Terry and I packed in quite a bit during his first afternoon and evening in Tokyo. We walked around the Imperial Palace grounds before hiking it over to Ginza where I made him spend an enormous amount of time at the Nissan Gallery and Nissan Headquarters. The design of the Gallery, located at the corner Ginza's main intersection, is on the sterile end, perfect for a showroom. The two floors looked like the interior of a spaceship on the set of a Sci-Fi flick, especially the second floor.
At the time of our visit, the Gallery was hosting two vehicles. The recently released GT-R and the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R which qualified for pole position in its debut SuperGT race. It ended up finishing second to another GT-R, the XANAVI NISMO GT-R which qualified at the #2 spot. Leaving with GT-R brochures and DVDs in hand, we went around the corner and stumbled upon a black riced-out Skyline GT-R R34 parked on the street. After snapping a few photos we moved onto Nissan's headquarters in Ginza which was only a few blocks away from the Gallery.
Nissan's headquarters occupies a few nondescript buildings a few blocks away from Ginza's central shopping area. While the exterior is bland, the interior of the main building reflects the design of the gallery with a little more restraint. Outside, Nissan vehicles on display included the GT-R in a few colorways along with a few more pedestrian models. In the showroom, they had a number of Skylines from the early 70s to present day which is covered in my Flickr set. If you are seeking more information on these Skylines, check out Nissan's official website or this Australian site.
The XANAVI NISMO GT-R R34 (BNR34 2002) was the most interesting car there. One of the predecessors of the current car which won the first two races so far of its debut season, seeing one up close revealed a bunch of details I was never aware of. While F1 cars are sleek with every piece on its body accounted for during the initial design phase, the GT500 cars resembled Frankenstein. There were holes everywhere for crude pipes and nozzles, the exhaust pipes were made out of flexible metal tubing, everything looked like it was hacked together in the middle of the race which only added to its character. Toss in a few dents and scratches, throw on some dirt and we'll have a winner!
Our next stop was Akihabara but by the time we got there, many of the stores were closing down. I took Terry through the seven-floor porn shop (one of many) close to the JR Station, however, I couldn't explain everything in there as well as Kevin. After meandering through some toy stores including a few dedicated to Gundam, we strolled through the arcade so I could show Terry some of the cool games the Japanese get to play.
At the top of the list was Banpresto's Gundam: Senjou no Kizuna played in a capsule-shaped machine with a 180-degree panoramic screen featuring a full cockpit view. Looks pretty cool but the costs deterred me from ever trying it out. From what I've seen the only other thing I could ask for is maybe a motion simulator in the cockpit? Guess the costs associated with that would be a little much right now, and what would they have left up their sleeve if they introduced everything at once?
Other games of note included mahjong games such as Konami's Mahjong Fight Club which networked players and had some pretty good graphics, and Magic: The Gathering-like games where players had to ante up cards. But instead of playing on a table, you play on an arcade machine with RFID-enabled cards. Your moves on the playing deck of the machine are translated to digital animations on the screen. Like the Gundam game, there are pretty high costs associated with the game. You have to buy packs of RFID-enabled cards to build up your deck and to have something to ante up. They can't be cheap.
Terry's first dinner... Mexican?
Everything in Japan is pretty efficient. I ordered a bibindon once and before I was able to put down three lines in my sketchbook, the rice bowl was in front of me. Unfortunately, Terry's first meal in Tokyo was at a Mexican joint (Kevin's classmates like to avoid Japanese food at all costs), at the edge of Roppongi, which had the slowest service I've ever seen in Tokyo.
The next day we followed Kevin and his crew to Kamakura to prep Terry for his week of temples and relics. We visited a somewhat large statue of Amida Buddhathen then walked over to the beach, nothing much to report, we stayed all of five minutes before everyone decided it was too cold. From there we went straight to Shibuya to show Terry around and that was it for Terry's initial Tokyo stay. He left the next morning to go out West.