Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Japan 2012 - 13th December, Thursday

It has been 2.5 years since I last visit Japan in 2010 June. This time I had done my homework and planning for this 7 days trip. I have brought a friend, Keong, from Malaysia who has never been to Japan but dream of going to Japan even in his sleep. So it's my responsibility to make good plan for this trip because for first timer to visit Japan, he will go nowhere if no plans are made. On day 1, it will be a busy day because I will prefer to settle all necessary work in advance. As I made plans for following Monday to go to Gotemba, we will need to go to Shinjuku to purchase the bus tickets. The above JR Kanto bus should not be a stranger to most Tomica collector. This bus will bring us to Gotemba Premium Outlet next Monday.

Before going to Ikebukuro to make reservation on bus ticket for Narita Airport (for next Wednesday), I visited Tokyu Hands at the Shinjuku branch. Tokyu Hands is a lifestyle store for fashion, toys, household etc. I recalled that my last trip, I have actually bought a display case from Tokyu Hands. The carton box is so huge that you are unable to carry it with both hands and I had to purchase a trolley from Tokyu Hands to pull it back to the hotel. Luckily I did not buy anything huge from Tokyu Hands this visit.

Something did caught my attention in Tokyu Hands, Porter bags from Japan. I suppressed myself from buying one because I had already bought a Hugo from Hamburg 3 months ago. I have too many bags and my room is also filled up with toy cars. My objective for the trip is toy cars, not bags. So I walk out buying nothing this time.

After getting the airport limousine bus tickets in Ikebukuro, we headed straight to II Ado as planned in the schedule. I always like to make Gulliver or II Ado first stop because of the location and both shops are reasonably priced on their toy cars. It's a coincidence that I also met my friend, Bob, from the States who reach the shop just 5 minutes earlier than us. He is a collector and a trader so I asked if he will join us for the Wonderland Market this Sunday. We will meet Bob this Sunday again for the Wonderland.

II Ado is actually a small minicar shop but they have a little of everything. If you are a collector of any brand, this shop will make you stay for a minimum of 1.5 hours. I did a time monitor myself and realised that II Ado made me stay the longest comparing to any other minicar shop. Perhaps it is quite a distance from our hotel, just in case I don't come again, I have to make sure I get everything I need. I always spend a lot of time on the above shelves because this is where they housed the Diapet, Cherryca Phoenix, Micropet, Modelpet, Corgi and Solido. My attention always goes to Diapet because II Ado price is really attractive comparing to other minicar shops. You will get to save 1000~2000yen per car so even cars not in your wanted list will make you reconsider. I have found a Diapet I wanted but a shame that the box is damaged although the car is mint. I will keep it KIV and will buy this car if it is still available when I return to the shop for second time. This is the first shop, I don't want to splurge my money without thinking.

There are also quite a number of numerous brands in other shelves. You need to scrutinize every corner of the shop in order to find what you want. If a shop can make you spend so much time, that means that they have treasures waiting for you to discover and the price is reasonable that make you considering cars which you never intend to get.

As for Tomica collectors, it is much of a bad news if you are experienced collector collecting vintage stuff or if you are looking for particular rare car or variant. The Tomica has limited choice here for collectors who are expecting much. If you are a beginner collector who has nothing better to do such as to post all current release in forums or facebook, II Ado will be an eye opener for you and a good start to explore into variants that are never released in Singapore or Malaysia. Special note to beginners, don't keep posting new or current release in FB or forums, those are nothing special as anyone can buy them easily off the shelves. Post something which you cannot buy today. I am kind of sick to see new and current stuff posted in either FB or any forums. I do buy new release but I don't show them in FB or forums. Some reflections please.

I saw a Husky gift set near the counter. I like Husky but not totally into them and the price is not within what I want to pay for a Husky. I also try to minimise getting big items as my 29" luggage is too small for toy cars. Just to share this with people who like Husky and I find the box really attractive. I spend approximately 25,000yen in II Ado, not a lot really if you are into vintage stuff. After shopping in II Ado, we return to hotel for checking in before proceeding to next shop in our schedule.

Minicar Global is just 2 stations away from our hotel. They have relocated to a new shop but in the same region. It is just a minute walk from station as they are located along the tracks so looking for the new shop should poses much problem. I spend about 10 minutes and finally found the shop as I was going towards the location of the old shop.

Minicar Global is marginally larger than II Ado in terms of shop space but the variety of stuff is equally great like II Ado. They have more concentration of Japanese cars such as Diapet, Tomica and Dandy.

This is where you find all the Dandy and Diapet. They have more models to choose from although some models doesn't worth that much but you are still able to find reasonable price cars in Global.

Closing up on the Diapet. This shop is worth visiting if you are into Japanese cars. I got myself some loose Diapet at a very good price. 

There is a decent selection of Tomica available in Minicar Global. Slightly more than II Ado on selection of vintage Tomica. There are some rare items I got from Global such as a Bandai Beetle and a Pilen Mini Cooper. I actually saw some Cherica which are in my A-list but I pretend I have never seen them. I have influenced my friends around me to like the Cherica line as well. My friend, Keong, who has smaller eyes and slower instinct, I given him the priority to own them as he has yet to get a Cherica. I hurried him a little as we have to move on to our last stop of the day.

Gulliver is the nearest to our hotel so usually I will make no lesser than 3 trips to Gulliver because they are the nearest, offer reasonable pricing, has a big range of cars and they close only at 2100hrs on weekdays. Most shops are closed by 2000hrs on weekdays. So it is always wise to put Gulliver as a last stop of the day considering most shops in Tokyo has short business hours (usually from 1200hrs to 2000hrs for most shops).

Dandy and Diapet in Gulliver. They do not have wide selection on Diapet but they are reasonably priced so there should be something awaits you in the shelve.

Gulliver has mixture of non-Japanese brands as well. You might be able to find something you have been looking for all these while. These photos are taken from the main shop, there is also another shop just beside the main shop where individual sellers rent a portion of the shelves which Gulliver will sell on their behalf. 

I found what my friend has asked for. A J-Collection Spoon Honda CR-Z. His priority is the Spoon EG6 but it is not available. The retail price for a J-Collection in Japan should be 4200yen and Gulliver price is lower than retail. Anyway, there are more than 1 available so I KIV for this since Gulliver is just a station away. I might have luck for the Spoon EG6 at the Wonderland or Minicar Ikeda which we will visit next week as there is no time for Ikeda today. Stay tune for my updates for day 2.

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