Today was epic, walking (a bunch) to three hobby / model train stores in the vicinity. There are many more such stores in this (huge) city, and it’s great to see that the model railroading hobby is more than thriving here.
And it was cool to see notice big brand names like Tamiya and Kato. I also wanted to get some gifts for my wife Linda and our daughter Bethany (who still lives with us, and just had a birthday I had to miss).
So, for those that might be interested, I took a bunch of videos, and sometimes photos, and here there are. I’ll go chronologically.
I first went to the Yodobashi department store, which is like a moderate-size shopping mall in footprint but with… 13 levels? One level was games & hobby & toys, and after working through the immense Playstation & Nintendo areas…
… I walked the comics areas and figures stores. My daughter wanted a character with certain characteristics, and it took at least an hour to choose something I think she might like (the time diff makes it tough to get real-time guidance). But very fun.
I passed the Tamiya store, where they had this hilarious racing track.
Now, to the main train store on the (vast) 5th floor of the (immense) Yodobashi complex. The train store is only one area within an open mega store space. I’m learning that this is a frequent thing: no storefront, just a footprint in a seriously trafficked place. And for the Japanese, it’s the same thing I think as “brick and mortar.”
Many other hobby sub-stores were present on this Yodobashi floor, of all sorts (model gundam [robot-monster-transformers], cars, planes, ships; painting; shadow-box paper art; other crafting; etc., etc.). It was therefore sensible that there was a common tool sub-store / area.
After that I went to a yarn store to get some decent swag for my wonderful wife, who’s put up with all this travel of mine. I thought the store looked like this:
But no; this was a corner of yet another ginormous multi-floor shopping mall. After wandering stupidly within the first floor concourses…
… I asked a security guard if he knew where the yarn store was (I showed him their web site on my phone). He couldn’t figure it out, but he sent me to an English-speaking Info desk, and the woman there looked it up and was able to tell me exactly where to walk. But I had to take a pic of her floor plan for a visual guide…
Up 10 floors, on the furthest diagonal corner of the complex. but I found the place, got the goods, and scored a major victory!
OK, back to things railroady. The next train store was inside the silly-huge Osaka train station, and Google Maps has not been helpful in these big indoor concrete-lined spaces. Long story short, it required finding a directory map and using Google translate to eventually locate the shop in theory. And with a couple asks for help (and semi-awkward exchanges, though the people have always been willing to give it their best shot, wow I’m gonna miss that), I made it.
Here’s the storefront, which has two layouts visible through a window.
And here’s a bit about the content of the store. It was sort of cramped, with plenty of customers, so I apologize for the non-optimal view angles. Main thing for me was the two layouts, one over the other; and the several operator stations. Maybe a club is involved, don’t know. But it certainly looks like you an test drive a loco or train there before you buy it.
My last objective was a third train store. On the walk from Osaka Station to my 3rd model train store. I post this because of the different approach the Japanese have to larger intersections and pedestrian use of them. Unlike the practice in the USA for pedestrians to walk with the flow of vehicles, in this intersection at least there are a few stages of vehicle management, and then the entire square is shut down to vehicles and open for walkers.
And since I was now expecting it to be buried within a larger structure, it took quite a while to find that it was indeed on street level, at the sidewalk. Quite small, but very much enabling N gauge addiction for locals.
That’s it for the day. Except that I still need to access and upload those files from last night’s boat ride…
[sorry about the wonky short vids, turns out that YT forces less than 1 minute videos into a “short” category with different rules of display / presentation, ticks me off.]