3 in 30 - 2001.05.28 Monday

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Once again, I didn’t get too far afield to take this week’s snapshots. I was gone from the house for only ten minutes of the thirty and only went about 150 meters. These shots were Beverly's suggestions. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine what would be interesting to other people when you are used to seeing the things in your own back yard.

This shot, taken on the bike path is of some banners set up at 20 meter intervals along the bike path. Of the characters I know, I can read “June 24” and “Tokyo Metropolitan ... organization.” I can sound out the hiragana and perhaps the “yume” is "famous.” Otherwise, these banners point out how illiterate we still are after living here for ten years.

The other reason for this snapshot is that this is a typical advertising banner or flag in Japan. In the feudal era of Japan, similar banners were attached to the backs of soldiers to identify the groups of combatants. The warlords usually had a color coordinated graphic insignia for their family which was prominently displayed on the banner. Mostly vertical, the banner is attached to the vertical shaft. There is a horizontal cross piece at the top where the banner also attaches. Even when there is no breeze, the message or insignia is always visible.

historical marker map

At one end of the (now) bicycle parking area is this map and text set in a stainless steel frame and stand. Over the years, we have watched the area behind our house change—and we have listened to stories of what it was before. This map tells part of the story and the text probably tells more.

As we understand it, what is now a level path and bicycle parking area (above) was once a train line.

At the left of the map is where the Haijima train station is located. The green horizontal band across the top is a canal that runs from Hamura (to our west) to Tokyo at our east. The original canal of about 45 miles was built in less than eight months to meet the water needs of a budding metropolis. The narrow diagonal lines from nearly corner to corner are the Ome train line and a parallel road. Toward the bottom of the map is the Tama River bed.

The barely visible red line is where the old train line used to run. It began at Haijima, ran closer to the river and quite possibly stopped at farms along the way before rejoining the Ome/Chuo line near Tachikawa. It is easy to imagine a train from this area loading up on vegetables from small local farms and delivering them to the city center.

Police box

Police box with bus stop

The third picture was taken just around the corner from the bike path. It is of our local police box, or koban. This one was just built and occupied in the last year or so. Previously, the local koban was located in an office just outside the train station. The police are familiar with the neighborhood, the people who live here, and generally keep an eye on things going on.

Formerly, there was a neighborhood block warden responsible for the safety of the people and prevention of fires in neighborhoods. There are stories of dire consequences to these wardens if a crime was committed or a fire occurred in their areas. The Japanese have a tradition of treating fires very seriously. One of the friends we have met is a chief in the volunteer fire department.

It happens that there is a special bus stop right near this koban. The people you see lined up here are waiting for a bus. Perhaps it goes where the train line used to go.

Extra note: The afternoon of Memorial Day, the day these pictures were taken, I took my digital camera to a repair shop in downtown Tokyo for some repairs. I wasn't given an idea of when the repairs might be done, but I'm hoping that it might be back for next week's snapshots. Don't be too disappointed if next week’s pictures are missing.
This file was last updated on 28 Mar, 2023