Shipmodeler's Japan Research Trip

I have been a ship modeler for over 20 years, have written several articles, given a couple public talks on the subject, even gotten awards for some of my work.

Over the past 3 years, being part Japanese, I've taken an increased interest in traditional Japanese boats and their models, but information available in the U.S. is very scarce.  I've done about as much as I can do in researching traditional Japanese watercraft from a distance, and need to take the next step and actually travel to Japan.

I wasn't expecting to be able to do this, but I was poking around on the Internet and found an incredible flight deal. Deciding it was crazier to pass up than to book it, I jumped in with both feet. So now, I have to fund it somehow. I'm doing what I can on my own, but I could really use some outside help.

This will be a relatively short trip in early September 2016. The funds are needed before I make the trip. So, ideally, by September 1, 2016.

To keep costs, down, this will be pretty much a whirlwind trip, and I won't be able to go to all the places I'd really like to. But, the places I'm planning on travelling to are major sources of information on Japanese traditional boats and should provide enough research material to aid me in writing 3 or more articles, and help improve my own model work as well as those I can provide this information to.

The funds I'm looking for are primarily to help cover travel, lodging, meals and some small incidental expenses, such as museum admission, etc.

The breakdown is roughly as follows:

• $900 airfare plus 2 nights accomodations
    (I got a deal!)
• $400 rail pass, bus, ferry and occasional taxi fare
• $300 additional accomodations
• $150 meals
• $50 incidental expenses

The trip dates are:
September 4 through September 13

The main locations to visit:
• Ogi Folk Museum, Sado Island (bezaisen, tub boats)
• Edo Tokyo Museum (traditional life-styles)
• Edo Fukuwara Museum (traditional life-styles)
• Shizuoka (Japanese ship model kit manufacturer) 
• Yaizu (hacchoro fishing boats)
• Toba Sea Folk Museum (Many boat types)

Time permitting:
• Michinoku Boat Museum, Aomori (If it's not closed)
• Wasen Tomo no Kai (traditional boats and use of the ro)
• Urayasu Boat Museum (Local boat types near Tokyo)

A working trip
Being born in Japan, and being a very active ship modeler for over 20 years (with 5 published articles and having given 2 talks), this is really the coming together of two completely independent parts of my life. 

It is my hope to be able to share what I find in Japan through additional talks, articles, and model displays. 

I also have a blog for ship modelers that receives an average of 50 international visitors a day from the US and abroad. The blog will be updated so others can follow along on this journey.

Any donation is greatly appreciated. And any photos taken on this trip (I expect to fill many GBs of flash card storage) really belong to all who contribute. 

Because I have living relatives in Japan, one day will probably be set aside to visit with some of them. Most, I have seen maybe 2 or 3 times in the past 50 years and we can't really communicate well. But, my surviving aunts and uncles are now in their late 80s and I would like to take the opportunity to see some of them, maybe a last time (3 have passed away since I visited about 8 years ago).

For information about this trip, visit my blog post at:


Clare Jiro Hess
Pleasant Hill, CA

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