Found: A Treasure Chest Of pictures From Showa Japan

I had always wondered if my grandfather had traveled Japan as none of the slides I had were from Japan. That question was answered when my dad gave me a rather large slide case that, among other things was marked: Japan. The slide case had some wonderful pictures and I put some of them up on flikr.  Enjoy.

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Art Of The Week: The Garage Kits At Wonder Festival

I’ve been trying to get to Wonderfest  in Japan for over ten years now and have been blocked for a number of reasons. Still I am amazed at the sculpting level of some of the garage kit makers year after year.

Here’s some examples from this year’s winter wonderfest.   All from

More here:

many of these are NSFW, so don’t look unless your sure

Thanks to for the pics:

The Wonder Festival wiki page:

The official Wonder Festival page(Japanese)


Some video.

The show runners have set up special licensing deals with the anime producers so that figures made from anime can be made and sold without special licensing deals.  So many of the figures made and sold at these shows are anime related.  Many others are original work.  This is only a sample of the works at a typical Wonder Festival.


Tour Around The Yamanote Line With Akihabara News



Akihabara News and have short videos of the Yamanote line station chimes with short tours of the Neighboring station areas. These are wonderful little videos.  They have released the first batch of six. Here they are.







I will add the rest as they show up

Riding the train

My previous Yamamanote line post.

The Power Of The Internet

When I was growing up, one of the things I hated was the research paper.  Every year through middle school and high school we would have to do at least one.  I hated them first because my handwriting was terrible and typing was a pain. The largest reason I hated them was that the actual research was frustrating.  Those of us of a certain age know how it worked.  You were given a topic and off you went to first the school library and then the local main library hoping they had more than one book on whatever the topic was.  And then you would have to put together enough material to make up a ten page paper, with footnotes, which can be difficult when there aren’t very many notes to foot. Frankly as I think about it now, I’m not sure why I didn’t go down to the NYPL just a short distance from Grand Central, but I suspect that I thought that the library was for real researchers, not high school students.  Hey I was a kid and stupid. In any case the typical research paper was a combination of hard fought finds and vivid imagination.

The frustrating part is that you always know that there was more out there if you could just access it. In the  1970’s  that was not possible without a budget for travel and the ability to access library catalogs.  That ‘s why many books you found did not seem to be complete or very deep.  There just was no possible way to have access to enough information to get the full picture.  In order to create a book and get it published, you had to do the best you could and get as much as you could within your budget and then write well enough to give as good a picture as you could

The internet changed that completely.  I ran into that when I was working on the Akihabara post last night. First of all before the internet, doing something like that, say for a magazine would have been expensive and difficult. you would  have to go there and take pictures and go through the magazine’s archives and possibly the NYPL for whatever you could find, look through the stock footage libraries and hope that there was some historical pictures, and go with what you had as the deadline approached.  Now, it was one link to a website with some stuff including this picture of the Akihabara freight station.

Now I’ve been to Akihabara and I look for railroad stuff

so I was interested in where it was.  Now in the 1970’s that would have an unrequited impossible search.  Now it was the work of a google search and some digging through sites to find still more pictures, map location, track maps and other information about this interesting facility.

Getty images has stock photos and video.

There are Japanese sites with yet more history.

Click to access photo.pdf

And ariel photos.

And track maps.



All this from just one picture and a little searching.  This is just ONE of the searches I did today.  With a little more work, this would make a complete article in many of the magazines back in the day. put together in minute, with probably too much information, but I can live with that.

A Short Tour Of Akihabara, With Some History

Akihabara News is posting short videos of the Yamanote line station chimes along with short video tours of the Neighborhoods.

I’m doing a larger post of the stations, but it’s likely that doing all the stations will take some time and the people at Akihabara New provided this great link about the history of Akihabara.

What does Akihabara mean?

I didn’t know that there was an elevated freight station at Akihabara.

Here’s my main Akihabara post.


Update: more history.

A Trip Through Dying Japan

Ran into this article in the Washington Post and thought about it. The valley is one of those magical places that you run into in Japan.  The kind of place where you expect Miyazaki characters to come out in front of you.  Of course anime characters may be the only people left.  That’s the sad tale of contemporary Japan.

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