Saturday, August 29, 2015

June, July & August 2015; August & December 1991, Etc.

Thinking what to title this post, I at first had a feeling of staring into a cluttered closet and needing to summarize a jumble of half-forgotten contents... and then it suddenly occurred to me that what I had in mind while taking the 2015 material and while editing the 1991 material wasn't the content so much as the time of year and (for the 1991 material) the year itself.  Thus this material - for me - is all about summer in Tokyo (especially the month of August), with the December 1991 views kind of out-of-category, although fitting in historically via being from 1991.  (I wouldn't have found December 2014 material acceptable for this batch...)
That said, a couple of things do stand out when I look over this batch of video views.  The east exit views of Shinagawa Station are important to me (especially of the old east exit pedestrian tunnel), as it shows something that disappeared a bit too quickly for me.  I had a real Rip-Von-Winkle experience some years back when I went to the east side of Shinagawa Station for old-time's sake and was shocked to discover that - save for a tiny remnant of the former (soon to be eradicated) east entrance to the station, there was nothing left of the things I had come to see!  And so the video footage I took in August 1991 is a welcome way of revisiting what is no longer a part of this world.
And then (also in 1991) there's my first visit to Kawagoe, where I just walked out from the station, spent the better part of the day walking around and (amazingly) managed to completely miss all the famous tourist spots of the city!  In hindsight, I feel I'm lucky it worked out that way, as I think I recorded a part of Kawagoe that probably is under-recorded - certainly there are no shortage of visual records of the famous parts of the city, so it's good that I went somewhere else.  This video is also important to me in that I very distinctly remember stopping in the empty park and looking around from the top of a slide - feeling melancholy about things, but (until I came across that scene again while editing that footage) I had forgotten exactly where that experience had taken place.  After being in the back of my mind all these years ("Where was that, anyway?"), now there's the relieved feeling of a solved riddle; "So that was in Kawagoe then!  Huh..."
And... some other things.  As with my last blog post with links to some of my videos (July 25th, 2015), I would really like to go over each of the videos one-by-one and comment on all (or most anyway) of them, but too many things are making demands on my time, so I'll just have to post the titles and links - hoping the titles are up to the task of introducing what each video is.  (A long-held dream is to have a sponsor so I can work on video full-time...).

- Lyle H Saxon

有楽町駅-東京駅 京浜東北線右側 Yurakucho to Tokyo - Keihin-Tohoku Line 150612
東京駅-有楽町駅-新橋駅-浜松町駅-田町駅-品川駅 山手線の左側 Yamanote Line 150625g

夏の大塚 市電が通る Otsuka in Summer - Passing Streetcar 150704
新宿サザンテーラス夕方360 Shinjuku Southern Terrace-360 150630

池袋駅-新宿駅 埼京線の右側 Ikebukuro to Shinjuku - Saikyo Line 150630
池袋駅の線路工事の機械器械 埼京線 Ikebukuro Track Maintenance Equipment 150630
新宿駅 埼京線夕方ホーム Shinjuku Station Evening Saikyo Line Platform 150630
有楽町駅の出発電車 Trains Departing Yurakucho Station 150619

銀座奧野ビル階段 150619
Station Escalator 駅のエスカレーター 150619n

中央線が四ッ谷駅に到着 Chuo Line Arriving at Yotsuya Station 150613n
Table Chair and Window at Okuno Building 150613
Main Road with No Cars 150613n
Outside Escalator 外のエスカレーター 150619

神田明神の見回り 神社神社 Kanda-Myojin Temple Courtyard 150623
神田明神前の店 (A) Old Shop Near Kanda-Myojin 150623

神田明神前の店 (B) Old Shop Near Kanda-Myojin 150623

品川駅-大崎駅 山手線の右側 Shinagawa to Osaki - Yamanote Line 150625

茶ノ水駅 夕方電車の到着 Ochanomizu Station Evening Trains 150623g
新宿駅夜ホームの様子 Shinjuku Station Platform Scene at Night 150728
新宿駅南口夕方見回り Evening Shinjuku South Exit Street View 150728

夜の有楽町SB (A) Nighttime Yurakucho-SB 150716
夜の有楽町SB (B) Nighttime Yurakucho-SB 150716
西東京の雨中央線 Rainy Chuo Line Station in Western Tokyo 150716
有楽町夜 居酒屋の音 Sounds at Nighttime Yurakucho Izakaya 150716
Gallery Party at Ginza One 150612
Park - Summer View 夏の公園 150711
Summer Morning Near Tokyo Tower 東京タワー近くの夏の東京 150722n
夕方西新宿散歩 Evening Nishi-Shinjuku Stroll 150721
中央線 右側 Outbound Chuo Line Window View - Old Type Train 150706

高尾山ケーブルカー 清滝駅-高尾山駅 Takao Cable Car - Kiyotaki to Takao 150713
高尾山ケーブルカー 高尾山駅-清滝駅 Takao Cable Car - Takao to Kiyotaki 150713n

高田馬場駅前 Looking Around by Takadanobaba Station 150704
高田馬場駅前の壁画 Mural by Takadanobaba Station 150704
Departing Tachikawa Station in Old Type Chuo Line Train 150706

高尾山のビアマウント近くの眺め Mt Takao - Looking Around Near Beer Mount 150713
清滝駅から高尾山口駅までの夜散歩 Walking from Kiyotaki to Takaosanguchi 150713n

有楽町駅-新橋駅-浜松町駅 山手線 Yurakucho to Hamamatsucho - Yamanote 150722g
京浜東北線と山手線が同時に出発 夜の駅 Keihin-Tohoku and Yamanote 150710
神田川と電車 昌平橋からの眺め Bridge View of Trains and Kanda River 150707g
神田駅-東京駅 夜の山手線 Kanda to Tokyo - Yamanote Line 150710
高尾山口駅-高尾山駅 京王線 Takaosanguchi to Takao - Keio Line 150713
有楽町夜の居酒屋散策散歩 Yurakucho Izakaya Night Walkabout 150716
東小金井駅で中央線の雨出発 Boarding Chuo Line at Higashi-Koganei Station 150716

有楽町駅-東京駅 京浜東北線の右側 Yurakucho to Tokyo - Keihin-Tohoku Line 150716
夜の有楽町駅前 Nighttime Street by Yurakucho Station 150710n

1991 東京中央郵便局 内部 切手選択など Tokyo Central Post Office 911210n

1991 東京駅-神田駅 中央線 Tokyo to Kanda - Chuo Line 911210

1991 有楽町駅-東京駅 山手線 Yurakucho to Tokyo - Yamanote Line 911210

1991 ひばりヶ丘駅-池袋駅-川越駅 西武線と埼京線 Hibarigaoka to Kawagoe 911207

1991 川越駅-新宿駅 埼京線 Kawagoe to Shinjuku - Saikyo Line 911207

1991 日吉駅-渋谷駅-池袋駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 Hiyoshi to Hibarigaoka 911207

1991 ひばりヶ丘駅-池袋駅-銀座駅 西武池袋線と丸ノ内線 To Ginza 911210

1991 銀座と有楽町の散策散歩 Ginza and Yurakucho Walkabout 911210

1991 川越市散策散歩 Kawagoe Walkabout - No Tourist Places 911207

1991 新宿駅-渋谷駅-日吉駅 山手線と東横線 Shinjuku to Hiyoshi 911207

1991 夜西新宿の散策散歩 Nishi-Shinjuku Night Stroll 911207

池袋駅-石神井公園駅 西武池袋線右側 Ikebukuro to Shakujikoen - Seibu Line 150801

石神井公園駅-東久留米駅 西武池袋線 Shakujikoen to Higashikurume - Seibu Line 150801

所沢駅ホームの見回り 暑い八月の日 Tokorozawa Station Platform in August 150801

夕方新宿駅前の南口 Evening Shinjuku South Exit Area 150804

国分寺駅前の工事現場 Construction Site by Kokubunji Station 150801

池袋駅前東口 暑い八月の日 Ikebukuro One Hot August Day 150801

池袋駅内 Ikebukuro Station Concourse 150801

1991 ひばりヶ丘駅-池袋駅 西武池袋線 Hibarigaoka to Ikebukuro 910801

1991 池袋駅辺りの散策散歩 厚い八月 Ikebukuro Hot August Day 910801

1991 南馬込散策散歩 厚い八月の日 Minami-Magome Walkabout - Hot August Day 910801

1991 新宿駅-五反田駅 山手線 Shinjuku to Gotanda - Yamanote Line 910801

1991 新宿駅辺りの散策散歩 厚い八月の日 Shinjuku Hot August Day 910801

1991 池袋駅-新宿駅 埼京線 Ikebukuro to Shinjuku - Saikyo Line 910801

1991 西馬込駅-五反田駅 都営浅草線 Nishi-Magome to Gotanda - Asakusa Line 910801

1991 五反田駅-東京駅 山手線 Gotanda to Tokyo - Yamanote Line 910801

1991 東京駅 雷雨 Tokyo Station Rain Lightning and Thunder 910801

1991 東京中央郵便局で切手を買う Tokyo Central Post Office in Rain 910801

1991 夕方池袋駅など Evening Ikebukuro Station Etc. 910801

1991 夕方ひばりが丘 Evening Hibarigaoka 910801

1991 東京駅-池袋駅 鉄の丸の内線 Tokyo to Ikebukuro - Marunouchi Line 910801

1991 五反田駅-西馬込駅 都営浅草線 Gotanda to Nishi-Magome - Asakusa Line 910801

1991 ひばりが丘 厚い八月の日 Hibarigaoka Hot August Day 910801

1991 中野駅-武蔵境駅 朝一の中央線 Nakano to Musashi-Sakai - Chuo Line 910803

1991 午前四時十分の中野駅 410AM Nakano Station 910803

1991 野方駅からの夜バス Night Bus from Nogata Station 910802

1991 田無駅-鷺ノ宮駅-野方駅 西武新宿線 Tanashi to Nogata - Seibu-Shinjuku Line 910802

1991 夜のバス ひばりヶ丘駅-田無駅 Hibarigaoka to Tanashi Night Bus 910802

1991 ひばりヶ丘駅-渋谷駅-渋谷-東横線 Hibarigaoka to Shibuya Etc 910803

1991 朝の散策散歩 武蔵境駅から田無駅まで Western Tokyo Morning Suburbs 910803

1991 東急東横線渋谷駅 1991年の様子 Toyoko Shibuya Station 910803

1991 朝のバス 田無駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 Morning Bus - Tanashi to Hibarigaoka 910803

1991 東急東横線の車内アナウンス 急行駅 渋谷-桜木町 In-Train Announcement 910803

1991 Big Truck - Difficult Turn 910803

1991 品川駅東口(港南口)横断トンネル Shinagawa Station East Exit Tunnel 910810
1991 品川八月散策散歩 東口(港南口)水辺など Shinagawa Walkabout 910810
御茶ノ水駅 暑い八月の日 Ochanomizu Station - Hot August Day 150811

湯島聖堂の360 暑い八月の日 Yushima-Seido - Hot August Day 150811

Yushima-Seido Courtyard - 湯島聖堂 暑い八月の日 150811

神田明神 暑い八月の日 Kanda Shrine 150811
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Monday, August 03, 2015

The Swamp Room in Ginza

   In my life (so far), there has only been one entranceway of one building where - in hot weather - there was a pressure oscillation felt more than heard (indeed, perhaps *only* felt - albeit with the ears), reminiscent of a helicopter's relatively slowly whirling blades.
   The first time I experienced it, I thought "That's odd... I wonder what causes that...", and then I quickly forgot about it (or more accurately, stopped thinking about it) as I got on with my day.  But each time I revisited the building in hot weather, I would again experience the pressure oscillation and so a desire to know the cause grew.
I like to know the *reason* for things (and the source, and/or cause), so the more time passed, the more I wanted to know the cause of that pressure oscillation.  It seemed so strange, and so obvious to me, that I began asking other visitors to the building (that I met while there) if they had also noticed it.  Not a single, solitary soul had, but when I then took people to the most obvious spot (about three or four meters within the entranceway), then some people got a surprised/excited look on their faces and said "Oh yeah!  I see what you mean!", and some said they thought maybe they could barely detect something, but weren't sure, and - at the opposite extreme - some looked at me like I was stark raving mad and said they couldn't detect anything at all.
These reactions poured fuel onto the fires of curiosity and - since many people didn't believe there was anything going on, but I *knew* there was - I ended up with a kind of burning desire to know the reason/cause of the oscillation.
Further fuel for the fires of curiosity was provided by a long-term tenant I regularly meet (POBT - Pressure Oscillation Building Tenant) who told me that their company also rented a basement room in the building and that one of their colleagues claimed there was a door in the back of the room that lead to a mysterious passageway with WW-II blackened walls that they thought might be connected with the subway system!  (About the blackened walls - it appears that the building may have been built on top of the lower concrete foundations of a previous burned out building.)
Hearing that, I got excited just thinking about it and told POBT: "Seriously?!  That's a really amazing thing to hear!  I'd love to see that space!"  POBT laughed (at my mysterious fires of curiosity I suppose) and said it might be possible for me to see it some day.  I responded with a "Please!-Please!-Please!  If there's any way I can see that, I definitely want to!" sort of response and went back to perceiving the pressure oscillation in the summers and forever wondering about it.
Actually, the news of the mysterious passageway made me come to the conclusion that there might really be some kind of connection with the subway, and I imagined the helicopter-like sound/feel was probably generated by the type of large-blade, slowly revolving exhaust fans that are used for forced air ventilation (and/or exhaust) of large structures.  So after several years, I thought about it less, but still stopped in the entranceway to experience it each time I entered that building - and imagined large exhaust fans somewhere underground beating the air.
Fast forward to early 2015.  I walked into a different building and saw my acquaintance from the Pressure Oscillation Building there... and then was shocked to learn that they had moved from the old building to the new location, and that the old building was about to be demolished.  People and companies moving isn't a big deal of course, but I had so associated that particular acquaintance with that one building, that it seemed like some fundamental part of my universe had changed with them being somewhere else.  (Nothing to lose sleep over of course - but just an initial surprise when learning of the change.)
Almost immediately, I got all disappointed and told POBT, "That means I'll never get to see that mysterious passageway!  Ahhhh...!!"  They laughed and said they could still show it to me since they hadn't turned in their keys to the building yet, and - since there were still a couple of hold-out tenants using the building (via different entrances) - demolition work had not yet begun.

POBT: "So I can still show you that space..."
LHS: "Wonderful!  When?"
POBT: "Anytime you like."
LHS: "How about now?"
LHS: "Seriously?"
POBT: "Sure!  It's just down the street and shouldn't take long."
LHS: "Great!  Thank you!-Thank you!-Thank you!!!"

And so we went off to the old building.  I felt a little odd going into the vacated (main) part of the building, but POBT seemed completely at ease - as I suppose they would, having used the space daily for many years.
Reaching the basement room, we were happy to see the electricity hadn't been cut yet, so we still had lights.  My acquaintance crossed the room and opened a door on the far side.  Instantly the room was filled with a motor noise (not with any feeling of pressure oscillation though, but still...).  I squeezed into the narrow passageway and worked my way back as far as I dared in the narrow, dark space, and then reached my camera forward with the flash on to see what was around a corner....
And while there was no evidence of a physical link with the underground train system, there was a large, belt-driven exhaust fan arrangement back there - so maybe (probably) that was the cause of the pressure oscillation I experienced so many times (over several years) on the first floor.  I took a short video of the passageway, that you can see and hear here:

Exhaust Fan Passageway in Old Building

And then, just as I was thinking there wasn't much of anything else to see, my acquaintance looked down at a small, square, under-floor access door and said "I wonder what's under here...".  (Before moving, there had always been something over the access door, so they had never noticed it before.)  POBT raised the cover and exclaimed in surprise 「なにこれ!!」 and stepped back.
I looked into the hole and was similarly surprised to see that nearly the entire space under the floor was water!!!  Old buildings in Japan (1930's, etc.) often had wells in the basement, and I'm pretty sure that's what that was - an overflowing one.  I really wish I had had a couple of flashlights to illuminate that space and get a good look, but taking flash pictures I got the general picture.
Looking through the access hole, I was struck with how the water seemed oily and didn't smell very nice (as the well water in the Okuno Building was after construction began next door...).  So - noticing that there were ventilation tubes in the well space that seemed to connect with the exhaust fan I had just seen, I can only suppose that they converted the well room into a regular room to rent and then had a smell problem (for the entire basement and maybe even the first floor), so they put in that large exhaust fan arrangement to have air constantly drawn into the basement rooms from outside, and then vented outside somewhere (presumably on the roof) via that powerful exhaust fan.
As for the blackened wall and broken concrete (one side only) in the narrow passageway, it does kind of look as though a newer building was built upon the foundations of a previous building.  I'd love to know the precise history of the building (and the ones before it built on that space), but these kinds of things are often simply not recorded very well in Japan, so I may never know.  The only reason I was finally able to pin down the exact construction dates of the Okuno Building was because I had a close look at a very corroded, but still legible metal plate in the building that had the information recorded on it.

This is one of the things about living in Tokyo, where buildings (even very large ones) are quite often torn down after only a few decades - it's quite hard to keep track of what was where, when, and how all the pieces (past and present) of the city fit together in a coherent time-line.
In any case, the Ginza Swamp Room still amazes me when I think about it.  Imagine using a room in a fairly large concrete building for a couple of decades, and then suddenly discovering that it was basically a platform over a swamp of dank water from an overflowing well!  It's not something I would have liked to think about *while* using the space!  I think back to a party I attended in that room now, and don't think I would  have enjoyed the party so much if I had known we were all standing and sitting on a metal platform over a dank and oily swamp!

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon