Thursday, August 13, 2015

VHS Tape Bonanza

A box of tapes on their way out of the library
The Japan Foundation Toronto is moving, and though that means a lot of changes and adjustments for those of us who found Bloor and Avenue pretty convenient, the upside is that the library is overhauling, which means clearing out old items, which means VHS TAPE GIVEAWAYS.

You might have guessed from my persistent interest in all things retro, that I have just a teensy bit of nostalgia for decades past, with the 80s/90s (my formative years) entrenched firmly at the top. That means I don't just treasure the memories of taping my favourite shows on the family VCR - I still own the family VCR. I actually received a VCR-DVD combo unit for Christmas of 2013! However, 99% of my tape collection is at my parents' house, so I left it there to begin the long project of dubbing dozens of old favourites onto DVD whenever I visit them for the holidays.

So, when the Japan Foundation Toronto decided to get rid of most of its videotape collection to save space...well, needless to say, the airport x-ray techs probably got a kick out of my suitcase as it went through the scanner on my most recent trip back home. It was so hard to resist! I found some fabulous Tokyo-in-the-late-80s-early-90s snapshots with videos like Neighborhood Tokyo, Tokyo Date, NHK The News 1985 and Norimono Ippai. Lots of glamour shots of the pre-extension Yurikamome Line in that last one. I also scored the Ichikawa classic Tokyo Olympiad, and four out of a set of Japanese recent-history programs covering events like the Hanshin earthquake, the marriage of the crown Prince (now Emperor), and the crash of Japan Airlines Flight 123, which was actually just in the newspaper here, as the 30th anniversary was yesterday.

All in all, a pretty impressive bounty of pre-millennial pop culture. I'm sad that these tapes can't be borrowed from the JFT library anymore, but on the other hand, it was good timing for me, because I was able to take the time to watch and enjoy them all, and they won't end up in a landfill, either. I was happy to see how quickly the rest of the tapes (there were at least 500 given away over two days) were picked up by other patrons to take home.

Looks like at least a few others out there still have VCRs!