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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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.


Ikebukuro is a major station on the Yamanote Line loop.  As such the station gets a lot of pass through traffic from commuters and has a vibrant night life. Something which I discovered when my hotel was at the North end of the district and the station was at the South end.


Ikebukuro also has an area of otaku outlets mostly targeting young ladies rather than the typical otaku that inhabit Akihabara and Nakano Broadway.

An Ikebukuro photo album. I did a fair amount of exploring on my trips up and down through the town.



Nakano Broadway

If you like anime and manga, You will want to visit Nakano Broadway if you visit Japan.  I’ve been there all three of my trips to Japan.  Surprisingly, I don’t have that many pics of the inside, but what I have is here.

Nakano Broadway

It’s a short walk from the Chuo Line Nakano station.,139.6637232,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x1526bb6342856fa9:0xe9aa9d88c43197d5

The mall is known for it’s shops containing anime and manga goods, but there’s actually much more there.  My first trip we go there before Mandarake opened and I walked around the entire mall, finding all sort of little shops selling all sort of Japanese stuff that had nothing to do with hobbies  or anime.  There’s also the long covered shopping district as you walk toward Broadway.

For  some off the wall shopping in Tokyo it’s worth going just a little off the beaten path to get to Nakano Broadway.  It’s also a good stop after visiting the Ghibli museum as both are on the Chuo Line.


Nakano Broadway Official Site.

Here’s a playlist of walkthrough videos.

The main attraction for most non Japanese is Mandarake the used manga, anime and Otaku goods paradise.  Mandarake isn’t just one big store, it’s a bunch of different small cubes scattered all over the third and fourth floor of Broadway.

Danny Choo does a walkthrough.

And another one

Still more.

Nakano Broadway is one of those places that are always worth taking time for.  It’s also easy to get to and worth the trip if you are in Tokyo. Highly recommended, for what that’s worth.