jump to navigation

2010 Tokyo Motorcycle Show April 6, 2010

Posted by Dru in Kanto, Sports, Tokyo.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “2010 Tokyo Motorcycle Show” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-oT

From March 26th till the 28th, the 37th Tokyo Motorcycle Show was held at Tokyo Big Site convention centre.  It was my annual pilgrimage to check out the new bikes being offered in Japan.  With the worst recession in years happening in 2009, I wasn’t expecting much out of this year’s motorcycle show.  It is true that the show was noticeably smaller, but it was much better than I could have expected.  All of the major motorcycle manufacturers were there, including all of the big name foreign companies.  It was a very important marketing campaign for most companies as the riding season has pretty much begun in Tokyo.

The motorcycle show has occupied the same two halls at Tokyo Big Site since I came to Japan.  They take over the lower floors of the West Hall, an outdoor parking lot, and the roof of the West Hall.  It may not be the biggest motorcycle show in the world, but it is a very interesting one.  The show itself is centred in West Hall 1 and 2, which form a U shape around the atrium.  Upon entering the ticketed area, you are funnelled into West Hall 2 where you are immediately greeted by motorcycles.  Generally, the manufacturers line the outer wall of both halls, while parts and accessory companies take the middle.  Lining the inner wall are the local companies that sell things such as T-shirts, insurance, and magazine subscriptions.  You will almost always find people on the outer wall, rather than the inner wall.  For this year’s show, Hall 2 was dominated by foreign manufacturers, and Hall 1 was more domestic.

There are many things to do, other than just look at bikes while at the motorcycle show.  Most manufacturers hand out surveys, in Japanese only, where you put your name, address, and what you liked about their booth.  In return, you can get some free things, such as a catalogue.  It may not seem like much, but in good years, you can get pins and file holders.  Sometimes you spend the time to fill out a form only to discover you got something you didn’t want.  If you can’t read Japanese, you are better off not trying as they will send you junk mail if you don’t tick, or leave empty in some cases, the correct box.  The only downside to this aspect of the show is that people just mill about within the showcase making it difficult to take pictures and look at the bikes.  At the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, you can also test ride many of the new bikes.  Behind the halls, there is a parking lot where they do test rides of various motorcycles.  They even have starter lessons on scooters.  This year, they added a used bike display where you could actually purchase a used motorcycle.  I generally don’t go outside as I usually don’t have the time or patience to wait for a motorcycle to ride.  If you are like me, and finish the show within half a day, you can spend a lot more time following the scary men who take pictures of all the bike girls.  It’s a phenomenon that follows every motor show in Japan.  If there are nice cars, there will be nice women dressed in next to nothing, helping to display the bikes.  It can be difficult to see the bikes when they are “on display”, but if you are finished with the show, it can be interesting.

This year’s show, as I mentioned, was better than I expected.  All of the major manufacturers were there.  There were some very interesting new bikes.  The Japanese manufacturers weren’t very interesting, but they did provide a few new variants of their base bikes.  Yamaha finally unveiled their Super Tenere bike that was created for the Dakar Rally.  It wasn’t as cool as the concept version, but it did look ready for the Dakar.  It still had the “first edition” stickers all over it enticing more people to pay for it.  The best concept was by Moto Guzzi.  They produced the V12 LM which was, albeit impractical, a very interesting bike.  The tail was shaped like a bird, and they included bird cut outs on the tires.  Unfortunately, they forgot to put a nice headlight on the front, but that’s just my opinion.  There were several other cool race versions from other manufacturers, and there were the obligatory MotoGP bikes that were on hand.  Yoshimura had their typical display with the same standard Suzuka 8 Hours Superbike.

While the main focus of the show is on the bikes, there are displays showcasing the various circuits of Japan.  Generally, Ebisu, Tsukuba, and Motegi are represented by booths.  The others can be found in pamphlets given out at other various booths.  If you are into custom motorcycles, there is always a custom bike show, usually in the Atrium.  The police are also on hand to show off their riding skills, which are excellent, and to promote safety when riding.  If you are in need of help, JAF (Japan Auto Federation) provides demonstrations on how they can pick up your bike if it won’t start.  If you are a bike nut, and you are in town during the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, this is a must do on the list.  It’s easy to visit in the morning, and still have time to look around Odaiba in the afternoon.  Hope you can make it next year.

Information:

Tokyo Motorcycle Show (English):  http://www.motorcycleshow.org/english/index.shtml
Tokyo Motorcycle Show (Japanese:  http://www.motorcycleshow.org/index.html
Tokyo Big Site (English):  http://www.bigsight.jp/english/index.html
Tokyo Big Site (Japanese):  http://www.bigsight.jp/index.html

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

Tokyo (Ebisu, Hiroo, and Daikanyama) March 30, 2010

Posted by Dru in Japan, Kanto, Tokyo, Travel.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Tokyo (Ebisu, Hiroo, and Daikanyama)” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/s2liAm-ebisu

Ebisu is a relatively famous area of Tokyo. It is next to Shibuya and close to Roppongi. It is known among locals as a hip place to eat lots of good food. The area is named after a famous Japanese beer, Yebisu. Both are pronounced the same. The true origin of Ebisu is from the name of one of the seven gods of fortune. He is mainly the god of fishermen and is always pictured with a fishing rod and fish. He is also the god of luck, working men, and the health of young children. Yebisu beer, itself, is also named after this god. Many people outside Japan don’t know of Yebisu beer as it’s not famous outside Japan. It is considered a major craft beer, and it’s priced that way as well. Yebisu beer is a very good beer, and highly recommended if you are in Japan.

While Ebisu itself is a fairly large district, there aren’t many things to see or do. Heading South of the station, along the Yebisu Skywalk, you will reach Ebisu Garden Place. It is a wonderful area that provides many photo opportunities. Mitsukoshi department store is the major tenant of the area, and there are many interesting shops. However, don’t expect anything different compared to other department stores in Tokyo. The main attraction has to be the Yebisu/Sapporo beer museum. Yebisu is actually owned by Sapporo Breweries, and this is the only beer museum within Tokyo itself. The tour itself isn’t spectacular. It’s a self guided walk in only Japanese. You don’t even see anyone brewing beer. The best part is the sampling. You can get relatively cheap beer (compared to a bar). The best is the tasting set, 4 small glasses of beer. If you want to try Yebisu beer, but don’t know which one is best, this is your best option. Try them all! Aside from Ebisu Garden Place, there isn’t much to see. Ebisu has nothing more to offer than a plethora of restaurants. Anything you want to eat can be found here. If you choose any direction from the station, you are bound to find several good restaurants.

East of Ebisu, you will reach Hiroo. I don’t advise walking there as there aren’t many signs and you are bound to be lost. Hiroo is a quaint little town that is very expensive to live in. Hiroo is home to several embassies, and with it comes many foreigners. It’s very akin to Roppongi, but without the seedy nature. Shopping is mainly restricted to small boutiques, and so is eating. It can be difficult to find a reasonably price meal.  The nice I would generally skip this area, but some people enjoy walking around various districts in Tokyo.  The plus side of walking in this area is that it is very quiet and peaceful.  There are also a few nice places to sit, relax, and have a nice cup of coffee.

Heading West of Ebisu, you’ll reach the fashionable district of Daikanyama. It’s a very easy walk, but like all areas of Ebisu, you will more than likely get lost looking for it. It’s a very hip area that has many young fashion brands. You are likely to find rare pieces of clothing and several high end shops at the same time. This area is famous for the rich and famous. They do a lot of shopping, and it’s your best chance to see them on their days off. However, if you don’t know any famous Japanese stars, you would probably walk right past them without knowing who they are. Daikanyama is also home to Evisu jeans. While they were founded in Osaka, they were also named after the same god, Ebisu, as the beer and the neighbourhood. It’s fitting that they have a shop or two located just outside Ebisu itself.

Depending on what you are looking for, and how long you are staying, Ebisu and the surrounding areas may be an interesting place to see. However, I don’t recommend it for everyone. If you are looking for something unique, Daikanyama is a good place to go. If you want good eats, Ebisu is great. If you are just looking for a place in Tokyo where the old meets new, Ebisu is good, at the moment. Beware that Ebisu is growing extremely fast, and all the old shops that gave it character are slowly being demolished for large new buildings.

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

Tokyo (Shibuya) [Part III – The Path Less Ventured] November 24, 2009

Posted by Dru in Japan, Kanto, Tokyo, Travel.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Author’s Note:  Dru’s Misadventures has moved to HinoMaple.  Please venture on over there to read “Tokyo (Shibuya) [Part III – The Path Less Ventured]” complete with photos.  http://wp.me/p2liAm-fN

For people who want a more traditional experience, especially shopping, staying at the station, or heading north is the best way to go.  The Tokyu department store is located above and below Shibuya station.  Heading north from Shibuya crossing will lead you to Seibu and Marui department stores.  All of these shops provide a typical Japanese department store experience.  You can find them in every major centre of Tokyo, and almost every major city in Japan.  However, be sure to explore all of the side streets.  I have visited Shibuya countless times and every corner, every back street, changes constantly.  Many of the old shops have left the northern areas, in favour of more traditional fashion boutiques.  However, if you walk around enough, you’re sure to find a lot of nice shops that even residents who have lived their whole lives have never even found.

If you are feeling more adventurous, or you just have too much time on your hands, the areas to the south and east provide a very different feel for Shibuya compared to the north and west areas.  Directly to the east, people tend to associate it with Omotesando.  To the north east, it’s more Harajuku.  To the south, it feels more like Ebisu.  Omotesando is an upscale area that is very akin to Ginza.  The main difference is the affluence.  While Ginza is for people to be seen, and you’ll see a large variety of classes, Omotesando tends to be one class only, rich.  Harajuku was talked a lot by Gwen Stefani for its fashion and need to break away from the normal culture.  The north east corner of Shibuya borders Harajuku, and hence has more in common with that style of fashion.  It is also a location of an infamous park where homeless people tend to live, and rows of yakitori shops similar to the small shops in Shinjuku.  Again, like in Shinjku, I would not recommend them as they tend to be a little expensive, and they may not be so friendly to foreigners.  It’s better to go to Shinjuku.  The south region will see things be more food oriented.  Ebisu tends to have more food shops than anything.  You can also see some interesting fashion outlets, but people tend not to shop here.  There are more apartments than shops, but if you want to go for a nice walk, this area is a nice area.

All in all, Shibuya is a place to visit.  It’s noisy, bustling 24 hours a day, and willing to show you new insights into Japan.  Is it a true picture of Japan?  No.  Will you be amazed by the crazy lights, strange people, and wonderful shopping?  Yes.  Make sure you visit during the day and night.  In the day, do your shopping in the north.  At night, return to Centre Gai and take a stroll around the Love Hotel Hill.  Don’t be surprised when you pass expensive cars with blacked out windows parked in front of a sex toy shop

This is the end of a 3 part series on Shibuya.  To read more on Shibuya, please continue reading Part I and Part II.

Shibuya Information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibuya,_Tokyo
http://wikitravel.org/en/Shibuya
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3007.html

このblogは英語のblog。もし私の英語は難しい、日本語のquestionは大丈夫。

%d bloggers like this: