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Hi from not-so-rainy Vancouver, B.C., Canada


KuHa210-1

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KuHa210-1

The rides on buses, SkyTrain and SeaBus that my dad took me on when I was a little boy shaped my views on public transportation. Our elementary school's librarian, Mrs. Harman, once showed my class The Big Book of Trains from Dorling-Kindersley, where I first saw the 0/100/300 series Shinkansen. They looked so gorgeous and were so fast, I couldn't believe they were 16 cars long!

 

I wanted to see more photos of those trains, so I began reading more books about Japanese life and culture. I saw the famous 0 series in front of Mount Fuji photo, and the platform pushers (which I understand are not nearly as widespread anymore, even before COVID reduced train service).

 

As I grew older and gas prices went through the roof (BC is well known for having the highest gas taxes in North America), I started believing that densely-zoned urban and efficient mass transit was the way of the future. That was one of the big attractions to Japanese trains for me. I am actually not a huge anime or manga fan, what got me into Japanese culture was:

 

  • The Best Motoring VHS series (which grew out of my love of playing Gran Turismo 3 on the PS2)
  • Owarai/manzai comedians, like Jinnai Tomonori and the Downtown New Year's Eve "No Laughing" specials
  • And above all, trains.

 

I've always been a train geek, ever since those first rides on SkyTrain more than 20 years ago. What I really love about Japanese trains is how train otakus keep track of all sorts of provenance, historical trivia, and commemorative memorabilia such as posters, nyuujoken, stamps and coins. The opening of the Tohoku Shinkansen (plus a opening ceremony complete with kusudama, and tenth anniversary memorabilia in 1992), the retirement of the 253 series when the E259 series replaced it, the Keikyu Line getting extended from Tenkubashi to the actual airport terminal, there's even a sign at Akabane Station that still shows the 115 and 211 series.

 

Not to be Orientalist, but I wonder if there's something about Japanese culture that cherishes keepsakes as a reminder of the past, kind of an ephemerality/mono no aware thing. Because I've never seen SkyTrain opening day/anniversary memorabilia being talked about online to the extent that I've seen it on Japanese railways. Train otakus go all in on that.

 

I also like researching historical train diamonds. Yahoo Japan's Chiebukuro (Answers) is a treasure trove of research.

 

Anyway, I hope to be a positive contributor on this forum.

 

PS: If you're wondering about the title of this post, we've been experiencing multiple record-shattering heat waves here in BC and just ended a 40-day dry streak. Between June 28-29, we had temperatures around 40C with dew points around 17-19C, which is almost Tokyo levels of awful. I say "almost" because 38-degree days in Kanto-Koshin will usually be accompanied by higher dew points, in the low to mid 20s. (Keep in mind that Vancouver summer temperatures are lower than even Kushiro/Wakkanai's and very few people have a pressing need air conditioning.) In addition, wildfire smoke started drifting in yesterday due to offshore winds. People think BC is always rainy but nothing could be further from the truth. The summers are actually quite arid and wildfires are common in the central and southeast regions of the province.

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Hello and welcome KuHa,

 

Thanks for your interesting introduction. I lookforward to reading more in future posts.

 

No mention of a layout or plans for one ? 

 

Before building my Japanese layout I used to model the 'Big hill' Field, BC.  and the interesting steam locos that worked over it. I had no idea it could get so hot and dry there ?

 

Go well

 

Tom

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Welcome KuHa! Glad you found us. Japan just does scream trains and revels in them. I had a kids train book when I was young and the only three trains I remember were the series O, GG1, and a big boy! 
 

lots of great visits to Vancouver (always reminds me of San Francisco and one of my favorite cities to visit), Victoria and many passages up the inside when I use to work up in SE Alaska. Hope things cool off and fires down soon.
 

Cheers,

 

jeff

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Welcome aboard KuHa.  Certainly caught my interest as both a fellow British Columbian with a random tax fact in your introduction.

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