As typhoon #15 approached Tokyo, I had heard that it was expected to pass by without directly hitting the city, so I was surprised at the ferocity of the winds that came Wednesday evening, September 21st, 2011. Going out and walking over to a park, there were several broken trees there - a couple shown above. Later, looking at a television report, it looked like the typhoon went directly over/through Tokyo. Also on television were reports of fallen trees all over the city....
In the two and a half decades I've been using the Tokyo train system, one thing I've always taken for granted was maintenance. The railways were always carefully maintained. I hasten to say that the system is still functioning very well, and is still probably the very best intracity and intercity rail system in the world, but steel bridges and other structural parts that need to be repainted on a regular basis in order to keep rust away, are rusting for want of paint!
Every time I see rust on a bridge (and many other places, but especially on bridges), I keep thinking "Why aren't they doing basic, long-term maintenance?". If they're planning on just running the system into the ground and letting it fall apart, then nothing matters, but that just can't be! Can it? But if they plan on long-term viability for the train system, then how can they let the steel structures rust/rot away? For short-term profit? It's far more expensive to build a new bridge than it is to maintain an existing one through repainting it, etc.
It can't be (can it?) that they are sabotaging the future of Japan's rail system for the sake of STP (Short Term Profits)! The situation seems symptomatic of so much that is going wrong in the world now - basically sabotaging the future for short-term savings/profits.
Priorities... the railways have spent a lot of money installing elevators and escalators at all the stations (no mean feat, that, given the vast scope of the Tokyo train system), and now that the economy is is doing badly, a lot of advertising spaces are going unrented. I can't know what is going on management-wise in the offices of the railways, but could it be that due to lower revenues than expected, they are putting off expensive maintenance in the hope that the economy will improve before the bridges become so rusted that the rail lines have to be shut down for safety reasons?
If this is the case, it seems like a fool's gamble to me. Any rust on a steel structure means it is that much weaker than before part of the steel rotted. Hard times or no, painting vital steel bridges should be a non-negotiable absolute must-be-done priority! If there isn't money, the suits should get out of their worthless meetings, put on overalls and grab some paint brushes! I think. I'm only saying this because I have great respect for Japan's rail system and want to see it stay in great shape!
This batch of videos starts off with a ride on a surface part of the Musashino Line, followed by another video taken inside a Musashino line train as it runs through an underground section of the line. Then there are a couple of views taken near a monorail line; a few taken near the Tamagawa Josui canal; a few of a ceramics festival in Koganei Park; train views (of various lines - the Musashino, Chiyoda, Hibiya, Chuo, Yamanote, etc.); and wrapping up with a view of trains passing in the night on the very edge of Shibuya-ku - near Shinjuku Station.
Another batch of videos from out on the train system, as well as views of Ginza, Shinjuku, Ueno, etc. Typical stuff. It's not particularly exciting to watch any of it now, but in the future it will have more value as a record of how things used to be. Time and time again I've taken something for granted in Tokyo and then been shocked to return and find no trace of it. The appetite of the Godzilla construction industry is truly insatiable, so almost everything is destroyed within a few decades or so. That being the case, I think it's important to record street scenes in general, because you never know when any part of them will be eaten by Godzilla.
Don't get me wrong - I like new construction as well, but do feel that the balance between preserving some aspects of the city and building/rebuilding new parts is very heavily biased in favor of endless new construction, even when it isn't really necessary or even desirable.
Another earthquake. Hmm... maybe I should acknowledge here that I understand that there's a much greater need for structures to be strong in Tokyo than in many other cities in the world.... But perfectly good, strong structures are also destroyed, so I still say there is too much emphasis on endless construction.
September 10th... finally the weather is beginning to cool off a little from the heat of August. Autumn is a nice time of year, but I can't say I care for winter.
This batch begins with a visit to Mt. Takao, followed by some Keio Line train views, an insect symphony in a grove of trees in Tokyo, train views near Tokyo Station, walking along the edge of Ginza, a look at an art installation, and looking down on Kanda from an outbound Chuo Line train.