Last week I had yet another glimpse in to the weird world of Japanese train spotters.
Traveling by train, mostly at the weekends with a train-mad 6-year-old, I have gradually become more and aware of this parallel word of Japanese densha otaku (train geeks).
Densha otaku tend to be thicker on the ground at weekends, they are no doubt busy as software programmers, shop assistants or newspaper delivery boys during the week, so events which will attract the spotters are held on Sundays.
Last Sunday, we were at Meitetsu Gifu Station as the 12.40 Panorama Car to Toyohashi was about to depart. This departure was special, however, and marked the 60th anniversary of the west-east Gifu to Toyohashi service. Special plaques were attached to the front of the train and on each carriage. The Panorama Car was no doubt chosen as it is Meitetsu's oldest running model and soon to be phased out.
The geeks had been milling for hours on the platform to get the best spots for photos, the best seats on the train and to soak up the otaku atmosphere. The 100% male crowd were in a state of high excitement as the special plaques were attached to the train and cameras and videocams began to shoot and roll.
Gifu Station, 1 Hashimotocho, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Having the time of your life. UUUUUHHHH!
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Monday, May 26, 2008