James writes from Hirakata, Japan:
Hey! Big fan of the site and of anything and everything steampunk...Funny thing is, there are so many people who are straight-up steampunk without even knowing that such a cult underground exists. For example, when i was a teenager, I modified a 13inch TV i had from the 80's to fit inside of a 1930's TV box that I found in an abandoned, half burned down factory near where I lived. [I did the same thing! -JvS]
Well, the same thing occurs throughout the world, I've found. I live in a small town in Japan in a very rural area. Upon exiting the supermarket the other day, I came across this steampunk masterpiece! I waited for an hour for the presumed Japanese steampunker to come out with his goth gear on and his mohawk, but low and behold, an 85 year old man comes out, grabs his lighter from his scooter, and lights up. I went over to him to complement him on his work, and with barely audible Japanese since he had no teeth at all and had very badly fitting dentures, started to explain how he put it together in the heaviest Japanese countryside accent I have ever heard. Classic!
James is spot on, Steampunk is not a new thing but an expression of something that has been with us all along. What's different is that people's dissatisfaction with what they are offered in the marketplace has more and more of them turning to DIY to make their own wonderful things and the advent of the 'net gives them immediate access to how to information and each other.