Fun fact: 80% of Tokyo’s mass consists of vending machines, convenience stores, and arcades with coin-operated capsule dispensers. This is all an effort to drive the sales of mystery boxes, which ranks 4th in Japan’s top 10 industries, right between consumer electronics and shipbuilding. For the uninitiated (consider yourselves lucky), mystery boxes are little collectible toys with a common theme and several different items to complete the series (in the case of vending machines, the toys come attached to your refreshing beverage). But, rather than doing something useful like actually showing you what you’re going to get, the box is sealed, making the entire enterprise a lottery, like baseball cards or things at the bottom of cereal boxes. Of course, the ultimate goal is to get you to buy ever more mystery boxes and to drive OCD types insane.
While stopping into one of Japan’s 9 billion 7-11s, lo and behold, what did we find but a Nissan Skyline 50th Anniversary mystery box. As you can see from the packaging, we had only a 1 in 6 chance of getting something really cool and nostalgic, and for 500 yen (about $5), they weren’t exactly a cheap gamble. Nevertheless, we bit. And check out what we got on our first try:
Kenmeri GT-R, baby! And it’s superdeformed to boot!
It was a great start to a day filled with Nissans that all began behind this nondescript door.
This is the Zama warehouse, where almost the entirety of Nissan’s automotive and racing history is kept. It was like the lost Nazi-looted Russian Amber Room, Bruce Wayne’s garage, and the room at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark all rolled into one.
After that, we ate lunch at the Nissan employee cafeteria. The food was pretty damn good. No rubbery pizza tiles here!
We also stopped by Honda’s showroom in Aoyama Itchome, which you may recognize from the Tokyo Route 246 track in Gran Turismo 4.
More to come…
Special thanks to Mr. “Itchy” for being our guide!