで (130312)

Yamanote Line Train Arriving at Shibuya 渋谷駅 - 山手線の到着と待つ (130312)

Departing Shibuya Station via Yamanote Line 渋谷駅から出発 (山手線) 130312

Former Path of Tamagawa Josui in Central Tokyo 元玉川上水吐 (Long Walk) 130312
Twilight Walk to Shinjuku 新宿の夕暮れの時に散策散歩 - 新ブラ (130312g)

Koizumi Keiichi - Exhibition at Art Space Rondo 小泉恵一展示会 (130315)

Main Road Separating Original Ginza from Extended Ginza (130315)

This wide expanse of dead black asphalt full of roaring internal combustion machinery almost always stops me from going to the back side of Ginza.  There are some interesting things over there, but there are enough interesting things in the original Ginza area that I almost never feel compelled to climb up and over this desert of asphalt with its noise, exhaust fumes, etc.  I really think they should stop building new roads in Tokyo and make it illegal (or at least very expensive) to own a car within the city.  The more of Tokyo they bury under wide deserts of black asphalt, the worse the city becomes for its inhabitants.

Late Night Ebisu Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 夜遅くの恵比寿駅 (130315)

Shibuya - JR-Ticket Gates to Yamanote Line 渋谷駅JR改札から山手線へ (130315)

All-Green Advertisement Yamanote Train at Ebisu 恵比寿駅の全緑山手線 (130315)

Yamanote Line Train Arriving at Ebisu 恵比寿駅で山手線を乗る (130315)

Chuo Line - Before and After Nakano 中央線中野駅前後 (130315)

Shinjuku to Ochanomizu (Chuo Line) 新宿駅-御茶ノ水駅 (中央線) 130315

Ochanomizu to Kanda - Kanda Platform Walk 御茶ノ水-神田 - 神田駅見回り (130315)
I had intended for this video to continue to Tokyo Station, but as they began to close the doors at Kanda in order to continue on to Tokyo Station, they opened them again and left them open - and then announced that one of the emergency stop buttons at Tokyo Station had been pressed.  Later on, they explained that someone's bag (or something) had gotten stuck between the train and the platform due to them rushing to get on the train.  I originally figured the train would get under way fairly soon, so I left the camera running and took the opportunity to walk down the platform at Kanda Station and record the interesting metal structure of the underside of the old platform roof, etc.  After going down the entire length of the platform though, I ended up stopping the camera before the train got under way again.
Kanda to Tokyo (Chuo Line) 神田駅から東京駅まで (中央線) 130315

Ginza Station - Ticket Gates to Train 銀座駅 - 改札から電車まで (130315)

Ginza to Aoyama-Itchome (Ginza Line) 銀座駅-青山一丁目駅 (銀座線) 130315

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station's Last Day - 東急東横線渋谷駅の最終日"

The title focuses on the final operational day for Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station (東急東横線渋谷駅) - Friday, March 15th, 2013, but the first nine videos were taken on Tuesday, March 12th, before the pandemonium of the final day.  I won't go into the history of the Toyoko Line here, just I'll say that I think a lot of people, myself included, liked the above-ground Toyoko Shibuya Station and are a little sad to see it go underground.  With the old station, you could go to the end of the platform and look around at the surrounding buildings in Shibuya, feel the wind, see the sky, look over and see people walking on the elevated walkways that lead (under the elevated expressway) to Shibuya Station.  Looking around, you knew - and felt like - you were a part of mega-city Tokyo.  All of that is missing in a subway tunnel.  Oh well.  The station was taken underground for good logistical reasons, so I can't complain, but I will miss the old station.
As mentioned above, the first batch of videos is from Tuesday, March 12th, and on that day, they had some of the crowd-control measures already implemented (unnecessarily I think, but better safe than sorry), so there were guards scattered about on the platforms to stop people from standing around being tourists and getting in the way of commuters, but it looked and felt pretty normal otherwise.  In front of the main ticket gates, there were some people standing around, taking pictures of the destination board, etc., but they were left alone.  Let's go to that block of videos first, and I'll comment again before the batch of final day videos further down the page.

Coming into Shibuya via Yamanote Line (Side Window Night View) 山手線 (130312)

Shibuya - Yamanote to Toyoko Transfer (Old Toyoko Shibuya Station) 渋谷駅 (130312)

Surface Toyoko-Shibuya Station - Ticket Gates to 9000-Type Local Train (9000型) 130312

They are retiring this model of train on the Toyoko Line, presumably due to it not being compatible with the subway system that the Toyoko Line is tied in with now (as of Saturday, March 16th, 2013), so this (below) is one of the last rides taken on this model (on this line at least).  The sounds are almost more important than the visual element.

Toyoko 9000 Ride - Shibuya to Gakugei-Daigaku - 渋谷駅-学芸大学駅 (130312)

Gakugei-Daigaku Station Platform Extension 学芸大学駅のホーム延長 (130312)

Nakameguro to Daikanyama (Toyoko Line) 中目黒駅-代官山駅 (東急東横線) 130312

I didn't know what sort of construction they were doing, but it was evident some large-scale construction work was going on.  I found out later from a TV news report that they had to lower the platform and tracks to enable the tracks to match up with the slope of the tracks going into and coming out of the new tunnel between Daikanyama and Shibuya.  They finished the switchover in about four hours - between the last train on Friday night and the first train on Saturday morning.  It's really quite impressive how they do construction projects like this without interrupting rail service at all.

Daikanyama to Shibuya Station (Toyoko Line) 代官山駅-元渋谷駅 (東横線) 130312g

Toyoko-Shibuya Station Walkabout 東急東横線渋谷駅見回り (上と下) 130312
Lower Ticket Gates (March 12th, 2013)

Toyoko Shibuya Station (Above Ground Version) 地上の東急東横線渋谷駅 (130312g)

Late night (around 11:00 p.m.) scene in front of the main ticket gates.  This is a fairly good representation of how the station looked on a normal day, with the exception of people here and there stopping to take pictures of it before it becomes history (by going underground).  Friday was a completely different picture (see picture below)!

And - speaking of Friday (March 15th) - here we are (above photo)!  The following videos were taken on Friday over a couple of hours during the late part of the evening rush.  The sounds of the event are pretty amazing.  The railway sent in an army of employees to tell people (very loudly) not to stop, to keep moving, not to take flash pictures, not to block the passageway, not to stop, not to stop, not to stop, etc. etc. etc.  To get the effect of being there, you owe it to yourself to plug in a good pair of headphones and listen with the volume turned up high.  The wide-format videos are in stereo, and those probably bring home the effect best.  The monaural videos might actually sound better through speakers, come to think of it, but for the wide-format ones in stereo, try out the headphones - it's quite an experience in places.

Aoyama-Itchome to Shibuya (Ginza Line) 青山一丁目駅-渋谷駅 (銀座線) 130315g

Toyoko Shibuya Final Day - by Ticket Gates 東横線最終日改札前 (130315g)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (B) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (C) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Platform Scene - Final Day Toyoko Shibuya ホームの様子 - 東横渋谷駅終日 (130315)
Platform Walk - Toyoko Shibuya Final ホーム散策散歩東横渋谷駅終日 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Walkabout 東横線渋谷駅一階と二階 (130315)
Boarding Train at Tokyu Shibuya Station 東急渋谷駅で電車を乗る (130315)

Shibuya to Nakameguro - Toyoko Line 渋谷駅-中目黒駅 - 東横線 (130315)

To get onto the platforms, naturally I had to pass through one of the ticket gates, and having done that, I needed to go somewhere, so I went to Nakameguro, got off there, walking around a little (see next video), and then came back to Shibuya.

Naka-Meguro Station Area Walkabout 中目黒駅あたりの夜散策散歩 (130315)

Nakameguro to Shibuya - Toyoko Line 中目黒駅-渋谷駅 - 東横線 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (D) ITG 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Toyoko Shibuya Station - Last Day (E) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315-2131g)

Toyoko Shibuya Station Last Day (F) 東急東横線渋谷駅最終日 (130315)

Last Day Toyoko Shibuya Station - Inside and Outside the Ticket Gates (130315)

Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station - Up Escalator to Ticket Gate Area (Last Day) 130315

Shibuya Station - Walking from One Entrance of Toyoko Line to the Other (130315)
Shibuya Outside Walkway - People Watching Final Day Toyoko Trains (130315)
Shibuya Outside Elevated Walkway - Night-360 (130315)

Tokyu-Toyoko Shibuya Station - Final Day Walkabout Outside and Inside (130315)

I highly recommend seeing this last video, as I walked from the elevated walkway, down to street level opposite Shibuya Station, over to the new multifunction, multi-shape building, rode/walked up to the second floor, and then walked past the long line of people waiting (for hours) to ride The Last Train to leave Toyoko-Shibuya Station - the above-ground version that is.  Finally, I pass through the ongoing pandemonium in front of the ticket gates, and go over towards the Yamanote Line.  This video has a lot of information in it about that evening at Shibuya Station.
Copyright 2013 by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Friday, March 08, 2013

"Harajuku Mirror View" (December 2012)

"Harajuku Mirror View" (December 2012)
Copyright 2012 by Lyle H Saxon

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

"Ginza, Shinjuku, Shin-Okubo, Okubo, Ogikubo, Nishi-Ogikubo, Etc."

Various train scenes, a couple of art exhibitions, and visits to Shin-Okubo, Okubo (which are within easy walking distance of each other), Higashi-Nakano, Nakano, Ogikubo, Nishi-Ogikubo, etc.  It's been a fairly typical week, with the glaring exception of having had a very nasty encounter with a bogus "artist".  I'm still trying to shake the toxicity of the encounter.  Not much to say off the top of my head right now, other than the depressing realization that dirty politics and rotten dishonesty pervade just about everything in this world - including the art world - there really do seem to be many evil bipeds among us, there's one in every group on the planet apparently.

Kanda to Tokyo (Chuo Line) Shinkansen Track Construction and Tokyo Station (130305g)

In recent videos I've posted showing the ride from Kanda to Tokyo, I've tended to be on the Yamanote Line, which is a couple of tracks over - closer to the ongoing construction of new Shinkansen tracks on that side.  For this one, I stayed on the Chuo Line, which is further over to the other side, and so provides a better view of the new track construction.  You can see it well from about the 00:09 mark - once the train I was on gets past the neighboring platform roof that was blocking the view.

After getting off the train at Tokyo Station, I left my camera rolling while going down the long escalator from the Chuo Line platform and also as I walked through one of the concourses in Tokyo Station.  The video ends soon after going through ticket gates on the Yaesu side of the station.

Evening Tokyo Station Concourse Walkthrough 東京駅夕方散策 (130305ghd)

Later on that same day, I reenter Tokyo Station from the Yaesu side and walk all the way through the station to the Marunouchi side.  The stereo sound on this one should give you an idea of the ambiance of the station - especially if you listen to it with headphones on.  The plain white construction walls of the Yaesu side make the nicely reconstructed Marunouchi side seem especially nice.

Tokyo to Ochanomizu - Late Night Chuo Line 東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 - 夜の中央線 (130305g)

Watching the double-image light show provided by a nighttime window of an outbound Chuo Line train.

Just to give you some BS-nonsense text (I recently got an earful at a sinister exhibition that was all about evil deception and nothing about art), I have recorded part of it upside-down to prompt the realization of people living on the other side of the planet, that while they are riding in trains facing up, we're simultaneously riding in trains running upside-down here in Tokyo.  Wonderful thing that gravity is, we can do this without falling out into space.  (Now wasn't that profound?  Welcome to the nonsensical world of concept marketing!)

But - to be serious again - I rather like this video.  The electric mix of images in the window is really beautiful in a mega-city kind of way.

Nishi-Ogikubo Station Late at Night 夜遅くの西荻窪駅 (130305g)

Starting on a late-night platform at Nishi-Ogikubo Station as an inbound kaisoku Chuo Line and an outbound local Chuo Line train go their separate ways.  Then I walk down the stairs, and out the ticket gates.

Kokubunji to Mitaka (Chuo Line) 国分寺駅-三鷹駅 (中央線) 130305hdc

Looking out the right side of a Chuo Line train speeding towards central Tokyo.  The white wall beside the railway is primarily to suppress noise I think, although it may also serve as a wall to keep trains from falling off of the elevated platform in the event of a powerful earthquake.  In this video (and the following ones taken on the way to Shinjuku), I had to slot the camera lens in-between two stickers on the door window glass.  Someone at the railway appears to think it's a great idea to plaster stickers all over the windows so you can't see through them.  I wish someone would tell them that the *purpose* of windows is to let light through - and putting stickers all over them *damages* that purpose.  Excuse me, but "logic" is not a four-letter word.

Mitaka to Ogikubo (Chuo Line) 三鷹駅から荻窪駅まで (中央線) 130305hdc

Not particularly exciting scenery, but there's something pleasant about watching it go by at speed from an elevated railway.  (There are a few places where the rails are on the ground, but mostly they're elevated between Tachikawa and Shinjuku.)

Ogikubo to Nakano (Chuo Line) 荻窪駅から中野駅まで (中央線) 130305hdc

Looking at the wall beside the railway here - it's a nondescript concrete color that blends in so well, you don't even notice it.  I'm not sure why the new ones are white.  I think the old style is more harmonious with the surroundings.  The lower height is nice for watching unobstructed passing scenery too.  (I must be getting old... so many times when I compare the new way doing things now with the old, the new way seems wrong and the old way better.)

Nakano to Shinjuku (Chuo Line) 中野駅から新宿駅まで (中央線) 130305hdc

Watching these again... I fast-forward past the horrible English announcements.  I wonder if they'll ever get English announcements (which I think are unnecessary in the first place) on the trains that are actually pleasant to listen to.  Considering it's a recording, you'd think someone could/would put some real effort into finding someone with a pleasant voice and... and... wait... at about the 02:38 mark, the "The doors on the left side will open" bit doesn't sound too horrible....  I wonder if it's been modified?  Maybe it's the Yamanote Line that has the "The doors on the LEFT SIDE will open" announcement?

In the railway's defense, I must admit they *have* improved at least some of the announcements.  Very much appreciated is that the Japanese station names are mostly normal now.  Before they were said with really weird intonation, so you'd get YoTSUya and NaKAno, etc.  So - thank you for fixing that JR!  There's still room for improvement with some (actually, *all* I think) of the announcements though.

Think I'm being nit-picky?  Well... the thing is - when you have to hear something dozens of times a day, an irritant is that much more irritating!  As for the terms used... the "Please change here for..." bit is kind of irritating.  I generally think "No, I don't want to change here!  I'm going further down the line!".  There must be some other way of announcing that!  Maybe "The following lines can be transferred to at the next stop: The Chuo Local, Yamanote, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Odakyu, Keio, Marunouchi, Toei-Shinjuku, and Oedo lines".  It isn't really necessary to say "The" and "Line" after each and every one of those.  Some consideration should be given to the 99.9% of riders who are not wide-eyed bumbling tourists, and are being driven to the edge of sanity by the daily barrage of badly written, badly spoken, irritating announcements.  Okay... let me say this then:

Dear JR様, これは、長すぎや!:
"The next station is Shinjuku.  The doors on the left side will open.  Please change here for the Chuo Line local service, the Yamanote Line, the Saikyo Line, the Shonan-Shinjuku Line, the Odakyu Line, the Keio Line, the Marunouchi subway line, the Shinjuku subway line, and the Oedo subway line.  The stop after Shinjuku will be Yotsuya."

"Next stop, Shinjuku.  The left-side doors will open.  At Shinjuku, the following lines can be transferred to: The Chuo local, Yamanote, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Odakyu, Keio, Marunouchi, Toei-Shinjuku, and Oedo lines".

Shinjuku Station - Upper Concourse to Yamanote Platform 新宿駅 (130305hdc)

I'm curious how people in other countries view the Yamanote platform at about the 00:57 mark - does that look crowded, empty, normal... or what?  For a long-term Tokyo resident, this seems about the way it should be.  If there were fewer people, I'd be worried and think "Where is everybody?", and if there were more, then the stressful thing begins to load into the mind as you get ready to deal with the various stresses produced by sardine run trains, etc... but this?  Just about right, I'd say.

Shinjuku - Yamanote Afternoon Platform Walk 新宿駅山手線ホーム散策 (130305hd)

When you walk through a scene like this, the motion of other people, trains, etc., throws the brain into a state of auto-navigation, and - so long as there are enough collision avoidance maneuvers required - minor worries tend to be tossed out of your consciousness.  So?  Well... it's hard to explain exactly, but artificial thinking is knocked out of the way, and things become more pure and real in a way?  ......  That's not a good explanation... let me come back to this one later!  [Later]  Ah... I guess that's good enough.  You get the picture, right?

Shinjuku to Higashi-Nakano (Chuo Local) 新宿駅-東中野 (中央線各駅) 130305

Watching the buildings flowing by outside a left-side window of the train, there are some good examples of the type of buildings rapidly headed for extinction in Tokyo - like the ones at 01:16, 01:18, and 1:33, etc.

At the 01:59 mark, is a quick view of the interior of a six-door (per side) train car.  Pure conjecture, but they pulled all of the six-door cars from the Yamanote Line (as part of the platform wall construction project), so presumably they swapped them for four-door cars from somewhere - possibly including the Chuo Local Line trains.  They were most meaningful on the Yamanote Line, so it's too bad they can't be used there any longer.

From around the 03:59 mark, I walk down the platform at Higashi-Nakano.  I wanted to have a look at this station again, because this design - dating back to some decades ago, is fast disappearing.  New stations are nice, and if there was no change, and all the stations were old, I would wish for change, but with old-style stations becoming rare, it increasingly seems to me that their design and construction was/is straightforward, practical, and honest.  New stations are more modern (obviously), and have escalators and elevators, etc., but I sometimes get the feeling that some type of uncomfortable politics is woven into the designs?  I can't put my finger on it exactly, but whatever it is, that aspect was better with the old designs.  Cohesive integrated design versus committee decisions maybe?

Higashi-Nakano Station 東中野駅 (March 2013) 2013年3月 (130305)

This video begins after going up the stairs from the platform.  The platform part of the station is unchanged, but the upper section has been rebuilt.  In front of the station, they have a fairly large area blocked off with the usual white construction walls (with interesting old pictures showing the history of Higashi-Nakano station), so something new is coming.  Probably a department store or mini-mall, which is what all JR stations seem to be becoming!  (Not a complaint - just an observation!)

Higashi-Nakano Walkabout 東中野午後散策散歩 (130305)

Starting by the walled off future construction part of Higashi-Nakano Station, walking towards the entrance, and then going down a flight of stairs to an area down on the ground next to the tracks.  As I mentioned further up the page, although most of the Chuo Line between Tachikawa and Shinjuku is elevated, there are some places where it's on the ground - and this is one of those places.  (Which means this area must be a hill, as they made the railway mostly level when they elevated it, with some sections about three stories up in the air, and other sections running on the ground.)

At the 04:20 mark, you can see where the Tozai Line comes out of the ground.  Outbound trains coming out of the tunnel here either dead-end at Nakano Station, or continue down the line as local Chuo Line trains to Mitaka.

Higashi-Nakano to Nakano (Chuo Local) 東中野駅-中野駅 (中央線各駅停車) 130305

By the title, this could be purely a train video showing the run down the line (outbound) to the next station, Nakano, but actually it begins on the streets next to Higashi-Nakano Station.  Then I take the escalator up to the the ticket gates, enter, and walk through the station and down to the platform.  After watching a kaisoku Chuo Line train speed by, I jump on a local Chuo Line and look out a right side window... up... at the buildings on what is basically the edge of the culvert the Chuo Line temporarily runs through before becoming elevated again.

Nakano Station Concourse and North Exit 中野駅内部通路と北口改札 (130305)

Nakano Station - Ticket Gates to Platform 中野駅 - 改札口からホームまで (130305hdc)

Once I get up to the platform, at the 01:27 mark, there's a look at the buildings in front of the station on the Sun Mall side.

Arriving at Ochanomizu Station (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水駅に到着 (中央線) 130305

A front cab view of approaching and pulling into Ochanomizu Station.

Ochanomizu to Kanda (Chuo Line) 御茶ノ水駅-神田駅 (中央線) 130305

Another look at the ongoing construction project on the former Manseibashi Station (万世橋駅) platform from a right-side window of a passing Chuo Line train.  I'm really hoping they will preserve much of the platform and also the original old stairs.

7th Floor to 5th Floor - Old Stairs (130305)

I don't think people in Europe can quite appreciate how important an old building like this can be in Tokyo.  Simply explained, it's a nearly missing part of Tokyo's/Japan's history.  After the Great Kanto Earthquake, the central part of the city was rebuilt with modern sturdy concrete buildings - meant to last a long time.  Now there are only a handful of them, and they broadcast an echo of that reconstruction period.

Maruyama Norio (丸山則夫) Exhibition 夜明け-雪 at Art Space Rondo (130305)

This was (I should say "is", since it's still going on) a pretty cool exhibition, with morning first-light photos exhibited in one of the cooler atmospheric rooms in the Okuno Building.  Recommended if you're in Ginza sometime over the next few days.

Kicuchi Megumi and Tsutsumi Yoshihiko Exhibition at Y's Arts Room-508 (130305)

This exhibition consists of an interesting combination of stitched leather and paint - made by two artists who passed the material back and forth several times to create this abstract art.  It's spit between the Y's Art White Room (Room-508) and Black Room (Room-101) in the Ginza Okuno Building.  This exhibition was also recently shown in New York.

(Excuse the color of parts of this video - I had the color balance set for the gallery rooms and it was shifted fairly radically towards green for the florescent tube illuminated hallways of the building.)

Passing Trains in the Night - Southern Terrace Stairs, Etc (130305)

Watching trains passing by Shinjuku Southern Terrace and then doing a bit of camera waving on a wide set of steps and the surrounding scenery.

Crossing into Shinjuku - South Entrance 新宿に入る - 南口 (130305)

This main street is the border between Shibuya-ku and Shinjuku-ku (the "Shinjuku Southern Terrace" is actually in Shibuya-ku).  After crossing the street, I enter Shinjuku Station via the South Exit ticket gates.

Shinjuku Station Late Night Yamanote Platform 新宿駅夜の山手線 (130305hd)

Walking down the Yamanote Line platform before boarding a train to go one stop to Shin-Okubo (see next video).

Shinjuku to Shin-Okubo (Yamanote Line) 新宿駅-新大久保駅 (山手線) 130305

Left-side nighttime window view of the ride from Shinjuku to Shin-Okubo.

Shin-Okubo Station Platform Walk 新大久保駅 - ホーム工事の様子 (130305)

I hadn't intended to spend time walking around on the Shin-Okubo Station platform, but seeing the advanced state of the platform wall construction there (it looks like all the places on the platform for bolting in the platform wall and its electric doors are in place), I thought it might be a good idea to record the open air platform before it disappears.  Actually - there's some history here.  There have been (many years ago) a couple of cases of people falling off the platform at this station and getting run over (and killed) by a train.

Something I've mentioned before:  There's the ongoing carnage of people getting killed in gruesome automobile accidents all over the country, and that's just considered normal.  One (or three in the most famous incident at this station over a decade ago) people die on the railways and the media goes berserk with stories about how dangerous the railways are!

While walking around on the Shin-Okubo Station platform, several trains (Saikyo Line, Seibu-Shinjuku Line, etc.) pass by at speed.

Exiting Shin-Okubo Station と Main Street Stroll 新大久保駅を出て - 散策散歩 (130305)

Going from the platform down to the ticket gates as a train unloads/loads people; through the ticket gates, and (after watching the train I walked away from up above pull out), down the main street towards Okubo Station.

Walking to Okubo Station Late at Night 夜遅く大久保駅までの散歩 (130305)

Walking along the road that connects Shin-Okubo Station and Okubo Station.

Soba and Udon Shop Ticket Machine Printout (130305)

This type of fast food I find much nicer than hamburger places.  You buy a ticket for what you want from a vending machine, give the person behind the counter the ticket, choose whether you want soba noodles, or udon noodles, and then they (usually) get it for you within 60 seconds or so.  This type of place - selling inexpensive hot noodles - is especially nice when the weather is cold.

Entering Okubo Station - Platform Views 大久保駅を入る - ホームビュー (130305)

Simple title, but this one covers a lot of area actually - from looking around on the streets near the station, to crossing the street under the overhead railway, and *then* entering Okubo Station while looking around.  Up on the platform, I walk around and take in the old style platform with it's old steel roof (that I hope will continue to be used for a long while yet), watch a train come and go; watch a couple of kaisoku Chuo Line trains speed by (one inbound and one outbound) on neighboring tracks, and then I stopped the camera - turning it back on a few minutes later to look around a little more (next video).

Okubo Station Platform Details - Late at Night Waiting for a Train (130305)

Right at the end of this short video - at about the 00:51 mark, is a typical view of the quiet semi-desolation of a late-night non-major train station atmosphere in the quiet between trains.

Nighttime Local Chuo Line Interior 夜の各駅中央線内 (130305hd)

Looking down the carriage of a late night outbound local Chuo Line train.  Generally speaking, things are a bit more settled on the local trains than they are on the express trains.

Incidentally, notice (at Higashi-Nakano) the blue light illuminated end of the platform at around the 00:50 mark.  People's eyebrows worldwide were raised when they began installing blue lights at the end of platforms to cut down on suicides.  I haven't heard or read anything about it lately, but I notice the lights are all still there.  I wonder if they actually have an effect on people considering jumping in front of a train in order to commit suicide?  Blue to cool down(?) fits in with the color theory of the old all-orange Chuo Line trains influencing people *to* commit suicide.  For some reason, the blue lights at the end of the platforms seem to me like they might even make some sense - somehow - but I've never believed that the suicide rate on the Chuo Line was high because the trains were orange.  The reasons seems straightforward enough: the line is - overall, throughout the day, on average - the most crowded line in the country, and the morning commute isn't very pleasant.  So it stands to reason that there would be more suicides there, if not because it's unpleasant (although that aspect shouldn't be ignored), then due to the numbers.  In fact, the high suicide rate refers to the number of suicides on the line, irrespective of the number of people using the line.  If they looked at the percentage of suicides - based on the number of people using the line - then maybe the rate isn't even high?

Local Chuo Line to Ogikubo - Late Night View 中央線夜各駅停車の様子 (130305)

An almost strangely quiet and settled ride.  I guess not being near a holiday or Friday, everything was just in Normal Mode.

Between Nakano and Mitaka, the local Chuo Line trains and kaisoku Chuo Line trains all stop at the same stations, so - within that stretch, you're generally better off taking a local (yellow stripe) train, since the kaisoku Chuo Line trains often wait for "tsukin-kaisoku", "tokubetsu-tsukin-kaisoku" and other express trains to pass, while the local trains just plod along without interruption.  (If you're going from Mitaka to Nakano, then a tsukin-kaisoku is of course fastest.)

Ogikubo Station Late at Night 夜の荻窪駅 (130305)

Exiting Ogikubo Station for a quick look around at night while on my way to Nishi-Ogikubo.

Ogikubo Nighttime Trackside 夜の荻窪 - 線路隣の散歩 (130305)

Late Night Ogikubo Shotengai Shopping Street 夜中の荻窪商店街 (130305)

Very short clip, but I wanted to show something of the atmosphere of a late night shotengai shopping street as it appears when you're walking down one on the way home after a long day at work.

Narrow Staircase Leading into Ogikubo Station (130305)

In this video, you can see how - once they installed an escalator - there wasn't much room left, so the remaining stairs became quite narrow.

Ogikubo to Nishi-Ogikubo (Local Chuo Line) 荻窪駅-西荻窪駅 (夜遅く) 130305

One stop down the line to Nishi-Ogikubo - either a kaisoku or local train would have worked fine, but a local came first, so I took that.  As the train rolled along, we ended up running in parallel with a kaisoku and pulled into Nishi-Ogikubo at the same time.  It's a little rare (although it happens often enough in Tokyo) to look out the window of a train and see another train running in the same direction beside you - so I always enjoy the experience when it happens and almost feel like I should wave at the passengers on the other train or something.

Nishi-Ogikubo Izakaya Late Night Stroll 西荻窪居酒屋夜の様子 (130305)

Places like this began as just a collection of small side street shops, but have become rare enough in Tokyo now, that they've become kind of like a theme park attraction - a way to go time-tripping instead of future seeking.

Yakiimo Truck by Nishi-Ogikubo Station (130305) [X]

2013/06/28 Note: I got a comment in English words that didn't make sense, but seemed to be expressing displeasure about this video and apparently from the man leaning against the truck looking at his cell phone in the video, so I've deleted the video.  I'm not sure what the problem is/was - the man's face wasn't in the video at all.  The only reason I can think of is that since he was leaning against the truck and looking at something on his cell phone, it didn't look like he was very serious about working, and maybe that was the source of the displeasure?  In any case, I deleted the video (which is why I put an "X" after the link above, and de-automated the link (what's the correct term for that anyway?).

I've been seeing ishi-yakiimo trucks like this for the whole time I've been in Japan, although there used to be more of them.  There was one guy who parked near the Omoide-yokocho izakaya alley in Shinjuku for the longest time.  He had a generator providing power for a small television that he watched while waiting for customers.  The guy in this video appears to be using his cell phone.  It would be funny if he was watching TV on it, but who cares about TV any more anyway?

Yakiimo Truck Walk-by 夜の焼き芋トラック (130305hd)

Nishi-Ogikubo Station - Midnight Ticket Gates to Platform Walk (130305)

There comes a point late at night - with the last train not far distant - that the evening/night loses its allure, and - often quite suddenly - you just want to be home.  Watching this video now as I type this, it's that feeling more than anything that comes to mind.  And with that, we've come to the last video in this batch.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon