30 June 2009

Chilling in Yokohama

Sorry for taking so long to get this, but there's a lot of photos to comb out. Without delay, let's get into the first day of my trip to Japan this year.

Surprisingly, our first stop is not anywhere in Tokyo, but in Yokohama. So we took a bus straight from the airport (Haneda) to Yokohama.

Charging the Suica card. We keep them from the previous journey last year (and the year before) so we don't have to purchase individual tickets all the time. Another good thing is that Suica cards don't seem to have expiry dates, therefore we can keep them for future trips.

We planned not to spend our first night in a hotel, so we stored our suitcases in the lockers inside the train station.

Close the door, confirm the locker number, present the Suica card to pay for the fee and voila, it's done. A receipt appears afterwards for reference. To open it, just present the Suica card. There will be extra charge for storing items longer than 1 day.

Alternatively, there are coin lockers, which means instead of using Suica card to pay you insert a coin and take the key out after locking your content inside. My sister used them often for storing her shopping stuff so she can shop some more without having to carry them around.

World Porters, a huge mall that we have spent inside for the afternoon.

A panda with scary glowing eyes XD

Lunch: Omurice (オムライス) - literally rice within a huge omelette.

Dog sculptures made out of charcoal. These are surely impressive! Apparently having charcoal in your room is good for absorbing odours, but I am not sure.

Yokohama is celebrating its 150th anniversary of opening of its port, and therefore there are various souvenir and goods here and there. Here are the starwberry cheesecake flavour KitKats.

A quick picture of the mall's ground floor

Dinner in Manyo Club (part 1 - Tonkatsu + Curry

Dinner part 2 - I think was a little hungry that night

Dessert - An ice-cream of matcha (抹茶) and vanilla flavour

Tuna roll - even though I am not really into seafood, I somehow really like tuna and salmon sushi

Hot spring egg, or onsen tamago (温泉卵) - which are semi boiled eggs.

Looking at the Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel from the roof of Manyo Club. It normally displays its lights like a clock, but does some fancy light 'performance' every 15 minutes. A great sight at the nighttime I gotta say~

Well, that ends the first day of my trip to Japan. It was the first time we didn't spend in a hotel for the first day of a trip. We arrived pretty early that day and didn't sleep much as it was a late flight and around 4 hours of flight, so we didn't do much and spent most of the time relaxing in Manyo Club. Hope you like the photos so far. Will get around to day 2 sometime next week.
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25 June 2009

Inside a Shokugan Shop

Here it is: the shokugan shop that I've mentioned before in the previous post. As promised, I will show you what a shokugan shop looks like (what is a shokugan?), and to a small extent, how it is like to bump into a small trendy shop in Hong Kong. Ready to have look?

Entering the shop, one will notice the small but typical size of the shop, usually less than 3m in width or length. Shopkeepers have to make really good use of the space to stuff in as much stuff as possible but still make good display for the items.

On the left there's a huge shelf of many sorts of shokugans, ranging from weapons, trucks, warplanes, down to guitars, and trading figures too.

Dragon Ball stuff. Despite it being one of the most watched anime out there I didn't really watch much of it.

A 1/400 Big Zam surrounded by many little Magella Attack tanks. When it comes to Gundams he's a fan of grunts of the grunts, namely Magella Attack and Ball ^^;

Various trading figures. How many do you recognise there?

The red robot at the back is Robocon from a Japanese TV series Ganbare!! Robocon. It was pretty popular in Hong Kong as well, where it is known as 小露寶.

A closer look on some of the shokugans on the shelf. Closely packed together we see different kinds of shokugans here. Didn't notice that there's one for Peter Pan until I was blogging this. o_o

Various Kamen Rider (aka Masked Rider) action figures on top of the shelves.

Various Gundam and mecha stuff, as well as 2 antique High Complete Model (HCM) of Nu Gundam and Auge at the back.

More antique toys from anime series including Casshern, Blocker Army/Corps, and Combat Mecha Xabungle. I seriously know nothing about them ^^;

The vintage Gundam Mk II, ZZ Gundam, and Z Gundam. While nothing compared to MGs today, they awere some of the earliest (completed) action models out there when the series came out, and are very rare now.

As for the shopkeeper himself, I know him several years ago as military shokugans were much more popular back then, and I always came back to his shop for more releases. Yep, and this means more than half of my 1/144 tank collection (and most aircrafts) are purchased from him. Soon we knew each other and became friends.

Even though there are far fewer shokugan releases related to military now, I still come by and visit his shop to have a chat now and then. Running a small shop by himself isn't easy; having to decide what to stock in and sell them at competitive prices yet enough to keep the cash flow steady is not easy, and he admits that he doesn't earn much daily. One mistake and you can have a lot of surplus goods left behind and no one wants them even for a price that you'll not earn a profit. Nevertheless he continues to do his job as he likes the hobbies he sells, and there's a demand for them afterall. I was happy that the stuff I've bought for him from my trip really satisfied him, and such little things mean a lot to him already.

I want to thank him for kindly allowing me to take pictures of his shop, and you for stopping by and reading about this. Really do hope that you'll get to appreciate how the shops are like and how it is not easy to run one! Do you have shops like that in your area or in a trip, and if you've met them before how's your experience on them?
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21 June 2009

Back from Japan

ただいま, 我回來了, I'm back.

It's a long week, and I was pretty exhausted after the trip. Came back really early this morning, and finally got time to settle down and blog.

Not surprisingly, anybody who would have returned from a trip, an expo, or an event etc will usually come back with something. The "loot", as we commonly call these days, is shown here on my bed. However a huge portion of the right are not mine but are for friends of mine.

No PVC figures? That's right, but you may or may not know that I am not much of a figure collector anyway, and there weren't any that are in my mind at the moment so haven't bought one (if you don't count the figmas in that is).

Star Wars Vehicle Collection 2 - 1/144 scale shokugan toys I have bought for a friend who runs a shokugan shop (in fact he's the guy who I got a lot of my tanks from). Will talk about his shop one day.

For those who do not know what shokugans are, you can have a quick read right here.

Another one for him: JWings Navy & Marines Freak secret item - F/A-18 Hornet Top Gun version. Really hard to find as this one is not only a secret item, but can originally only be bought and randomly picked in Circle K Sunkus convenience stores, making it even rarer than other hobby items (including figures).

One for my friend who studies chemistry: Element Girls - a chemistry book with each element represented by a moe looking girl. Maybe those who hate science will now give it a second chance somehow? (laughs)

For more info, you can check out what it is about on Trends in Japan.

My stuff from here on. Second hand PS2 games: AEUG vs Titans and Gundam vs Z Gundam. The latter could be an enhanced version of the first game, so making the first one redundant, but I will have to check. Not a big problem as they are pretty cheap anyway.

Gunpla parts: GN Launcher parts for 1/100 Astraea, Zaku weapons parts for 1/144 HGUC models, and a kit of battle axe and some long rifle from Kotobukiya for any mecha models (looks cool and cheap so I bought one for fun).

Now I can have double GN Launchers for my Astraea~ ^^

Couldn't find the head parts for HG 1/144 Slaughter Dagger as the horn/fin of one of mine broke a while ago. Oh while he can live with a compromised one I've given him which looks kinda weird though...

Discrimination among the gunpla. And yes I do have 3 of these guys.

figma Haruhi (summer uniform ver.) and figma Fate T Harlaown. Fate is ridiculously rare in Hong Kong for some silly reasons of distribution issue so I've decided to buy another one just in case. As for Haruhi, well, I can't resist a good price and a ponytail (laughs), and I got a blue schoolbag too.

1/100 Gundam Exia Roll Out Colour ver, an event limited item that I kinda wanted for a while. Cost me an arm to acquire though o_o...

And finally, Ex Model 1/144 Hildolfr. This one is huge (!), and it costs me another arm to purchase! This strange looking hybrid between a Mobile Suit and a tank is from the second episode of MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War. Never quite caught the reason why Ex Models are so much more expensive than other gunpla models though...

Maybe this gets slightly closer to what I want mentioned in my random post about this secret ambition thing a few days ago. ^^;

That's it for now. I did take some photos, and it will take a while to sort out. Meanwhile I still have quite a backlog of blogs to read, as well as anime to watch, and gunpla to build (not at least to say I have to do some betatesting for a mod too!). It looks like that I will have a heck of a time on the catchup right now Photobucket
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16 June 2009

Secret Ambition

Secret Ambition by Nana Mizuki for Nanoha StrikerS opening theme

Hey, lemme tell you a little secret while I am away: My biggest ambition in terms of what I would love to get one day.

A figure? No.

A Gundam? Nope.

Hmph... Tanks? Close, but not quite.

Then what will it be?



What on earth is that, you may ask. It's the Schwerer Gustav by - a German railway gun back in World War Two. It was the biggest gun ever made in history, and only 2 were made. This is a 1/144 scale replica of the gigantic weapon by the Hong Kong company "Metal Troops", well known for their highly detailed yet pricey completed military miniatures, as well as their limited quanitity per production. ^^;

HLJ has an item page for it, and it was at a whooping 72000 Yen~ Long sold out too ^^;


Item description from HLJ below:
"The incredibly massive German Dora rail gun of WWII featured a huge 80cm cannon, but was only used for a total of 13 days, with only 48 shells being fired. It took 25 trainloads of equipment, 2,000 men, and six weeks to assemble the monstrous gun at the firing location.

Previously offered as a plastic assembly kit, this Dora is now available from Fujimi as a fully assembled and expertly painted display model, complete with base and clear acrylic case. The detail is amazing, the finish is astounding, and the size is impressive!"

With its gun elevated, the whole gun's height can put even a Gundam of the same scale to shame, seriously o_o

Fujimi's plastic model kit is cheaper at a regular price of 8000 Yen (which is just as hard to find), but still it would require a lot of materials and skill to assemble it and make it look good - definitely not something for casual modelers, perhaps even to some military modelers.

Image from Hobby Search

Why so expensive? It's a resin kit, and the level of details for vehicles and machines are different to those for figurines; they're quite different form of arts afterall.

But the problem is, even if I am willing to spend so much on this, I wonder where I can have the space to put it. To be honest I don't even have a clue where to put the upcoming 1/7 Alter Fate when that comes in August (hopefully without delay)... @_@

Appreciating different kinds of things is nice, as I can understand what more and more about people's hobbies and tastes rather than alienating them. It's not easy to have a wide interest and yet to be equally focused on them, but it's doable. Looking at these metallic beasts reminded me that although I have shifted my collection towards other stuff these days, I am still and have always been a military enthusiast of some degree. ^^

Sounds ambitious, doesn't it? ^^;

Anyway, that shall end my random scheduled post. What will your most wanted and ambitious item be? Or is it not something physical?

All images are from ACITOYS unless otherwise stated
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13 June 2009

Off to Japan

From a MG Acguy promotional poster

By the time you've read this, I should be on my way to Japan. The chance of me getting access to Internet is pretty slim, so I will be probably out of touch until 20th or 21st. Who knows, I might make a mysterious appearance somehow while I am away.

Have been busy recently so wasn't able to keep up with the blogroll. Will try and keep up with it once I come back! Oh btw don't expect me to be back with tons of loots like you see in dannychoo.com as I am usually not much of a spender, but we shall see.

Well then, it's time to stop writing. Time to go! Read More!