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Todays excursion brings me out to Omiya, a town maybe 45 minutes outside of Tokyo. The primary purpose is to visit a toy store (of course) but I am far enough out of the city that I might as well find some things to do while I am out there. There's a big park in Tokyo, and it's supposed to be good Sakura blossoms there, so I will do that as well.

45 minutes outside of Tokyo it still looks like Tokyo. Crowded, congested, but its an organized chaos. The train ride is smooth, clean and quiet.

I find my destination with ease, a vintage toy store called Senshutei. You can read all about it here.

From there I grab lunch in a crowded McD's and then i'm back on the train to go up two stops to Omiya Koen.

Omiya Koen is a nice, large rural park, with lots of paths and ponds. As I enter the park I see a gaggle of girls huddled around a fence. Of course, I go see what the fuss is about, all the while trying not to look like a creepy foreigner. Luck would have it that there is a traditional Japanese Archery school here, and they were in the middle of some kind of competition. It was so graceful, and oddly enough, all girls.

Posted 19 May, 2009 - 19:40 by JoshB

Today's agenda is to go out and buy a new camera, so I walk over to Akihabara in the morning and go to the only logical choice - Yodobashi Camera. I mean its THE camera store in THE worlds greatest electronics district in THE most high-tech city in the world.

Yodobashi camera is like 7 floors of store. Just imagine 7 Target stores placed on top of each other, each devoted to one single thing. Its immense.

I get to the camera floor, and there are so many cameras here it boggles the mind. Normally when I go camera shopping I take my time and research whats the best camera for me. But this time I am flying blind, not only in a foreign country, but a whole different language.

I decided to play it safe and went with the just released Olympus SP-590UZ. I've owned two other olympus cameras, and they were awesome, and the 26x optical zoom was killer. So The salesman, who spoke little English hooked me up. Have you ever tried to ask a Japanese salesman that you want a Micro SD card instead of the SD card the camera comes with? I don't recommend it.

Posted 14 May, 2009 - 19:36 by JoshB

After we were done with Takeada's house, we started back to the train station and ended up stopping into Godzilla-Ya, one of the most venerable old toy stores in Tokyo. I didn't grab much, just a few beater chogokin and some Godzilla sofubi for the kids.

We stopped for lunch at a small shop - everyone got ramen but I got two plates of Gyoza. I kind of had buyers remorse here, but the Gyoza was great, so I didn't mind. The Ramen looked good though.

From here, most of the gang had to go to meetings and such, so Jordi and I decided to go do some sightseeing.

First place we hit up was the Bandai Corporate headquarters in Asakusa.

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We thought we were going to get a tour, but actual work needed to be done, so we just hung out in the lobby. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but mostly its just displays of currently released Bandai product. There was one case with nostalgic items, in it was a MIB BLACK DALTANIOUS. Those of you who care know what a big deal this toy is.

Posted 11 May, 2009 - 09:52 by JoshB

Well, here it is- the night before "Star Trek" premiers in the US. Well, that's not entirely true...

Posted 7 May, 2009 - 21:13 by EVA_Unit_4A

Another day, another adventure.

This was Thursday.

At the end of Preview Night at Tamashii Nations, we agreed to meet the next day and take a trip out to the burbs again to visit SIC Sculptor Takeuki Takeya. I set off in the morning along my usual route, it's a beautiful day. I stop and take some shots along the way...

Birds outside of a resturant in Tokyo

The only gas station I saw in metro Tokyo. Notice how the fuel is dispensed from above.

The only gas station I saw INSIDE Tokyo

Lucky Cat (Maneki Neko)

Posted 7 May, 2009 - 08:58 by JoshB

Day three, Wednesday.

I slept in a bit, took my time getting ready, and headed out mid morning. I got a pastry for breakfast from an AM/PM convenience store. Outside this store I see my first, real blooming Sakura. They smelled sweet.

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I know that if I take the train to Akihabara, its only one stop, but according to my map I can walk there just as easily. So I take a left instead of going straight and begin to wander the side streets of Ochanomizu.

Not but a few minutes into my walk do i discover a shrine, sandwiched between large construction sites. It's the Kanda Shrine, site of one of the three biggest Matsuri in Japan. Unfortunately, there was no festival that day, but I got to take a lot of pictures and enjoy the calm oasis within the city.

Posted 5 May, 2009 - 15:19 by JoshB

What the hell was I thinking, scheduling this trip the day after I got in? I guess it wouldn't have been so tiring had I not had the flight from hell that I did.

I got up around 6am, to the sound of my alarm from my cell phone. I had set up international calling on my phone, so it wasn't useless, but I didn't have all the features I was used to. In the daylight I was able to survey the room and my surroundings.

The room is small, but serviceable. My window overlooks the intersection below, and it's a bit overcast.

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I put on the TV and listen to Japanese local news as I gather my stuff and get dressed. The shower is hot, and strong enough to to the job, although the shower head is a bit low.

Yes, there is a mythical Japanese toilet with Bidet in here.

Shortly after 7 I am out on my adventure.

Posted 4 May, 2009 - 12:46 by JoshB

Although I don't think any one from this site collects these kinds of toys, nevertheless, this will be us someday.

According to the Bertoia Auctions website, the first part of the sale took place in March and fetched 4.2 million bucks. Sorry if this is old news, but I just saw it at the Universal Monster Army and thought it was worth re-posting here. We can disagree and even argue about our hobbies all we want, but at the end of the day, this is what it should be all about....the love.

Posted 4 May, 2009 - 12:08 by NekroDave

Hosts: Dylan, Jeremy

This is about lacrosse satellites, tasering a dude you are making out with, low rent Antonio Banderas, and girls with big guns and bigger implants. Ah, the simple joys of a crappy b-grade action movie.

Click [HERE] to learn about what IWAR is an "anagram" for.

People have been asking me, on CDX and in real life, how was the trip to Tokyo. For posterity's sake, I'm going to write about it here.

I got the opportunity to go to Tokyo from a meeting with Bandai at the 2009 NYTF. They invited me to attend the Tamashii Expo, but of course I had to pay my own way. But money was not the only obstacle. My wife had said after my last Tokyo trip "You are not going to Tokyo again without me".

At the end of Toy Fair, I was waiting in the hotel lobby for our ride out to the airport, when my phone rang. My wife was out keeping busy with the kids, and they ended up at a pet store, looking at a puppy.

An idea sprung into my head. I said to her, you can get the puppy if I can go to Tokyo. Surprisingly she agreed, and I began to make my plans for a trip to the motherland.

The first thing in order was the flight. From the east coast, Tokyo is a LONG way away. Total air flight time is around 16 hours, so you want to make damn sure you pick a good seat. I always go with this travel agency out of California called Gateway LAX. They buy tickets to Japan wholesale, and they have blocks of them, so not only do you get the best price, but you also get to pick your seat. Now normally I fly on American Airlines, because being a fat American, I need the extra inch of seat room in economy. I highly recommend finding out what kind of plane you are flying in and visiting seatguru.com to figure out what kind of space you have. While flying AA to Tokyo is cheap, it is not fun. The planes are old, the flight attendants tired and jaded, the entertainment stupid. I heard that flying a Japanese airway was the way to go, so I took a chance and booked a flight on Japan Airlines. You have to be careful when booking a JAL flight, because often even though they say JAL, they are actually AA flights. The good thing though is that the two airlines share miles. After confirming the flight with the agency, the next stop was hotel.

Posted 28 April, 2009 - 21:35 by JoshB


On a recent trip from Japan my friend from work was kind enough to bring back this Group Sound CD for me. Luckily the CD that he brought back was one of the biggest Japanese bands of the genre, The Tigers. This CD is a nice comp of all their a-side singles that were released on Japan Polydor from the mid-sixties to when they reformed in the 1980's.

There are some great tracks here worth picking up on vinyl such as My Mary, Seaside Bound and C-C-C, with some I've already manage to located and purchase. For some the CD might be a bit heavy on the sentimental ballads that the Japanese are so good at recording, and since I love those types of songs Its not a problem with me.

The Tigers are one of the seminal GS groups and considering you get all the A-side singles this is a great entry level pick up for the GS sound.

©2009 Leonardo Flores


Posted 28 April, 2009 - 01:37 by Modcineaste

Up now is a guest appearance by Jeremy on the Greatest Movie Ever Podcast!

Jeremy and Paul discuss the mind-bending eXistenZ, a movie full of trippy nested realities and thoughtful commentary on video games. And Willem Dafoe.

Click [HERE] to listen to Jeremy guest hosting The Greatest Movie Ever or [HERE] to visit the Greatest Movie Ever homepage!

Posted 22 April, 2009 - 16:28 by Destroy All Pod...
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