A trip to the Yamada Labi 1's model section in Takasaki

stevethefish

My name's actually not Steve
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Jun 12, 2015
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193
For anyone who has either visited Japan or at least knows a bit about model shops here, the modeling section of the huge Yodobashi Camera building in Akihabara, Tokyo is legendary. I haven't been to Tokyo since 2018, so the next best experience here in Gunma Prefecture is Yamada's Labi 1 next to Takasaki Station. Yamada electric stores are prevalent anywhere you go (the small city I live in has two, even), but Labi 1 locations are like flagship Yamada stores. While not as immense as the jibungous Yodobashi in Akihabara, it still offers several floors of shopping, with restaurants on the top floor.

The entertainment level has recently relocated to the basement level. DVDs, video games, toys, and models. I recently took my camera with me and took several pictures. Here is a photo gallery of what I saw. As big as it is, this is only a third of what Yodobashi's section is.

 

Peppylepugh

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Mar 27, 2012
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245
I read your first two articles off of Greg’s Life.
Very good.
Do you think that the model building hobby
is more accepted and promoted in other
countries than it is in the US?
 

stevethefish

My name's actually not Steve
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
193
I read your first two articles off of Greg’s Life.
Very good.
Do you think that the model building hobby
is more accepted and promoted in other
countries than it is in the US?
You mean the first two on the list, the two newest, right?

When I worked at Aoshima, for the short while I was there I could see how Germany, for example, cares far more for the hobby than North America. One could say the UK as well.
 

Peppylepugh

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Mar 27, 2012
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245
Yes sir, the first two. Your latest and the one right below it. The second one is excellent and you can’t break argument.

I had often wondered if it was the case.
While the UK is smaller land mass and population wise, they have one of the most famous shows of all time. The Expo.
A society in almost every town, whether model building, model trains you name it.
You only have to be in the hobby a short while to know Japan could be modeling Nirvana.
Would you say the ‘mecha’ genre has the biggest following in Japan? Does it outpace every thing else there?
I had read at one time here in the US, that the train hobby was the largest and used the most plastic volume wise than any other hobby. Seems to advertise itself better than plastic modeling.
 

stevethefish

My name's actually not Steve
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Jun 12, 2015
Messages
193
The small city I live in has a population of about 46,000 people, but we have two small hobby shops just about a block away from each other. One focuses more on Gundam/mecha stuff while the other not so much. I do think that mecha might be the #1, just judging by the exhibition events. Bandai and Tamiya both have huge booths, but Bandai's tends to be more crowded.

The pictures I took at Labi 1 will show you that the SF/mecha stuff has more aisles than the regular scale modeling. This is pretty typical.

Model trains is how I sort of was introduced into the hobby. It was something my Dad and I did. My uncle had me over to build a 72nd scale Spitfire when I was in the 5th grade and I'll have to say that this was my proper introduction to the hobby.
 

blakeh1

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Oct 26, 2011
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343
What a cool place

Sadly there is nothing like that anywhere close to where I live
 

Marktastrophe

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Nov 19, 2021
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295
I've been to the Yodobashi Camera building in Akihabara, back in 2016. It is a blast. They have things I had never seen, and haven't seen since.

And from my experience Scale kit building is bigger in most of Europe, and all through Asia than it is in North America. When I was stationed in Okinawa, every department store had a scale model section comparable to the entire toy section in most department stores around me (small-ish town roughly half way between Detroit and Lansing MI... not Actually Ann Arbor, but close. And JP stock was Mostly Bandai and Mecha) I also stumbled across tiny hobby shops in alleys with two way traffic only wide enough for one Kei car multiple times.

Alas, where I am now I have to drive 50 minutes to the nearest hobby shop (that isn't Michael's or Joanne's... which don't carry modelling supplies in my area) There is a comic book store nearby that has some things for D&D, 40K and other tabletop painting... but I have more unopened bottles of paint on my rack than they sell, lol.
 
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