Wednesday, March 31, 2010

E36: Nardi-ed!

It took a while longer then expected, buy the Nardi has been mounted! Wahay!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to get there? Toyota Megaweb & Super Autobacs Shinonome

In the final concluding chapter on how to get to the various automotive places i visited in Japan, here are directions to the Toyota Megaweb and Super Autobacs Shinonome. This post will be relatively short, just because it is not that difficult to travel to these 2 places. There are easily accessible by train and are really close to each other!

Again, starting off from Shinjuku station, hop onto the JR Yamanote (Or Saikyo) Line to Osaki Station. At Osaki, switch over to the Rinkai Line Subway and head towards Tokyo Teleport Station.

When you exit the station, you will be able to see PaletteTown and Venus Fort. The Megaweb is right inside, access to the History museum though is a short walk inside Venus Fort, there are signs so you can't miss it. But do take note the opening days, i didn't and headed straight to a closed Megaweb. :(

If the Megaweb isn't your thing and you prefer to go to Super Autobacs, its the same train lines from Shinjuku but stay on the train for 5 minutes more and alight at Shinonome Station. You should be able to see the Super Autobacs building from the platform. Exit the station, cross the roads and just head straight towards the "Toys R Us" of automotive accessories!

Just before Super Autobacs, there is a small building sometimes housing some interesting cars on sale.

On the 2nd level of Super Autobacs is Lindberg, a bookstore with a difference. All car stuff! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to get there? ASM, Mooneyes

For those wanting to head back the Yokohama area for more automotive places to visit, there is always ASM and Mooneyes. These 2 are pretty much along the same road (Although about 30-40 minutes walk apart), so i'll compile their guide together.

Starting off from Shinjuku station again, take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line straight to Yokohama Station. Switch to the Subway Minatomirai Line and head towards Motomachi station.

Head out towards the European-inspired Motomachi shopping area after you've reached the subway station. If you have the time, induldge in some fine shopping. But i was in a rush, so i skipped.

Make a left turn when you see the shopping area and continue walking along the path, along the way you'll be blasted by cold air from the "Bay" and see some American Surf-style shops too.

After about 20 minutes of walking, you'll soon see the ASM building to your right. To be frank, apart from the Wall of Recaros, you won't find much to keep you occupied.

From here on, i would seriously suggest you consider taking a taxi to Mooneyes Honmoku. The Mooneye's site has some directions if you want to take a taxi. A reason why i did not put the Google map image here is because well, it's really quite far from the station. Walking from ASM took me another 40 minutes.

If you insist on walking, just follow the same path down all the way. You will come across a few places to sit down and have a meal though. One of these places has a crazy portion of Soba at no extra price. Good if you are really really hungry.

Mooneyes will be just across the road and you will definetly see it.

By now you'd probably be really tired from all that walking(or not), pop into the Moon Cafe for some American-Deli Billy Bombers style grub.

Unlike ASM, there is sooo much to see here that you'll probably spend a good hour or two just browsing through all the "stuff". When you're done, just take a taxi back to Yokohama station. It isn't as expensive as you think. Or if you feel adventurous, try to find out if any of the buses as heading back towards the train station. For me, i took a taxi as it was alreay dark, the tempreture was dropping insanely fast and i felt it was too dangerous to attempt the 1 hour trek back.

Although Mooneyes was well worth the walk up, next time, i'll take a taxi. :P

How to get there? Studie Yokohama & Studie Tokyo

After my posts on the various automotive locales i've visited whilst in Japan, a few people have contacted me asking how to get to those places? (Most especially, Studie AG) Well, here's some directions for those willing to undertake the journey. This is by no means comprehensive (knowing how maze-like the Tokyo train network is), but it should point you in the right direction. To be honest, once you get the hang of the train system, it's not rocket science finding your way around.

Your best friend for navigating the train systems in Japan? Jorudan! Before you embark on your trip to Japan, some researching on this site is a MUST! Plan your itenary around this extremely useful site. What i usually do is make some printouts of the directions. There is also an iphone app. which is similar but not as detailed. Worth downloading just in case. But if you've done your homework on Jorudan, a detailed printout is all you need.

The directions to all the places will originate from Shinjuku station, not just because that was where i decided to set up base, but also it's one of the most centralised and accessible stations in Tokyo.

First up, let's take a trip to Studie Yokohama.

The initial train ride getting there is easy and there are multiple ways to get there, one of them is to take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line to Yokohama Station, and then transfer to the JR Yokohama Line to Shin-Yokohama station. Total travelling time will be about 40 odd minutes.

Do note that these are 2 seperate Yokohama stations, Yokohama and Shin-Yokohama. Shin-Yokohama serves mainly the bullet trains and Yokohama is the main gateway to Yokohama city.

Once you get out of the train station, head southwards along the train tracks. There are 2 exits, but as long as you keep walking along the tracks you won't get lose. The walk was longer then expected though, took me about 30-40 minutes, perhaps it was the extremely cold weather.

You will pass by a storage facility for brand new Porsches along the way. A Porsche dealership is nearby too. But mostly you'll be walking along some residential blocks.
Keep walking, and you will see Studie Yokohama on your left.

This is facing against the the direction you are walking. Just outside Studie. Here's what you'll be looking at on your way back to the train station.

Just follow the train tracks and you will see Studie!

Across the road from the showroom (& workshop) is the carpark where there were some really sweet rides sitting around.

How about Studie Tokyo? Personally, i found it easier getting to Studie Tokyo then Yokohama. Take the Keio Line from Shinjuku to Chofu-Tokyo station and transit to another train also along the Keio Line that will bring you towards Higashi-Fuchu. This part might be abit more difficult if you have limited or zero understating of Japanese. Heading into the suburbs, more and more signs will be exclusively in Japanese with the occasional tiny english text on the signboards. If in doubt, ask the friendly locals. Total travel time by train should be around 20-30 minutes.

Once you reach Higashi-Fuchu station, take a walk out of the station and you will come across a "Driving school" just outside(On the right side in the above photo). Head northwards towards the main road (the bigger one), and make a right turn.

Head straight for the next 10 minutes or so. You will walk past a Mazda Dealership and a BMW motorbike dealership along the way. Just after a 'Mart' of sorts, you'll see the Studie signage.

AC Schnitzer shares the same office as Studie Tokyo. Double the fun! Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Junction Produce at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2010

I just had to give these guys their own feature. The pioneers of the VIP movement, Junction Produce has been giving cars the VIP treatment since the early 90's.

Their booth at TAS was one of the most impressive, with a beautiful range of JDM luxo-barges all decked out in full JP style. From Toyota Crowns to Lexus's to Nissan Presidents and Cimas. If you didn't "get" what VIP cars are about, a trip to this section of the Auto Salon was all you needed. I totally loved it.

There was even a Bosozoku Bike hanging out next to the cars.

Gold pinstripes on black cars always go well.

VIP Lexus...

or as the Japanese call it, Celsior.

JP wheels and suspension kits.

As with all areas of TAS, there are some interesting people to be seen, at JP though, there were some "really interesting" people standing around. All in suits, and people i really didn't want to make any eye contact with. But they generally just stood around and didn't bother anyone. Nobody bothered them either.

These Bosozoku folks though were pretty friendy and were happy to have their photos taken.

These lovely ladies provided some eye candy as they sat on the motorbike. It created quite a crowd of camera wielding showgoers. But, somehow, their cameras were not aimed at the girls' faces. :x

'nuff said...