Mid-eighties, winter. Took a ferry from Japan to Vladivostok then onto the Trans-Siberian railway to Irkutsk (three-day I think) and flew back to Japan where I was working. There were other Japanese, Canadian tourists on the train. Why did I go to Siberia in winter? Because I could I guess.
Irkutsk, Siberia. Soviet army everywhere.
Far-flung Siberia has beautiful log homes and churches.
City of Irkutsk, Siberia which today 2021 has half a million people.
Well, a typical window display. Piled up jars? And just about the only vehicles you see. Army. Living in Japan at the time this was the anti-thesis of the ultra-consumer Japanese stores.
Not a bit of advertising which was great. Just pix of Marx and Lenin.
Inside a department store. Irkutsk.
Cameras? Not much to buy. Food line-ups outside bakery, butcher etc. Of course hope things have improved in the last thirty-five years.
Quite the department store display.
Mystified why these streets are so wide. Tsarist grandeur?
Beautiful buildings even in Siberia but just about only vehicles are buses and army. This was the mid-eighties about three years before Berlin Wall fell.
These old buildings have amazing wood detailing.
Khabarovsk was the Siberian port we docked at to catch the train. As a military center it was totally off-limits.
Lenin’s face on side of building.
This Russian girl was amazed by my Japanese cassette player. I ended up giving her my solar-powered calculator. I think it cost me something like the price of lunch. The Japanese were way ahead in the 80s. Batteries are expensive or maybe hard to buy in USSR at the time so that was the perfect thing for her.
Me and a Russian guy from the train. I didn’t find any Russians who spoke english but I guess he gave me a can of beer.
Probably a food stop for the train. I remember families with this vast spread of black bread, potatoes, pickles and cheese.
Someone’s house I guess. Such great shutters everywhere on these old timber dwellings.
Once again wide streets but a lack of vehicles.
Car might be a Lada for the middle class.
Coal for the train engine room or maybe for heating.
If I remember these passengers sharing my cabin were of Mongolian descent. Up until 1989 (at time of this photo) Mongolia was occupied by Soviet troops to prevent Chinese expansionism. Imagine being sandwiched between China and the USSR. Now it is independent.
Three French-Canadians they put me in with and boy, as you see, did we drink a lot. They were so much fun.
I bought some slides of Lake Baikal in summer. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world.