Monday, 5 March 2018

Shinjuku, ten years on

There is a film project called Global Lives in which ordinary people from around the world have one twenty-four hour period of their lives recorded. The idea being that these will become important historical artefacts, giving future generations a chance to see how we really lived, worked, played etc.

Japan's entry concerned a woman called Rumi Nagashima, a mostly wheelchair-bound girl scout leader. It was filmed back in 2007 and, truth be told, not enough time has passed for this to feel like a glimpse of a lost world. In fact, it all looks quite unremarkable. It's all up on the Internet Archive for you to watch, along with many others.

Anyway, in October last year I visited Japan again and this time I spent a decent amount of time in Tokyo. Previously I was only there for four days and you really can't get a feel of a place in so little time. I'll do a post of things I did in a few days, but a recurring theme of my holiday was to revisit places that either I or someone else had been.

And so, when I found myself awake at two o'clock one morning, I took the chance to go to Shinjuku and photograph places I'd seen in Rumi Nagashima's film. To put things in some kind of context, it was late at night and she was trying to get the last train back after an evening out, and she needed to find the disabled access to Shinjuku Station.

So, for example, she heads towards the elevator to the station. As you can see, the artistic flooring (above) has been replaced by something more functional (below).

In the film, she was too late to actually use the elevator. If only she'd waited ten years, she would've found the elevator still open and operational.

Bits of Shinjuku.

More bits.

Sadly, the new album by Koda Kumi is not longer being advertised here.

Mostly the differences are minor, like a new logo on a shop front...

But this one bothered me. You see, I always thought that traffic cones were a temporary measure. Something used for a fixed period until a more permanent solution comes along. But in this photo, we can see that traffic cones have been used in the same area for about ten years. And what, exactly, are they doing?

Crossing a bridge. Kind of similar.

And once she's at the station, nothing much at all had changed.

As a piece of history, it seems quite faithful to reality. She talks to her mum about the TV news over breakfast, she works as a Girl Guide leader in the afternoon and goes out in the evening. While I expect they chose a day when she'd be doing something active, it doesn't seem particularly staged. In the nicest possible way: it's certainly dull enough to be real life.

Worth a look.

No subs, though.

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