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Day 10 (part 2) - June 5, 2006: Shizuoka and Tokyo

We met Mr X after lunch and he took us around the block to the Tamiya R/C track. He told us a little about Shizuoka. About four million people live here and they mostly work in factories. Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki have plants here. He also told us that Tamiya has a new factory in Cebu island in the Philipines and that the majority of the plastic molding for Tamiya kits are now done there.
The R/C track is actually on the same plot of land as the HQ but the entrance is from the other side of the block. Only Tamiya cars are allowed here.
A Youtube video of the onroad track.
The off-road track.
There was also a small Dangun Racers track for the younger kids.
Some pictures of the people and the cars.
Here's something I didn't expect to see - a vintage Tamiya TA-03 with a lap counting system. You get the feeling that some of the racers here really take their practice seriously.
This is Komiya. It looks like he's running a stadium truck, but it really is a Baja King 4WD buggy with Stadium Raider truck wheels and body shell. He says this setup actually works quite well.
The famous Rainbow Ten store was just a few shops down from the track. Photography wasn't allowed inside. I still think R/C Champ has the best prices for R/C gear by far, but Rainbow Ten stocks plastic model stuff as well. I told Mr X how much a DF-03 cost at R/C Champ in Tokyo and he could not believe or even understand it. He said they would be making a loss selling at that price.
We left Shizuoka and got back to Tokyo late in the afternoon looking for the tourist information centre at the Tokyo Metro Government building. We thought (wrongly) they were closing at 5:00pm so we ran there from Shinjuku train station. They were very helpful and we were able to plan a side trip for two days away from Tokyo.
The Tokyo Metro Government building also had an observatory level from which we took these pictures.
While we were at the information tourist centre, we found out that a Sumo tournament will be held this Sunday. Sumo season is over but this is a special match involving all the top wrestlers. We were told that there were two places we could get tickets from. We tried the JTB office first. The lady there didn't speak any English and couldn't find anything about sumo at all on her computer. She excused herself and disappeared from the counter for a long time, so we complained to the manager. Then, he disappeared too. A minute later, the lady came back and said "Sold Out," but it seemed like she didn't even know what she was saying and had been taught to say these two words. By now, See Ming's about ready to do some yelling, but she kept calm and demanded to know more details. The lady disappeared again and came back with another colleague. This guy asked what we wanted, on which day, what kind of seats, and then told us "Sorry, sold out." He didn't even look to check.

We went to the other place that sold tickets, just outside the Keio shopping complex and managed to buy the tickets in the end, without any hassle. You can also buy tickets for all kinds of shows here - movies, operas, kabukis, ballets, etc.
We met our friend Adriene for dinner at Machiavelli's Italian restaurant just outside our hotel in Shinjuku Southern Terrace.
After dinner, we went to an izakaya called Izakaya-ism for dessert. Adriene told us a little about living in Tokyo. She said that renting an apartment involved all kinds of fees - a deposit, a key fee, an agreed amount of "thank-you money", and some rental money up-front. In extreme cases, you could be paying 6-month's worth of rental before you move in.
We had this fish that was brought out raw and cooked with a blow torch.
While we were eating and talking, two waiters brought out a big dish of sushi to give away.
Some girls at the next table.

Back to Day 10 (part 1) <<< >>> Day 11: Takayama, Hida