Monday, December 08, 2014

Train Rider Vampires and Ginza Exhibitions

Transcribed from handwritten text:

2014/12/05 - [Onboard inbound train]

I've often complained about the recorded announcements in trains, but there is one aspect of them that is quite nice (or *can* be nice), and that is a consistent volume level.  I'm reminded of this by the train I'm currently riding in, in which the conductor is reading the announcements live (nice), but has (unfortunately) set the volume level so high that it's actually physically painful to listen to (not so nice).

2014/12/05 - 16:40 - [Inbound Seibu-Shinjuku Line train]

I brought an audio recorder with me today.  As I put it in my pocket, I envisioned getting started on the walk to the station, and then talking on the station platform (while waiting for the train), etc.  It didn't happen.  The problem with dictating things outside, is you need at least a little bit of space between yourself and others, and that hasn't happened... yet.  I'm hoping to do some voice-writing later on.  Writing things by hand, as I am now, is wonderful, etc., but it takes so much time!

Incidentally - as I write - I'm continually having to stop and plug my ears to lower the volume of the announcement to a level that isn't painful.  It's too bad, because otherwise, the live announcement is actually pleasant to listen to.

The middle-aged woman sitting to my left... either she has exceptionally wide hips (possible) or likes being glued to me.  It feels quite unpleasant, so I suppose she's a vampire.  I say that in a joking way, but some people really do seem to suck energy out of the people they're near.  For example - the woman on my right has her elbow in my side, and there's no feeling of damage.  The woman on the left however... is a very different story!

Standing on the platform in Takadanobaba...  Not wide hips.  As I stood up, I checked her left side - lots of room between her and the guy on her left... so I suppose she's vampire.


Transcribed from audio recordings:

2014/12/07 15:40:33

December 6th, 2014 (at Takadanobaba Station)

It's a weird thing when it's crowded - if it's not very crowded and there are only a few people, everybody is self-conscious about what the other people are doing, but when you get past a certain level of people density, you just kind of tune everybody out and view them as physical obstacles - well, not obstacles, but objects to navigate between.  You can't pay attention to any individual for very long.

I'm in Takadanobaba Station now, heading for the exit closest to the BigBox building... a camera is watching me as I go out the gate....

I don't know if this is going to work or not, but one thing about this I just realized, is that I don't need to describe sound effects, because the sounds are in the background automatically.

As I walk out of Takadanobaba Station, I see seasonal illumination out on the pedestrian traffic island, with the usual crowd of students there milling about - many of them probably from Waseda University.

The problem with dictation is that at some point, I have to sit down, listen to this, and type it up, which really sucks.  I'll have to see if I can get a program to put recorded voice into text.  The technology exists of course, but I don't personally have it....

Well, let me play this back and see if it's working OK.

December 6th, 2014 (walking into subway)

And we're rolling again...  I just realized something else nice about recordings.  In this day and age, people are becoming hyper-sensitive to cameras, which is ironic, because basically no one has any privacy any more anyway, since every time they go outside, their every move is being recorded by security cameras.  With a voice recorder though, you can *describe* situations that you couldn't take photos of.

December 6th, 2014 (making transfer at Nihonbashi from Tozai Line to Ginza Line)

I'm in the middle of making a transfer from the Tozai Line to the Ginza Line at Nihonbashi... I've got to get used to the idea that I can be dictating while I'm walking around.  And the sound effects!  I don't know why I didn't think of that before!  Come to think of it... one of the things that has repeatedly surprised me when watching old videos I took, is how the sound is often more important than the pictures for bringing back old memories.  So much is in the sound...

[Back to the present as I transcribe the recording: I then go on to talk about the sounds in the background, but it's kind of pointless to transcribe that when all you can experience right now is this text.  Maybe someday I'll put together a CD with these recording on it.]

In Nihonbashi, by the Tokyo Square Garden Building...

In Kyobashi... standing in front of Gallery.b.Tokyo... the exhibition there now is: Moteki Tamana (茂木たまな展) - let's have a look...

I'm now standing in the gallery and I've received permission to make a recording while I'm standing here.  There are two pictures in particular I'm really interested in - there's one that I told the artist kind of reminded me of the set for Blade Runner.  She didn't seem to agree with that, so I pointed out that actually the scenes in that movie are based on Tokyo... but anyway, apparently the painting that I like is based on one of the back streets in Ueno.

It's pretty cool... it's very realistic in feeling and has kind of a dreamy quality to it with no hard edges... but very realistic in capturing the atmosphere and feeling of those Ueno back streets.

On the other side of the room there's a painting that's kind of a blur of motion - depicting a busy train station.  It's an interesting thing, because when you're in a busy station, anything you look hard at is in focus, but everything is always in motion, and so as a whole, it's kind of a big blur in a way, and you can't spend much time looking at any one thing.  As in real life, the people in the foreground are clearer, but still their faces are not clear enough to identify.  It actually seems like that when you're navigating through a station like Tokyo, Shinjuku, Ueno, etc.  While you *could* take a hard look at someone walking by you (going the other way), that would take away from instantaneous navigation duties and so usually you don't really see anyone - even the people who are right by you.

So - again - the picture is very realistic in feeling and atmosphere, and dreamy in the details.  A very cool combination of a clear atmosphere and a dreamy effect.

At Tokyo Station... on one of the Yamanote (and Keihin-Tohoku) Line platforms, waiting for a Yamanote Line train.  Hmm... now I've pulled out the audio recorder, the machine is kind of standing between me and the atmosphere, but before I pulled it out....

Anyway - what prompted me to want to comment was the vibrancy of the city, with people rushing around, trains coming and going, constant motion, etc.  This actually ties in with the painting I saw earlier in the evening at Gallery.b.Tokyo - the dreamy quality of the painting is pretty close to the overall effect.  If you stop and focus on something, you can see it, but it's within a constant sea of motion, so there's no one point (in time or location) where you can take everything in.  It's pretty cool actually.


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