We’re pretty big fans of Odaiba’s full-scale Gundam statue, which towers over Tokyo Bay at an incredible 18 metres tall. But there’s nothing quite like homespun charm, and we’re equally delighted to discover the existence of a plastic bottle version, built single-handedly by one enthusiastic sake shop owner in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo.
Our friends over at off-the-beaten-track Japan travel site Another Tokyo went to check it out last month, and this is what they found.
The delightfully-named Pet Bottle Gundam or P.B. Gundam (“pet bottle” being the Japanese-English word for a plastic drinks bottle) can be found at the Kashiwazaki liquor store in Shimotsuke, Tochigi.
▼ Tochigi has been better known for the shrines and temples of Nikko than its giant Gundam replicas…until now.
All photos: Another Tokyo
The three-metre tall model may not quite be full-scale like Tokyo’s 18-metre version. But three metres is still an impressively large model for an old guy who owns a liquor shop to have built by hand!
▼ It’s even holding a black pet bottle weapon, or P.B. Bazooka as we like to call it.
Different sized bottles have been used to make up the Gundam’s parts. And because the materials used were recycled drinks containers, the only cost involved in the project was the paint!
But P.B. Gundam isn’t the only large-scale plastic model this enthusiast has made.
▼ Can you tell what it is yet?
▼ That’s right…it’s a slice of watermelon! Complete with giant cockroach (or is it a stag beetle??).
Watching over the watermelon is this Kamen Rider model. Unfortunately, he’s not made from plastic bottles, but from regular ol’ plastic foam. Boo!
▼ Still a pretty cool thing to have in the window of your rural sake shop, to be fair.
Another Tokyo’s reporter also ventured inside the shop, where he found…not a lot of sake, but a pleasingly eccentric selection of antiques!
So if you find yourself in the Tochigi area, why not pay P.B. Gundam and friends a visit? They may not get as many visitors as the Tokyo version, but we’re sure they’ll be pleased to see you. Be sure to visit the life-size Totoro and pick up some gyoza while you’re up north!
Address: 906 Shimokoyama, Shimotsuke, Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県下野市下古山９０６)
Approx 6km from Omocha-no-Machi station (おもちゃのまち駅)
Source and images: Another Tokyo