Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Japan 2013 Toy Car Shopping

I have friends telling me that they would like to go hunting toy cars with me in Japan one day. I can do that according to your schedule if you can buy me a ticket to Japan (strictly Singapore Airlines). Jokes aside, I need to check my own working schedule too because I have my own commitments in life. For the shopping trip this year, Ken Box messed up my schedule totally because they cancelled their Omocha Carnival at the very last minute. I don't have the luxury to amend my schedule for the Wonderland Market 2 weeks later because all flights were full. I planned my trip 3 days before my flight which I took 3 weeks in advance for the previous one. For Ken Box, I was a little reluctant to go to because I had a hard time on my trip last year as I spend 30 minutes looking for them. I am not spared again this time because they shifted to another location. I had tough luck with Ken Box all the time.

If you are really into rare variants or looking for a particular model of a Tomica, Ken Box is a shop you will not want to miss. They arrange all the Tomica according to series and Tomica serial number. The range is just too wide to be true.

You will be able to find Tomica issued by various minicar shops in Japan.

You also find Tomica from the vintage black & yellow box of the regular domestic series.

Besides Tomica, you will also find other brands such as Diapets or Eidai etc.

I bought some Tomica in Ken Box but what made me excited are the 4 Korean toy cars I bought. I can hardly find these in eBay and I don't think I seen the 3 of the models in eBay in recent years. I think the Korean toy cars made me more excited over the Tomica I bought. The most satisfying purchase for the trip. I will do a posting on them soon if I have the time to do so.

Since Minicar-TMT is not too far away from Shu-Stock, we will check what this shop has to offer.

You will be disappointed if you are looking for Tomica because only a few pieces are available only. They have lesser toy cars as compared to my last visit in 2010.

There is a good range of Tomica Dandy and basically vintage toy cars from the 70s to 80s.

There is also a good range of Yonezawa Diapet but I didn't find the cars I need for my collection. We headed to Shu-Stock next after Minicar-TMT. I am surprise that I did not flash my wallet here because we will spend a few hundred dollars on every shop we visit usually.

Because we score almost nothing (well, my friend bought something) in TMT, we are looking very much forward to Shu-Stock because we know there will always be something waiting for us to bring back.

As usual, we were fascinated by the range of Tomica Shu-Stock has to offer. Honest opinion, there are lesser stuff to buy comparing to previous visits. Since the carnival is cancelled, I will spend my money in Shu-Stock. Apologies for the poor photos taken in Shu-Stock.
These are just tip of the iceberg. I managed to fill up 2 basket full of Tomica and toy cars of all ranges from 500~5000yen. Finally, I ended up paying more than a grand in a single shop. Felt good and painful at the same time.

You can actually see Minicar Global from the train station and it is a shop which requires least walking.

I bought a couple of Yonezawa Diapet here. Besides Tomica, Diapet started to grow in my collection.

Tomica are sold on consignment basis. This is also a shop I love to visit as you might find some bargains if you are not concern on the condition.
There is a wide range of Tomica Dandy in Global.

Time to make final payment and move to next destination, Gulliver.

After greeting Nakata San, we dash off to the cabinets of toy cars which are under consignment basis.

I am actually looking for Cherica (by Yonezawa) as there were abundant of them when I visited in 2010. There were almost gone in 2012 and I hardly see any this trip. I bought many Tomica instead.

II ADO is one of my favourite shop because you never know what you will expect to find. Good for collectors who collect all brands of toy cars.

Although it is a small shop but we spend more than an hour or two in II ADO.
If you are into Tomica only, you will be disappointed in II ADO because they have just one cabinet full of them only. I did not buy many Tomica here as I converted my cash into Diapet.

You have to keep your eyes open most of the time as cars are just all over. Ask for assistance if required once you found something you need.

You can find almost any brands here. You name it and they have it. I even saw 2 Mandarin in one of the cabinet.

After 1.5 hours of shopping, I bought many Tomica and Diapet. I am always satisfied with Diapet shopping in II ADO because there are always so many to choose from here.

I bet many collectors especially friends from Indonesia buy from CREAmart. We travelled out of Tokyo to Saitama Prefecture specially to this shop to check it out. This is for all of you who bought from CREAmart. We travel almost an hour from Tokyo to Kawagoe and I use my instinct to walk to the building where CREAmart resides. I am astonished that I managed to find CREAmart in no time without using my google map and this is the first time I visit them.

CREAmart found and it's on the 3rd level.
CREAmart is a small shop that you might bump into the cabinet behind you if you have a big ass like me. The online shop looks larger than the physical shop.

Besides Tomica, there are also other toy cars available for sale.

Small numbers of Tomica are found in almost every cabinet. I spoke to the shop owners, a friendly couple, in their early 30s. They hardly speak a word of English and my Japanese is as good as their English but they are very friendly and helpful people. I managed to get the stuff for a friend who requires some TL in his collection.

I found another item for another friend also my boss from Let's Play. Price is 12,800yen for this pumpkin carriage which is way over boss's budget. I am happy that I did not buy this or boss will snap my neck without mercy. If I were to come to this shop again, I must look for places or toy cars shops interesting enough in Saitama before making another trip. My new year resolution for 2014, visit Japan again!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Amlux @ Ikebukuro

Toyota Porte (Tomica No.12)

I usually stay a station away from Ikebukuro, passed by Amlux every time I go to Tokyo. I decided to visit Amlux again after my last visit in 2006. I will feature the Toyota that are made into Tomica. It's kind of fun to spot the cars in Amlux that has a miniature model of a Tomica.

Toyota Soarer (Tomica No. 5)

The Soarer Z30 series is also known as the Lexus SC400 in Singapore. This is the prettiest Soarer among all its generation.

Toyota Supra (Tomica No. 33)

This Supra is in its 4th incarnation. It is also one of the Japanese super car of all times. Supra's roots should trace back to the Toyota 2000GT of the 60s.

Toyota Prius (Tomica No. 86)

This is the first mass produced hybrid car in the world. It is also the only Prius that is available as a sedan. I sat in one in 2010 (in Japan) and the other car I was driven around is a Nissan Cima. The first generation Prius is a little noisy in the cabin switching power between fuel and electric motor. One important car in Toyota history.
Toyota WiLL Vi (Tomica No. 27)

WiLL was actually a sub-brand of Toyota targeted at the yuppies who wanted a car that look totally different from the normal bread and butter cars. The Vi suffers from poor sales and resulted short production and eventually replaced by the WiLL Cypha. I find that the WiLL Vi is quite a nice looking vehicle since the styling cues are taken from cars from the 60s especially from C-pillar onwards. It's a shame that I didn't see any running on the roads of Singapore. Tomica did not made the Sera but I personally feel that it is one of the cooling coupe made by Toyota. If you compare it with the Paseo Coupe (based on a Tercel) manufactured around the same time, you will know what I mean. There are still a couple of Sera running round the streets of Singapore.
Toyota RAV4 (Tomica No. 24)

This is the best compact SUV Toyota has made yet. I still love how the first RAV4 looks especially the 3dr variant. I don't really like all the RAV4 that replaced the first generation.

Toyota Vitz (Tomica No. 110)

The Vitz should be the answer to the Starlet replacement after the name was discontinued. I remember the first Vitz or Yari has a sedan which was known as a Echo in Singapore. The latest incarnation of the Vitz/Yaris sedan is the Belta or known as a Vios in South East Asia.

Toyota Estima (Tomica No. 99) 

The first Estima / Previa is still the nicest of all Estima generations. It was a crossed between a van and a car. The design was to target the American market where minivans are proved to be the most popular vehicle among families. The first Estima always reminds me of a spaceship due to the airy design.

Toyota Harrier (Tomica No. 62)

This is the first generation of Harrier. I know that Tomica made the 2nd generation but it's nowhere found in Amlux. Harrier is a popular SUV in Singapore regardless being badge as a Toyota or Lexus. The budget conscious will buy the Toyota version and some owner gave it an instant upgrade by replacing the Toyota badge with a Lexus badge.

Toyota Land Cruiser (Tomica No. 5)

There is still a huge following of the FJ40 Land Cruiser. It was supposed to be a budget Land Rover of the east in the 50s. Most cars in Japan during the 50s to 70s are inspired by Americans or Europeans. The 200 series is a mammoth size SUV that dwarfs many cars on the road. I prefer the latest Pajero if given a choice.

Toyota FJ Cruiser (Tomica No. 85)

I prefer this Cruiser over the 200 series above. It has a closer relation to the FJ40 as the Land Cruiser today are more luxurious rather than rugged. Me and my friend can't help but to explore more inside the vehicle. The car is spacious and the suicide doors are a cool feature. It look best when view from the front.

Toyota Prius Alpha (Tomica No. 86)

Prius Alpha is based on a Prius but longer and seats more than a standard Prius. Strictly for people who wanted to ferry more people in a greener way.

Toyota Corolla Axio Wagon (Tomica No. 60)

The latest Corolla Axio is smaller than the outgoing model. No problems for that but it seems like the Corolla in Japan are position in the budget segment now. The interior looks it was built on a budget and a Kia Cerato looks more upmarket now.  

Toyota Wish (Tomica No. 93)

Singapore most popular MPV of all time after the fall of the Spacewagon.

Toyota Prius (Tomica No. 89)

3rd Generation of Prius. Who doesn't want to be seen in driving one?

Toyota 86 (Tomica No. 46)

It's the most popular car in Amlux and in Tomica world now.

Toyota Ractis (Tomica No. 92)

It's based on a Vitz but taller. Think Golf Plus.

Toyota Mark X (Tomica No. 64)

I prefer the predecessor's styling. This is the sportier Mark X G's developed by its racing partner, Gazoo Racing.

Toyota Aqua (Tomica No. 98)
It's sold as a Toyota Prius C in Singapore. Basically a shorter Prius about the size of a Polo. I like the yellow, my favourite colour.
Toyota Crown Hybrid (Tomica No. 92)
Tomica will be releasing the latest Crown in February 2014. It's the fiercest Crown I have seen in recent years especially the super huge grill. The double trapezoid grill looks like the shape of a crown and it's very intimating for a luxurious car. The interior looks bland though which is usual for a Crown.

Toyota Century 2nd Generation (Tomica No. 43 First Generation)

This is my favourite car in Amlux. I nearly took a nap in the car because it is so luxurious. I took numerous photo of the Century back in 2006 too as I simply love large sedans. The Century might look a boring car as it is used mainly to ferry Japanese CEO but I like the classic look of the car. I am glad that Toyota did not change much styling from the first generation (1967~1997) to the outgoing model. Truly a flagship of Toyota.