Saturday, February 4, 2012

Little Trip to Tokyo

Hell of a winter here in Niigata. Had the chance to escape for a couple days to Tokyo to see some friends and of course pick up some retro treasures.

Leaving Niigata
The next day in sunny Shibuya
Leaving from Niigata station on the overnight bus, just the second day of a week of constant snow... I'm outta here! Arrived in Tokyo to blue skies. Beautiful afternoon in Shibuya.

Matteo from Italy was in town which was main reason for making the trip. Handed some Hellraiser discs off to him and had a coffee. This is the 3rd time for me to physically meet a Good Squid customer, but the first time in Japan! It was a real pleasure for me. After that, it was time to meet up with Endo-san who used to live in my neighborhood here in Niigata. He was transferred to Tokyo for work. It's always good times with Endo-san since he is a great conversationalist and an all around fun guy.

The next day it was off to Shimokitazawa where they have a bunch of antique, recycle, used clothing, and toy shops. Found a few things there for Good Squid and some nice presents too. Definitely a recommended spot for anyone interested in Japanese antiques. Shimokitazawa is natsukashii central and the shutters are covered with cute artwork. I love the shutter art here in Japan because nobody comes along and messes it up, just the opposite of Berlin where you can't even process all the graffiti on the buildings.

Then off to Kitasenjyu the next day to meet up with my friend Phil and his wife Ikue. Phil introduced me to his local speakeasy 'Yagoya' aka '858'. Love the store front on this bar. They had a very well-tempered cat lounging about as people happily drank and talked with each other. Met a guy, Higuchi-san, who was involved with the team first designing the Transformers (first called 'Diaclone' here in Japan) with Takara back around 1980. It was a real honor to meet him. He is officially retired now but he still works as a sort of creative director for his circle of artists. A legend of a man. After a fun night out, it was time for some really good ramen. And of course time to buy souvenirs for friends back home. Found this cool old edo-period candy shop run by and old married couple. Friendly people and good candy too!

And of course, all the good stuff from the trip - the loot!! Laserdiscs of Faith No More, Queen, and others. Retro video game stuff galore, some old Topps horror movie cards and video game cards, gruesome movie chirashi, Mario board games, LaserActive MEGA-LDs, Mario menko cards from 1985 and lots of other cool stuff!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mountain Treasure Hunt!

Off to the mountains to do a little recycle shop treasure hunting. Bad timing as a huge snow storm decided to unload on us just as we got started. The plan was to drive from Niigata to Gunma, but because of the heavy snow, we couldn't get to our final destination. We have snow tires, but not chains, and without chains it was just a little too unnerving to try to go any farther over the mountains. We got to Muikamachi and stayed at a nice little ryokan, enjoyed the ofuro and slept well! Still, managed to find a few treasures at some off-the-beaten-path shops, so a success nonetheless!

Bunch of NeoGeo stuff (CD consoles, controllers, AES carts, memory card), Donkey Kong Jr. and Octopus Game & Watch, Complete File Street Fighter II book, Cannibal Holocaust laserdisc (SF078-1337), Sega Amusement CG World: Best Collection laserdisc (TYLY-5005)