Yesterday we finally received the book we ordered two weeks ago. It’s a limited edition album of old and new Utsunomiya photos published by Kyodo Shuppan (郷土出版), titled very appropriately – “Utsunomiya Now and Then” - 宇都宮今昔写真帖 (今: now, 昔: past, 写真帖: photobook).
When it first appeared in Jan/Feb 2010, for some reason it did not occur to me to buy it. Now, if you want it, bookstores have to search for remaining copies and that’s why it took two weeks for it to arrive. The price is steep too, 11 000 yen (11 550 tax included). Buying books like these is yet another reason why we’re perpetually broke.
This is only one of the books in the series, and I am now contemplating getting at least one more – “Nikko, Kanuma” (two cities in one book).
Other available Tochigi prefecture titles are:
“Oyama, Tochigi, Shimotsuke, Shimotsuga” - one book, and “Nasu” – one book.
This “konjyaku” (now and then) series is not limited to Tochigi though, it covers all (well, most, some areas are missing from the listing) of Japan. - Link here.
We, however, are only interested in our local prefecture. Why? Our other blog – Tochigi Daily Photo is the answer.
So, what about the book? It’s nice. Black and white. All old photos have references showing their present-day equivalents. What is somewhat disappointing is the fact that the photos aren’t really old. As in “old-old” old. There are some from the 1930s and maybe one or two even older, but the majority of images come from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Why? The publisher says it’s the “nostalgic era” in Japan, just like the 50s and 60s in the US.
Here are two of the oldest photos in the book:
Our conclusion? A very fine book, but we'd be better off with scanning grandma's old photo albums. She has literally dozens of them. And we have a brand new, awesome scanner now, too.
*) Where Parco is now.