Picking up where we left off. Greg and I woke up the next morning hungover as hell. I don’t think I’ve felt that bad in years. Not since duct-taping 40′s to my hands on college graduation night.
So anyway, we hopped on a bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo. I immediately felt like puking. If you’ve never been on a bullet train before, it’s like flying, but on the ground. That sensation you get when you’re taking off on a runway stays with you the entire time. Luckily it wasn’t crowded so we could spread out. Sucks though, because the only good picture I got was an escaping glimpse of Mt. Fuji.
Before we knew it, we were in Tokyo.
…where they teach you that if you jerk off more, you won’t get STDs.
We got some lunch after we dropped our bags off at the hotel and were on our way to our secret mission. I’ll tell you about that later on. After our meetings and secret activities, Greg wanted to walk around Harajuku and head to some shops.
But first, Freshness Burger! After Greg and I woofed down some burgers, we were on our way.
My chauffeur was there, guiding us…
… straight to Bounty Hunter. This shop is legendary. Tons of rad little tid-bits sitting around.
Like this Be-Mon drawing. Greg has the same one in his office.
I realized once again that I focus on the details too much when I visit shops and always forget to take overall pictures.
Since we were in the neighborhood, we walked around the corner to Secret Base.
The entry to the shop was great. Secret Base is the self-proclaimed reason why soft vinyl is so popular in Japan at the moment. They’ve been cultivating their art since 2001 and they’ve always stood by the phrase “Made in Japan”.
It’s easy to get into the habit of walking into shops like this and realizing that everything you want is either sold out or not for sale.
Luckily the whole reason we were there was to pick up some stock for 350 Broadway and the online store. So now you can grab some of this limited Japanese soft vinyl.
As we were walking back through the insanely crowded streets of Harajuku, we were reminded why we all celebrate Christmas.
Here’s Greg and Mitsuo toting some “art” back to Shibuya.
Along the way, we saw some strange bikes like this one. Some sort of track and road hybrid.
Then we passed the Audi dealership. So the basic story here is you go into the dealership and select a car from a screen. You’re then allowed to drive it around (papers permitting) and return it. Where do you keep a whole car lot of models in a highly-populated and incredibly dense city like Tokyo? Underground… Which is where this valet is taking this model.
Since we were in the hood, we swung through Tokyo’s number one bike shop, W-Base!
They were a bit busy, so we went back to the hotel and took a nap. Our plan was to meet up with Rip Zinger, Paul and the W-Base crew to get a traditional Japanese dinner and then get some rest.
We awoke from our naps thirsty so we went down to the lobby and got some beer for the road.
After some technical difficulties, Rip, Paul, Greg and Me were on our way to get some food.
Rip also snapped a shot of Greg and Me in Shibuya.
With his new prototype Ricoh camera. Not bad for a point and shoot huh?
Everyone gathered at a traditional Japanese dinner spot and chowed down. At the end of the night, we each paid around $25 for an insane amount of food and beer.
Afterwards, we sat down for a group shot.
… and Toku showed me his DART New Era that Tom LaMarche signed while he was in Tokyo a few weeks prior.
At this point, I was zonked, so we headed back to the hotel. Surprisingly, the adjacent building had a soccer field on the roof and they were still playing when we got home.
We woke up bright and early the following morning and met with Calquinto at their Ebisu office. Before heading out, I snapped a few shots from my hotel window. Not bad right?
While Greg was in a meeting, I got a tour of the Calquinto building. I don’t remember who designed it, but all the traditional Japanese elements were there, rendered in a stark, modern material palette.
As we were leaving, I received a gift from the guys at the office! An Alive Athletics x Super Champion 3 Rensho watch! I was so stoked. New watch around my wrist, we left Calquinto and headed out to meet up with Don and Takashi. The plan was to go to the Tokyo Mandarake shops. There’s one in Shibuya and one in Akihabara.
Confusing enough for you?
Off we were, to Tokyo’s computer and electronics district, Akihabara. Here’s Greg, Takashi and Don on the subway. Sorry about your blurry face Don.
We literally popped into Mandarake and popped back into the train. But I managed to snap a few pics while we were there.
It’s an original Odon Bat figure. Complete with a tin tank! The Mandarake employee told us that it was being auctioned off with the opening bid being around $1,600 USD. Insanity.
While we didn’t blow a couple grand on vintage toys, Greg did manage to snag this Rankor ring. Officially licensed too! By this point Greg was about to pass out. I wasn’t nearly as tired as I should have been. Maybe it was all the Japanese canned coffee. We split up for the evening. Greg wanted to drop off his purchases for the day and I wanted to meet back up with Rip and the W-Base crew for a little bit. It was our last night in Tokyo and I had to see my boy Yohei!
I didn’t really splurge on any Kaiju on the trip but I did grab a few pieces. Here’s the group shot.
Rip took me to a great udon noodle kitchen where he learned me about the craft of the udon noodle. The Japanese take their traditions seriously. This kitchen had a pictogram on the wall showing the proper taper of a good udon noodle and said that the noodles needed to be eaten in 30 minutes to being prepared. I was starving, so they were gone in 5.
After we got to W-Base, I was introduced to another form of Japanese tradition. That pile of shit on the floor may look harmless but it’s the infamous W-Base Tube Torture device.
Basically, they hook an air compressor up to an old tube, tie it around you and wait for it to explode. For the first time, they used a bmx tube on me and man, that shit fucking hurt. I still had bruises two days later. Rip was laughing the whole time, but he got his too!
… and that’s how I ended my visit to Tokyo. Greg ended up passing out all night and because our flight was at 11am, we had to leave the airport early to take the shuttle to Narita. We left Japan after a whirlwind trip and had secret stuff to work on.
What? You thought I’d tell you? You’ll see soon enough.- Prolly