Japanese Boats Display in Japantown (v 4.0)

Last week, I spent an entire afternoon in San Francisco setting up my latest display of models of Japanese traditional boats in the Japan Center Mall in San Francisco. This is the largest display I’ve done, which is now up to 5 models. It’s probably about as large as it will get as I can’t imagine that I can possibly cram any more into my car. And, given that I live about an hour’s drive outside the city (or two hours in bad traffic), I’m not likely going to be making two trips to set it up. But, the size is actually pretty good now.

Since I’m doing some fundraising to go to Japan this Fall to do some more first-hand research on Japanese watercraft (don’t forget to check out my gofundme page), I’m taking the opportunity to really get some attention for this display. As with those people involved in the fine arts, I’ve made up an announcement card that I’m having printed up that I will be sending to various friends and people that  I think will be interested in it and possibly interested in helping me out (as well as those who have already done so). In addition, I’ve made a simple email announcement photo that I’ve been sending to people.

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My email announcement card

If you’re already familiar with the last couple displays, you will see two new models added, a simple Japanese traditional boat shop display and the Tosa wasen model. Both are a nice, big 1/10 scale, so the details are better for a window display like this.

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The 1/10-scale Tosa Wasen is the newest boat model added to the display.

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This is my simple model of an Urayasu boat workshop, showing some of the aspects of traditional Japanese boatbuilding. Under construction is a Bekabune, a seaweed gathering boat that was once used on Tokyo Bay. The model still needs a few additions – a work in progress.

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The Hacchoro and the Urayasu boat workshop with their scale boatmen silhouettes. The Hacchoro is one of the boats I will be focussing my attention on while researching in Japan this Fall.

You may notice in that display window photos that I’ve created little silhouette boatmen to provide scale reference for each model. This was a last minute effort, though I’ve been thinking about it for months. I finally sat down and scoured the Internet and found photos of boatmen dressed in traditional outfits on someone’s blog photos. I took the best one and did some Photoshop work to turn him into a silhouette, which I scaled to the needed sizes, printed them, and mounted them on cardboard.

There are, of course, things to do differently next time, which I’ve already noted. The boat workshop display should probably be on some kind of a riser, like the other models, there is enough room to put up another large, hanging photo board, and there’s room for at least one more model, using the tall stand I introduced in this display. I suppose I could consider staggering them a little too.

That tall stand, by the way, is actually a better stand for me to use because it’s simple two boards hinged together. This makes them foldable and they take up a lot less space in my car. I’m seriously thinking about replacing the box pedestals on the other models with short folding stands, which would allow me to carry more stuff in my car. And, actually, if I build models without sails, I might be able to fit one or two more in that car. Of course, that means building more models and I’m pretty far behind on other projects as it is. We’ll see… Ω

 

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Japanese Wasen Model Display in San Francisco

This week has been a kind of crazy week of dealing with the display of ship models. I now have 4 models out on display. Two of them are part of a display at the San Mateo County Fair headed up by the South Bay Model Shipwrights club. The other two are part of my own display that I’ve put together in the big window of Union Bank’s community room in Japantown, San Francisco.

The models are my Higaki Kaisen and Hacchoro models that I built from Woody Joe kits. The display is my second now, and I’ve learned a lot from my first display that I put up earlier in the year. That display was small for the window area and the models were hard to see and the display was not very attention grabbing.

This time around, I’ve had posters printed up using some new photos I’ve taken. I mounted these on foam core poster boards and also set up a large display board with 8″x10″ photos showing details of the models. To make the models easier to see, I removed them from their cases and raised them up closer to eye level by placing them on some pedestals I made from MDF board.

At the last minute this morning, I cut some acrylic sheet into strips and made some plastic clips to hang the posters from. The strips were cut to size and drilled and then heat bent to shape using a small torch. They aren’t perfect, but they work.

Late this morning, I crammed everything into my car and drove to San Francisco to set it all up.

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Models set up and ready to put on display.

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Homemade clips for hanging the posters.

This time, with all the display elements, it took me a lot longer to set up than I’d expected. I could imagine what it’s like to work setting up displays in department store windows. Overall, it was a good 45 minutes to bring everything up from the parking garage and to set it all up. The posters and the hangar clips took the most time to set up so that the posters hung at the right heights.

I felt I was kind of rushing the layout. It would definitely be helpful to get a second person to help with this so that one person can look at it and recommend adjustments while the other put the display elements into place.

In the end, I think it all worked pretty well and I’ve definitely got thoughts of Wasen Display 3.0 starting to develop. Having the third model will be good, which will most likely be Woody Joe’s Yakatabune as that’s a nice looking model and a quick build.

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Higaki Kaisen model.

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Photo Board and Hacchoro model. Note the hanging posters.

One thing I realized was that every time I’m in the mall where I have time to take photos, it’s roughly noonish and the sun comes streaming straight down through the skylights in the mall. So, I mostly get a lot of glare in these photos. I think at other times of the display, it is much easier to see the models and photos. I’m going to have to check out that theory and take some photos maybe late in the day or evening early evening. Maybe I can get some decent photos of the display then.

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A much improved display over the last one.

Wasen Display 2.0 will run from Friday, June 5th through Friday, July 10th. I hope you will stop by to see it and let me know what you think!