Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Continuity & Context - Foreign Language Learning

Preamble: I was talking with an acquaintance about language learning and in writing a general response to them about the topic, it just occurred to me that it would be good to have the text I wrote about this subject in a blog post - so next time I can just send someone the link! :)  Here it is:

Dear [foreign language student],
   I've been meaning to write in more detail, but have been busy with things, and then got distracted....
   Basically I thought I should say something about continuity and context.  The problem with language education in general is that it is generally not designed for the students, due to logistical reasons.
   In school, there is one teacher and 35 or so students, so the material and tests need to be designed in way that the lone teacher (with all those students) can - logistically - handle lesson presentation and student grading.  Since it's a logistical problem, it's not really the teacher's fault, but it's most unfortunate for the poor students who study from defective material and are given irrelevant tests!
   Fast forward a little to adults working at companies.  Again we run into logistical problems!  The companies need to assess who has what skills, and - as tends to be the case at school - the methods of ascertaining skill levels are made for logistical reasons that are counterproductive to actual comprehension and ability to use a language.  In short - they are designed for the companies, not for the individuals.
   Language is only partly a science; it is at least as much an art, and like learning to play a musical instrument or dancing in a beautiful way, you have to learn through doing.....
   The next thing I need to say here is a conclusion!  Basically it's this: You get better at a language by using it.  And as a specific criticism of the adult testing system, it tends to be a lot of bits and pieces thrown at students with no context or continuity.  Probably no one on planet earth could score 100% on those (often deeply flawed) tests.
   So... how are you these days anyway? :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Intensive Image Recording in 1990-93 - Why?"

I was recently asked to respond to a few questions regarding my image-recording in the early 1990's, with my response to be in a Japanese language on-line article.  Since my English will be translated (I can write in Japanese, but badly and with bad grammar), I think it's essential to have the original English posted in case there are any issues that arise from the Japanese version.  Regardless of the vastly overused term "direct translation", most things translated between radically different languages (and English and Japanese are radically different) cannot be translated directly, so there is always a shift.  Anyway - here goes.
The first multi-part question (about what I am, what planet I'm from, etc.) is one I'm often asked and always somewhat at a loss to answer.  If you introduce someone who designs computer hardware for example, you can simply say "Steve, let me introduce you to Bill.  Bill is a computer hardware engineer over at Intel".  In my case, it's a little more complicated.  I spent a lot of time studying photography, and I consider myself to be a photographer, but since professions are (generally) defined by how someone gets hard cold cash in hand, and since I've never earned a living from photography (other than some small sums earned for freelance photography jobs), I can't (popularly) be introduced as a photographer.  This used to bother me, but I've since come to regard it as a badge of honor almost.  I look at the people who are called "professional photographers" and often they're just technicians with expensive equipment and access to salable subjects to aim their cameras at.  Many are not very artistic....  Artistic photographers quite often can't make a living at their craft, since the world (generally) doesn't respect art.
In any case, while I initially wanted to make a living with/from photography, it quickly became apparent that that wasn't likely to happen, and in describing the photos I took in text, the value of writing became increasingly apparent.  So can I be introduced as a Photojournalist?  It's a better fit than Photographer, but not the complete picture.  There's also technical writing and whatnot.  Maybe I should just call myself a "21st Century Scrambler" as in scrambling to make a living and continue my craft (of image recording and writing).
The next question I was asked is, what do I consider to be the most substantial changes to Japan since the 1990's.  Now this one is rather difficult to answer.  I think the best answer I can give at the moment (I'll continue to think about this one, and probably start to think of a slew of things to say) is to relate a two-part experience I had.
The first part is what you can see and hear (and possibly feel somewhat) through the 1990-93 videos of Tokyo that I took and have posted to YouTube, specifically the scenes of Shibuya.  I was in Shibuya every week back then and got quite used to the atmosphere of the area and the set of feelings you would get while walking down the street.  Less the visual element than the feeling in the air - a kind of collective resonance of the thoughts and feelings of everyone around me.
Second part:  I ended up spending my time mostly in other areas of the city and didn't spend time among the street crowds in Shibuya for many years.  And then in... about... 2007 maybe?  I'm not sure of the year, but the evening is very sharp in my memory.  I went to Shibuya to re-experience the old feeling of walking in the crowds - as shown somewhat in this 1991 video:

1991 - Shibuya Evening Walkabout 渋谷夕方散策散歩 (911123)

I started walking down one of the streets... joining the crowds... looking around and seeing the same age group of young people around me and expecting to tune into the vibes from the area, as I so often did in the past, but....  It didn't happen.  Something was wrong... well... not wrong exactly, but very clearly different.  I looked around, trying to figure it out: "What is it?  What is so different?  Mainly the same scenery... a few new stores, buildings, and whatnot, but pretty much the same scenery, the same young people... the same... wait....." and then something came into conscious thought.
It was one of those things that is so basic, fundamental, and just plain obvious, that it remains elusive to conscious thought, since the brain allocates no resources to things that are overly obvious.  Probably you're ahead of me on this - but here it is anyway.  The reason the thought-vibes were different was because; while the people around me were of the same age group I used to walk among, they were a completely different set of people!  The young people I used to walk the streets of Shibuya with were now middle-aged - at home with their kids or working late as part of middle-management or whatever.  The people around me were different people.   So obvious, so simple, and so overlooked!  How can you be surprised that the world changes into something different when a different set of people take to the surface of the earth under their own power?
The last question has often seemed kind of a mystery to me as well, but the more I think about it, the simpler it appears.  The question is why did I take so many pictures back then?  Everybody does now, but it wasn't a popular thing to do back then.  Reread that last sentence and you have the answer.  I had a 30fps image and sound recording machine in my hands - I looked around and saw that Tokyo was rapidly changing, and everyone seemed to be only interested in New!-New!-New! and so I felt quite driven to record things that were clearly not going to be around very much longer.  Now when I'm at some event and everybody - every man, woman, grandmother, grandfather, child, and space alien has their cameras (via micro-computers) in hand recording things, I usually just leave my camera in my pocket.  What's the point?  The event/time is being vastly over-recorded already.  There's no need for me to add to it.  I looked ahead - back in 1991 - and felt there was a genuine need to record the world I lived in before it was irrevocably changed - as it indeed came to be.
Well - there it is.  Now I'm nervous about the translation.  Anything translated is going to be shifted.  Will my intent be faithfully formed into Japanese?  I wonder, but I don't have the time right now to attempt to write the above in Japanese.  (To the translator: If my meaning is unclear in places, feel free to contact me with questions so I can clarify things.)
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Five Months' Worth... Oops... (1991, 1993, & 2015)

I knew I had a backlog of video links to videos I've taken/uploaded, but when I looked at the dates and realized they went all the way back to August, I thought, "Wait... this goes all the way back to August?!!  Seriously?!?!! - Yikes!!"  I've been busy, but five months is really too long!  Once a month wouldn't be too bad....  Just now, I almost postponed doing this again.  I considered doing this, or posting some more videos and I almost put this off again in favor of working on new things to post.
Anyway, here we go.  There is no way I can possibly comment on all these in detail.  I'll look over the titles as I get the blog post ready and (possibly) comment here and there on some random things.  But the titles of the videos are fairly descriptive, so not much really needs to be said....

Note about photographs on this page: Some of the photos I'm posting on this page tie in closely with the videos, but others are put as a parallel view -also of Tokyo, but taken on different days and of different places (within Tokyo).

新宿思い出横丁 Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho 150818

夜の中央線 Nighttime Chuo Line 150811

東京駅-御茶ノ水駅 中央線 Tokyo to Ochanomizu - Chuo Line 150811

高尾山 夕方の虫音 Insect Sounds at Mt Takao 150831n

夕暮れ高尾山ケーブルカーのケーブルとモーターの音 Cable Car Motor Sounds 150831

高尾山ケーブルカー 清滝駅-高尾山駅 Takao Cable Car - Kiyotaki to Takaozan 150831

Nighttime Temple Insect and Airplane Sounds Etc 夏の夜 虫の音 150831

高尾山口駅-高尾山駅 京王線 Takaosanguchi to Takao - Keio Line 150831

夜の高尾山ケーブルカー 高尾山駅-清滝駅 Takao Cable Car - Takaozan to Kiyotaki 150831

夜の京王線 高尾駅から出発電車 Trains Departing Nighttime Takao Station 150831

夕暮れの西武新宿線到着 小川駅 Evening Seibu-Shinjuku Line Train 150901

雨の夕暮れ新宿思い出横丁 Twilight Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho in the Rain 150901

夕暮れの新宿 雨の日 Rainy Twilight Shinjuku 150901

夜の西新宿 夜反射 Nighttime Nishi-Shinjuku - Reflections Etc 150901
高田馬場駅前東口 Takadanobaba - East Side 150905

エスカレーター Escalator 150905

夕方秋葉原 Evening Akihabara - Walking Under Railway 150904

1991 池袋駅 埼京線から西武線の乗り換え Ikebukuro Transfer - Saikyo-Seibu 910826

1991 池袋駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 西武池袋駅 Ikebukuro to Hibarigaoka - Seibu Line 910826

1991 東京中央郵便局 切手を買いに Tokyo Central Post Office 910826

1991 新橋駅-東京駅 山手線 Shinbashi to Tokyo - Yamanote Line 910826

1991 新橋駅 地下鉄とJR Shinbashi Station - Subway and JR 910826

1991 西馬込駅-泉岳寺駅-新橋駅 Nishimagome-Sengakuji-Shinbashi 910826

1991 東京駅-新宿駅-池袋駅 中央線と埼京線 Tokyo-Shinjuku-Ikebukuro 910826

1991 川崎散策散歩 Kawasaki Walkabout 910901

1991 京急川崎駅-平和島駅 京急線 Keikyu-Kawasaki to Heiwajima - Keikyu Line 910901

1991 池袋駅-品川-川崎駅 Ikebukuro-Shinagawa-Kawasaki, 910901

1991 平和島駅 野鳥公園 太田市場 京急線 大井埠頭中央海浜公園など Heiwajima Walkabout 910901
夜中の国立駅 ホームの様子 Midnight Kunitachi Station 150911

新橋駅 夜遅くのホームの様子 Shinbashi Station - Late Night Platform View 150911n

夜の銀座横道 Night Ginza Side Street 150911

有楽町駅前 夜の京橋口 Yurakucho - Night View by Southeast Kyobashi Exit 150911

新橋 夜の横道 金曜日午後十一時ごろ Shinbashi Night Walk to Station - Past 11PM 150911

有楽町駅-新橋駅 山手線 金曜日の夜 Yurakucho to Shinbashi - Yamanote Line 150911

1993 池袋と彼方此方の東京 Ikebukuro Tsukiji Etc 930525

1993 飯田橋と東京と四ツ谷と新宿など Iidabashi Yotsuya Etc 930702

1993 東西線など 中野駅から日本橋駅までなど Tozai Line A 930625

1993 東西線など 大手町駅-西船橋駅-浦安駅など Tozai Line B 930628

1993 大和駅辺りなど Yamato Station Area Etc 930703
夜の中央線内 Nighttime Chuo Line Train Interior 150925

品川駅内 Shinagawa Station Evening Concourse 150925

大崎駅 山手線の到着 Yamanote Line at Osaki Station 150925

銀座一丁目 雨の横道 Ginza 1-Chome in the Rain 150925

上野駅 山手線の到着 Boarding Yamanote Line at Ueno Station 150925n

東京駅-上野駅 宇都宮線 Tokyo to Ueno - Utsunomiya Line 150925

品川駅-東京駅 東海道線 Shinagawa to Tokyo - Tokaido Line 150925

有楽町駅ホーム 通る電車 Trains Passing Yurakucho Station 150925

上野駅-有楽町駅 山手線 Ueno to Yurakucho - Yamanote Line 150925

1991 国際フォーラムの工事現場 Kokusai Forum Under Construction 910905

1991 海浜島と東海三丁目と昭和島の夜散策散歩 Kaihamajima Etc Walkabout 910901

1991 市場散策散歩 Wholesale Market Walkabout 910901

1991 昭和島駅 東京モノレール 日曜日の夜 誰もいない 910901

1991 昭和島駅-浜松町駅 東京モノレール Showajima to Hamamatsucho - Monorail 910901

1991 浜松町駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 山手線と西武池袋線 Hamamatsucho to Hibarigaoka 910901

1991 木曜日の東京駅辺り Thursday Afternoon Tokyo Station Area 910905

1991 浜松町駅辺りとか Hamamatsucho Station Etc 910905

1991 ひばりヶ丘駅-浜松町駅 西武池袋線と山手線 Hibarigaoka to Hamamatsucho 910905

1991 浜松町駅-羽田空港駅 東京モノレール Hamamatsucho to Haneda Airport 910905

1991 大井競馬場前駅辺り散策散歩 Oikeibajomae Station Area Walkabout 910905

1991 浜松町駅-東京駅 山手線 Hamamatsucho to Tokyo - Yamanote Line 910905

1991 羽田空港駅-大井競馬場前駅 東京モノレール Haneda Airport to Oikeibajomae 910905

1991 大井競馬場前駅-浜松町駅 東京モノレール Oikeibajomae to Hamamatsucho 910905

夕方の高尾山口 Evening Takaosanguchi 150928n

夜高尾駅から出発中央線内からホームを見る Night Chuo Line Departing Takao 150928n

上野 ガード下の一見 Ueno Side Street - Quick Look 151003n

大塚駅 山手線が遣って来る Otsuka - Yamanote Line Arrives 151003

[Broken Upload - Sideways!!] 土曜日の上野 ガードの下の人々 Ueno on Saturday Afternoon 151003

万世橋からの秋葉原と神田川 夕方眺め Manseibashi - Akihabara - Kanda River 151003
御茶ノ水駅 中央線が遣って来る Chuo Line Arriving at Ochanomizu Station 151003n

高尾山口駅ホームの様子と高尾駅まで 夜の京王線 Takaosanguchi and Ride to Takao 150928g

万世橋からの中央線と総武線 Manseibashi - Watching Chuo and Sobu Line Trains 151003

御茶ノ水駅 御茶ノ水橋口 お茶の水橋から駅内まで Ochanomizu Station - ONMB Entrance 151003

昌平橋から夕暮れの神田川と総武線 Twilight Kanda River and Sobu Line - Shoheibashi 151003

御茶ノ水駅 下り電車のホームと御茶ノ水橋口 Ochanomizu - ONMBG to Outbound Platform 151003

御茶ノ水駅 上り電車のホームと御茶ノ水橋口 Ochanomizu - ONMBG to Inbound Platform 151003

聖橋から昌平橋向きの夜眺め 御茶ノ水駅 Hijiribashi Night View of Shoheibashi 151003

聖橋からお茶の水橋向きの夜眺め 御茶ノ水駅と工事現場 Night View from Hijiribashi 151003

お茶の水橋から聖橋向きの夜眺め Night View from Ochanomizubashi Bridge Etc 151003

立川南駅辺り 多摩モノレール 夕暮れ 見回り Tachikawa-Minami Station - Tama-Monorail 151005
立川駅北口 夕暮れの広場 見回り Tachikawa Station - North Side Plaza - Twilight Lookabout 151005

立川北駅下 多摩モノレール 夕暮れ見回り Under Tachikawa-Kita Station - Twilight View 151005

新宿東口 夕暮れの時 Shinjuku East Side Twilight View 151006

新宿東口の横道 夕暮れの見回り Shinjuku East Side Twilight Lookaround 151006

新宿サザンテラス夜散歩 風の強い秋の日 Shinjuku Southern Terrace - Windy Night 151006

1991 藤沢散策散歩 Fujisawa Walkabout 911012

1991 藤沢駅-辻堂駅 東海道線 Fujisawa to Tsujido - Tokaido Line 911012

1991 辻堂駅からの茅ヶ崎散策散歩 湘南海岸など, Walkabout from Tsujido Station - Chigasaki 911012

1991 新宿駅から西新宿への散策散歩 Nishi-Shinjuku Walkabout 911012

1991 ひばりヶ丘駅-新宿駅 西武池袋線と埼京線 Hibarigaoka to Shinjuku 911012

1991 日吉駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 東横線と山手線と西武池袋線 Hiyoshi to Hibarigaoka 911005

1991 渋谷駅-日吉駅 東急東横線 Shibuya to Hiyoshi - Toyoko Line 911005

1991 藤沢駅 小田急線と東海道線 Fujisawa Station - Odakyu and JR 911012

1991 藤沢駅辺り Fujisawa Station Area 911012

1991 新宿駅-藤沢駅 小田急特別急行ロマンスカー Shinjuku to Fujisawa - Odakyu 911012

品川駅西口のポスト Shinagawa Station West Side MailBox 151008n

Passing Tanker Train 151007n

豊田駅で下り中央線来るまでの見回り Toyoda Station Platform 151007

品川駅近くの第一京浜通り隣 Twilight Daiichi-Keihin Road - Shinagawa 151008

夕暮れ第一京浜通り 品川駅西口近く Twilight Daiichi-Keihin Road - Shinagawa 151008

黒木雅彦展示会 ギャラリー 403 Masahiko Kuroki Exhibition - Gallery-403 奥野ビル 151009n

高尾山口駅-高尾駅 京王線 Takaosanguchi to Takao - Keio Line 151019

銀座線出発 日本橋駅 Ginza Line Train Departing Nihonbashi Station 151016

夜の高尾山口駅 Nighttime Takaosanguchi Station 151019

Train Departing Station at Night - Chuo Line 夜の中央線駅 151019

夜中央特快 駅を通過します Express Train Speeding Through Station 151019

夕暮れの秋葉原横道 Twilight Akihabara Side Streets 151023

元東急東横線地上渋谷駅工事現場 山手線から 渋谷駅-恵比寿駅 Yamanote Line 151023

京王線緑高尾山電車 高尾駅-狭間駅 Takao to Hazama - Green Takao Keio Line Train 151024

秋葉原駅-神田駅 京浜東北線 Akihabara to Kanda - Keihin-Tohoku Line 151023

神田駅-東京駅 京浜東北線 Kanda to Tokyo - Keihin-Tohoku Line 151023

東京駅-有楽町駅 京浜東北線 Tokyo to Yurakucho - Keihin-Tohoku Line 151023

横山光伸展示会 Yokoyama Mitsunobu Exhibition アートギャラリー石 151029

Elevated Night Path to Station 151030

Approaching Friday Evening Platform 151030

Nighttime Osaki 151030
Keio Line Passing Loading Chutes 151024

Akihabara Nighttime Escalator to Stationside Plaza 151027n

Paint and Rust 151027

Shadows Walking 影と歩く 151027

Nighttime View from Pedestrian Bridge in Akihabara 151027

夜の神田川 月 電車 Moon Over Kanda River Passing Trains Etc 151027

Nighttime Kanda River - Sound of Passing Shinkansen Etc 151027

御茶ノ水駅 御茶ノ水橋口 Ochanomizu Station Ochanomizubashi Exit 151027

夜のアキバ Nighttime Akihabara 151027n

御茶ノ水駅 工事現場 神田川 空の反射 Ochanomizu Station と Kanda River 151027

夜の神田明神 見回り 神田神社 Night Kanda-Myojin Temple Courtyard 151027g

横山光伸展示会 Yokoyama Mitsunobu Exhibition アートギャラリー石 151106n
Walking Shadows 151106

Shadows 影 151105

Twilight Hachioji - Bird Sounds in Trees 夕暮れの八王子 151102

Twilight Sidestreet in Akihabara 夕暮れ秋葉原横道 151105

夕暮れの八王子 Twilight Hachioji 151102

Anti-bird Sounds in Hachioji - at First Part and From Middle of Video 151102

Passing Streetcar in Otsuka 151107n

高田馬場での神田川 Kanda River in Takadanobaba 151107

秋葉原駅で山手線がやってくる Yamanote Line Arriving at Akihabara 151105

八王子駅北口広場 Hachioji Station North Side Plaza 151102

夜の立川南駅辺りの見回り Elevated Lookaround in Tachikawa 151116

多摩モノレール 夜立川南駅 Tachikawa-Minami Station - Tama Monorail at Night 151116

夜立川駅南口 Tachikawa Station - South Side at Night 151116

織田泰児「フラクタル自然絵画」を世界で初めてはじめた画家 151120

夕方有楽町駅 京浜東北線と山手線 Yurakucho Station - Evening View 151113

新橋駅-東京駅 東海道線 Shinbashi to Tokyo - Tokaido Line 151112

Pre-Construction Empty Lot in Ochanomizu 151117n

東京駅前の夜八重洲口 Tokyo Station Yaesu Side at Night 151113

御茶ノ水駅の聖橋口 Ochanomizu Hijiribashi Exit 151117

View from Hijiribashi Bridge 聖橋 151117n

御茶ノ水駅の出口専用の臨時改札口 聖橋から Ochanomizu Morning-Only Exit 151117

聖橋から御茶ノ水駅の様子 Ochanomizu Station from Hijiribashi 151117

Old Wall in Ochanomizu 151117

Old-style Electronics Parts Store in Akihabara 151117

Evening Akihabara - Passing Shinkansen & Sky Blimp 151117

Noisy Time/Place by Akihabara Station 151117

Ochanomizu - Wandering Between Akihabara and Ochanomizu 151117

Old Elements in Central Tokyo 151117

(Above)  Exploring an area of Tokyo with some old elements still existing (but not for long probably...)

Looking at Kanda River from Manseibashi 151117

Twilight Kanda River
新宿駅南口夜見回り Shinjuku South Exit at Night 151117

夜の東京 神田川 Kanda River Reflections 151117

夜御茶ノ水駅から出発の夜電車 Night Train Leaving Ochanomizu 151117

夜の御茶ノ水駅に近づく Nighttime Ochanomizu Station 151117

Walking to Ochanomizu Station from Hijiribashi 聖橋と御茶ノ水駅 151117

Midnight Station 夜中の駅 151121

Station Escalator Recordings Voices - Central Tokyo 151119

1932 Building Hallway in Ginza (2015)

秋の木と空 Autumn Trees and Sky 151119

銀座線がやって来る Ginza Line Train Arriving at Station 151119

Night Lights in Ginza 銀座中央通り 151119

1991 Golf Driving Range 武蔵野市 910616

1991 団地から団地へ 武蔵野市 Apartment Buildings 910616

Yoshihiko Tsutsumi (つつみよしひこ) Installation at Y's Arts - Ginza Okuno Building 151211
新宿駅中央線で出発 Departing Shinjuku Station 151211

新宿駅南口から駅を入る Entering Shinjuku Station via South Entrance 151124
秋葉原駅 京浜東北線がやって来る Akihabara - Keihin-Tohoku Line 151127

Yurakucho - Lights - Wind - Shaky Camera 151211

Electric Candles and Christmas Tree 151210
東京駅-有楽町駅 夜の京浜東北線 Tokyo to Yurakucho - Keihin-Tohoku Line at Night 151201

神田駅-東京駅 夜の京浜東北線 Kanda to Tokyo - Keihin-Tohoku Line at Night 151201

1991 朝のひばりが丘 Hibarigaoka in the Morning 910618

1991 ひばりが丘散策散歩 Hibarigaoka Walkabout 910619

1991 ひばりが丘 雨の後 Hibarigaoka in the Rain 910620

1991 ひばりが丘商店街など Hibarigaoka Shotengai Etc 910617

1991 ひばりヶ丘駅辺りまでの散策散歩 Walk to Hibarigaoka 910616

1991 夕方のひばりが丘 Hibarigaoka in the Evening 910618

1991 Old Houses 910616

1991 武蔵野中央公園 Musashino Chuo Park 910616

1991 Shrine Visit 910616

1991 元旦 ひばりヶ丘駅-池袋駅-原宿駅 Hibarigaoka to Harajuku 910101

1991 元旦 明治神宮まで歩く Walking to Meiji Shrine on New Years Day 910101
有楽町駅の電車々 見回る Yurakucho Station Trains Etc 151216

秋の有楽町SBなど Autumn Leaves and Yurakucho SB Etc 151216

有楽町ガード下の居酒屋 お昼 Yurakucho Under Track Izakaya in Early Afternoon 151216

1991 元旦 明治神宮 雨の中 傘の海 Meiji Shrine Sea of Umbrellas NYD 910101

1991 元旦, 明治神宮の初詣 おみくじなど 正月 910101

1991 元旦 明治神宮 御苑の花菖蒲 原宿駅へ向かう 明治神宮の初詣 910101

1991 原宿駅臨時改札口 臨時ホームの正月様子 Harajuku Special Platform 910101

1991 元旦 原宿駅-代々木駅 山手線 Harajuku to Yoyogi - Yamanote Line 910101

1991 元旦 代々木駅から明治神宮までの夜散歩 Food Stalls Etc - New Years Day 910101

1991 元旦 夜の明治神宮 正月 Late Night Meiji Shrine 910101

1991 元旦 夜の原宿駅辺り Harajuku Station Area - Rainy Night 910101

飯田橋駅辺りから御茶ノ水駅まで 中央線 Iidabashi to Ochanomizu - Chuo Line 151224
Evening Manseibashi Bridge 夕方万世橋 151224

Chuo Line Arriving at Station 中央線 151224

御茶ノ水駅 聖橋口 通路 Ochanomizu Station Hijiribashi 151224

御茶ノ水駅 聖橋出口 Ochanomizu Station Hijiribashi 151224

御茶ノ水駅 聖橋からの様子 Ochanomizu Station from Hijiribashi Bridge 151224

新宿思い出横丁 Shinjuku Omoide-Yokocho 160105n

夜の新宿 Waiting for the Walk Light 160105

西武新宿駅から出発 Departing Seibu-Shinjuku Station 160105

西武新宿線の下り列車-1 Outbound Nighttime Seibu Line 160105

西武新宿線の下り列車-2 Outbound Nighttime Seibu Line 160105

西武新宿線の下り列車-3 Outbound Nighttime Seibu Line 160105

西武新宿線 Stainless Steel Door Etc 160105n

Otsuka Quick-360 大塚-360 160109n
高田馬場駅-目白駅 山手線左側の風景 Takadanobaba to Mejiro - Yamanote Line 160109

夕暮れの電車 大崎駅 Evening Trains at Osaki 160108
銀座線 末広町駅 Ginza Line Arriving at Suehirocho Station 160109
夜の高田馬場駅辺り Takadanobaba Station Area at Night - Passing Trains 160109

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Thursday, December 31, 2015


(2015/12/31)  Proceeding ahead in life, it becomes increasingly apparent that a lack of enough time for planned activities/projects/etc. is HUGE.  You get ideas for doing something; you put it on a back burner, and sometimes you even get to it and complete it, but back burner projects grow in number and complexity.
   Just the way it is I suppose, but sitting here in Tokyo on December 31st, 2015, the time thing hits me more strongly than it ever has before.  The combination of a backlog of things to do and a growing realization that no one is immortal....  Nothing for it but to push ahead I guess, still... the quest to tie most of it together continues.
   In an attempt to make myself feel better, I've thought back on things that I wanted to do (in my life) and did - particularly the things that were a risk at the time, pursuing photography, jumping the Pacific Ocean with only enough money for one week, pushing ahead with the early nineties video project in what was a financially reckless way (more concerned with getting needed image & sound recording equipment than with paying the rent), etc.
   "Just more of the same!" I'm tempted to say, but the difference now is a distinct feeling/realization that time, my time, time... time... is running out.  So much to do, so little time to do it in.....

Happy New Year!

Lyle H Saxon

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"5:30 a.m. - 6:30 a.m. Tokyo Rush"

(2015/12/08) - I look around at the others in this early morning coffee shop.  While ages seem to range from people in their twenties up to late fifties (possibly a person here or there past the sixty barrier), the majority seem to be in their late forties and into the full spectrum of fifties.  Speculation mainly (not purely - there is evidence), but just about everyone is here - before 7:00 a.m. - because they came into town early to escape the purgatory of the peak crush-rush commute via the steel rails.

It was different when flex-time was fairly common, but when the banksters trashed the world economy in 2007-08, many (most?) large companies (and small?) canceled flex-time and reverted to requiring that employees be at their desks by 9:00 a.m.  And so people who had gotten used to a less intense morning commute had only one method of escape; taking earlier trains.  But there are so many people doing this, that even the 5:30-6:30 trains are now quite crowded.  When I ride the Yamanote Line around 6:30 a.m., I always kind of shake my head at the sight of it being packed not far below the infamous "manin" (満員) level of density.  I look around the interior of the packed train, and then down at my watch, "Yup, there it is... it really is 6:30 a.m...", and back at the people around me, "... and all these people!".

And then I see a portion of them killing time in a train station coffee shop - waiting for their buildings to open so they can get to their desks.  It seems very clear why they're here - certainly it's why I'm here....

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Discussing English in Japanese....

(2015/12/01) - I just overheard a conversation between an English teacher and one of his students.  The student had some questions about an assignment and the teacher was helping him.  Okay - sounds like a scene of pure normality... except the five minute discussion was 99% in Japanese (discussing grammatical details).

This is a key problem with learning a radically different language (and English and Japanese are pretty radically different).  A low level student expects things to be explained in their native language, which is understandable enough, but in this case, the student - as a second year high school student - has been studying English for at least four and a half years now.  If you don't *use* a language, then you never remember it, and discussing a foreign language in your own language certainly isn't using the foreign language.

I hasten to add here that learning a radically different foreign language is a very difficult thing to do.  As for teaching it; ideally it should be one-on-one (one teacher and one student), but the logistics of mass education dictate that one teacher teach a large group of students, so how is that best done?  There are no easy answers, but any student of a foreign language should keep in mind that *use* is what gets you to remember a language.

Not especially useful advice for a student studying for exams I suppose, but there it is nonetheless....


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout

2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout
2015年12月の吉祥寺散策散歩 Kichijoji Walkabout

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon