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MODEL TRAIN EXHIBITION

World Toy Museum brings out the otaku in you

by Raju Thakrar

The World Toy Museum, situated in the resort town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, is currently holding an exhibition on model trains, “Amazing Model Train Exhibition 2007,” that will appeal to iron-horse enthusiasts young and old. The exhibition runs through June 18 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

This is not the first time that the museum has held a model train exhibition. In 2006, it attracted many enthusiasts from around the country when it displayed valuable and rarely seen model trains and trains made by modelers themselves.

The model trains chosen for this year’s exhibition are sure to reach out to visitors of any age, and to everyone from beginners to experts. Displayed in one of the museum’s sections are antique model trains that were on the market in Japan from the end of World War II to about 20 years ago as sets for beginners.

Housed in another part of the museum will be trains of various sizes running on different-sized tracks.

One part of the exhibition will be dedicated to B Train Shorty, which is the model train launched by the toy-maker Bandai in September 2002. The model, sold in more than 800 versions, has sold more than 6 million units to date.

Admission is 700 yen (400 yen for elementary or junior high school students; free for younger children). For more information, call (0267) 42-0501 or visit worldtoy.jp

The World Toy Museum is a 3-min. walk from Karuizawa Station. For the train otaku (obsessive fan) not lucky enough to reside in Nagano Prefecture, Karuizawa Station can be reached on the Nagano Shinkansen from Tokyo Station.