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Japan Day 3

January 12th, 2009 by admin

With the rest of the week completely booked with shoots, today was our only ‘free’ day. Walking, seeing the sights, and a bit of shopping (not much cus of our Aussie peso) was the plan.

We started with breakfast at First Kitchen. There are so many burger places in Tokyo now, apart from the usual U.S. based McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s etc, there are better Japanese alternatives such as MOS Burger, Freshness Burger and what we tried this morning, First Kitchen. I ordered a pork burger, which was decent, but not quite to the MOS standard. What was good was the side salad; super fresh lettuce, nice bacon, sauce, cheese and cute tiny little croutons. The highlight was however, the soft boiled egg. Perfectly cooked and individually wrapped, you crack it open, and allow it to slide out of the shell and onto your salad. This was a much better alternative then the same old french fries.

Walking towards the shops the cold set in, nothing beats a bottle of Royal Milk Tea in this case. It warms your hands, tastes great, and is cheap at ¥120.

Next up we trained it over to Harajuku, and walked to the Meiji JingÅ«. I’m not sure what the occasion was, but there amount to people was mind blowing.

Lining the route to the shrine were Ice Sculptures, some of them were very intricate. With the morning sun filtering through the trees to the ice, we were impressed and if it wasn’t for the crowds around us, it would have been a very peaceful place.

The small shop complex near the shrine had a few stalls setup, so we picked up some fresh hot bean paste dumplings, giving us some much needed energy to attack Omotesando.

This looked like potpurri but was tea.

We finally got to Omotesando and the streets were crawling with shoppers.

We walked through a few shops, but with the conversion rate, bought next to nothing. After we walked back to Shibuya, we spotted this R35 just cruising, no one really looking at it.

Japan Days 1&2.

January 11th, 2009 by admin

We have been at Tokyo Auto Salon for the past two days, so I have been too busy shooting the show to take any blog specific shots, but here are some highlights.

This time we have an Aussie guiding us, Alexi Smith worked with us for a while, but has now moved to live the drifters life in Toyko. He has access to a car, and usable Japanese skills. He also had to pick up a cool JDM phone, flip, twist, and you are watching 1bit live TV.

alexis phone

Makuhari Messe is a huge facility, and perfectly suited to this type of event. The closest venue to this standard would be the Exhibition Centre in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, but that entire venue would fit withing one of the halls at Makuhari.

makuhari

While TAS is all about 4 wheeled rides, the odd bike does come up, this little guy was popping out of one of Honda’s new scooters. Too cool.

honda

Lunch at shows in the western world is something I don’t look forward to, each and every venue I have been to has poor excuses for food, so its always refreshing to have something eatable available at a show. I had this chicken salad and steamed bun, which got me through the day fine. Washed down with melon soda of course.

lunch

fanta melon soda

Dinner was a traditional Japanese restaurant in Shibuya, and one of the highlights was this pork. It arrives on a small cooker resting on a soaked leaf. After the burner is lit, the pork slowly cooks. The size of the burner is perfectly timed to extinguish itself when the pork is ready, so once the flame burns out, it was time to sample the brilliance of this pork.

dinner

Photos uploaded, check them out in a future issue of Auto Salon Magazine.

pics

Japan 2009 Day 0.5

January 9th, 2009 by admin

Got to the airport at a bright and early 7 AM, the morning traffic was non existent. I was flying JAL, and after walking past the Jetstar line, I was very thankful of that.

JAL

Jetstar

The 9 hour flight was made all the more tolerable by the fact that couple who was meant to sit next to be, moved to a further row back, perfect, 3 seats to myself. Unfortunately the IFE was not working for the first couple of hours, so I was glad I had my iriver clix, N95, and laptop. I only ended up using the iriver, and got through most of a season of Entourage on the way there. Finally got to Shibuya at around 9pm local time, and the first thing I went for, was one of my favourite desserts anywhere:

Haagen Dazs Caramel Crispy Sandwich

Packing.

January 7th, 2009 by admin

I don’t mind packing now, with all the travelling I have done in the past 4 years, (mostly domesically) I reckon I’ve become quite good at it. Flying to Japan from Au isnt too bad, its about 9.5 hours from Sydney to Tokyo, just long enough to watch a couple of movies, have a nap, eat dinner and be there in time to catch a Tokyo sunset. One thing I struggle with, is fitting all my gear within the weight limits. One suit case of 20kg is it. U.S. folk have it too good. 2 bags of 32kgs. That’s massive, and it’s no wonder I buy up big on every U.S. trip I do. The rest of the world unfortunately has to live with 20kgs. As a result, I pack most of my gear into my carry on bag, a Lowepro CompuTrekker Plus AW. It’s about the biggest backpack that is carry-on approved in Lowepro’s range and here’s what I stuff into it:

gear

Canon 70-200 f2.8 L
Canon 85mm f1.2 L
Canon 24-70 f2.8 L
Canon 17-40 f4 L
Canon 15mm f2.8 fisheye
Canon EOS 5D plus grip (if anyone wants to lend me a 5D mark II I’d love one)
Canon EOS 20D plus grip (or two)
Canon 580EX II
2x Canon 580EX
Canon charger
10x BP-511A batteries
2x AA chargers
3x PocketWizard Plus II
PocketWizard Multimaxx
24x Sanyo Eneloop AA batteries
Lexar CF reader (waiting to find a firewire800 expresscard)
Approx 8 CF cards of various capacities
Power plug adapters
Canon OC-E3 flash cable
Sensor cleaning kit
3x Canon flash stands
LumiQuest Softbox III
various PocketWizard cables and flash adapters
2x Hoya ND filters (ND8 and ND400)
Hoya Polarising filter
Flash colour gels

So all in the bag it looks like:

packed

And I think I’ll squeeze my Dell 1710 laptop in there too.

What not to do.

January 6th, 2009 by admin

Mazda 3 on 15s

So you buy yourself a nice new car, a Mazda 3 is a decent ride, I think ignoring fleet purchases, it’s one of the best selling cars in Aus. But some bright spark at the local tyre joint has a cracking deal on some cheaply made wheels and tyres. The standard Maxx and SP23 models come with 16s and 17s respectively, while the super hot MPS3 comes with 18s. But no, the 15-inch package is super cheap. It shows it.

Conrad says:

January 5th, 2009 by admin

Happy 2009

I’ve been quite busy of late and today I had our trip to Japan confirmed. I leave this Thursday so it is a bit of a mad rush trying to get everything locked down. Watch this space.

More Fapes

December 29th, 2008 by admin

Fake Bape gear has been blogged about on various sites in my network, however walking past a $2 dollar shop near a suburban Sydney train station I saw this:

Fapes

Individually wrapped in printed bags, large cardboard tags, prints on the front and back, and sewn on sleeve bape logos, they were some of the best quality Fapes I have seen. The price blew my mind. $2. You can’t buy a no name totally blank t-shirt for $2. Amazing. I guess it has reduced the appeal of this formerly cool Japanese brand for me. I was never a massive fan, but I do own an original Bape hoodie I picked up on one of my Japanese trips. It’s a black label one, and quite subtle compared to some of the more outlandish designs, so it is not one I see copied at all. That along with a pair of bape jeans I have, are the only two Bape products I own, and now, I doubt I will buy any more. I do however have a few Ice Cream t-shirts, the sister brand of Bape, which has so far escaped the counterfeiters. It’s a tough situation for the owners of brands such as this, sure it’s flattering to have your product copied, however it does diminish the appeal of the brand when good quality copies are being sold at these sort of prices. An original Bape t-shirt can go for $130. Sure people buying $2 t-shirts are not going to pay that sort of money for any t-shirt, but the customers who are willing to pay big bickies for a premium label may now chose to spend their money elsewhere. Perhaps if it was priced at a midrange price point the brand may have become more accessible and mainstream, making it less likely to be copied? But then it may not have been as appealing, making the road to success that much more difficult. Tough call.

Christmas Traffic

December 29th, 2008 by admin

xmas traffic
Photo taken with Nokia N95.

Christmas for us usually involves a fair few kilometers to be travelled, visiting 2 or even 3 family gatherings. I don’t know why everyone leaves at the same time, but this was around 11am on Christmas Day, and it’s a scene repeated all over Sydney. Next year I think we will leave earlier or just stay home.

Hot Rod Chick

December 29th, 2008 by admin

I don’t particularly like the word “chick” when describing a female, and it’s even worse when a girl uses it to describe another girl. I guess it was a fitting application of the term here.

Hot rod
Photo taken with Nokia N95.

Hot rods on Sydney streets can be seen on the odd fine weekend, this was a very cool example I spotted on Christmas day.

2008

December 25th, 2008 by admin

Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas

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