Iidabashi Bridge & Streetcars, Iidabashi,Tokyo, c. 1920.

1920sBridges & Spans
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Iidabashi Bridge (left), erected in 1881, Ushigome, Tokyo, c. 1920, from the roof of Iidabashi Station and looking north toward Tsukodo-Hachiman. Up the rise, left-of-center, along what is now Meijiro-dori, was located the Koishikawa Arsenal where rifles and, later, airplanes, were produced for the Japanese Army from 1871 until the arsenal’s destruction by earthquake in 1923.

“At Iidabashi station I transferred to the tram for Hongo Motomachi and walked from there. But I did this only a few times. Something very strange happened to me on the streetcar, and afterward I didn’t like riding it any more. Even though it was my own fault, it was frightening.

“The morning tram was always full. Clumps of people always overflowed from the entrance where the conductor’s stand was and hung precariously from the side of the car. One day I too was hanging there on the way from Omagari to Iidabashi, when suddenly I decided that everything in life was stupid, boring and futile. I let go of the hand rail.

“I was pinned between two university students who were also hanging on the outside of the car. If this had not been the case, I would have plunged to the ground. Even so, I had only one foot on the running board, so I did start to fall backward.

“One of the university students let out a yell and freed one hand to grab me by the strap of the schoolbag on my shoulder. I rode the rest of the way to Iidabashi suspended from the hand of this student like a fish on a line. Holding very still, for this entire interval I stared into the eyes of the pale, horror-stricken young man.”

Something Like An Autobiography, by Akira Kurosawa, 1982

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