Friday, April 21, 2006


This is my web page of final project.

For the final, I developed three exercise that I have done for the class which are three day investigation, mapping, and a say of other's life.

Three day investigation:
I went to Kamiyacho, and kept journals. Also it was good chance to meet people who helped me for this final.

I ask people where (Which area) is Kamiyacho for you, and kept it as map.
On the exercise I found that people who are living and working at this town has different relation with geographical locations.
Thus, I kept recording the map, and also did some interview for the final to know how people are living/working at the town, and how they think about it.

A day of other's life:
I asked a woman how she is using every day lunch time at Kamiyacho.
I did exactly same thing what she told me. Work to Kamiyacho sta., had lunch at a restaurant, went to Kamiyacho Open Terrace, and went to post office before go back to the office.
It gave me a chance to experience how people working at kamiyacho spend time at the town.
Also it was my first experience to go to a restaurant at business town on the most clouded time.

My web page is still unfinished, I have a lot of things that I want to put in the web map so that the map become close to the real town.

Friday, March 10, 2006


“Tarnation” was strange movie for me. I have never seen that kind of movies before. It took me time to figure out that the filmmaker make a film about himself.

I like the way he put the narrations. Narrations only appear as inner title, so there is no voice over narration. I think that made the movie objective although it is a autobiography of the film maker. White gothic font words are keeping cool and objective atmosphere in the movie. The inner seems not a narration by him, but a observation of others.

By using his own collection of videos and pictures, I think he is trying to show his real feelings and real situation; how he was. Even it is home video each shots were really strong. Since some of shots were his point of view shots, I could easily imagine how he was living and in what distance he was communicating with people.

Music was kind of soft even when the images are cruel. I though that music represents his feelings now. I imagine that he might get through all cruel things and finally found calm place. Then he made this move as if he is remembering the memories. Since he is now in calm place, his feelings about his past is not violent any more; however, his cruel experience never disappears. To show this mixed situation he used soft music for his feelings, and real records for his experience. That all I imagine.

Then, his style reminds me that I can do basically same thing. I always take a picture in everywhere. I take pictures not for beautiful picture, but for record of my life; what I saw on that day. Since I am keeping these photos, many years after, I might be able to make autobiography of myself in same way Jonathan did.

Journal#3:close art amd far nature- about Donald Richie'd article.

Donald Richie talked about Japanese garden. He pointed out that there is no raw nature in Japan, and all Japanese gardens are created by people’s hand.

For me, as Japanese, Donald Richie’s argument was interesting point of view.

I do not think that Japanese garden is a ‘nature’, but I think it is artwork or decoration of house. IT IS NOT NATURE.

Yes, Japanese ‘create’ these gardens. It is carefully designed and made up garden. Un…but it is not exactly ‘garden’. It is artwork to show, and decoration of house to welcome guests. It use natural properties, but it is just because these properties are beautiful enough to draw the picture on the ground, and it is good materials to decorate houses.

I did not even think about this topic until I read the article. After I read, I considered how I think of Japanese garden. Then, I realized that I do not really thing Japanese garden as nature. Nature for me is mountains, sea, stars, etc something big and something I cannot easily touch.

How should I explain my opinion? It is hard to explain………

okay, 枯山水(Karesansui) is a definitely ‘art’.
It is a type of type of Japanese garden, which is made by rocks and gravel. Then the most important is no use of water.

Pic from

The wave of gravel represents the flow of water. By using only rocks and gravel, Japanese people tried to explain other form in the garden. You see it is art, right??

Same as watching Karesansui, for me other type of Japanese garden is a art work as well, even it use trees or waters.

I think, for Japanese people, natural properties which is close to our life is not considered as ‘nature’, but something to watch; materials for art.
Japanese make all things for watching. 雪見障子(yukimi-shouji)-- a certain flame of window make our view of landscape as art. The flame shows up only part of landscape (hide other part). Then we look out side through the flame as if we are watching pictures.

Pic from

Ikebana is also art work made of natural properties.

Natural properties besides our daily life are not ‘nature’. Nature is things far away from me and things out of control of me.

Pic:maintenance of garden.Cleaning of pond.

Journal#2 Movie "Postcards"

posted on Feb 23, 06

This film showed me the interesting way of communication, and how the relationship changes towards their life.

Although this couple was living far from each other, space between them is become closer by exchanging postcards.

When each of them are reading the postcards, one's imagination fly to another's life, and they shared one's experience with the partner. That is because they tell every details of their life and both of them wants to share the experience with partner. Love made them to do that. Exchanging postcards was their evidence of love.

However, according to their emotion becomeing separate, they did not let partners to share the experience. The topic they wrote became general like “How is your mother”. At this point, postcards meant just like a role-call in class. They were just checking partner’s existence.

Then they finally they stopped to sending cards and broken up the relationship.

I think this kind of relationship never happens in modern days. Now we have cell phone and e-mail.

For the people in postcard age, ending of exchanging cards might mean that they will lose the relationship forever. Once they lost one’s address, they cannot send the card anymore. It means they cannot share the experience with the person, and they cannot check existence of the person.

Nowadays things have changed. Everyone can have communication network through the cell phone. Thus, we do not really need to know address, and it is not serious problems to lose one’s address. Even we lost one’s email address and telephone numbers, we can find that through the network.

People in modern age are living in network. We have various accesses to many people. The network makes the relationship stronger, and communication became easier; but we also cannot escape from the net.
People in postcard age were living in line. This was one-to-one access. Thus, once they cut off the line, there are no ways to keep relationship with the person.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Three day Investigation DAY THREE

posted on Feb 16, 06

Day three
Assignment: Interact in some way with your space. Interview a subject, or take part in some interaction that integrates you into the environment.

In this day I had a lunch at the terrace of temple, and interviewed some people.

Here is a summary of interviews

A woman who is working in one of the buildings
She comes here almost every day unless the weather is too cold or rainy. It is a good place for rest. She loves this very quiet environment. Although this terrace face to grave, it doesn’t matter for her. What is the good point of this terrace is that the terrace does not have atmosphere of religion, so she come to this terrace as if she goes to a park.

Pic: view from the terrace

A man who is working for this open terrace
He is working at here almost one year since the terrace opened. From spring, they will start café at the terrace (now it is closed because it’s winter). His main job is to serve drinks, clean up tables, and talk with people who visit the terrace. He wants to make comfortable atmosphere, and good relationship with visitors.

A priest who started this open terrace
He wanted to use the terrace effectively since no one visited here before, so he started this open terrace and café. In Kamiyacho there are many restaurants, but no quiet place to spend lunchtime with lunch box, so he wants to make the terrace quiet rest place. Everyone is welcome to the terrace and he wants businessmen/women to use this place more often. Long time ago, Buddhist temple was the place where people come to chat, so he wants to reproduce that in modern way.

Pic:the man working at the terrace and the priest

Through the research I found the two faces of one town. It was really interesting exercise, and I want to keep looking at this town for another assignments.

Three day Investigation DAY TWO

posted on Feb 16, 06

Day two
Assignment: Bring a recording device of your choice and record bits and pieces of what occurs.

Sound file #1: in front of the exsit of Kamiyacho station click here!
noisy noisy noisy...

Sound file #2: at the back street(rec#2 on the map) click here!
much more quiet that the main street...but still we can here some noise of cars.

Sound file#3: at the Buddhist temple click here!
quiet, we can here birds singing.

*All recordings have done in same mic level.

In Second day I tried to get into to the town deeper.
I go through not only main street but also back street. Then, I realized that Kamiyacho is not a town for businessmen.

Behind the tall buildings, there are a lot of small houses.
I couldn’t see these houses from main street because buildings made a wall and hide these houses.

Many houses are made of wood, and looks really old, and some of them are ruin.
I could not believe that there are ruins in the center of Tokyo. Kamiyacho is close to Toranomon and Nagatacho where the center of Japanese politics and administration. Also it is close to Roppongi. It is very convenient place, and I am sure a lot of people want to live in Kamiyacho. I was surprised and wondered why these became ruin.


Then, I found a Buddhist temple. Usually Japanese people do not go to Temple without reasons. But a signboard said “open terrace, you are welcome to come in”, so I get in. This temple opens their big terrace to anyone who comes to Kamiyacho. People were having lunch at the terrace.

Pic:the terrace

What I surprised the most at the temple is sound. It was very quiet, and I could here singing of birds even the temple is really close to main street. It was just like I am in other place.

That was my second day. I found the another face of Kamiyacho in this day.

Three day Investigation DAY ONE

posted on Feb 16, 06
For this exercises, I chose Kamiyacho area where a lot of office buildings are.
The reason I chose Kamiyacho is because I was working at Swedish embassy last year, and I often used Kamiyacho station to go to the embassy.
At first, I thought that only businessmen go to Kamiyacho because there are only offices; however, after I walk through the town, I found another faces of Kamiyacho.

Pic from Google earth

Day one
Assignment: Find a space that interests you. Take only journal. Record your observations about what occurs, who enters and exits the space.

Here are things I found. (based on my notes)

On the cross in front of the station/ 12:30 p.m.
-What I can see are only people who wear suit.
-People are always alone, or group of two/three.
-Some people walk with talking to cell phone.
-People come from exit of station and go into each building.
-High traffic density.
-I can see buildings, convenience stores, and restaurants for lunch.

In the starbucks (it is small starbucks)/ 1:00 p.m.-There are 6 people who are alone and two groups.
-One group (5 people) seems having business meeting, they are talking about layout of a magazine.
-Another group (3 ladies) seems just chatting.
-Person next me: reading a book
-Person next me(other side): working? with laptop
-8 Men, 6 Women

Then I went through the main street (blue line) by bicycle. There was nothing special. I saw businessmen, buildings, businesswomen, buildings…

My Impression of Kamiyacho on day one: Kamiyacho is a place for businessmen. There are office buildings and restaurants for lunch.

Pic: View of main street

Journal#1 Image of Tokyo

posted on Feb 14, 06

Pic:Tokyo Tower

Okay, it is my first journal. Since our class focuses on “Tokyo”, I think I should start my journal from Image of Tokyo.
I was bone in Tokyo (city area), and grew up in Tokyo. I have no experience of living in out side of Tokyo. Thus, my image of Tokyo might be different from the people from out side of Tokyo.

What is your image of Tokyo???

Crowded trains?
Expensive for living?
These are all I heard from study abroad students.


Place to anticipate dreams?
No one cares about others (people are frosty to others)?
Schoolgirl prostitution?
Foul air?
No nature?
These are all I heard from Japanese people who came from out side of Tokyo.

I agree some points, and I do not agree many points.
First of all, you need to know that Tokyo Metropolis dose not mean “Tokyo” in general.
Tokyo Metropolis can be divided into three parts, which are City part, middle part, and mountains part.

In general, “Tokyo” means the city part.
Many people live in middle part because it is cheap for living, and commute to city part for work (by crowded trains/ car is not popular for transportation).
Both people living in city and middle part ironically call middle part “Country side of Tokyo.”

So, in this journal I will write about city area of Tokyo where I am living.

Is Tokyo big, clean, and safe city?
Not really.
There are great transportations; we can go to everywhere of Tokyo by trains and basses.
I agree that Tokyo is clean. That is because there is common senesce that we need to keep our city clean. In fact, my neighbor cautioned me to sweep because I did not clean up dead leaves of my acorn tree on the road in front of my house. When I was in junior high, we had “cleaning activity” for community service.
Tokyo is not safe city. Of cause, compare to other country, Japan is safe (I do not know, but that’s what I heard); however, compare to other part of Japan, Tokyo is not really safe city.

Are there too many people in Tokyo?
I agree and disagree. On daytime, there are too many people in Tokyo, but most of the peoples are from middle part of Tokyo and other prefectures. They came for work and visit. Not many peoples are actually living in Tokyo.

Tokyo is expensive to live.
Yes, definitely, but it does not means people living in Tokyo are rich. Like my family, people are living in Tokyo from grand or grand-grand mothers age. We have own house in Tokyo, so we are living in Tokyo.

Tokyo is brilliant.
Yeah, there are a lot of lights on the road.

Tokyo is place to anticipate dreams?
Well, Since Tokyo is center of the Japanese economy, there are much more chance to anticipate dreams than other part of Japan, I think.

People in Tokyo are frosty to others.
I am not. But it is hard to make relationships in small community because there are varieties of people in Tokyo.

Tokyo is dangerous?
As I wrote above, compare to other part of Japan, Tokyo is more dangerous.

Schoolgirl prostitution?
Not all of schoolgirls do of cause. Just media pick up the topic, and exaggerated.

Foul air?
Yes, exactly.

No nature?
Not really, but all greens are “made” by human. There are no natural greens.

These are my reflections to the images of Tokyo.

It was interesting because depends on what city or town you compare with, image of Tokyo can be 180 degree different. (Study abroad studens/ people living in other part of Japan.)

It is hard for me to define what is my image of Tokyo because I do not have many experiences to compare. Tokyo is just a city where I grew up. I have both complaints and favorite tings about Tokyo. I love this city.

so what is your image of Tokyo?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006