(jinsei wa gojuusai kara hajimaru)

A day in the city with Osamu Tezuka

Posted by redracer on April 16, 2007

Today I spent a day travelling to the city to visit the ‘Tezuka – the Marval of Manga’ exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Just after lunch, I parked the car at local railway station.


The train actually arrived on time 😆


After about 1 hour, I arrived at Central Station. This is the main station for Sydney, was built in 1906 and is situated to the south of the city area itself. Lines from here continue underground to the Eastern Suburbs (Bondi Junction), across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the northern suburbs, and around the City Circle and back here again. There are 25 platforms, with the first 15 (opened in 1906) being used infrequently for interstate, country and interurban diesel & electric services. The next 8 above ground (opened in 1926) and 4 underground platforms (opened in 1979) are used for electric suburban services. Two of these underground platforms have never been used !!! In this photo, we are looking from the slightly elevated suburban platforms across to the main station building – you can just see the tall clock tower of the imposing main sandstone concourse.


 Here is a view looking along the suburban platforms.


I had to change at Central because the trains on the line I came in on continue through the city and over the Harbour Bridge, whereas I wanted to travel around the City Circle loop. It was about a 10 minute wait before the next train arrived.


The tracks coming into Central go though a double level interchange which enables trains to cross over to most other tracks without impeding train going on lines in the other direction. In the photo above, the arriving train is on the upper level, and the lower level of this maze of tracks can just be seen at the extreme right edge of the photo.  

All of Sydney’s suburban rail fleet are double deck cars with just two doors on each side. They will never learn from experience rail operators (like in Japan) who know what they are doing, and build most suburban trains with at least 4 doors, and sometimes up to 6 doors on each side. You can imagine the chaos when passengers from both levels try to squeeze from the stairs out just one door at each end 😦

Here is a view of the two levels from the end section.


 Here is a view of the end section, from the upper level. 


I got off the train at underground St.James station.  


This station was created in 1926 using the cut-and-fill process right through the middle of Hyde Park. It was originally designed to accommodate 2 sets of lines, one of which was never implemented. There are many unused tunnels in the area, and tours can occasionally be taken in these normally off-limits area. The middle two sets of unused platforms were always empty spaces when I used to travel to the city many years ago, and are now filled in to make a continuous surface between the outer two platforms. You can just see the traces of the platform edges in this photo … 


Stepping out of the station takes you right into Hyde Park.  


The large park just to the east of the city is not on par with the size of  New York’s Central Park (but a lot safer), but is a nice oasis in the middle of a busy city. At the southern end is the Archibald Fountain.


Here is a shot (looking further east away from the city) of the fountain with the huge St.Marys Catholic church in the background. 


Just as I was walking up to the fountain, the peaceful atmosphere was shattered by the roar of two high powered Harley Davidson motor bikes. You can see them just to the left of the fountain. They stopped right there, and by the look of the two riders, I wasn’t going to be the one to tell them off !!! However then two of the longer stretch limos I have even seen then arrived, and it was apparent that the bikes were being used as props for a couple’s wedding photos 🙄


At the northern end of the park is the Anzac Memorial building, which is the focus of the main ANZAC ceremony at dawn on the 25th April each year (next week). 


After leaving Hyde Park, and crossing to the road that leads to the Art Gallery, you walk though the The Domain and the Royal Botanic Gardens


 It is not long before the day’s destination appears from the trees.


The Art Gallery of NSW is an imposing classical style stone structure situated in that road which leads to Mrs Macquaries Point (where about 1/2 million people gather each year to watch the New Years Eve fireworks show). It’s first section was built between 1896 & 1909. Major extensions were done in 1968 for Australia’s ‘Captain Cook Bicentenary’ celebrations, and in 1988 for Australia’s 200th year ‘National Bicentenary’. This last addition doubled the size of the gallery, and another smaller extension was opened in 1994 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture.

To the right of the entrance are 4 large bronze panels designed in 1903, depicting the six ‘distinctive historical art periods’ (Assyrian, Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, Gothic and Renaissance). The last two were never completed, and there are also 6 empty spaces on the LH side of the entrance as well !!! 


The museum sits virtually on top of the Eastern Suburbs railway line, and fortunately it does not cause vibrations making the paintings fall off the walls 😳  Here you can see a short above ground section of the line before it dives into tunnels again before Kings Cross (the area in the background of the photo) station. 


Of course, photos could not be taken inside the gallery, so here is a scan of the cover of the souvenir program. 


This exhibition has been travelling around the country for several months, and is just about to end it’s Sydney season. Around 15 to 20 of his major works are presented, with sample pages from the original B/W drawings,as well as coloured covers. Most of them have never been taken outside of Japan before. Osamu Tezukawas one of the first and probably best know of Japan’s manga & anime creators. His most famous creations are probably Astro Boy, and Kimba the White Lion, but he created dozen of series up until his untimely death in 1989 at the age of 60. Most of the works on display at this exhibition I had never heard of, although they were of course familiar to my (Japanese) wife – so much so that she didn’t want to come in with me. Whilst some of them have been released as English manga, many have only been available in Japanese only. He originally trained as a doctor, but started drawing whilst at university, and eventually never actually practiced medicine. However this background is evident in many of his works, particularly Black Jack, the story of an ‘underground’ doctor who performs miracle operations that one one else can do, for exorbitant fees. It is said that he drew between 150,000 & 170,000 pages of manga. My eagle proof-readers eye actually spotted a mistake in one of the series, where sopme guy can tunr into a moster to get revenge for wongdoings. In one scene, he is destroying a trainHis actual web site can be found here. There is a museum of his works in Osaka near where he lived, and it would have to rival the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo as a must-see destination for any fan of Japanese manga or anime.

After leaving the exhibition, I walked back into the city for a little ‘retail therapy’, before going back to Museum station to catch the train home again. This station was used in the final underground station fight scenes in the first ‘Matrix’ movie. The advertising posters on the walls here are all from products sold in the early to mid 1900’s, and there were obviously covered over when the movie scenes were shot 😆



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