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Thread: One Day in Tokyo....what do to....

  1. #1
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    One Day in Tokyo....what do to....

    Circumstances meant that I had to be in Seoul for work, so this meant the opportunity to hop over to Tokyo for a quick business trip. But due to an er....very unfortunate booking mixup with the airline tickets, I have a day free in Japan before heading back to Korea.



    I only flew out of Korea at 7pm, so it's 9.30pm by the time I'm out of customs at Narita. As usual, I'll be catching the Limousine Bus to the city. Y3000 and about one and a quarter hours into Shinjuku.


    Shinjuku station is where we get off, but we're now on foot to do the schlep to the hotel.


    The Bus will actually drop you off at certain hotels, but not the one we're going to. In these economically more enlightened, post GFC times, I am booked at the Best Western in Kabukicho (ie the red light district :lol: :lol: )


    Kabukicho is a rabbit warren of narrow streets, so I make the mistake of trying to take a short cut thru the middle.


    At this point I'm totally lost


    Weird looking Suzuki Gemma scoot


    Kabukicho is actually a part of Shinjuku (which is a commercial/shopping district) but it's where you find all the girly bars and the "Host" bars, which is to say the sort of bar you go to when you really, really must be surrounded by boyband rejects on crack


    Before long, the hotel is found...phew


    The room is tiiiiiny. My back is against the wall and that's all there is! But hey, it's US$90 per night, has free internet (yay) and is just a place to crash.


    It's 11.30pm by the time I leave the hotel again, and we're on a mission.


    The area behind Shinjuku Station at midnight. Still buzzing with ppl. They're either students, or salarymen who are completely shitfaced.


    But what I need to do, is find some cash. I don't have any yen at all. My usual plan is to find an ATM from a western bank, and take my money out that way, since you get a better FX rate than at the currency exchange. However...the Citibank branch that used to be on the main drag on Shinjuku closed down.


    Ooh that's quite nice


    Bingo!
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  2. #2
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    The billboard was on the main road, but when I looked down the side street, I saw nuthin. Walk about half a kilometre down the road and tucked away on the ground floor of an office block is my saviour. The Citi ATM gave me a 77 FX rate, which is pretty damn good. About 15% better than the money-change counter at the airport, and about 10% better than what the credit card gives me.


    Finally with some money in my pocket, I'm now on the hunt for food.


    This place is a chain http://www.ichibanya.co.jp/index.html and the Shinjuku branch just happens to be open 24h. Katsu curry midnight snack? Umm yeah why the hell not, I'm on vacation...I mean work.


    It's 12.30am and we're eating katsu-curry. I'm not alone, and am sharing the counter with six other late night diners.


    Appetite sated, it's back to the hotel we go, through the east Shinjuku district


    You always see bicycles near any JDM train station. But it's 1am....what are all these ppl still doing out there somewhere?


    The main drag of Kabukicho. If you look closely, you'll see lots of guys in black suits. They're the spruikers for all the bars and clubs that are in the basements and upper floors of the area. It does look very sleazy, but generally speaking the Japanese guys leave you well alone. Some clubs are run by foreigners (mainly africans) however, and those guys will latch onto you and follow you for a bit to try to get you to go into their club. My personal rule is not to open my mouth to say anything...the moment they hear english, oh gawd, they'll never leave you alone.






    Coffee in Japan is basically the Starbucks variety, so I actually prefer the canned stuff. Breakfast for tomorrow is taken care of
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  3. #3
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    The next morning, it's time to go to work. The view from the hotel room.


    Tasty LanEvo


    These run down looking shacks aren't actually what they seem. AFAIK this is the oldschool part of Kabukicho, called Golden Gai. They're the last remaining parts of the old Shinjuku, where in post WWII times these were small black market shops.


    ..which are actually all tiny little bars (fast fwd to tonight)


    Some of these bars only seat 4 or 5, and you gotta be real careful. It means that those 4 or 5 ppl are responsible for the night's turnover and hence these little bars can be rather shockingly priced


    In the morning, it don't look quite so sleazy


    But there's plenty of evidence that come nightfall, this neighborhood becomes a different place.


    On the way to Shinjuku Station


    This little alleyway is behind Shinjuku station and is called "Piss Street". They're all little yakitori drinking holes at night.


    Again...they only seat a small number of ppl. I took some ppl out for eats here a few yrs ago and for 5ppl the bill was over $200 (for food on a stick and beer).


    Shinjuku Station
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  4. #4
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    Into the labyrinthine Shinjuku Station.


    Find the ticket machines, and ...


    Buy one of these, a Pasmo card. You load it up with say $20 and when you take the train, you just swipe it at the turnstiles. At your destination you swipe it as you exit and a readout will show you how much you have left on the card. It can also be used to buy drinks and things at the stations and convenience stores


    I've got to take the Keio Line to Meidamae and change lines to the Keio Line, that'll take me to Takaido, and work.


    If you wanna live in Japan, you have to be cool with crowds


    But if, like me, you're heading out of Shinjuku, the trains are a lot less crowded.


    Suburban Takaido, which is a bit of a snooty neighborhood. What a gorgeous summer day.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  5. #5
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    Leo Sez: buy Bridgestone tyres yo


    Tyres here have funky names


    ...for the funky cars! (some sort of Daihatsu kei car)


    Fast fwd to the end of the working day....and my old friend Endoh-san is taking me to a famous tempura restaurant. It's the first tempura joint I've been to where they come and show you the seafood before cooking it


    2 types of daikon..the dark one has some dried prawn paste or something in it. Tastes salty.


    3 different types of SALT Pepper-laced salt, wasabi salt and normal salt.


    First course. Some prawns and the fish we saw earlier


    Rice, pickles and miso clam soup


    Second course...more prawns (cooked into like a patty) and the eel we saw earlier.


    All very, very nice but at the end of the day, I reckon tempura is tempura. This was just tempura made with really fresh ingredients.


    On my way back to the hotel, it's Friday night and the club spruikers are in full force, and I want to avoid them...and I discover this! It's a tranquil path that goes behind all the clubs and bars. Walk down in peace and enter the hotel without getting hassled.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  6. #6
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    Dinner done, it's 8.30pm on a Friday night in Tokyo and what are we gonna do...


    Get changed, hit the road back to the "good" part of Shinjuku




    I'm heading here, the Yodobashi Camera in east Shinjuku. Basically a big electronics store


    A really, really big electronics store. There are six floors up and two basement floors, full of cool stuff.


    But that's not all...Yodobashi spills out onto some of the neighboring buildings as well. Tonight I'm looking for presents for the kids, and this is the toy building. The ground floor is all console games tho, but the toy store takes up the top 5 floors too.


    Those little Tamiya 4WD thingos


    Remember those little Tomy Drift Package Light 4WD r/c cars? Well there's an Initial D series now too (was only a matter of time...)


    Sweet diecasts...came close to buying a Hako one, silver coupe with gold wheels, but it was pricey and some of the detailing like the chrome tails stuck out too far, so I passed.


    Robots!


    Any KE70 fans in da house?




    Like Bandai Capsule Stations? :laughing:


    ..there's even a capsule station for JNC fans
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  7. #7
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    Don't ask...I don't know :lol:


    Bandai Aero Spider. R/C car that climbs walls thanks to a suction fan underneath


    One for the true diehard JDM freak. JR Rail alarm clock :lol: the time display is on the other side, and the alarm is the little musical tune that plays in the subway when a train is coming.


    Gundam jigsaw puzzle?


    Neon Genesis Evangelion jigsaw puzzle?


    I buy my presents and it's 10pm, I start heading back to the hotel. Hmm....Lotteria Tower Burger? This fo' real, it's Y990/$12






    The gifts...my son asked for a JDM robot toy, and he's getting one


    Some randoms for me. The playing card sized packet with the Hako on it is a tiny 140 piece jigsaw puzzle that is about the size of a postcard when it's done. Illustration by BOW. KE70 tomica, and a couple of lucky-dip toys. They're from Shakotan Boogie and inside there's a diecast car, but you don't know which one of the series you're gonna get.


    And that's it for tonight! Gonna get to bed early, tomorrow, I'm going to hit up Victory50 in Ryogoku, then head further east to Katsushika to pick up some parts.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  8. #8
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    It's Saturday, and we got the whole day free, so it starts bright and early. I have an appointment with a friend in east Tokyo, and on the way, I'll drop into Victory50. Now V50 is always closed when I'm there, and the reason is that you're meant to make an appointment if you want him to open his showroom. The trip was a short notice thing, I didn't have time to organise any appointment with Uchida-san, and I figured I don't need any encouragement to spend even more money :lol: So I'll just be dropping by unnannounced and we'll see what happens


    It's not unusual to see the wreckage on a Saturday morning after the salarymen go hard on the cans on the night before.


    First stop, Shinjuku Station


    There are zillions of platforms, and in reality Shinjuku Station consists of the mothership JR station, with smaller sub-stations from private lines attached to it with tunnels.


    Like this one. So many ppl pass thru these tunnels that they are more like shopping malls.


    Lots of cafes and restaurants, etc


    Early on a Saturday morning it's pretty buzzing


    My companion for the day, the "LSD Bag", so called for its proven abilities to swallow two Cusco LSD at once...actually this is LSD Bag MkII, the wheels fell off the original one a few years ago (having to carry 2 LSDs across Tokyo on foot might have had something to do with it) :lol:


    A few line changes later and...


    We're in suburban east Tokyo, where V50 is located.
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  9. #9
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    Needs more Watanabe


    Vintage Suzuki bike at a repair shop


    I had no idea Honda made this...must be quite old.


    ...and here we are. Nice narrowbody coupe parked on the sidewalk


    'Tis auto too


    The workshop part of V50 is always open. But the showroom where you can buy stuff is open by appointment only. Well it never is open when I just drop by.


    There's about 7 Hakos in there being worked on


    Mostly sedans




    GTR-fendered sedan up on a hoist. This one has some additional flares added on top of the GTR style fender


    The stairway to financial ruin for me...is closed Uchida-san is out delivering parts.


    G-nosed 240Z up on a hoist




    Another shot of the white coupe on the sidewalk.


    Time to go...we've got places to be.


    Back on the train, again we have to swap lines a couple of times to get back on the right track (pun not intended)


    The area we're going to is Katsushika, which is in east Tokyo and is a bit of an industrial/working class area
    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

  10. #10
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    Once we get off at Katsushika, it's a long walk to to my friend's shop.


    It's a lot less built-up around here


    But the further out from central Tokyo you go, the more nice cars you tend to see


    Causing a Ruckus (that's what ths Bb/Scion is called in Australia)


    In its natural habitat. I've walked past this house heaps of times since 2003, they always own a Cube




    For some reason, Katsushika is crawling with Soobies. I've seen 7 or 8 Legacies and Turbo Prezas already




    Here we are, after a big of a walk. There's some parts waiting for me.


    But it's always cool to have a look around his shop.


    Are these dress up bits for Cube? Not sure


    Hidden Content Originally Posted by datsunfreak
    No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.

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