JR-Chiisai is a site dedicated to my Japanese model trains adventure. JR is short for Japan Railways, Chiisai (in kanji: 小さい) is Japanese for "small", so JR-Chiisai can be interpreted as meaning a smaller version of Japan Railways. The JR-Chiisai logo is also very much based on the official JR logo's. Needless to say, JR-Chiisai is not an official Japan Railways page ;)
A bit of history
Having grown up with a model train layout on the attic, I've always had an interest in model trains. Initially we had mostly Dutch outline H0 scale. Most of that was fairly cheap and noisy, but it ran well and could certainly take a beating. I often tried to see what happened if 2 trains hit head-on, or if a train would hit a car on a level crossing etc.
Fairly early on there was a desire to have more track and longer trains, something which wouldn't be possible in H0. So, the H0 was sold, and a Minitrix N-scale starter set was bought. That quickly grew with a 2nd starter set, and a large 2nd hand collection. I tried to build several layouts, but nothing ever got done. When I got a bit older and started studying, the model train hobby was put on hold.
At some point after my studies I decided to move to Oslo, Norway, where I bought several Märklin H0 scale trains, mainly because that was the only thing easily available. I bought several trains I liked, but eventually limited myself to Königliche Bayerische Staats-Eisenbahnen (or K.Bay.Sts.B, Royal Bavarian State Railways) because of the beautiful locomotives and especially the great deep green color scheme. I also started planning a layout, but the H0 project has been put on indefinite hold.
I've always been interested in the Japanese shinkansen, and when I noticed the local hobby store in Oslo had one in stock, I decided to buy it. It was the Kato 6-car JR-Kyushu 800 series shinkansen. It looked great and ran better than several of my Märklin trains, and most interesting of all, it was comparatively cheap. The store didn't have many other Japanese trains though, so I went looking for an online store and eventually came across Japan Model Railways, run by Heiko Stoll. He answered many of my questions before I ordered anything, and eventually I ordered a Tomix DD51 and the MicroAce type 9633 steam locomotive in depot colors.
After that my collection started growing quite fast, and I now have a collection of a wide variety of Japanese trains. Because there are so many great trains in Japan that prototypically would never be seen running together, I decided not to model a certain area or time period. Instead, I run what I think looks good.
The homepage is currently in its second incarnation. While I still like the first design, it wasn't meant for large amounts of data, nor for easily adding or removing parts. Also, the CMS I was using, TypoLight, started becoming a bit cumbersome, although that was mainly my own fault for not setting it up correctly.
Like the first version, this version of the page was designed using Adobe Photoshop. It took about 4-5 different designs before I had a rough sketch of where I wanted to go. After that it took some 4-5 months to get in all the details, working on it only a few hours each week. Once the design was done, I hand coded an XHTML/CSS version of the front page and an article page to check if everything would work. Finally, I adjusted the code to fit with the theming engine of the new CMS.
The current page is running on Drupal 6, with a heavily modified custom theme and a variety of modules installed. It can handle large amounts of data with ease, and the administration interface is nice to work with once you get used to it. Drupal also has a good community which produces modules for pretty much anything you can imagine.
All images on the site are free to use, except where copyright is specifically mentioned. Most images are either taken by myself or taken from sites such as Wikipedia. The pictures I take myself are taken with either a Sony Alpha a100 or Sony Alpha a700. The lenses used are a Sony Carl Zeiss 16-80mm, Sony 18-70mm, Sigma 105mm macro and Sigma 10-20 wide angle. All images are taken in RAW, then imported and adjusted in Apple's Aperture, and then exported to JPEGs for use on the site. Feel free to use the JPEGs on the site, and if you want you can contact me for the RAW versions. (Note that Sony's RAW format is propriety, and not all programs may support it. Apple Aperture, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop will have no problems with them though.)
To get in touch, please fill out the contact form here.
If for some reason the form doesn't work, or if you need to email me directly, you can do so at martijn (at) jr-chiisai (dot) net. Be sure to replace (at) and (dot) with the appropriate characters.
You can also add me as a friend on facebook here, although I'm not actively using facebook.