Europe...I'll provide some more updates on that at some other time, but in the meantime, a friend I met through this blog (Steve) has generously shared with me some of his exciting photos of his recent trip to Tokyo, and he has graciously allowed me to share them with you (Steve is working on setting up a blog of his own). I hope I can do justice to his photos, and I'll try to accurately pass along Steve's commentary from his trip.
I asked Steve to share these photos as he took some really interesting photos of various train-centric hobby shops in Tokyo. While I've been to Tokyo a couple of times, I wasn't 'into' trains so the hobby shops never were a priority for me...Now Steve shows me what I missed! The good news for me, and hopefully you, is that these photos provide a nice idea of the experience.... plus, its kind of fun to shop vicariously through Steve's photos!
The Greenmax Store
According to Steve, this is a 'destination site'! Lot's of stuff not available in the US, but unfortunately.... there are no discounts. Some of the staff spoke a little English, which is obviously beneficial if you don't speak Japanese and plan to visit some hobby shops.
kits, I get a little depressed at my own uninspired attempt (which I've never shared on this blog as I'm so unhappy with it!).
So, if you're at the Greenmax store, in the very same building-just 2 flights down- is Models IMON.
Tenshodo in Ginza
Okay, on that last topic of 'upscale' model train stores...just the storefront of Tenshodo blows me away! Even if the prices are full price...what does that mean about this hobby in Japan when you can support this level of elaborate/stylish retailing? Amazing!
No interior pictures of Tenshodo unfortunately, but N Gauge is on one floor, and HO on the floor above (so you can save yourself the stair climb if you're just looking for "N"! Thanks Steve!).
Rail Center Chiyoda
Apparantly on the other end of the spectrum (and something more similar to what I usually expect from a good train store!) is Rail Center Chiyoda.
Here's Steve's summary: "Tiny. Up a flight of stairs, over a restaurant. A lot of trains, not a lot of structures. With my focus on structures, I looked but found little. If I were looking for trains, this would have been mecca. They knew maybe 10 words in English, so shopping and asking questions was difficult."
According to Steve, this is the best. Big shop, big discounts, huge selection...AND it looks like they OWN a real life KATO high-rise!!!
Steve also sent me some photos of some of the new items from Kato and Tomix, in addition to some dioramas, at a train show that was being held at the Matsuya Department Store in Ginza. I think I'm very near to 'maxing' out the number of photos allowed in one blog post, so I'll save those for later!
I want to personally thank Steve for sharing these pictures with me, and allowing me to share them on my blog. I have to admit, its a lot of fun seeing all these shops and I hope I get to make the journey in person some day (again! this time I know better!).