Let's go for a walk in the city
October 21, 2022 9:14 PM   Subscribe

I love these, it's how I travel abroad. Zone out to one long enough and I swear it starts to feel like you're walking and bobbing. Also watching before bed or falling asleep to em you can sometimes just keep it rolling into the dreamspace.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:21 PM on October 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Videos like these saved my sanity in the early days of the pandemic when I was going a bit stir crazy. It's biking and not walking, but this tour of Capri is one I've watched or backgrounded probably a dozen times over the last two years.
posted by Inkslinger at 9:31 PM on October 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Sure it might be a tourist trap, but I like the Shinjuku Golden Gai.
posted by credulous at 10:17 PM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've noticed there are no public bins or litter in Tokyo.
posted by adept256 at 10:59 PM on October 21, 2022

Scrolling through the playlist, this post feels like it needs a Missing Persons joke
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:08 PM on October 21, 2022

I'm a big fan of Walk East, but it's refreshing to see my city, London, from a different perspective.
posted by jeyoung at 1:03 AM on October 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

NHK's Somewhere Street comes to mind. Here is their visit to Seattle, courtesy of the Somewhere Street YouTube clip compilation by Luxutrav, your, ahem, one stop solution to travel vlogging.
And, heartbreakingly, here is
Kyiv: Special Edition, Ukraine - Somewhere Street
posted by y2karl at 3:14 AM on October 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've noticed there are no public bins or litter in Tokyo.

Now i feel like my brain is lying to me because I've been in Japan in the year of that video and I never felt put out when I needed to throw away something... Is it because I kept my trash in my pocket??? Experts differ.
posted by cendawanita at 4:42 AM on October 22, 2022

I used to work intermittently on George St (was repeatedly sent down there for work) and I don't know if I will ever get back to Sydney. That walk in Sydieny was one I've done so many times and I miss it terribly. Thanks for this.
posted by rednikki at 4:54 AM on October 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

And just as they get within two blocks of where I used to live in Rome, darkness falls and the film runs out. Oh well.
posted by BWA at 5:49 AM on October 22, 2022

Thanks for this post—there's a lot of content here. Perhaps because I live in the Ozarks, Shibuya Tokyo never fails to strike me as a magical place, a high tech Disneyland without grunge. Maybe it's the city-brightened night sky and the color-saturation of the city, but there's a very artificial feel to night time walking videos. Plus, Shibuya goes from massively big to shockingly small so quickly. You see videos of those intimate little bars and eateries in alleys that look like movie sets, with room for maybe 5 people, and you think, that can't be real? How do they pay their bills? But there they are. Someone needs to digitally add an anti-gravity dirigible floating around above everyone's head that advertises the off-world colonies.
posted by jabah at 7:24 AM on October 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Previously and previously

What really knocks me back is that this is the sort of thing that is only possible not just because of the internet, but because of high-speed internet. You couldn't do this sort of thing back in the 80s. What would it even look like? 6-hour VHS tapes that you mail ordered in a catalog and watched on your small grainy TV? It'd be possible, sure, but quite a niche market.

Thanks for posting this. I like to watch these videos of cities I've lived and it always makes me nostalgic.
posted by AlSweigart at 7:51 AM on October 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Someone needs to digitally add an anti-gravity dirigible floating around above everyone's head that advertises the off-world colonies.

Please don't take this as a personal callout because it is so pervasive in the global imagination thanks to pop culture, but this is a good opportunity to introduce the concept of techno-orientalism (New Yorker link):
“After Yang” follows a long tradition of science-fiction narratives that fall under the category of “techno-Orientalism,” in which the future is often figured as Asian, and Asians are often figured as robots. The genre is historically understood as emerging from American anxieties about Japan’s postwar economic boom, starting in the nineteen-seventies. Techno-Orientalist texts typically forecast an impending future, as in nineteen-eighties cyberpunk media such as William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” and Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.” These earlier, Japan-inflected techno-Orientalist worlds, however, have since become a template for speculations about the future—any future. There are techno-Orientalist sensibilities in “Ghost in the Shell” (adapted from the Japanese anime franchise and featuring Scarlett Johansson as a vaguely Asian robot), the Asian-inspired action sequences of “The Matrix,” the Asian-infused aesthetics of Spike Jonze’s “Her,” the futuristic Asian section of the Wachowskis’ “Cloud Atlas,” the dancing Asian robot in Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina”—you get the idea. In these films, an ambient dread about Asian influence gets expressed through an aesthetic sensibility rather than by representing or centering actual Asian characters.

Which isn't most of the comment, i understand, but the aesthetic imagery borrows these references.
posted by cendawanita at 8:28 AM on October 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

And if I were to somewhat relate, when I was younger I met my first coworker who studied and worked in NYC, and i remembered asking her, by way of making conversation but still, "oh, how did it feel to live there, do you feel like you're in the movies when you're walking down the street? Did it feel unreal?"
posted by cendawanita at 8:35 AM on October 22, 2022

it isn't any of the comment
posted by adept256 at 8:59 AM on October 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

There's also this book but I confess I haven't read it. Here's the summary from the university press:

What will the future look like? To judge from many speculative fiction films and books, from Blade Runner to Cloud Atlas, the future will be full of cities that resemble Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, and it will be populated mainly by cold, unfeeling citizens who act like robots. Techno-Orientalism investigates the phenomenon of imagining Asia and Asians in hypo- or hyper-technological terms in literary, cinematic, and new media representations, while critically examining the stereotype of Asians as both technologically advanced and intellectually primitive, in dire need of Western consciousness-raising.

Again, the imagery is pervasive but the first half of that description was what I recognized. Not a callout. Just a sharing.
posted by cendawanita at 9:16 AM on October 22, 2022

I've noticed there are no public bins or litter in Tokyo.

Generally you're expected to carry any garbage you make with you until you get to a location with a trash bin. There are some bins next to vending machine areas and in train stations, but the simple fact is that in general Japanese people tend not to eat and drink "on the go," so they don't produce much garbage while walking about. You can't even smoke on the street in Tokyo except in designated areas where there are receptacles for your butts.
posted by xigxag at 10:48 AM on October 22, 2022

I watch these walking vids all the time. On a big screen tv these can really feel like you are sorta there. My favorites are from Mexico City.
posted by ericthegardener at 11:38 AM on October 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I love them too but I've gotten picky. Rejected if the camera-person does too much swiveling (it's just a walk, not a cel-phone video from r/PublicFreakout) or there's even a little editing (fading one scene into another, like the Buenos Aires video above does). Also the ambient audio can be a deal-breaker, if it picks up annoying, irrelevant local advertising ("A new life in the offworld colonies").
posted by Rash at 12:41 PM on October 22, 2022

I’ve lived in or worked for extended periods in a few of these places. Hands down Cairo is the most magical to me on this list. Great post, thanks.
posted by waving at 1:56 PM on October 22, 2022

receptacles for your butts

In Canada we call them “benches!”
posted by TangoCharlie at 5:15 PM on October 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've noticed there are no public bins or litter in Tokyo.

There are trash and recycling receptacles inside convenience stores, and there are convenience stores everywhere. (There are eight within 3-minute walk from where I live.)

Also, people in Tokyo don't usually walk down the street drinking sodas and eating candy bars, so there's not so much spontaneously generated trash while you're walking.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:20 PM on October 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

As for the lack of public trash bins, there was an incident about 15 or 20 years ago in which someone put a homemade bomb in a park trashcan, in Shinjuku IIRC. In fact I think a homeless person was killed in that incident, and as a result the Tokyo city government just took out all the public trash cans. There are any number of exceptions—it’s a huge city—but yeah it can be hard to find a trash can. People mostly use convenience store trash cans, so it’s a good thing those are quite common.
posted by zardoz at 11:59 PM on October 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

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