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My Fujifilm X100S Setup – Domke, Eye-Fi, Gaffa Tape!

I originally bought a Canon 17-40mm f4L to use with my 5DmkII with the theory that it would be  much lighter setup than lugging around my 24-70 f2.8L.

The problem was the Canon combo wasn’t that much lighter or compact… it would still be a pain. After looking around on some forums I came across a couple of months old 2nd hand Fujifilm X100S and decided to give it a shot. I sold off the 17-40 and haven’t regretted it yet!

Fujifilm X100S w/ Domke Gripper, Stacked Filters, Eye Mobi and Gaffers Tape.

Inspired by Mr Hobby @ Strobist I decided to gaffa (or gaffers) tape it up to give it a rough older more stealthy look. Gives some protection as well. In terms of protecting the front lens, I have two filters – one with the glass removed (this is required otherwise the lens will hit the glass while focusing) and the other on top of that. Saves me having to keep a lens cap on, though it does protrude a little. I also have a Filter Adapter Ring and Metal Lens Hood – this will let you use only filter – but it sticks out more so I don’t really use it.

With this setup, I can throw the camera around and not really worry. Gaffa tape protects the corners and the stacked filters protect the lens. It’s my home made Black Edition X100S lol.

DSCF2886               DSCF2907

Read the excellent Strobist In-Depth of the X100S here.

I’ve been using this camera for a few months now, it came to Japan with me earlier in the year and performed flawlessly. It’s low light ability is excellent for its size, ISO 6400 is usable and its size/weight makes it super portable. So much so I touched my 5DMkII probably twice since I got it.

My strap of choice is the Domke 1-Inch Web Strap with Swivel – Awesome because the main strap is swivel clipped on & can be removed to make a smaller strap if required. Woven rubber in the main strap also keeps it in place when slung too. It also features little leather tabs on the rings to protect them from scrubbing/scratching the camera body.

SD card is an Eye-Fi Mobi 16GB – Integrated with the X100S which has an Eye-Fi Transfer on/off feature – This saves battery when you don’t want to transfer any images.

About this card…firstly, it’d be a good feature if it actually worked! The setting doesn’t do anything at this stage – Something I have brought up with Eye-Fi Support who tell me they are looking into it. I found a post on DPReview that showed a firmware update fixed it but they made no mention of this in my support replies. Stay Tuned.

F1_2014_20140315-0068                  MS15_20140301-0038

In terms of Wifi transfer to an iPad or iPhone though, it works really well and is very easy to setup. You download an app, type in a code that you get with the card and it automatically will setup the Wifi Network on your phone – then off you go. As you take photos it will transfer to the phone when the App is active. Perfect. Unfortunately it doesn’t let you choose or browse what is on the card and selectively transfer images/videos – It will just send everything. (No RAW or vids over 2GB though)

If you’re interested in seeing more X100S photos – Check out my other X100S specific site – ex(100)es

Written by Aaron Tan

April 9th, 2014 at 1:36 am

Hakuba Snow Guide for Aussies

People ask me a fair bit about going to Japan so I thought I’d whack all the information I know into a post – using my recent snowboarding trip to Hakuba as an example.

Please use these prices as a guide only! Can’t help if things change here and there.

Mobile Phone access
I got two data only SIM cards this year – one for myself and one for my wife. Makes it much easier to communicate if required (Coverage on the mountains is typically pretty good – go with a DoCoMo sim) – Had them delivered directly to my accomodation in Hakuba. They need about 2 days to get it there, so book it prior to leaving. Great for using Google Maps – Using this in Tokyo you can actually select the Public Transport option and it will route you on the Tokyo subway system. Very handy!

No need for voice/sms access as we just used iMessage/Facetime/Skype/etc.

Few things to note if you change SIM on an iPhone – Beware that your iMessage/Facetime account is sometimes activated via your Aussie mobile number. You can go into your “Settings” – “Messages” and change the “You can be Reached by iMessage at:” and “Start New Conversations from:” – I had my Gmail and iCloud accounts so I just selected these as well. The Japanese SIM is data only you cannot get any SMS verification etc – This also stopped me from using WhatsApp as I couldn’t register the phone…it detected a new mobile network, and no way to verify!

If you have roaming on your normal sim card and use a Pocket Wifi – You’d probably get around that problem.

Costs:
4100yen for 1GB that lasts 30 days. (Sim card)

eConnect Japan

Flights
As of April 2014 there will be a direct flight from Melbourne – which will be awesome!

Don’t forget even though JetStar flights start cheap, they add up when you add all the crap onto them, especially if you are going to be lugging all your board gear up. All my boarding gear for a week inc my usual gadgets, came in at a touch under 20kg. If you take into account the booze and food consumed on the flight (and I went a bit nuts on the flight up) costs can add up – I spent about $100 on food and (mostly) grog.

If you can find a Qantas or Singapore Airlines flight (find a A380 flight, with a couple of hours stopover in Singapore – Arriving at Narita early morning) that would probably be preferred. Then you can spend the day looking around Tokyo and grab the Nagano Shinkansen to Hakuba.

Costs:
$1300-1600 per person – Make sure you factor in extra weight you might need for your gear. Also don’t forget travel insurance – This year we had some huge snowfalls which closed roads and shutdown airports!

$800-$900 per person if you can find a Jetstar sale flying in the right months..

Transfers
The past two trips I have jumped on the Hakubus – It connects with Jetstar flights and usually leaves around 830-9PM from Narita Terminal 2. It’s a long bus ride to Hakuba – around 5 hours (with 2 rest stops) – Can be a long day if you have spent the whole day flying already…

Next time I would look at getting into Tokyo earlier in the day and then jumping on a Shinkansen to Nagano and then connecting Bus to Hakuba.

Depending on which Shinkansen you get, it will take around 1:30-2hrs – The bus from Nagano to Hakuba is usually around an hour.

Costs:
Nagano Snow Shuttle (Hakubus) – 9900yen per person
Nagano/Hakuba Bus – 1500yen per person (or 4500yen for 4 people)
Asama Nagano Shinkansen – 7700yen per person (add 3000yen if you want a reserved seat on a green car)

Nagano Snow Shuttle
Alpico Nagano <-> Hakuba Express Bus Timetables
Nagano Shinkansen Timetables, Fares, etc

Accomodation
If you are staying in Hakuba – I recommend staying at Snowlines Lodge. Stephen and Sarasa are awesome hosts and provide great value accommodation in a very decent location. Happo-One is about 15 minutes if you want to walk, or walk 50m out the front door to their very own bus stop…then its only a 2 minute bus ride! There is a Lawson convenience store about 80m down the road, and Echoland is also just a short stroll up the road…Not to mention the liquor store that you have to pass with a massive selection of Sake – and spirits at prices that will shock any Australian…so cheap.

They have a cozy bar that opens at 4PM, excellent breakfasts and spacious rooms. Can’t wait to get back there soon!

Costs:
500yen tap beers
1000yen bacon/eggs breakfasts
6500-10000yen per night depending on room.
free fruit/cereal/tea/juice
free transfers to/from hakuba happo bus terminal

Snowlines Lodge

Lift passes
Nearly all resorts have a coupon/discount ticket that includes a 900yen lunch voucher. You can print these out or your accomodation will be able to give them to you. The Snownavi Website is probably the best one-stop place to get all the discount coupons for all the major Hakuba resorts. There is a whole load of useful info there as well.

Costs:
5000yen per person – Happo-one lift ticket inc. 900yen lunch (with coupon)
12500yen per person – 3-day Hakuba Valley all resort pass

Snownavi Hakuba English website

Hakuba Links/FB Pages/etc
Hakuba Tourism Website  – Check out their Essentials Guide
Hakuba Happo 【Official English Page】  白馬八方尾根 – Happo-one FB Page – Has daily updates on conditions, etc
白馬岩岳 Hakuba Iwatake – In Japanese, but you can figure out the snow reports.
Japan-guide.com – There is a WEALTH of info on this website – Be sure to have a good look through!

Luggage Transfer/Storage
I used this service last year and it saved me carrying my board bag on the bus/shinkansen/tokyo metro. Give 2-3 days and you can have your board bag delivered direct to the airport for when you depart.  We had Snowlines arrange this for us and take care of everything, worked out really well.

This year because of the heavy snowfalls – the roads were closed. I had to get my bag into the bus cargo hold from Hakuba to Nagano (Which was PACKED! Lucky we even got on! – 5 of us) – Once we got to Nagano, it was a quick shuffle to get onto the Shinkansen (We only took up about 5 rows of overhead storage – no one really cared though!). On arrival to Tokyo – getting the board bags around the metro system was a pain in the arse. Hugging the bag, making sure not to whack anyone, going up and down stairs – really gives you a workout. Then getting it to the hotel, and then back to a storage the next day (So we didn’t have to lug it around all day) was just a big pain in the butt.

I stored my board bag at the JR East Baggage Services desk at Tokyo Station near the Maranuchi North entrance. For my smaller bags I just used the lockers right near that entrance within the station.

Costs:
~2500yen – Takuhaibin/Ta-Q-Bin Courier Service – 165cm Dakine board bag loaded with about 15kg of gear.
300-400yen – Tokyo Station Lockers
500yen – JR East Baggage Services storage. They only operate from 730am to 830PM so not sure if they store overnight.

Map of Tokyo Station – JR East Baggage Services location
Airport Ta-Q-Bin Service
Japan-Guide Takuhaibin Information

Tokyo Subway/Narita Express (NeX)
Use the machines! Don’t waste your time lining up at the ticket desks. They all have an “ENGLISH” button on them and you should be able to work out what you need.

To get around the Tokyo subway system – it can be a bit confusing as there are a few different companies – Tokyo Metro, JR East, Toei – I find it much easier to just buy an IC card – Suica or Pasmo – Much like Melbourne’s Myki (Just not slow and shit) – load it up and off you go without having to worry.

Most vending machines and some stores can use these cards too.

To get back to Narita from Tokyo Station – Use the Narita Express (NeX) – They leave leave pretty frequently from this station. Timetables linked below.

Costs:
Pasmo – 1000 yen – 500yen deposit for card, 500yen for travelling. Top it up at the machines as required.
NeX Ticket – 2740yen per person (Low season is 200yen cheaper – JR East Fares & Charges page for more details)

Narita Express Timetables, Fares, etc
Pasmo English Tourist Guide
Pasmo English Website

Resorts
This is pretty much up to personal preference. I like Happo-One which is the largest one in the Hakuba valley and have also been to Iwatake, Goryu/Hakuba47 (Which are connected at the top..2 for the price of 1) – however there is a huge range to choose from so go explore!

Here’s a list of what you have access to..The furthest out is Cortina which is about a 45 mins bus ride away..Which also apparently gets a bit more snowfall too.

Sanosaka
Minekata
Happo-One
Goryu
Hakuba 47
Iwatake
Tsugaike
Norikura
Cortina

Thats about all I can think about adding for the moment.. Hope you find this useful! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. If I think of anything else I will add it as I go.

Written by Aaron Tan

February 23rd, 2014 at 3:14 am

NZ Snowboarding Trip – Mt. Hutt & Methven

I lost my camera and had to use an iPhone for these photos, in case you were wondering..

Thursday.

12PM flight from Tulla to Christchurch. Head to the Airport with Alex – Steve and Pete come a bit later – Try some smooth scotch through Duty Free (Pete buys 2 1Lt bottles of Chivas Regal) and then jump on the plane for the 3 and a half hour flight or something. Gotta love how Jetstar charge you if you want to sit next to your mates..so we were pretty scattered. Steve and Alex up the front, Pete and I up the back.

We land around 530PM and get a cab to our motel near Christchurch. Check in and get our stuff sorted. Headed out to the Christchurch casino – which was the only thing to do really. The city is still in ruins, the main CBD area isn’t even open. Very surprising considering the earthquake was in February – We just never hear about it in the news anymore so assume that all is OK.

Damaged Buildings @ Christchurch

The casino was fun, won some money on the Roulette table, had some dinner.. Its good how laid back the place was. We were lounging around the pokies area – Pete was almost horizontal at once stage – and no one even cared.. We spent a bit of time out in the “Smoking Garden” and met a few locals. These two blokes were pretty interesting characters. One of them licked beer off the ground for $20 that this other NZ local put up – TWICE. Dirty dirty dirty. Hilarious for us though.

Walked out of the casino pretty late..must have been about 4am – Jumped in a cab and went back to the hotel – Where I left my camera in the cab. Stupid. Spent the next 45 minutes calling all the cab companies in Christchurch with no luck. Travel insurance will come in handy here. I need to organise a letter from the cab companies where they state that all has been done to find it.

Friday.

A few hours after getting to sleep, I wake up at about 5:30AM to the room SHAKING! There was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked us for a good 15 secounds. Didn’t feel anything like the Japan quake, more of shaking this time. Earthquakes seem to be following me around at the moment.

Time to pick up the rental. Cabbed it to Ace Rentals near the Airport, sorted out a silver Subaru Legacy and started the 95km drive out to Methven, the ‘gateway’ to Mt Hutt – A fairly easy drive – NZ roads are pretty good, the scenery was lots of green farmland and obviously, Sheep, grazing around the place.

Got to Methven, checked in at our accomodation which was above the Blue Pub (Across the road from the Brown Pub) and took the 40min drive up to Mt Hutt to check out the roads Got up the 3/4 up the mountain and visibility was shit, the guys fitting chains told us it wasn’t worth it so went back down to Methven.

The Blue Pub, Methven

Shaddock Homes

Had a lot of drinks that night, crashed out about 3am with the music beneath us still blaring.

The Blue Pub has AWESOME nachos too by the way.

Saturday.

Snow time. Went to Big Al’s and rented our gear, took the drive up at about 10am. Spent most of the day getting familar with a board beneath my feet, thankfully it was much easier this time (being the 3rd time ever). Had lunch around 1230PM at the bistro area – Beef Deluxe burger was impressive.

Beef Deluxe @ Mt Hutt

Alex and Steve spent most of their time on the magic carpet beginners area, while Pete and I hit up the Quad lift most of the time. His leg’s been cactus for the past few weeks, but still got a decent amount of runs in.

Heading up @ Mt Hutt

Ez Saver Cancel

A cool think about NZ is the lift pass system, MyPass – It’s an RFID system that you just leave in your jacket pocket and pass through gates. Really simple and it even tracks statistics for you.

MyPass Stats from the Website

By the end of the day I was pretty confident on my heels, just needed to do more stuff toe-side. We were all pretty buggered so left the mountain around 330PM to avoid the rush at the end of the day.

Got back to the Blue Pub and had some dinner and watched a ska band called Rubix Cuba which played in the bar. Went a little easier on the drinks this night, however the others didn’t.. Pete got called out for actually knowing the words to Bodyjar cover the band played..I was surprised no one else knew the words either to Not The Same…Are we that old? haha..

Sunday.

Woke up at 930AM – The others were pretty ratshit from the night before… I went to the supermarket and got some breakfast. By about 1000AM the guys were going to stay in bed so I made the decision to drive up to Mt Hutt on my own..I went across to Big Al’s and checked the snow report – Road was CLOSED! I got my gear ready anyway and waited for the road to open, which was about 12PM by then. Jumped in the car and got stopped at the base of the mountain road – I was lucky to make it up as they were only letting up big 4WDs – After a little wait there the grit truck came down and must have cleared something and I was allowed to go up with the chains on.

Mt Hutt Sunset

The Subaru Legacy we had was awesome in the snow. For the first part of the mountain I followed the grit truck (which I was happy to do) and then he waved me past… The whole trip took about 40 minutes. When I got to the carpark it was pretty empty compared to the day before. Windy as well. I seriously would not have any other car while in these conditions over here. The thing stuck to the road and even when I was trying to get it to step out, it just kept going.. A RWD/FWD car would just suck arse here. So if you’re going to do a snow trip over here and get a rental, get a Suby.

Trusty Subary Legacy


Got my lift pass, discounted because it was past 1230 already and headed up the quad lift for a bit of a run. Came down Highway 72 and my face nearly froze, the wind was crazy cold and I had no mask – Also visibility was pretty low with the white gust blowing across me. By the time I made it down, went straight to the shop and bought a bandana to cover my face..which made a huge difference. I took the six chair to the Summit once, the conditions up there were even more crazy! Went down the Morning Glory run through to Highway 72 – From then I just did the Quad Chair up to the start of Broadway and Highway 72 and hit those up for the rest of the day. Happy with my progress, got my toe side stuff pretty good, going natural and switch.. So it should be like riding a bike now right?

Lift View @ Mt Hutt

I left the mountain about 345PM and gave a guy a lift down back to Methven, he commented on my driving ability actually. Had a good chat about various car fatality stories and during the drive down, I saw in my rear view a Honda CRV that was pointing towards the cliff edge after spinning out 90 degrees..scary shit!

The rest of the night was pretty chilled. We had some dinner over at Dom’s across the road. Kebab for the win, they a cool brick wall there where visitors from all over had used chalk to leave their mark.

Gents @ Dom's, Methven

Steve and Pete met a bloke who took them over to the Brown pub so Alex and I met them over there. The guys were talking to these two females that they had met – They were up here for a fishing trip and to check out a few bits and pieces in town. Was good to meet a few locals and get their view on the whole earthquake situation, how life is, etc.

The Gents @ The Brown Pub, Methven

Very mellow mood too which was great, no one was trying to hit on anyone, everyone was just there for a few beers and a good chat.

My body was absolutely smashed from the two days up the mountain. My quads and abductors have never felt so much pain! Stretching helped, and recovery was pretty quick thankfully.

So came the end of our Methven stay. We headed back to Christchurch where it was snowing like a mofo, checked into our accomodation at the Aloha Motel (Free Wifi there..recommended!) and we all cooked a good hearty mexican dinner.

Nachos with Beef Mince

Got supplies from Countdown – which is the NZ equivalent of Woolworths/Safeway – Another one of those funny little differences here. Not to mention the trundler for trolleys!

Trundles!

Due to the snow the flights were delayed so the boys were a bit on edge as to whether they would actually get out or not. I dropped them off around 730am and was pleased to hear they boarded around 10am.

Snowy @ Aloha Motel, Christchurch

Ez Saver Cancel

So now all that is left is work until Friday lunchtime where I will finally get to fly home and reunite with the much missed wife and little cat.

Costs.
About $680 not inc. food/drink/booze for the 4 of us for 5 days in NZ.
Jetstar flight to NZ via Melbourne – $270
Ace Car Rentals – Subaru Legacy Wagon w/ Chains/Roofracks for 5 Days- $303NZD + $90NZD petrol = $77AUD p.p
Mt Hutt Lift pass = $91NZD for full day, $61NZD for half day Sunday (slept in) = $120AUD p.p
Big Al’s in Methven – Board/boots hire for Saturday and Sunday = $60AUD p.p
Accomodation @ The Blue Pub in Methven for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night = $70AUD p.p
Motels for Thursday and Monday night = $70AUD p.p
Taxi’s = $20p.p

There’s a few more photos in the flickR set here.

Tips for next time:
Take 2-way radios – Way easier to communicate on the mountain and in general. I had some small uniden units which would have been perfect, if you are in a couple of separate groups.
Be careful about booking early trips out (<8AM) and renting a car, as dropping it off may be an issue if they aren't open yet..

Written by Aaron Tan

July 27th, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Japan – Day 11 – The day the earthquake hit..

Sarah bought a new bag, mentioned in an earier post..so here’s the obligatory photo..

Went to the Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) today. The biggest aquarium in the world.

I’ve been to a few of aqauriums – Singapore, Melbourne, couple of others I’ve forgotten about – but this one was the best one out of the lot.

It was massive, the main tank was amazing.. It had to be if they wanted to put a 12M long whale shark in there!

Check out how thick the walls were..of acrylic..

Lots of cool things to see, more of it is easier told in photos rather than text..I think the most unusual thing they had there was the Ocean Sunfish – The heaviest known bony fish in the world weighing up to 1000kg – The one in the tank here looked tiny from the upper levels, but once we started decending down to its level it was huge.. Such a weird looking thing as well.

The jellyfish there was also pretty cool to see..

Spider Crab’s chilling out..

There was some kids exhibition which we decided to go check out that was dedicated to “cute” things from the sea – Only Japan!

After this there was a shallow tank where you could touch some rays and sharks, which I convinced Sarah to take part in. Rays = Slimey. The little sharks they had in there had a rough texture to them, not sure what they were though.

We got some lunch at a place called “Melbourne House” – Australian apparently! We just did it for the name really. I had a steak meal and Sarah had some pork cutlets. Pretty good, not really Australian but yeah..it was a decent feed and pretty cheap.

Walked past the huge ferris wheel and contemplated going on it..Sarah didn’t really want to, though I could have probably convinved her – But I’m glad I didn’t…

As we walked further down the street..we were waiting to cross a street. We started feeling some sort of weird waving.. At first I looked at Sarah and she looked back at me.. We didn’t really think anything about it ..and then as we continued across the steet..felt the strange sensation again.

Having never been in any sort of earthquake/tremor before I had no idea what to expect nor did I know what it felt like.

** As I write this the hotel is swaying! its 10:30am Sunday (Japan Time) and the room was creaking little.. It was like being on a boat.. anyway am going to get out of the hotel for a little to get some breakfast – BRB **

Ok Back. I have my Boss Coffee from a Vending machine (Yep, the can comes out HOT) and some breakfast.. plus the building has stopped swaying so good to go.

We stopped again in on the street and just stood there for a bit….then we started to lose our balance..its a really odd feeling. People started coming out of the buildings now, Sarah did a wavy motion to one of them and they were going “Hai Hai Hai!” – Realisation set in that we just experienced some form of earthquake. Sarah started to get a bit scared and it was at this point that I’m glad we didn’t go on that ferris wheel!

I didn’t think too much of it, however Sarah wa pretty freaked out..we had to go on the subway to get back to Namba, about 20minutes away.

We made it back to the hotel lobby, and didn’t think anything of what had happened until we found the lifts were not operating. Sat down in the lobby for a bit, when some of the staff rushed out a plasma TV on a stand and plugged it in – flicking it onto the news.

It was all in Japanese, we didn’t actually grab onto the scale of what had happened until the Tsunami’s started rolling through Sendai – Amazingly devastating stuff. Watching those waters just eat through the Japanese countryside was insane. It was eating up the land like a black plague – we watched in awe as the dark waters swallowed up the farm land, greenhouses, whole houses, cars, everything..

We found out we could get free Wifi in the lobby and started using Facebook to reach out to people…Social networking did really well in this situation. We were able to let people know we were OK pretty quickly.

We were lucky to leave Tokyo two days before, fortunately for us Osaka hasn’t been affected much besides the few aftershocks that come through. The Airport is operating normally and on schedule.

We got back up to the hotel room around 6PM and got onto Skype to our family. Assured everything was OK and again..the internet making the world a closer place.

During the night I got woken up by Sarah at 4am because the building was swaying! the roof was also creaking pretty loudly.. I was tired and shrugged it off..deciding (in my mind) that the place is probably built for it.. Sarah literally jumped out of bed and started a new yoga pose as she tried to feel the building move.. I had a quick laugh at that.

Hope that everyone is safe and doing OK, especially those in Tokyo.

Written by Aaron Tan

March 13th, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Travel

Tagged with

Japan – Day 10

Woke up earlyish and went to Super Autobacs near the Takaida station – Well about a 10 minute walk – About 30 minute trip in the end. Sarah stayed local and had a look around the shopping in Namba.

It wasn’t a HUGE store, but it was still pretty cool. I bought a few bits and pieces and also had an interesting converstaion with one of the staff there, when I tried to ask about stickers. His name was Yamada, Basically he had a google translate thing going on his iPhone and I was using their computer to do english translations. We ended up speaking about what cars we drove, he had an orange 180SX which he showed me videos on his phone drifting – Very cool. I showed him my S15 back in Australia – He was very surprised when I said how many KM’s it had done.

This place has a lot of stuff, exhausts, seats, all sorts of bling VIP gear – Its like a Super Cheap Auto/Autobarn but with more performance gear on show, and lots more electronics as well. I got some brochures for Tein, Recaro, HKS and Fujitsubo. I guess it wasn’t one of the really big ones as I didn’t see any turbo’s or the like on display. I think I spent about an hour or something talking/looking around.

When I went to pay, the girls at the Cashier had some fun with me as they tried to explain “If I only wanted one credit transaction for all my purchases” – They were just saying one and holding up their index finger while laughing at the fact I had no idea what they were on about. They ended up calling Yamada-San (The guy I talked to earlier) and he got his iPhone out again to do the translation. Funny that it ended up being so simple.

From here headed back to the hotel and met up with Sarah again. She had a new purchase too from a place called World Wide Love! Nice Jacket.

Lunchtime! We went to a Chinese restaurant just near the hotel called 551 Horai. About 2100yen for some really nice food. Sarah got some crispy noodle with seafood, and I had something similar but it came with a egg soup broth and fried rice.

From here, it was time to check out Osaka’s Den-Den Town (electronics/electric stuff) – Not far from the Hotel again, but I happened to lead us around the LONG way..I think we walked for about 3 hours today.

It’s a bit more slummy than Tokyo, this place had lots of tiny shops – What stood out the most was all the little electronic part stores – Wires, Resistors, LEDs, Circuit boards, everything.. I bought some terminal blocks for my Vewlix cab back at home. Cheap too. Few bucks.

There were lots of DVD stores and some toy stores too – Lots of figurine stores where you could buy all sorts of figures from movies, cartoons, etc.

We went into a Toy shop called Joshin Super Kids World – This place had a Tamiyatown – All the RC models, scale models, parts, etc – It was awesome. We also found out that you can buy replican GUNS and stuff. Like Machine guns, handguns, BB guns – They even have fake bullets for them, and look unreal. I would have tried to sneak a photo, but yeah..there were cameras everywhere..Would have loved to try to buy one but no point, I could imagine customs when we got back into Australia..

Stumbled across a Super Potato shop, a retro gaming store, Lots of old old gear, was awesome to check out some of the stuff from the 80’s.

They had Super Game Boys for 180yen and there were some Super Famicom (SNES) games that appeared brand new in box for 100yen. They even had a few of those old Nintendo robot things hanging around as well.

The second floor of the place was dedicated to game music. Tons of CDs from all years with tracks from video games. Such a cool place.

Next up we went into BIC Camera/Sofmap – Big electronics store – Sarah got a Sony MP3 Player – Its just headphones, its all built into the ear pieces are waterproof too. Good for her to use when working out.

Very cool, and I don’t believe are released outside of Japan. We were worried that it wouldn’t actually work without a Japanese OS but lucky for us, it’s just plug and play. The software was Japanese only but we can get away without using it.

And that leads us to now, where we are sitting in the hotel room watching funny Steve Martin movie on TV thinking about what sort of Dinner we should get…..

So we ended up going to a place called Lottoria for some burgers, and then a Haagen-dazs place for some Crepes.

***

Went back to the Club Sega tonight, played a few games..had some luck again. Played a heap of rounds with the guy I spoke to last night, he was using Cody this time..didn’t get a match off him, came close a few times.. There were a bunch of ladies playing there as well, At the end when the place was closing one of them asked me something in Japanese (I assume “are you japanese”) to which I just gave some funny look and said “Australia” – This lead to an interesting view of the Japanese SFIV scene, from her point of view.

Stood outside the arcade which closed at 12am for about 35 minutes conversing with this woman and her husband. She was 30, a nurse and a Chun player. He a dentist, aged 33 and used Claw. She was part of a SFIVAE Guild – A group of players – Of about 10 girls. There were 2 others there tonight, But I only spoke to these two.

They head to the arcade, in a group of about 8-9 and play nearly every night…from about 9PM to 12am. After the arcade closes they all just talk Street fighter. She also mentioned that there are many players who are over 30, and a few women too. She pointed out one of the girls there was Choco Blanka’s friend, when I was talking about some of the more known Japanese players such as Tokido and Mago (And when they came down for SS last year)

They also told me, that it was safe in Japan to be out late, that they go out every night and talk lots of street fighter. They also want to come to Australia, and since Facebook only came out last month for Japan (or something to that effect) it wasn’t very popular here (yet?)

With a few days to go before travelling back to Australia – My SFIVAE card will soon be retired. At the moment I think its 50 losses and 32 wins with about 7300BP.

Written by Aaron Tan

March 11th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Posted in Travel

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