Saturday, August 09, 2014

1991 Hyakunincho Walkabout and Danchi Design

I think these apartment buildings have since been torn down and new ones constructed in their place, but I haven't gone to the area to have a look this year (yet).
Danchi apartments in Hyakunincho
Looking towards Shinjuku (above) and Nakano (below).  As you can see, the air wasn't particularly clear.  I think the main source of smog then was probably trucks, as there were a number of older ones still on the roads and without a wind to clear the city, things accumulated in the air.  Even so, it wasn't really noticeable unless you looked off into the distance (these are telephoto views).
Hyakunincho Walkabout
These were in-camera effects I was experimenting with at the time, not something I did after the fact.  The camera could capture two high-contrast images and they could be set in a range of colors and used separately or together.  These images are actually of three components - 1) image capture of TV antennas, 2) image capture of flowers, 3) live image of the overcast sky.  (The purpose of the image capture function was so you could write a title on a piece of paper, capture it, and then overlay it on a video as you took it.)
Hyakunincho Walkabout
Considering the cracks in the concrete on the roof, and the mysterious numbers written on the side of a neighboring building, I think they had assessed the condition of the buildings and (possibly) come to a conclusion about their demolition?
Hyakunincho Walkabout
These days, TV = cable, but it used to nearly all come from the air via antennas.  (VHF on the bottom and UHF on the top, in case you don't already know.)
Rooftops of apartment buildings here used to generally have roof access, but now just about all rooftops are locked off.  Making use of the roof was a good idea I think, but (presumably) worries about people throwing things off have led to them becoming forbidden zones.
Hyakunincho Walkabout
The old design for this type of apartment building was to have stairways in-between the apartments, as shown here, which was good in that all windows (on upper floors) were inaccessible and could be left open without privacy/security worries.  Newer designs have stairs on the end of the building only, and then long walkways with all the apartment doors in a row.  This makes better use of the space the building is on (less space used for stairs), but also means that the front windows are on the walkway, and more difficult to use due to all the foot traffic that passes right by them.
With multiple stairways, the mail boxes for each section were at the base of the stairs.  With the long corridor type, there are either one huge group of mailboxes on the first floor (inside) or half of the building's mail boxes by one stairway and the other half on the other side.
In 1991, when this was taken, generally only the danchi apartments (pubic housing) had this much green.  Land prices in Tokyo being what they were (and are) other types of apartments didn't usually have much (or any) green.  There seems to be some kind of legal requirement now that high-rise buildings include some kind of green in front (and/or around) them, so there's less of a divide than there used to be.
Hyakunincho Walkabout
Hyakunincho Walkabout
Hyakunincho Walkabout
An older area of residential houses.  Tokyo is interesting in that even in central parts of the city, you come across pockets of houses that you would expect to find out in the suburbs.  As the city continues to be developed though (a process that never ends in Tokyo), there are fewer and fewer areas like this in the central areas.
Hyakunincho Walkabout
Hyakunincho Walkabout
The office towers of Shinjuku dimly seen in the hazy distance.
See how rural this looks?  Seeing this picture in isolation, you'd never think it was in a central part of Tokyo.
Hyakunincho Walkabout
As I walked towards Okubo Station, it began to rain, and so the umbrellas came out.
Getting closer to the Yamanote Line, this is more typical scenery for central Tokyo.
Hyakunincho Walkabout
And in this picture, you can see why green is appreciated when you find it - some areas are devoid of it.
I hadn't thought about it at the time, but it looks like the rain cleared the air up a bit.

Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

1991 Hyakunincho, Shibuya, Tokorozawa, Etc.; 2014 Shinbashi, Otsuka, Ginza, Etc.

This batch of videos starts off with a look around at my surroundings on an apartment building rooftop in Hyakunincho (which I had gotten to by walking from Takadanobaba Station).  From there, I walked through Hyakunincho to Okubo Station, did some train watching from a building window by the station, and then went to Harajuku.


Getting off a Yamanote Line train in Harajuku, I walked over to Yoyogi Park and walked around a bit inside the park - watching a group of people (students?) taking video of a pair of actors, etc.
From Yoyogi Park, I walked to Shibuya Station, taking in the Saturday evening summer youth scene there as I made my way towards the station.
I must have wanted to get out of the heat for a bit, because I spent some time going through (via escalator after escalator) a department store full of young people shopping for clothes.
From Shibuya, I took a Toyoko Line train to Hiyoshi Station, which was under construction at the time.  From the station, I rode in a car with some friends, which captures something of the era (in-between the frames) via the conversation in the car and and the on-air radio interview heard in the background.

2014 views are of Shinjuku, Shinbashi, Otsuka, etc.  - I'll comment after some of them below.

1991 Apartment Rooftop Lookaround 団地の屋上からの眺め 910713
1991 百人町散策散歩 Hyakunincho Walkabout 910713
1991 大久保駅辺り Okubo Station Area Lookaround 910713
1991 大久保駅近くの中央線が通る Passing Chuo Line Trains by Okubo 910713

1991 大久保駅-原宿駅 中央線と山手線 Okubo to Harajuku - Chuo and Yamanote 910713
1991 原宿駅辺りと代々木公園内 Harajuku Station and Yoyogi Park  910713
1991 渋谷土曜日の夜散策散歩 Shibuya Saturday Evening Walkabout 910713
1991 東急渋谷駅 土曜日の夜 Tokyu Shibuya Station 910713
1991 渋谷駅-日吉駅 東急東横線など Shibuya to Hiyoshi - Toyoko Line 910713
1991 工事中の日吉駅 ホームの様子とか Hiyoshi Station Under Construction 910713
1991 日吉駅-渋谷駅 東急東横線 Hiyoshi to Shibuya - Toyoko Line 910713
1991 渋谷駅 東横線から山手線までの乗り換え Shibuya Transfer - Toyoko to Yamanote 910713
1991 渋谷駅-池袋駅-ひばりヶ丘駅 Shibuya to Ikebukuro to Hibarigaoka 910713g
1991 Sunday In Tokorozawa - Propeller-Street Etc プロペ通り 910714
1991 西武池袋線と池袋散歩 Seibu Line and Ikebukuro East Side Walk 910715
1991 20th Century Machines 二十世紀の器械 910717 910718

Some of the machines briefly shown in this video were fairly high-tech at the time, but sure seem old now....

Otake Natsuki Exhibition 大竹夏紀展 Gallery b 140729

A very colorful and striking installation/exhibition in Kyobashi (next to Ginza).

サロンど東京展 サマーアートフェスタ 2014年8月 Ginza-One August Exhibition 140802

東京駅-新宿駅 中央線 Tokyo to Shinjuku - Chuo Line 140729

Yamanote Train Arriving at Komagome 駒込駅の山手線 140729

Shinjuku Crosswalk 新宿横断歩道 140729

四ッ谷駅-溜池山王駅 南北線 Yotsuya to Tameikesanno - Nanboku Line 140730
夜の新橋SL広場 Shinbashi SL-Plaza at Night 140730

新橋駅-東京駅 夜の山手線 Shinbashi to Tokyo - Nighttime Yamanote Line 140730

Osaki Escalator - Decent to Yamanote Platform 大崎駅の山手線エスカレーター 140731
有楽町駅-東京駅 右側の京浜東北線 Yurakucho to Tokyo - Keihin-Tohoku Line 140731

高田馬場駅 山手線が遣って来る Yamanote Line Arriving at Takadanobaba 140802

大塚駅ホームの様子と出口 Exiting Otsuka Station 140802

大塚駅前 市電と工事現場 Otsuka Streetcar and Construction 140802

Pre-Functional Platform Walls at Yurakucho 有楽町駅 ホームから出口まで 140802

They've just finished installing platform walls for the Yamanote Line at Yurakucho, but haven't begun using them yet, so they're locked open (or at least they were on August 2nd, 2014 - I'm sure they'll be operational soon).

Hot August Day in Yurakucho 有楽町のある暑い八月の日 140802

銀座 土曜日の歩行者天国 銀座一丁目 Ginza Pedestrian Paradise 140802

A few years ago, I spoke with an artist at an art exhibition who was displaying (among other things) some interesting conceptual drawings of how the artist thought Ginza should be.  Instead of the current Chuo-Dori, with its six-lane (four for moving and two for parked vehicles) wide expanse of lifeless asphalt, and two-lane wide expanse of lifeless cement (for pedestrians), it had a narrow two-lane road for only essential fire-breathing machinery and the rest was a park-like expanse of grass, trees, and walkways through the green for humans.

Now that would really be nice!  Keeping all the cars out of the area on Sundays is certainly nice, but walking around on that sea of lifeless asphalt is never all that fun really.  I much prefer the two-lane back streets that machinery operators mostly avoid (7-days a week, 24-hours a day) since they can't drive at speed on them.

夕方新宿南口の360度 Evening Shinjuku-360 at South Exit 140729g
お化け屋敷の階段 Spooky Old Stairs 140730g
東京駅-有楽町駅 昼の山手線 Tokyo to Yurakucho - Yamanote Line 140802g
Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon