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Author Topic: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum  (Read 3933 times)

ta0

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Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« on: September 03, 2015, 02:07:33 AM »

The main reason I was in favor of having the 2015 contest in Japan was to establish a contact with the koma players. But another more personal reason was to visit the koma museum. Although it could be a day trip in the Shinkansen bullet train, I figured I would need to stay overnight to see everything. Not only did I do that, but I also fulfilled my secret dream of sleeping at the museum itself (actually above)! It was Taka's suggestion and Mr. Fujita agreed after a warning that it would be "Japanese style" accommodations. Much better, I thought!

The museum occupies all the first floor of a two-story building. The front of the museum is a shop, mostly selling tops, plus diabolos and kites and a few toys. This is the entrance:



The sign says Japanese Koma Museum, "koma" written in Kanji characters.
The shop section:



which includes a throwing/playing area:



The museum is behind the shop. How many tops does it have? Fujita first told me 5,000 but he then corrected himself and said 50,000! I know for sure that there are A LOT!



I guess the required photo if you visit is with the biggest top of all:



I was picked up from the city commuter train station by Yukino and Fujita. I met Hiroko at the museum and soon Shogo joined us. Later in the evening Keita came after school. They did for me all the 45 tricks on the current koma ladder, we had Japanese sweets, browsed the tops of the collection and had a great time. We even played target battle:



"Uncle koma" hit the smaller cap on the first throw but continued trying to hit it on the rest of the throws without success so Shogo ended up winning (I was also throwing a koma but aiming at the biggest targets).

At dinner time all of us went upstairs to Fujita's home where his wife, Hiroko, served us a traditional sukiyaki. It is a meal with meat, vegetables and other ingredients that is simmered at the center of the table in an iron dish. You pick the food with your chopsticks and mix them with raw beaten eggs on your bowl. By the way, Hiroko is the nicest host and she was helped by Yukino who is almost like a daughter to them. It was very special for me to share that dinner with the five of them and I really felt part of the koma family. I did not take pictures inside his house but there is one on Fujita's Facebook.

After dinner we went downstairs to play some more. Keita and Shogo gave me advice on playing with komas and I showed them some of the western tricks that they have not yet incorporated to their play.

After Keita and Yukino left I did not want to exhaust my host anymore so I called it the night. I slept on the tatami of a large washitsu, a traditional Japanese room with no furniture, sliding paper doors and a tokoma. Being there and knowing that tens of thousands of tops were below me was truly surreal. It gave the trip a whole new dimension. I cannot thank Hiroko and Uncle Koma enough for receiving me in their home and museum.

The next morning, after a breakfast of Japanese sweets and tea, I had the opportunity of inspecting a little more the collection. But, of course, I did not have enough time to ask all the questions I wanted to ask.

The T-shirt I used on the winning freestyle is now part of the museum, as well as a top I left with the condition that Keita, Shogo and any other players could use it.
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Ludo

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 08:25:59 AM »

woaou waouo waouou  you been museum this years ? incredible good time bye ludo

the Earl of Whirl

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 12:19:29 PM »

Pretty awesome and amazing.  Wow!  What an ending to a fabulous trip.
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ta0

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 12:52:16 PM »

The newspaper article linked at the beginning of this thread mentioned a "small traditional Japanese-style candy store" that I did not see. But reviewing my photos I tried to translate the large sign by the playing area and the first world turned out to be "caramel." So, I guess that little construction with the tile roof must the "candy store" (I did not go inside).

I also discovered other stuff looking at the photos I took. I had assumed that the very large koma was just a display piece. But this poster of some circus-type show made me think again:



The koma on the hand of the guy on the right is pretty big. There is a long explanation to the side of the poster but it is in Japanese, as are all the labels in the museum.

All the walls are covered with posters and drawings with interesting information, like this one:



Curiously, the word koma is written in hiragana on the poster and katakana on the sign (while the museum sign has it in the Chinese-borrowed kanji characters). The rule is that hiragana is used for words of Japanese origin while katakana for words taken from other languages. But it seemed to me that koma was written about as many times one way or the other. I asked Oochan about it but I could not get a clear answer.

I particularly liked this drawing of a koma maker with his tools:



One of my favorite tops was this relatively large straw top:



Not only there were many oversize tops, but also many tiny tops, of course:



like the ones spun by these little guys:



Yes, those are The Toycrafter finger tops behind. Talking about The Toycrafter, this wooden likeness of Koma no Oochan reminded another one of Don Olney:



Although most of the tops in the museum are Japanese, he also has sections with Western tops. In fact, at the beginning of Ebay he used to order from there. Quiz: can you recognize the bearing top and the non-top among this group of American peg tops:



I could post lots of photos from the display boxes, but I might instead make a little video in the future. I certainly had a top overload and I am still processing it while looking at the photos.



 :)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 01:27:56 PM by ta0 »
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the Earl of Whirl

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 01:13:29 PM »

Whew - it makes the Top Spinning Hall of Fame look like a little dinky place.  Of course, I am trying to highlight the players and not the tops.  This top museum does exactly what a museum should do........highlight tops.  What a great place.  It may not have as many broken tops in it as the Hall does, though!!!  I am considering a special section of just broken tops, since this area seems to be growing with every festival (and every visit from the Hickerson's).

I love those pictures.  I can imagine what you are saying about still processing everything.
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Dick Stohr

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 01:22:45 PM »

I thought that the only place to get sensory overload was at Toy Fair in NYC but this looks like so much more!!!!!!!
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Kirk

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 11:32:59 PM »

Curiously, the word koma is written in hiragana on the poster and katakana on the sign (while the museum sign has it in the Chinese-borrowed kanji characters). The rule is that hiragana is used for words of Japanese origin while katakana for words taken from other languages. But it seemed to me that koma was written about as many times one way or the other. I asked Oochan about it but I could not get a clear answer.
I have been told that katakana can be used for emphasis much like we use italics
Thanks for sharing the photos and stories.
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Jack

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2015, 08:14:44 PM »

this thread is starting overwelm my soul with awesome  :'(
thank you
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Kirk

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2015, 10:53:14 PM »

Although most of the tops in the museum are Japanese, he also has sections with Western tops. In fact, at the beginning of Ebay he used to order from there. Quiz: can you recognize the bearing top and the non-top among this group of American peg tops:
Bearing? The one in the front left looks suspicious with the two color tip.  Also the green on in the middle has a tip that I have not seen.
NSTR? The tall one in the back right looks like a plumb bob.
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Jack

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2015, 12:15:38 AM »


Although most of the tops in the museum are Japanese, he also has sections with Western tops. In fact, at the beginning of Ebay he used to order from there. Quiz: can you recognize the bearing top and the non-top among this group of American peg tops:



i count 4 bearings and 1 lead pipe tool thingy @-@
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ta0

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2015, 01:08:49 AM »

I have been told that katakana can be used for emphasis much like we use italics
Thanks for sharing the photos and stories.
Thanks Kirk. I was not aware of that. It could be an explanation.

Bearing? The one in the front left looks suspicious with the two color tip.  Also the green on in the middle has a tip that I have not seen.
NSTR? The tall one in the back right looks like a plumb bob.
i count 4 bearings and 1 lead pipe tool thingy @-@

The tall cone on the back is indeed one of those old pipe flaring tools. Fujita already knew this but decided to keep it in the case.
The (radial) ball bearing top I was thinking about is the red one on the second rod. There are a couple more that could have a single-ball bearing, but I think they are fixed tips.

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Jack

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2015, 01:05:23 PM »

The (radial) ball bearing top I was thinking about is the red one on the second rod. There are a couple more that could have a single-ball bearing, but I think they are fixed tips.

i forgot to take my meds and got too excited  :-[
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ta0

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2015, 01:11:40 PM »

I got some tops from the museum shop. Unfortunately they only accept cash, so I could not get more (by the way, most Japanese ATM's don't accept international cards). Here they are, plus a koma Keita gave me:



I already had a roulette top, Daruma Ate Koma (fortune telling top), but I wanted that traditional face. Daruma = Dharma  (~good Karma)

They had an Edo brand humming top, but I had to go for a less expensive brand of Nari Koma (singing top).

The Jiguri or Zuguri top is the snow top we discussed before here. It seems that the name means: dig the ground.

It came with a tapered rope, thinner where you wrap it around the tip:



This one has a double bowl. On an old website Dictionary of Japanese Tops the double scallop top is called Nijujikuru Koma. There are single, double and triple bowl types. I threw it once with the original rope and it spun really well on the ground. I don't want to damage the rope (it does not look like it would last long), so I replaced it with a regular one and could boomerang it without problem.
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Watts' Tops

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2015, 09:37:44 PM »

What an adventure.  Would love to do the same.
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Watts' Tops
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ta0

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Re: Visit to the Nagoya koma museum
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2015, 12:47:34 AM »

Here is a video with some photos of the museum. When I took the photos most of the display cases were closed so I had to take them through the glass: sorry for the reflections.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PsRSfUU6YU

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