Wednesday, November 03, 2010

tetsudo fan

Since it is Culture Day today, I thought I should share with you some Japanese culture.

When you live in a country with trains, you'll run into people who are train fanatics...they are called "tetsudo fan" (literally railway fans).

The nickname for males who love trains is "Tetsuo", and for females it is "Tetsuko".

(If your name or middle name is Tetsuo or Tetsuko, it doesn't necessarily mean you were named for a liking of trains, but you may possibly have been.)

Within the realms of being a train fanatic, there are different types...

There are many who love to take photos of trains...these people are called "tori-tetsu". In this case, "tori" means to take and "tetsu" means literally means steel, also means rails.

You'll usually see these people at the far end of the platform, waiting for a special model to roll into the station.

There are those who love to ride different trains...these people are called "nori-tetsu". In this case, "nori" means to ride.

These fans usually ride different lines and take notes on what they ride and when they ride certain trains.

There are those who love the different songs that play before a train enters a station or just before a train departs a station....these people are called "oto-tetsu". "Oto" means sound.

I've actually seen people walking around with a long stick pointing their attached microphones to the speakers in order to catch the various songs that play before the train arrives or departs.

There are also those who love trains because they bring their children to see the trains...these are "mama-tetsu".

With everything, there are rude fanatics that do not have any manners, telling people to move to get out of their shots or that the car they are riding in are only for railway fans.

There was even an incident (or more) where fans would come so close to the tracks, there was fear of someone getting hit by the train!

I think it is good to have a hobby, but not lose your life over it...


KirkK said...

Hi Kat - Loved this post.... it's both funny, yet interesting!

Jude said...

I love learning more about these local things and this was so fun to read! I guess the UK equivalent would be the infamous trainspotters - but it doesn't seem anything as varied as what you're describing in Japan! Haha, I knew someone whose name was Tetsuo and now I wonder...:)

P.S. Have you read travel writer Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Small Island"? Your post made me think of his hilarious color commentary on train-obsessed people in the UK. :)

Dennis K. said...

Great post! I new about tetsudo fans but learned a lot. Mama tetsu is funny..

Rowena said...

I guess I would fall under the category of nori-tetsu - it would be cool to ride a bunch of different ones all over Europe. Too bad the Orient Express isn't in service anymore.

Tamakikat said...

Good morning Kat,

as one who likes trains I enjoyed this post.

Nice to have so many trains here in Japan. Shame about the fans who are rude. Luckily I've never met/seen any in person.

Wonder if you saw the train vs. foreign man video which was doing the rounds on TV last week. A TV cameraman was taking film of a train and enthusiasts standing back from the track as to get the overall picture. The train vs. man gentleman was standing right next to a train track (at track level) taking video or photos of a departing train (-which was obviously something special) on the opposite track. He was then nearly taking out by an express which suddenly raced through the station on the track right next to him. Luckily he was concentrating so much on the departing 'special' train that he was pretty fixed in position otherwise he would have surely been injured. Anyway it made for an interesting video.

Hope you have a great Culture Day.


Deb in Hawaii said...

So funny--I had no idea there were so many different types of train lovers! ;-)

sarah said...

Hi Kat,
I noticed this when I was in Japan. Department stores have huge model train sections and shops like Tokyu Hands have a lot of train memorabilia. I bought a keyring that plays the music from Ikebukuro. Also, when I caught the bullet trains I saw a few people taking photos as it arrived.
Have you ever read the book Hokkaido Highway Blues? You might find it funny.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a trainspotter but um when it comes to the new shinkansen... maybe I sort of am haha! When I was there I did go a bit crazy with the camera - and hanging around Tokyo Station, waiting for some to leave and more to arrive. I just find them so so cool looking!

K and S said...

I'm glad you liked this Kirk :)

I think I read that book last year Jude, love his travels!

I'm glad you enjoyed this too Dennis :)

I didn't know that the Orient Express no longer runs, Rowena, that would definitely be one to ride on.

I didn't catch that show TK, but I'm glad that guy didn't die!

Japan has some interesting points Debinhawaii :)

Thanks Sarah, I'll look for the book online :)

CB, I think you may be a "closet" trainspotter ;)

Take care everyone!

jalna said...

Sooooo interesting! Thanks for the lesson Kat!

K and S said...

glad you liked this Jalna :)

Take care.