natsukashii ne

Recent doings (including badges and a hard drive Spring clean) have left me very nostalgic for Tokyo’s rather marvellous and iconic Yamanote Line, missed friends and projects that haven’t yet been realised.

Here’s a quick scrapbook of Yamanote Sen related stuff…

“The Yamanote Line is one of the busiest train lines in the world. Running in a circle around the heart of Tokyo, it carries 3.5 million passengers a day.”

東京 • Tokyo

I’m not sure what it is, but I’ll assume it is a bank.
銀行でしょうか。
7 or 8 workmen shuttle between a fire hydrant and their van parked some way down the street.
His entourage is ready with clipboards, and walkie-talkies.
Yellow collapsible bucket.
黄色い桶。
As soon as the hydrant has been wrapped, a man comes out of the building and lights up a cigarette.
消火栓の隣で喫煙者が
飛び出します。

The stations play different melodies. Also, I think there are different melodies depending on which platform you are on (which direction you are travelling in). This one from Meguro:

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and this one from Shinagawa:

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.

“A little song to help you remember the stations on the JR yamanote line.”

新橋 • Shimbashi

ステンドグラスや
エスカレーターや…
I leave the station only to find myself in a large underground shopping centre.
At what stage do I start following the map?
I walk past a truck full of ice.
装飾的な噴水と
ややこしい階段は
あります、でも
遺孤の葉っぱが
のほうが顕著です。
Amongst the fancy fountains and KerPlunk staircases, it is a solitary leaf that shouts loudest.

One of the 29 stories that came out of my SoPG: Yamanote Line project:

Akihabara from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Artist Orie Inoue‘s interpretation, early explorations for what might one day be Yamanote Stories:

Akihabara: man carrying a large plant

Akihabara: man carrying a large plant

浜松町 • Hamamatsuchō

From the walkway I see a beautiful garden laid out below me.
“Excellent!” I think,
the map must take me there.
とても奇麗な公園をみました、しかし入ることができません。
But there are no gateways into the garden and after crossing several lanes of traffic I end up underneath a monorail.
払い物。
街灯の上にボータイがあります。
A different route back,
I cannot afford the entry fee.
Lunch eaten on a fencepost.

call and return

Yesterday I posted a few YouTube videos of work from SoPG:Yamanote.

Looking at the post later, I happened to set both players off at the same time and was struck by the effect of having two narratives running side by side.

The videos are definitely much stronger when taken as part of a group, so this is something I’ll be investigating further.

In the meantime I rattled off a quick side-by-side rendering as a test of concept. I like the way there seems to be a call and return between the two tales. Imagine what this would be like with 29 stories running at the same time!

The resolution of the video isn’t very high at all, so if you want to actually read the text, you can watch slightly better quality versions on the original post.

two kinds of tents

2 done, only another 27 left to go.

Yamanote Stories

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Checking the feasibility of telling the SoPG: Yamanote stories whilst travelling in between stations on the Yamanote line.

SoPG: Yamanote, revisited

With one thing and another I’ve been spending a lot of time recently working on different aspects of the Sites of Potentiality Guidebooks series.

As well as developing projects to keep pushing the format in new directions, I’ve been looking at how best to present last year’s Yamanote Line project.

Although most of my documentation at the time was done via photography (and a couple of dozen of rather nice tickets – man! I love that silky black finish on the back!) I really don’t want it to turn into some sort of photography project.

So far I have 2 possible solutions…

The first is a website style format where selected photos are presented alongside bilingual word-pictures of each walk. It’s good in that it goes some way to convey the sense of journey and experience, but I feel it’s still quite a passive mode of consumption.

I’m carefully describing them as website style because I’d choose to display them under very particular conditions where I can control the appearance. Normally I’d be a lot more inclusive with my web design, but this is me in prima donna control freak mode. So there.

To aid the feedback process though, I’ve uploaded the pages for the first day’s walks so you can have a look here. A change-log can be found at the bottom of this page.

The pages were designed to be viewed in Firefox (available here) with all navigation bars removed, in full screen mode and at a screen resolution of 1024 x 768px.

[Internet Explorer does its own thing and adds in a load of visual elements I don’t want ranging from vertical scrollbars through to blue borders around images. I’m PC-based, but a quick test in Firefox for Mac suggests there may be slight issues with variations in the positioning of the text. YMMV]

Here’s a screenshot of what I see. (Click for larger version)

Okachimachi

Solution 2 is performance based:

The time taken to do a complete circuit of the Yamanote line by train is about an hour. With 29 stations that’s a couple of minutes per station. Or, alternatively, a couple of minutes per walk.

During off-peak times, I think a carriage on a Yamanote line train would make the perfect venue for a presentation of the project: in sync with the different locations as myself and my audience (a mixture of pre-arranged and incidental) travel from station to station.

Here’s a draft version of how it might sound…

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Change-log:

We shall not cease from exploration…

  • The found translation for the T.S. Eliot quote:

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.

    has been changed from:

    私達は調査から終わり、
    すべての私達の探検の終わりは私達が着くこと始まった、



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