japan gtr street scene

Invading Japan :: Day 1

Japan GTR

Thanks to a spur of the moment ‘impulse buy’ plane ticket to Japan 3 months ago, I’m now writing to you from my very first night in Japan. In fact my very first night in another country all together!!

My trip started just 24 hours ago leaving from Melbourne, Australia.

With a flight time of just 10 hours it was on the shorter side of international flights from Australia.

As we approached Japan around 6 am we were treated to some amazing views above the clouds. The sun was just starting to rise as the moon was just disappearing.

Closer to 7am we arrived over Japan and began our decent to Narita airport still traveling close to 800kph!!

I stepped off the plan at 7:15 and stopped dead in the walkway just taking in the fact I was now over 60,000 kilometers from home and now in the northern hemisphere… This was reinforced by the sight of some of the airport support vehicles.

Only a handful of recognizable Toyota Hiace van’s way down the end of the line.

Once you get off the plane you are confronted with one of the longest corridors I have ever seen. Thankfully my aching legs were given a rest thanks to this motorized walkway.

After a small eternity you find a set of stairs that leads to… Another corridor!!

This meant another walkway and this one came with a view of the landing aircraft.

After all those corridors and clearing customs I was thirsty! I opted for the ever popular BOSS Coffee out of one of the infamous Japanese vending machines. Yum!

At 8:30am the local terminal post office at the airport had opened and I picked up our rental sim cards, we picked these bad boys up from CDJapan rental and they shipped them to a post office of our choice a few days before we were due to arrive.

After a bit of messing around I had finally setup my phone to work with the new sim and now I am running amok with unlimited 4G access here in Japan. All for around $30 AUD!!

The next step was catching the train out of the Airport, this was very daunting after only 1-2 hours sleep on the flight overnight.

We found a few very friendly people that guided us even if their directions were a little wrong we eventually found the correct platform and we’re on our way to our first location.

Only minutes out of the airport we were met with the site of classic Japanese houses and it began sinking in again… “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…”. There was however a few familiar sights like this MacDonald’s.

After about a 3o minute train ride we arrived at Shimbashi station, our first hotel was in Ginza, Tokyo which was only a short walk from this stop.

Before we even made it out of the station we had stumbled across a local equivalent of a Bread Top bakery. This was of course sooo much better though!  (Yes that is blocks of chocolate on top of a bread roll what of it?!).

We climbed the stairs to freedom and for the first time we breathed outside air! The first sight on foot was this giant tv screen playing a loop. The text on screen read “The desire won’t stop!“.

Only a hundred meters up the road we found a familiar sight some of our Sydney readers will recognize… Yep Japan has it all!!

Our hotel wouldn’t let us check in till 3pm which meant we had some serious time to kill. This is not a problem it seems with so much to see and do especially when the simple sight of a car is enough to get you excited enough to run across the street.

We spotted this Porsche dealership/service center with a beautiful red GT2 RS on show in the window… Our kind of window shopping!! It was just a little bit out of our price range though.

Out back was a small service area with two customer cars getting some work done.

It didn’t take long to spot the differences between streets here and back in Melbourne. Every square inch is practically spotless!! There’s hardly a bin in sight which makes it even harder to understand how they keep the place this clean!

There’s also bikes everywhere and we didn’t find a single bench seat all day!

Walking around we found this little guy called “Pekru”. He was sporting a cute little bee outfit and his owner was more than happy to have him pose for a photo.

Once we stopped being so distracted by all the new sights and sounds I began noticing all the cars whizzing by. This BMW M4 quickly caught my attention. It’s amazing how many European cars are over here.

I was becoming very taken by this city, every street was littered with shops and signs. It’s so densely populated there’s no wasted space whatsoever.

This white GTR sounded amazing as it approached the lights.

Once it went past it was clear to see why it sounded so good, check out those pipes!

We were still a few hours early for our Hotel check in so we headed to a place known as toy heaven!

With four levels dedicated to all things fun it was like reliving my childhood as we went up each floor moving through all the stages of my adolescent toy ownership.

The first two floors were dedicated to novelty items and stuff for the younger kids, there were stuffed animals from the farm, zoo and even underwater sea creatures! Japan does not discriminate.

We quickly found the Studio Ghibli corner, Totoro!!! There was hundreds of them!

Who else had one of these wooden train sets as a kid??

There was a display cabinet full of dancing Disney characters… It was actually kind of creepy to watch them all dance while perfectly synchronised.

As we moved up to the third and fourth floors the toys matured. There were heaps of finely detailed puzzles, look another Totoro!!

Yep all the current 5-10 year old’s favorites together… Minions, Gremlins and even a Chucky dolll!

I would not have been able to keep these bad boys in their packaging as a kid… In fact I don’t even think I could now ether!

Beetle battle!!! Yes these wind-up beetles will fight to the death for your honor!

Up the back of the very top floor we found the toy shop holy grail… A full sized 8 lane slot car race track.

With huge sloping/banking corners…

And tight hairpins it was easily the most interesting slot car track I have ever seen.

The guys working there happily chucked on an Audi R8 for a few laps for me to see it all in action. Check out the sweet action figure crowd cheering the racers on.

This shop managed to kill all the time we needed to check in to our hotel so we headed back outside.

Eventually we followed the puzzling sounds of blaring Asian-pop music to this truck with PA speakers that was “cutting” laps all over town advertising for a local company.

It actually drove straight past our hotel so we found it super easy to get back!

After an exciting yet exhausting first day in Japan we had dinner and picked up some supplies before heading in for the night. I found another reason to love Japan. This small bounty was had for less then $30 AUD!!! So cheap!!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for loads of updates with plenty of car content coming your way!!

– Gwyn.