Starting at Harajuku Station, I walk around in Harajuku for a while - including on Takeshita-Dori, Meiji-Dori, and Omotesando - as well as leaving the main streets and exploring some of the side streets. Among the side streets, I take a 360-degree look around the area from a rooftop. Returning to Harajuku Station, I watch through the front cab as the Yamanote Line takes me to Yoyogi and Shinjuku, where I get off and walk around a little (mostly in Nishi-Shinjuku) before getting on a Chuo Line train via the South Entrance to Shinjuku Station.
Opening with a nice song by Isomichi Kazuhisa (礒道和久), which was his last song for the evening at his street performance in Nakano on August 27th. Next is a stroll down Takeshita-Dori in Harajuku (taken earlier the same day), then a train window view and a stroll through all ten cars of a 20000-Series Seibu train on the way to Shinjuku.
Skipping past time spent in Shinjuku (which we come back to later), I ride a Chuo Line train to Nakano, and then skipping past time spent in Nakano, I ride a Chuo Line train back to Shinjuku, and then (suddenly) I'm on a Yamanote Line train going from Yurakucho to Tokyo.
Then - jumping back in time on that same Friday, August 27th, 2010, I watch a 30000-Series train arrive at Ogawa, and then - suddenly - I'm in Shinjuku walking around - which continues through a few clips in chronological order, ending in the last clip of the bunch, which was taken as I entered Shinjuku Station from the South Entrance and got on a Yamanote Line train.
Entering Shinjuku Station via the South Entrance and boarding a Yamanote Line train where the six-door car used to be. The train that came in had a four-door car there though - apparently they are dumping the six-door cars (which are very useful during peak rush times) in order to accommodate the platform wall doors that they've begun installing at Yamanote Line stations (starting with Ebisu Station).
This restaurant, and the building it was in, the Sanshin Building, are both gone now. I took this on what was (I think) the second to the last day the restaurant was open. As it was the last tenant in the building, that was also the last day the pubic could get into the structure. Then they rushed to tear it down so the land could sit - basically - empty for years, while they work to empty and rip down a neighboring building so they can put up an monster high-rise there. It's a shame they tore it down, as the building - and this restaurant - had a lot of character.
New World Service Restaurant
I went back to the restaurant on the very last day, and arrived just in time to see the restaurant owner's son (and a friend) perform a farewell tune in the building's atrium (they had closed early that day):
In the middle of the August heat, I pause to look up at the green leaves of the trees overhead - listening to the symphony of insects... and realize that - come winter - I will long to be able to do this again.
I also long for a general respect of life over oil-fueled machinery and asphalt. So much of our beautiful world has been scarred and damaged for the convenience of fire-breathing machinery. There's a better way to live....
In the depths of winter I dream of the heat of summer - and in the middle of a hot day out in the blazing sun on a shadeless boulevard, I dream of the cool days of autumn, and even contemplate the unlikely pleasantness of winter, although I know better....
Why a sad tale? Have a look at this half-tone photo of San Francisco that I took in 1984. Why half-tone and not a proper print? Read the text below the photo to find out!
I poured all my spare time and spare money into photography when I lived in San Francisco, and had several photos printed as half-tones to sell as a pack of photos of San Francisco while I lived there. In the middle of this project, I decided to move to Japan, and I entrusted my rented garage (where all of my negatives, photos, and half-tones were) to a guy I used to work with who I had thought was a friend, but he (curse him to the maximum extent possible) told me a year later, when I wanted to have my pictures sent to me in Tokyo, that he had trashed everything.
And so - all I have are a few sets of the half-tone printed pictures that I carried over with me in 1984. So - if you've seen this picture before, please contact me - as it may be that the guy who told me he trashed everything, didn't trash it, but stole it. It would be good to know the truth. It would be fantastic if I could get my negatives and prints back from that time. I spent two years walking around the streets of San Francisco taking those pictures....
For seventy-seven years - around 28,000 days... this doorway has stood here, and each and every one of those days were the "present". None were the past, or the future, just the present.
And so it seems strange in a way to contemplate all the changes over the years. How can so much change and this doorway become what feels like a path to the past when all it has ever known is the present?
My trip from Shinjuku to Kawasaki in the early evening, and then part of the trip back towards Shinjuku very late at night - near the last trains for the day. In addition to views from the Yamanote Line and the Tokaido Line, views in Shinjuku Station, Shinagawa Station, and Kawasaki Station.
Looking out a rear window of the Okuno Building on November 26th, 2009 - past the neighboring construction site and over towards the Yonei Building, which is a couple of years older than the Okuno Building.
A large batch of clips this time - starting with the Keikyu Line in Shinagawa, then going outside Shinagawa Station and having a look at the taxi area in front of the station. From there I go to Shinbashi where I exit the train system and walk around on the side streets where there are still some old izakaya (although they are rapidly disappearing). Finally I go to Yurakucho and look around a bit there.
Watching an outbound train come in to the first stop on its run - Shinagawa. In the case of Toei subway trains, they come in with a load of people from the Toei-Asakusa Line, but for the Keikyu Line trains, Shinagawa is the fist stop on the line.
Watching an already fairly full Toei-Asakusa subway line train arrive at Keikyu's Shinagawa Station. This is very convenient for people working on the Asakusa Line who need to transfer to the Keikyu Line, as they can take one train to get home. (The fare if the same either way, but this saves them the physical bother of getting off of one train and onto another.)
Watching a Yamanote Line train departing from Shinbashi Station - and then walking down the platform as a Keihin-Tohoku Line train leaves in the same direction, and a Yamanote Line train comes in going the other way (on a neighboring platform).
Walking around on some back streets in Shinbashi. These streets used to be very thick with retro-izakaya shops, but their numbers decrease year by year as the city becomes ever more modern; which is part of what Tokyo is of course, but the loss of the old stuff makes things - in some senses - less interesting.
These streets are still kind of interesting, but they were much more interesting before most of the signs were blazing florescent lights and half the buildings were blank walls rising up like impenetrable fortresses....
Views of Shinagawa - starting from the Keikyu Railways part of Shinagawa Station, going outside and looking around in front of the station, and then entering the JR part of the station. From there I ride the Keihin-Tohoku Line from... Ooimachi Station (I went the wrong way when I got on in Shinagawa and had to backtrack) to Shinagawa, then up to Shinbashi - station by station, where I look around inside Shinbashi Station a bit.
Standing at the head of the outbound platform on the Keikyu platform at Shinagawa, I watch a Toei subway train depart, and then a Keikyu single-headlamp, single door (compared to the usual twin doors) train arrive.
Riding the Keihin-Tohoku Line from Shinagawa Station to Tamachi Station - looking out a right-side window. Along the way, the train passes by parked trains in the Shinagawa train yards, where several different types of trains can be seen. As the train nears Tamachi, a Yamanote Line train - running in parallel - pulls ahead.
After a look back two decades ago to some experimentation I did in July 1990, the rest of the clips are of several front-cab views on the Keikyu Line. The beginning clips are from back-tracking after having ridden too far, and the other clips are of the return trip to Shinagawa, after having spent several hours in Yokohama.
In the well and pump room, there is a what appears to be a sidewalk-style skylight at the back of the room, which is covered by concrete on the outside now. External fire damage in 1945 probably damaged the glass.
This bricked in space behind heavy steel doors is a mystery to everyone I've spoken with. The evident haste with which the bricks have been put in adds to the mystery....
The only half-plausible idea I've been able to imagine for what this was, is that maybe it was a coal chute for the originally configured building's boiler, which was most likely on this side, the basement of the original half of the building, next to the well and pump room.
For more details on the Okuno Building, click here.
This batch of videos is more focused than usual - it begins with a walk along a street next to Koganecho Station (on the Keikyu Line) and then shows several places I saw while walking around in Yokohama. Finally, it wraps up while I'm waiting for an inbound Keikyu Line train at Hinodecho Station.
Walking through some very narrow streets in Yokohama. These areas have a lot of character, but can be a fire hazard since fire equipment cannot easily get in, so as these areas are cleared, larger buildings and wider streets replace them.
This batch of videos begins with a look at Chuo Park in Kodaira, and then gets into train and street views, with the Seibu-Haijima Line, the Seibu-Shinjuku Line, the Tozai (subway) Line, the Chuo Line, the Keihin-Tohoku Line, and the Yamanote Line. The street views were mostly taken in Yurakucho.
The side of Kodaira's Chuo Park with a grove of trees. The government of Tokyo wants to build a four-lane road through this - and the residents of Kodaira City (within Tokyo) are fighting to stop it. I hope they win. There are too many roads in Tokyo already.
Watching passing trains from a Kanda Station platform while waiting for my train - which turned out to be a Keihin-Tohoku Line train (I could have used either a Keihin-Tohoku Line train or a Yamanote Line train).
Ginza Chuo-Dori late at night - among mega-cities, Tokyo mainly shuts down every night around midnight - which is tied in with the railways shutting down for the night and people running to catch last trains. If the trains ran 24 hours a day, this situation would radically change.... probably.
With surface trains, there's always something to see out the window (except at night in dark areas away from artificial lighting), but in the subway, there is just the subway rumble to listen to, and reflections of the interior of the train punctuated by tunnel lights at regular intervals.
This batch of videos begins with a walk under a rail bridge in Yurakucho while listening to various train sounds above. Next is a short clip of a group of artists at the gallery "Art Space Ginza-1" singing a quick tune on opening day of their current art exhibition.
After that is my trip to Yokohama (and beyond), with clips of Tokyo Station, Shinagawa Station, and front-cab-view Keikyu Line footage from an N1000 type express train that was fun to ride in. (The Keikyu Line runs wider gauge tracks than many of the lines in Tokyo, and this helps with express trains - being safer at speed than narrow gauge.)
Many of the artists currently exhibiting at 'Art Space Ginza-One' in the Okuno Building in Ginza - singing a quick song at the opening party on August 2nd, 2010. (This exhibition runs from August 2nd, to August 7th, 2010.)
Beginning with a look at new construction on the Seibu-Haijima Line, and then taking a quick look around July-hot Takadanobaba Station. After that, views of Ginza and from the left side of a twilight outgoing Chuo Line train.
Beginning with a view out a window of a Tozai Line train as it arrives at Nihonbashi Station. After getting off of the Tozai Line, I walk over to the Ginza Line - where I walk up to the front of the platform while waiting for the train to come. When it arrives, I board it and ride to Kyobashi Station.
The first several clips are the views from the left side of a Yamanote Line ride I took from Ueno to Yurakucho. Following that are some Ginza and Yurakucho walking views, and the last clip is a quick look in a Chuo Line train full of tired people just before 1:00 a.m.
Walking by a long line of people waiting to go into the "Extra Cold" beer place on Chuo-Dori. It was a particularly hot day, so I think a lot of people got the same idea at the same time - not to mention that it was Friday.