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Ewan.in.gz

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About Ewan.in.gz

  • Birthday 12/27/1979

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Guangzhou, China
  • Interests
    Since I am on this forum, obviously a major interest is Japanese trains.... But I'm also into other countries' railways, as well as other forms of transport. Also into wider culture, music, history & language, especially Japanese & Chinese.

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  1. "Official" Tomix store?

    I was in the Akihabara Yodobashi Camera the week before, but I didn't notice if they had the the add-on sets in stock. The staff in the Kyoto Yodobashi Camera said the add-ons would be back in production later this year, I asked when I was in there buying spare couplers.... As I said, I was traveling with my friend, so I didn't really have that much time to go overboard with train stuff.... That's the main reason I didn't buy one of the TOMIX full 12 car sets of the E1 Max in original livery.
  2. "Official" Tomix store?

    Hey Serotta, not yet! I’m traveling with my Chinese housemate. It’s his first trip to Japan, and he doesn’t speak English or Japanese, so I am both his tour guide & translator. It’s been a very hectic 14 days.... This time I really haven’t had much time for train related stuff....
  3. "Official" Tomix store?

    At least none of the girls in my company asked me to buy them high heels or dresses this time around....
  4. "Official" Tomix store?

    Hahahah, they want those from everywhere.... I’ve been asked to buy them from Australia, the UK and Russia too.... 😵😵
  5. People’s Republic of China N Scale trains

    Hi Gavin, I've been in China for nearly 15 years, living and working in Guangzhou. I am an English Teacher, the senior foreign teacher in a small locally owned training centre there. Yeah, China is truly a bizarre place, and the events of the 20th Century in China have just made it even weirder. I never really got culture shock, as such. But right from when I first moved to China, I made efforts to not insulate myself from the country or people. Most of my friends are Chinese, the only waiguoren in China I socialise with are the staff in my company, or ex-staff who are still in the country. However, the poor public behaviour, lack of cleanliness and illogical thought processes really do drive me crazy, probably because it is something that is hard to miss when I live in a city with 16 million people! As far as languages go, many locals in Guangzhou are Yuehua speakers, but that doesn't really matter, because almost all Mainland Chinese also speak Mandarin. As is the case in most major Chinese cities, a significant part of the population are not locals, or from local families. In my experience, the only place where Cantonese is really useful is Hong Kong. Outside the big tourist places there, no-one ever speaks English, just Yuehua. I speak Mandarin and read and write both simplified and traditional Chinese. I have enough Cantonese to do what I need when I am in Hong Kong, too. Living there has made my Japanese reading skills better (more recognition of Kanji), but my spoken Japanese has suffered. I think that living in an environment where Mandarin is the primary form of communication for a large population (such as in China or Taiwan), is the best way to get a handle on how to use the language effectively. It's probably also useful that the person I share my home with (an old friend I've known since 2005) speaks no English! Ewan
  6. VPNs blocked?

    When not using a VPN in China, it seems to be both.... Ewan
  7. KATO E4 Series coupler part number

    Cool! Thank you, Gryphr! I'll try to get them while I'm still in Japan. Ewan
  8. People’s Republic of China N Scale trains

    Yes, "Harmony" is the overall brand name for the Chinese high speed rail network. I am not surprised that it is a difficult topic to research, as the industry in China seems to be mostly focused on manufacturing for other markets (e.g.: Europe, North America, Japan). In regards to riding the high speed networks, Chinese CRH network is quite extensive, but for the very long runs, there are not so many services that carry on all the way through. For example, the Beijing-Guangzhou High Speed Line only has 4 trains a day that run all the way from Guangzhou South to Beijing West, which often means that you need to break the journey several times. For the trains themselves, they are pretty comfortable, and have similar ride-quality to Shinkansen, especially when running on dedicated lines. However, the atmosphere and environment onboard is very different. Chinese people are very noisy, both at home and in public spaces, it's not uncommon to be onboard a train (or a bus, or in the metro) and feel like you are in the middle of a crowded street. People will yell at each other both in person and over the phone, meaning that everyone hears what they are doing. They even make video calls or watch TV or movies on their phones or tablets with the volume turned ALL the way up and no headphones.... A lot of people in China also have very little concept of what is appropriate behaviour in public or shared spaces, so they will sit in their seats and take their shoes and socks off and put their feet up on the adjacent seat, or place all their luggage in any empty space, even if it's the aisle or other seats. There is also very little concept of keeping spaces clean, so people will drop their trash literally anywhere as soon as they're done with it.... Which means you can find all sorts of junk in ridiculous places.... Even empty food packages or leftovers like banana skins shoved between the cushions of the seats..... As a country, China is also bad at queuing and waiting their turn for things. People will try to push themselves into a crowded train before the doors are even open, and will complain loudly if the passengers getting off get in their way.... Overall, I find it is much more pleasant to travel by rail in Japan, even the local commuter or subway trains in rush-hour are far more pleasant places to be than the equivalents in China.... Because Japan is a cleaner, more polite society, and has far better behavioural standards. Sorry for the long(-ish) rant! I'm kind of dreading going back to China on the 15th! Ewan
  9. "Official" Tomix store?

    Hmm.... Thanks for the heads-up! I'll have a look at some other stores.... We're doing the shopping for people back home tomorrow.... Makeup & medicine.... What Chinese people ALWAYS want to buy from Japan! Or I might have to ask Japanese friends if they can get them for me and I'll pick them up next time I'm here.... Probably won't be back until next CNY.... Ewan
  10. Hi everyone! Can anyone tell me what is the part number for the KATO E4 Max diaphragm coupler (between each car in a set, NOT the nose couplers!). I was thinking that while I am in Kyoto & near the KATO shop I should try to get some.... one of my E4 Max trains has a single broken coupler. On the motor car. The retaining pin on the bottom has gone, so whenever the train enters a curve, the motor car causes the whole train to derail! Not very prototypical for the Shinkansen..... Ewan
  11. "Official" Tomix store?

    I am currently traveling in Japan with a Chinese friend, it's our big winter vacation time in China. 5 more days until I have to go back to China.... (Eww... 6-7 day work week, tons of dirt and trash, brainless people) I was in Yodobashi Camera Umeda (downtown Osaka) the other day and I was able to pick up TOMIX 98603, JR East 200 Series Tohoku Shinkansen (H Set). I've always REALLY liked these trains, along with the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen 100 Series trains, because of the shark nose styling. This is my first Tomix Shinkansen, I generally prefer KATO Shinkansen, because to my mind, the KATO diaphragm coupling system looks more accurate to Shinkansen trains that do not feature a full width, flush diaphragm (e.g.: the N700A, E5, H5) My question is, does Tomix have an "Official" outlet? The Yodobashi Camera in Umeda didn't have the add-on sets in stock.... And I'd prefer to have the full 16 car train! The add-on sets are: 98604 Add-on Set A (3 cars) and 98605 Add-on Set B (7 cars). I am in Kyoto and Nagoya for the next few days before flying back home to China.... *sigh* Ewan
  12. People’s Republic of China N Scale trains

    The nameplate on the base translates as: CRH-3 "Hexiehao" 350 km/h high speed train. Ewan
  13. People’s Republic of China N Scale trains

    It's kind of spotty.... Railroad modelling is still very much a niche hobby here. I have found that the model train shopping in Hong Kong is much better than in Guangzhou. I generally buy my trains there, or in Japan. I am not so sure about the extent of Chinese outline in N scale as I tend to concentrate mostly on Japanese outline. I do know that Bachmann has a limited range, nothing as large as their HO scale range, but that is set to grow. So far, the only Chinese N-Scale model I actually have seen in the flesh (and that I happen to own) is a static 3-car CRH-3C, which comes enclosed in a clear Perspex tube and very solidly bolted to a heavy metal base!
  14. VPNs blocked?

    For what it's worth, here's my experience. I'm in the Peoples' Republic of China, and I often use a VPN when online because even simple things like GMail and MSN.com are filtered or blocked by the Great Firewall. I have noticed that JNS will work without running a VPN, but images won't load and links may not do anything.... However, my VPN is not blocked, so it's another reason to leave it running when I am online! Ewan
  15. My Temporary Setups - Mostly Trains!

    Hehehe, that sounds awesome, Jeff! Hehehe, it's OK, I'm sure I can find time next time I am in Japan. I always like to spend at least a few days in Tokyo.... I know, it is so easy to get disoriented in Tokyo Station.... I know I always get stuck trying to get to the N'EX.... I always end up at the Platform 1 for Yamanote Line, not the underground Yokosuka Line.... Ewan
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