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Revision as of 05:05, 19 September 2010 by Ted (Talk | contribs) (Re: Merge back into Shinagawa?)

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The number of conferences and events taking place in Gotanda has been increasing, so it is becoming a purpose-destination rather than a tourist one. Also, a huge boom in real estate development over the past several years is bringing the attendant growth in restaurants etc., so I though it was a good time to start this. Ted 22:49, 14 August 2010 (EDT)

Merge back into Shinagawa?

Does Gotanda need a separate article of its own? Shinagawa's article was only at outline status even before chunks of it were moved over here — given the amount of material available, I'd think it makes sense to keep it within the one article until it's large enough that a split is essential for readability. The trending thought on Talk:Tokyo has also been to keep the number of districts small and even consider further merges; adding this one brings us up to 30 districts, of which 17 are still down at outline status. — D. Guillaime 00:50, 20 August 2010 (EDT)

Re: Merge back into Shinagawa?


Thanks for the feedback D. Guillaime. I was away traveling for a week, so I'm just getting back online or else I would have responded earlier.

Before I reply, I guess I should introduce myself a bit and give a little context. I really got into Wikitravel a few years ago and loved working on it. Other projects came (and have now gone) so I wanted to dig in again. Hope my recent "plunge" wasn't too disruptive. In the interest of full disclosure: 1) My wife has started a travel-related business in the past couple years, but I think I do a pretty good job of not pushing that. 2) I do live in Gotanda, so I may (some might say do) have some hometown bias.

I'll try to discuss the very clear comments from Dguillame in ascending order of difficulty. Time dissipation alert: I may get a bit long-winded. Short version: I think this is worth doing to make the information more useful to visitors.

Does Gotanda need a separate article of its own?

Well, maybe it doesn't but here are a few entirely anecdotal reasons why I think it just might.

  • More and more foreign visitors are staying at hotels in the area and lots more short-term expats. I see more and more of these people wandering around looking lost. Expect this to increase as Haneda adds more direct international flights in the autumn.
  • I know of at least one conference/tradeshow bringing around 200 foreign visitors to Gotanda this November. There is a good chance it will become annual. Decent info for visitors is scanty.
  • I didn't get around to adding the local universities to the page yet, but they also have conferences. I've twice been emailed to help set up info in English for the area. Why not Wikitravel it for anyone to use?
  • I really do think it is a good, convenient base to explore the city from but has been overlooked and gets pretty much zero coverage anywhere else.

And practical reasons too.

  • Lots more info still to add, especially Eat, Drink, and a little bit about the character of the area.
  • Having a hard time seeing how to make this info work well in a larger district. But if there is a good example out there, please, please point me to it.
  • One more-although it looks close to Shinagawa Station on the map, roads, hills, and a large Mitsubishi estate tend to block the way on foot, so it is a bit disconnected in practice.

Shinagawa's article was only at outline status even before chunks of it were moved over here

I think the real problem here is that the Shinagawa page is woefully in need of work. That was sort of next on my personal to-do list for the rest of my vacation before I trudge back to the office. Shinagawa needs a lot more info. The only entries I moved over were ones that you'd really have to take the train two stations to Gotanda to access if you were staying in/visiting Shinagawa Station area.

I'd think it makes sense to keep it within the one article until it's large enough that a split is essential for readability.

I guess I just thought it was easier to work up, rather than do it all in one and then go through splitting. The readability question is the main thing. How to organize entries under Stay, Do, Eat, Drink that then require a kind of sub-organization based on where they are or a lot of directions that all begin "Get on the Yamanote Line and go to Gotanda"? The Takanawa-side of Shinagawa is pretty far from the area on this page and distinctly different in character. The old problem of Shinagawa Station being a clear point of reference, but that it is actually in Minato Ward still messy but just goes to show how difficult organizing Tokyo can be. I'll leave that one for another day!

The trending thought on Talk:Tokyo has also been to keep the number of districts small and even consider further merges

OK. For anyone playing at home, picture me reaching for the opener and a large, dusty old can labeled "Worms". If you are still reading, this may be a good time to take a break.

Some of the districts are so large, or so varied in character/purpose for visiting/interest that they require extensive transport to get around within them or they don't feel coherent. That is not meant as a criticism at all, but I think it just reflects the nature of this city. Here are some examples:

Minato, including the business centers of Akasaka and Shinbashi and the neighbouring nightclub district of Roppongi, the port district (at least in name) which includes the artificial island of Odaiba, the skyscrapers of Shiodome

Shinbashi and Roppongi are worlds apart as far as experience goes. The Minato page is essentially a container linking to these separate areas. Seems like a great idea and leaves a good organizational structure for filling in detail.

On the other hand we have this: Shibuya, the fashionable shopping district which also encompasses the teenybopper haven of Harajuku (also home to the Meiji Shrine) and the nightlife of Ebisu

The Shibuya page is a detailed exploration of the Shibuya Station shopping/nightlife area, not a container, but then links to Harajuku and Ebisu which are places in Shibuya Ward. So, things are inconsistent. Not terrible, but just a bit different. Kind of like Tokyo itself.

Anyway, to my point here. I have a hard time picturing a visitor (or remembering myself when I was new in town) with some of these larger divisions as a location. I think people will tend to ask themselves the questions "Where am I?" or "Where do I want to go?" Shinagawa is not an especially useful answer unless you are right in the immediate Shinagawa Station area. The answer is more likely to be a landmark or a major station.

…adding this one brings us up to 30 districts, of which 17 are still down at outline status

Looking at Tokyo namespace and comparing it with some others such as London (at 103) or Chicago (at 133), is 30 excessive? If many are down at outline status, is the solution to merge them back, or to build them up? I think merging them tends to reduce coherence, introduces possible complicated names, and makes it more difficult to add information to, or to find information within. Too many outlines? Maybe? But outlines are easy to add to, right?

OK. I did say I might be long-winded, right? Sorry about that! But, it's as complicated as Tokyo can be.

In retrospect, maybe I should have put some of the above in the Talk:Tokyo pages instead? But I'll wait and see.

Thanks, Ted 21:28, 25 August 2010 (EDT)

Sorry for the late response myself. I haven't been around much lately, and the site's been almost unusably slow more often than not for the last week as well.
First off, many thanks for the contributions you've been making to Tokyo listings lately. Shinagawa-ku has been badly lacking before, it's great to have its articles looking so much better!
I don't know if it's worthwhile to have each individual article represent "a location" — they do need to be useful for people that have never visited Tokyo (or any other article's city) before, which also means not overwhelming them with the minutiae of smaller neighborhoods that only make sense after more substantial time on the ground. This is especially the case if a new visitor prints out some articles to take with them, where they'd have to know the geographic proximity of different articles to get between them, and the more of them there are, the harder it gets. The namespaces are misleading, because they include bunches of redirects: Tokyo's 30 districts is the second most of any city on WT, with Chicago in first at 34, and London trailing just behind at 28 [and Chicago down at 21, see below]. If you include the Tama region (highly debatable, I know), it's even more... but it's still not a very good article, with most of its districts still messy and underfilled. Compare to other large Japanese cities like Osaka and Yokohama that are still all in one article!
Broadly speaking, I'm mostly still wondering if Gotanda is so different for a tourist that it needs separation... for conference visitors, it seems like some additional explanation of the stations in Shinagawa and the placement of hotels could serve just as well, and as you noticed the transportation discussion will need improvement anyhow as Haneda adds international flights. Expats have different needs – they certainly will understand the different neighborhoods, but they'll also be more interested in things like municipal services that the short-term visitor has no need of.
I think the model I'd like to adopt is more like Kyoto, which pushes its huge number of attractions into just five district articles, broken down by smaller areas with explanations for each and more text describing their relationship to each other. (Of course Tokyo needs many more than 5!) They're larger areas geographically, but each district article itself is solid enough to stand on its own for a solid day of sightseeing, without necessarily needing the adjacent districts to make sense. Now, to be fair, this is also heavily biased by my own personal fondness for the Kyoto article, because I helped divide it that way... so take that recommendation with a suitably large grain of salt.  :) Rome also works.
D. Guillaime 01:04, 10 September 2010 (EDT)
(Just a quick FYI: Chicago actually only has 21 districts.) --Peter Talk 14:14, 10 September 2010 (EDT)
Ah, I was just counting up Chicago's regionXitems entries without having noticed that some went to the same articles. Fixed, thanks. I believe that puts Tokyo into the #1 spot. — D. Guillaime 16:02, 10 September 2010 (EDT)
Thanks for the pointers and corrections, [[User:Dguillaime|D. Guillaime] and Peter. I really have been away for a while and totally misunderstood the namespace--redirect--actual district numbers. Point that 30 might be a lot. Kyoto is a great example of coherent and consistent districts, but I can't imagine trying to map Tokyo in the same way. Kyoto was built on a grid from the start and Tokyo is more of an agglomeration of neighborhoods. Rome looks interesting, but I've never been there.
Gotanda may not be so different, but that could probably apply to other districts like Meguro too. I also tried to clean up and combine the Jiyugaoka/Jiyuugaoka pages see Talk:Jiyugaoka which raise the same issues. Maybe it should be merged, but where to? Meguro or Setagaya? It is certainly distinct in feel, interest, and transport from Meguro. If these two districts were merged into a larger district, which one? And how to keep it coherent?
I guess I'm just not sure how/why to merge districts into other districts that don't hang together all that well. (Although here is where I have to admit that I may be responsible for some of those bad divisions in the first place. Sorry!) If Gotanda merges into Shinagawa, should it just be Shinagawa-ku (moving all of the station area info into Minato)? Still like the way Minato is a brief intro linking to all of the neighborhood-type districts. That basically leaves Minato to forever be an outline, but it works.
One other thing I'm wondering about is how specifically to move the Gotanda info into Shinagawa. For example, eat. Just have the same Budget/Mid-Range/Splurge divisions as any other district? That would leave listings of restaurants grouped together that could take you 30 minutes to get between, even using a train. Or, make subdivisions under Budget etc by location? For example: Budget sublistings by station area? Just seems that grouping everything scattered across a wide area might lead tourists back and forth and up, down, and around.
I know I could just "plunge ahead" wanted to try to discuss this a bit before merging so as not to thrash back and forth. If I read it correctly, the city-district-model on Wikitravel might have trouble encompassing the many different neighborhoods of Tokyo. Keeping the districts big gets a bit unmanageable and each one loses some coherence. Keeping the districts small gets you a huge list. There are already pretty well established sub-districts like Harajuku district within Shibuya district. I know Wikitravel doesn't really have a sub-district, but we've seen to got them already. I could see something like this:
Tokyo/Minato with the existing district-in-district of
Minato is a fairly sprawling ward with no single center. The following parts of Minato have their own articles:
Akasaka - a business district and nightlife area near the government center
Odaiba - the Tokyo of the future built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay
Roppongi - nightlife central for Tokyo's foreign population
Shiodome - a still-growing cluster of brand new skyscrapers
Shinbashi - an older business and commercial district
and a new district-in-district of Takanawadai which would collect all of the Shinagawa Station area info
Tokyo/Shinagawa district which would be stripped of all of the station information (but with a prominent pointer to Takanawadai) which could collect Shinagawa-ku proper, including Gotanda, Osaki, and outlying areas like Togoshi Ginza (which I'd love to work up-a great walking neighborhood).
Does that make sense?
Ted 01:01, 19 September 2010 (EDT)