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Wed Jul 9, 2014 Link to this message
Okay, as should be obvious, I've taken quite a liking to Japanese rolling stock. Here's a bit of an explanation why, and—more importantly—some useful information for others who are "similarly afflicted." ;-]
To be honest, I didn't set out with the intent to model Japanese trains. My "dream layout" was—and still is—something a bit closer to home: 19th-20th century American railroads: the colorful and sometimes quirky early efforts in this newfangled form of transportation. But a confluence of circumstances took me to Japan, and one thing led to another. Now, I'm hooked.
I mean, it's so easy to like—to outright love—the trains there. And to be honest, nearly everybody does. You will find all manner of rail-fans haunting the stations and edges of right-of-way there: men, women, and a fair number of us foreigners.
The love affair is not superficial, either. Travel by train is an integral part of the Japanese lifestyle because it is so good—ubiquitous, dependable, fast, clean, easy, affordable—and because so many of the trains look so cool. In comparison, much of the US rolling stock these days is utilitarian and frequently looks like an ad-hoc mishmash of whatever is available and in a condition good enough to roll. Not so with Japanese trains: there, trains win design awards. The pride in the nation's trains shows.
Anyway, that being the case, I'll try to share my observations of both the trains themselves (both model and twelve-inch-to-the-foot varieties) and the landscape through which they run, with the hope that more folks catch the bug and decide to model Japan. Like taking the trains themselves, modeling Japan is really quite addicting.
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