とやまの和船 – Book on Traditional Japanese Boats of Toyama Prefecture

The first treasure of my recent Japanese book buying binge arrived late last week. The book is in Japanese and is called Toyama no Wasen, which means Toyama’s traditional Japanese boats.

This is a beautiful book and it is loaded with drawings. I flipped through it and counted about 30 boats detailed in drawings, though some drawings offer more details than others. Also, some of the rice field boats are little more than floating wooden tubs that are pushed or pulled through the fields by the farmer.

This book appears to be a 2011 publication by the Himi City Museum. I found my copy through Yahoo! JAPAN Auctions. I haven’t seen it listed even on Amazon Japan. I suspect it normally purchased directly from the Himi City Museum and, as it’s a museum publication, isn’t going to be found anywhere else.

I got lucky as I found what is apparently a used copy that someone was selling off. I did see that there is another copy listed on the auctions site. So, if you’re interested in collecting a large number of drawings of wasen, this is your best opportunity.

Sample drawing from the book.

I can’t tell you much about the details as I have yet to study this book. It’s 136 pages with a few pages with color photos. Most of the photos are black and white, and they’re small, so it’s really hard to see any details in them, especially with my unaided eyes.

Probably most useful, in terms of photos, is seeing the construction process of two types of local boats. Again, it’s hard to identify some of the small details in the photos, even when magnified, but they clearly show the steps of construction.

Now, some of the book will not be useful at all for model building purposes. Towards the back, there are many large tables which appear to mostly be some kind of ship building records. I will look these over, but I doubt there is anything very useful here.

Sample table from the book.

There’s a lot here to study. So much so, that I’m not quite sure where to start. I’d like to look at details of a couple of the boats depicted in drawings, but I have a feeling I’m going to be missing a lot if I don’t start at the beginning. There’s a fair amount of Japanese text to sort through, so I’ll just have to be methodical and start translating a paragraph at a time.

With 4 more books coming from Japan in the next couple weeks. I don’t know if I should start now, or if I should wait until they’re all here so I can decide what’s more important to work on.

It’s tempting to dig through this book, so maybe I’ll just go over a little bit… Ω