Tag Archives: San Francisco Bay Area

Wasen Display 6.0

The latest display of Japanese boat models takes place through the end of March. Check it out if you’re in the area and haven’t seen the models yet.

Wasen Mokei 和船模型

The sixth display of wasen models is now set up at the Japan Center Mall in the window of the Union Bank Community Room inside the East Mall building. The display will be up through the end of March and features the same models as before, but with the addition of my Kamakura Period Sea Boat or Umi-bune. Though the Umi-bune model is not quite complete, I figured it was far enough along for public display as an “in progress” model.

The display then consists of the Hacchoro, Higaki Kaisen, Yakatabune, Tosa wasen, and the Umi-bune. The main change in the display is the use of new folding pedestals I made. This makes transportation easier, as the new pedestals take much less room in my car.

My hope for future displays is to have a model of a Kitamaebune, which is very similar in appearance to the Higaki Kaisen, and to…

View original post 164 more words

Kaiwo Maru in San Francisco – An Update


I’ve been asking around about the Kaiwo Maru’s arrival at San Francisco and I did a quick Internet search and found out that the ship will be open to the public during specific times on Sunday, May 4th. I’m going to try to get over there in the morning and see if I can get some good pictures.

The details can be found on the Japanese Consultate web page:


Also, there is page on the National Institute for Sea Training in Japan that gives details about the Kaiwo Maru:


Kaiwo Maru in San Francisco

I heard it from a colleague who heard it from a colleague that the Kaiwo Maru is coming to town. Sounds like the beginnings of a bad song… or a good song depending on your taste. But, in any case, I checked online and found on the San Francisco Port Department website that the Kaiwo Maru is indeed scheduled to be berthed at Pier 30/32 from May 2 to May 6, 2014.


Photo from Wikipedia

For those of you who know nothing about the Kaiwo Maru, and I include myself in that group up until about a week ago, she is a Japanese sail training ship. Or, more precisely, a four-masted, iron-hull sail training bark. She and her sister ship, the Nippon Maru II, were built in 1980s to replace a pair of sail training ships built in 1930 and bearing the same names. Both are owned by the Japanese government and operated by the National Institute for Sea Training.

In addition, the Japanese Coast Guard ship Kojima, apparently a training vessel, will be at the same pier from May 22 to May 26. I only found out about that one when I looked at the SF Port Department website.

I don’t know what the San Francisco visits are about, and I don’t know if the ships will be open to visitors. I haven’t heard anything, but I will see what I can find out.

For those of you who are interested, Woody Joe makes kits of the Nippon Maru II (Shin Nippon Maru) in 1:160-scale and also in 1:80-scale. I think Aoshima also makes plastic versions, but I’m primarily a wood ship modeler, so don’t quote me on that!

Also, as an aside, Harold Underhill created plans of the original 1930 Kaiwo Maru and Nippon Maru which should still be available from Brown, Son and Ferguson, Ltd.

It’s March 17th – Happy Kanrin Maru Day!

While most people who celebrate today are drinking green beer and thinking Irish thoughts, today is also the anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese government ship to visit the United States. It was on March 17, 1860 that the Japanese screw steamer Kanrin Maru arrived at San Francisco as an escort for Japan’s first embassy to the United States aboard the USS Powhatan. For the 150th anniversary celebration, the mayor of San Francisco declared March 17th to be Kanrin Maru day. I don’t suppose there is a lot of celebrating of the event in the city, or anywhere else for that matter. So, I’ll just do that on my own.

But, for those interested, the journey of the Kanrin Maru is pretty interesting, and involves many important historical personalities for both Japan and the United States. The captain of the Kanrin Maru, Katsu Kaishu, is considered the father of the Japanese Navy and is later  instrumental in his involvement with the transfer of power from the Shogun, the military ruler of Japan, to the Emperor. One of the crew members was Yukichi Fukuzawa who later founded the prestigious Keio University, one of Japan’s oldest institutes of eduction. Another was Manjiro Nakahama, also known to many Americans at the time as John Manjiro, who’s own story of shipwreck, rescue by an American whaler, life in the United States, and eventual return to Japan, is an adventure known to many. Then, there was then Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke, who with the help of a handful of his sailors, helped the Kanrin Maru survive a treacherous Pacific crossing, and who went on to become instrumental in the creation of the Transatlantic Cable, and in the development of a new rifled cannon known as the Brooke Rifle.

Here is some interesting reading I’ve run across:

As We Saw Them, the First Japanese Embassy, to the United States by Masao Miyoshi

John M. Brooke’s Pacific Cruise and Japanese Adventure, by George M. Brooke, Jr.

Manjiro, the Man Who Discovered America, by Hisakazu Kaneko


And a link to my previous Kanrin Maru Day post: My Kanrin Maru Day

Bay Area Ship Model Meetings Schedules

This seems to be one of those months that isn’t good for ship model clubs in the Bay Area. Two groups, the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights and the South Bay Model Shipwrights have had to adjust their schedules and/or meeting locations due to problems with their regular meeting places.

The South Bay Model Shipwrights, which normally meets at the Los Altos Library on the third Friday evening of the month was well prepared for changes to their meeting location since they have to reserve it well in advance. This month’s meeting is being held at the home/workshop of local ship modeler Bill Tandler on Saturday, March 22. This is the second modified meeting schedule/location in a row for the South Bay group, but the schedule should be back to normal in April and beyond.

The Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights just found out that work is being done on the gangway entrance to the ferry boat Eureka. So, there is no access to the group’s workshop. There is no word as to whether anyone has checked with the park to find out if we can meet somewhere else for the meeting and an email was just sent out to the members that the meeting is being canceled.

Regular Meeting Schedules:

South Bay Model Shipwrights normally meets on the third Friday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Los Altos Library, 13 South San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94024. This group often has a nice presentation program and access to the meeting room is right off the library parking lot, so model transportation is very convenient.

Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights meet on the third Saturday of the month at 9:30 am aboard the ferry boat Eureka within the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park (just look for the ships). There is no free parking nearby except for the members/volunteers and by the time the meeting is done, the park is open to the public, so you do have to navigate wandering tourists – good to know if you plan to bring a project. There is free parking at the bottom of Van Ness Avenue which is about a 5-10 minute walk along the Aquatic Park.

Ship Modeler’s Forum Meet-Up happens at irregular intervals. It’s not a club, but more of a get together of folks who frequent the on-line ship modeling forums. For now, the small gatherings take place at the  Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum at 734 Marin Street, Vallejo, CA 94590. The location is fairly central to those who have been attending and the meeting room is directly off the parking lot, so moving models is very easy. The next meeting isn’t set yet, but probably a Saturday morning in late May or early June. An announcement will be posted when a schedule is set.

Red Oak Victory Model Shipwrights seems to have the most consistent meeting schedule. The group meets on the second Saturday of the month at 10:00 am in the Petty Officer’s Mess aboard the Red Oak Victory.

Happy Birthday Red Oak Victory Model Shipwrights!

Today is the 15th anniversary of the Red Oak Victory Model Shipwrights group that meets at Pt. Richmond, CA. The group, currently meets aboard the SS Red Oak Victory at 10:30am on the 2nd Saturday of the month. Tom Bottomley, who has headed that group since the beginning is, stepping down, taking a well deserved rest after so many years of leadership, and member Charlie Moran will be taking the helm.


Some months ago, I poked fun at the group’s third name since I first attended the meetings. But, admittedly, the nature of the club has changed and the current name makes sense and solidifies its ties with the historic ship. For me, I’ve never felt comfortable carrying my projects up the gangway and through the narrow passages, and into the confines of the small Petty Officers’ Mess, where the meetings take place. So, I stopped going to the meetings. I’d hoped for an eventual relocation, but the name change made it clear that was not going to happen.

Still, the club has remained active under Tom’s great leadership and will hopefully continue do so for many years to come with Charlie leading the way. I’ve always stayed in touch with Tom and still officially on the newsletter list, and I continue to wish the gang much success.

If you live in the area and are interested in ship modeling, you should contact the group. At the moment, the contact is still listed as Tom Bottomley and you can reach him at bottomleythomas at aol dot com (just replace the at with the “@” symbol and the dot with an actual “.”).

The SS Red Oak Victory, by the way, is part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park. She was launched in 1944 and is the last surviving cargo ship built at the Kaiser/Richmond Shipyards. Her restoration is an ongoing project, but she’s looking very good thanks to the Richmond Museum of History and their volunteers.

If you’re in the area, you should really take the time to visit the ship.

SS Red Oak Victory – Home Page