Monday, September 19, 2022

2000年5月12日 蒲田駅前 商店街とスーパー

サンロード KAMATA 商店街 - I went by here earlier this year and while the shotengai is still there, the atmosphere seemed a bit less energetic?  The effects of on-line shopping presumably.

I had always enjoyed walking through this covered shopping arcade - and occasionally buying things.  On my last visit the whole area seemed a bit... lonely?

2000年 / 平成十二年

Looking at this view of a grocery store in 2000... it got me to thinking.  How much are grocery stores today basically the same as they were twenty-two years ago?

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon - www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/ - youtube.com/lylehsaxon - lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/ - lookback1997.blogspot.jp/

Thursday, September 15, 2022

20220829 0300 (2000年/平成十二年)

(220829)  Writing is kind of an unpredictable thing.  At the moment it's nearing 3:00 a.m. and I can't sleep, so I've decided to post some pictures from the year 2000 along with some text.  Not sure how this is going to turn out... you never really know what you're going to write until you get going and then the words either come or they don't (simplification, but close).

Looking out the front of a train is quite a different feeling from looking out the front windshield of a car.  In the train, the tracks are there leading the train, so there's a relaxed feeling of zooming into a kind of planned future.  In a car, there can be (depending on the road and the traffic) an adventurous feeling of being able to go anywhere, but also a slight sense of potential danger since the car's trajectory is in the hands of the driver (yourself or someone else).

2000年/平成十二年

2000年/平成十二年

(220915)  This picture (below).  At the time, it was still a new thing for there to be retail shops inside of stations.  Back in the mid 1980's, most stations only had the newspaper stands with printed publications and some other odds and ends for sale, and I remember I found Shinagawa Station intriguing since it had restaurants inside the station, which was unusual at the time.  Now, stations are less stations than shopping malls built over train tracks - retail first and foremost with the trains seemingly of secondary importance?

2000年/平成十二年

I like these older type train cars more than modern train cars for a number of reasons - the vents in the ceiling that could let in outside air via the roof vents, the completely open-able windows, and the general lack of plastic.  And then there is some hard-to-define aspect... that makes them seem more friendly and sturdier?

The briefcase!  I just realized when looking at this photo from 2000 that I don't recall seeing them lately... have they stopped carrying this type of case?

2000年/平成十二年

There's more stuff packed into stations now, so they have lost the big open space feeling may of them used to have.

2000年/平成十二年

What is different between places and times?  Things that look the same can be quite different and things that look completely different can be remarkably the same.

The special no-contact zone that a train in motion was before is quite different now.  There are good and bad aspects to being in a no-contact zone in motion, but this photo of the inside of a Keihin-Tohoku Line train reminds me of the good aspects.....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon - www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/ - youtube.com/lylehsaxon - lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/ - lookback1997.blogspot.jp/

Sunday, August 21, 2022

令和四年八月から平成十二年五月の事を思い出す

After I had burned out my video cameras taking the 1990-93 material, I went back to regular film photography for a while and then - after my Nikon FM2 was stolen (and I couldn't afford to buy a proper replacement) I recorded things with words-only for a few years and then - in 2000 - got my first digital camera (with which I took the pictures in this post).

After not having taken any pictures for a few years, it was pure pleasure to be taking pictures again in the spring of 2000, and while film photography taught me to carefully compose pictures and think hard about how I wanted to compose them, I really appreciated being free of film and its need for development!

To this day, I'm glad I learned photography with a fully manual single-lens-reflex film camera, but have very little desire to go back to film now.  True, the feeling of the camera and the experience of carefully taking one picture at a time I would like to revisit, but then to do anything with that, the film would then need to be developed and scanned, etc., so... banzai digital photography!

In one way or another I've been asked several times how/why I choose to record a certain scene.  I've flippantly responded to that before by saying that I just like taking pictures, and enjoy taking pictures of whatever is around me, but - obviously - it's not that simple.

There are a whole range of reasons for taking pictures - from just wanting to experiment with what's at hand to see if an interesting element of it can be captured, to wanting to record the atmosphere of the area, to trying to record some of the essence of an era... etc. etc.

Technology and equipment... I was super-excited in 1990 to suddenly have a machine that recorded 30 frames per second simultaneously with sound!  The early material was quite rough, as I had never used a movie camera before... and by the time I was getting used to taking video, I had burned out four expensive machines and had to stop taking video for a while (post bubble era with my lower paying post-bubble era income).

And in 2000, I was - in a way - even more excited by the digital still camera I began using.  The problem with the video cameras is I was constantly thinking how best to use them, and since they were fairly fragile, I had to constantly take them in for repairs.  And then there was editing, etc.  Contrast all that with my first digital camera, and I was having all the fun of my film photography days with non of the difficulties, new medium learning phase, and frustrations I had experienced with video.

Naturally, the video material is more valuable now, but - at the time (in the year 2000) - I was having more frustration-free fun taking still digital pictures of that spring (all of the pictures on this page were taken on May 11th, 2000).

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon - www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/ - youtube.com/lylehsaxon - lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/ - lookback1997.blogspot.jp/

Saturday, August 06, 2022

At what point...? / To what extent...?

Revisiting 1991 again today, I looked at the shotengai street near the north exit of Hibarigaoka Station and realized that the 2022 version has changed quite a lot compared to the 1991 version.  Change to places generally happens incrementally, with each change being of varying degrees.  [Video] 

As a starting point, imagine a single independently owned and operated shop and what changes it might undergo over time:

- Different owners.  The shop may look exactly the same, but with different people running it, that's a notable change for the people who shop there.  For people just passing by, they would probably have no idea that something is different.

- The same owners, but a change in what's for sale.  Again, this is a notable change for people shopping there, but - depending on how visible the change in merchandise is - people walking by might have no idea that anything has changed.  Or, if the type of merchandise looks radically different, someone looking in the window may think how times have changed... but have they?  With the same owners, and if the merchandise has somewhat similar uses as the previously sold merchandise, it could be that there is very little substantive change and it's just a visual shift, etc.

- The building is torn down and rebuilt.  This will likely be a very large visual change (although I've seen some buildings torn down and the newly constructed ones don't actually look at that much different than what they replaced).  Once the shop is open again in the new building, have the owners and/or the merchandise changed?

- Everything is the same - the same owners, the same merchandise, the same building.  But after several decades, young customers are people who hadn't been born yet when the shop opened.  With many changes in customers and in the surrounding area, the shop has become something different by way of contrast - an element with a different meaning than it used to have.

I could go on further with more examples of different types of changes that could affect one shop and how people perceive it, but presumably that's enough to illustrate my point - that there is always change - of one kind or another, perceived or not perceived.  Which is why I usually end up being irritated by people who watch a video showing part of Tokyo and comment that "nothing has changed" (全然変わってない), which is simply not possible for any area of Tokyo over three decades!

As an exaggerated statement, I suppose you can say that, but that comment  全然変わってない is sometimes made on a video that has countless very obvious changes.  Different buildings, different cars, different hair styles, different clothes, etc. etc. and then I invariably think whoever made the comment is disconnected from reality, or unable to perceive their world in any detail... 現実ハズレ?

Anyway, there is always change - of one kind or another!  The better you know a place, the more you will perceive changes to it over time.

Oh... the title "At what point...? / To what extent...?".  I made half of that title before I began writing this - thinking "At what point is it proper to say that a place has completely changed?" and - looking over what I've written above, I suppose "To what extent can a place actually stay the same?" might be better?.....

Change... it's a fascinating thing - and impossible to precisely pin down, but generally interesting to think about.  - Lyle H Saxon

www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/  youtube.com/lylehsaxon  lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/

Sunday, July 17, 2022

2022/07/08 (金) Yurakucho Building

Internal shotengai.  The 1964 Yurakucho Building is fairly inconspicuous from the outside, but once you enter the world of its internal shotengai (first and second floors) and its subterranean restaurant floor, the building feels like an absolute masterpiece - the effort and aspirations of its designers and builders is so evident, and the atmosphere so nice, that the space feels like something that should be preserved for all time.  [LHS-YT]

Tokyo's eternal reconstruction is what makes Tokyo Tokyo, but I really do wish a little more of the past could be preserved.  The futuristic elements of the city are better appreciated when there's something to contrast them with.  (My meal has arrived - a rather large hamburger.)

(Post meal): My hamburger and fries were quite good, and I've been enjoying looking out the window and watching Shinkansen trains passing by, with glimpses of other trains running at lower (also elevated) levels.  This has been a very nice experience, with one slightly irritating element.

The music playing in the restaurant has included several wishy-washy songs that were often played on the radio when I was driving around in California as a high school student.  I considered most of what was on the radio back then to be generally so bad that I left the radio in my car off to avoid the irritation of having my ears harassed with mediocre songs with sledgehammer endless repeat elements that you couldn't ignore - a kind of mix of irritating advertising and bad art.

Interestingly, as I wrote the above paragraph, a couple of not too terribly irritating songs played- still in the mediocre category, but less irritating than the worst-of-the-seventies stuff that had been playing. ..... !!!!! No sooner written than a song repeating the word "sledgehammer" is playing!  I hate sledgehammer songs, but but it is at least a little bit funny how a sledgehammer song is actually using the word "sledgehammer" to sledgehammer people's ears with.  - Lyle Hiroshi Saxon

www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/  youtube.com/lylehsaxon  lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/

Connected Moments

Sitting in a train - people looking at their micro-slab computers, platform view through the open door - a view of a late April warm enough to call forth memories of happy moments in summers past.  The doors close and the familiar-feeling connection with the past... stops?

The text above was handwritten into a notebook on April 27th, 2022... it was a moment full of atmosphere and meaning for me - but too brief (and perhaps too important) to photograph.  Looking for a photo to illustrate the moment, I came upon a photo I really like - that I took on the evening of October 12th, 2018.  In content, quite different, but similar in feeling to the moment I wrote about on April 27th. - Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/  youtube.com/lylehsaxon  lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/

How have I been?

Someone left a comment on a blog saying that they would be interested in hearing how I am - how I've fared during the past couple of years.  The world's largest city (by population) didn't do a draconian lock-down, so things have been less messed up here than in so many places in the world.

So... I've been okay.  Like people in most places, I've spent more time at home than usual, but it was never illegal to go out, so there was no inconvenience as far as shopping for food, etc.  At this point, I'm pretty tired of having to wear a mask all the time, but now new variants of the virus are rapidly spreading, it doesn't look like we'll be mask-free any time soon....   - Lyle Hiroshi Saxon

www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/  youtube.com/lylehsaxon  lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/

Writing is a Habitual Thing

Writing is a habitual thing.  If you get into the habit of not writing, there's an inertia to that, and when (if) you get into the habit of writing (again?), there's an inertia to that as well.

Equal and opposite reaction?  The easier it becomes (technically) to take pictures, the harder it becomes socially.  The more easily reached audience on the Internet is countered by increased censorship pressure (from nearly all & sundry).

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon - www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/ - youtube.com/lylehsaxon - lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/ - lookback1997.blogspot.jp/

Saturday, July 16, 2022

August 14th, 2018

 Shinjuku (180814) - before the pandemic... before a steady stream of disrupted climate driven extreme weather events in the news, hinting at an existential threat to life on the planet.  Walking down the street, it was just another day, with thoughts about work, etc., and no feeling of impending doom.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon - www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/ - youtube.com/lylehsaxon - lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/ - lookback1997.blogspot.jp/

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

VHS Tape - Order & Chaos

 This photo I took of a VHS tape I was decommissioning at the time (in 2018)... when I look at it now, seems to be representative of something profound, semi-profound, or at least something more interesting than normal daily mundanity.  The neat, compact order of the tape wound within its case, and then the larger chaos of the tape unwound and lying in chaos on the floor.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon - www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~LLLtrs/ - youtube.com/lylehsaxon - lylehsaxon.blogspot.jp/ - lookback1997.blogspot.jp/