Untitled : 06/23/2005

Japan Trip Report - Day 7

Fun Ride magazine picks us up at 10:30am just as the rainy season begins in Japan. Actually it turns out to be an isolated day of rain based on the activity of a typhoon that is in the area. Regardless, a steady drizzle begins which continues all day.

We drive to their magazine HQ to do the interview and to take some studio shots. They’ve hired a big gun photographer for this occaision because he is good at capturing expressions, especially foreigners expressions they tell us. Lord only knows what these shots are going to look like because they get Peter and I acting pretty ridiculous. My fingers are crossed that we don’t wind up looking like the dork brothers.

The interview continues while they shoot the detail shots of our bikes and then we head out for one rainy riding shot. They had hoped to have us poach some singletrack in Tokyo’s biggest park but the rain has messed that up unfortunately. We get to ride back the short ways to their office one-handed holding umbrellas over our heads as we ride Japanese style.

Actually I can vouch that some of the sidewalk bike commuters in Japan have tremenous bike handling abilities. We saw one guy riding doing the umbrella and soda can in one hand, while holding a cigarette in the other. He had to make the sudden move to the brake lever and pulled it off without dropping anything. Impressive!

When the interview is complete they drive us back to Shinjuku to drop us off. One note about the Japanese bike mags. They seem very high quality, print on extremely nice paper, have some really clean photography, and a lot of content. They aren’t cheap to buy of course, but it is nice seeing the great work they put out. Very refreshing compared to some of the U.S. mags.

We grab a quick bite to eat and then go to two more large Tokyo bike shops via some train connections. It’s funny because we get seperated from Rie in one of them when we think we’ll be more efficient and cross through the gate while she goes to get her ticket. Turns out she went through a different gate though, so Peter has to use his cell phone to reunite us.

Our first stop is Galaxy bike shop which is a two floor store, you guessed it, filled with the an incredible inventory of product. We talk about the brand a bit and enjoy an ice coffee. When we’re finished I go to pay for the rasta anodized spacers I want to buy but they tell me that it is now a gift. Totally unneccessary, but very nice of them all the same.

We raise our 100 yen umbrellas once more as we head back to the train that will take us to OD Annex, an outdoor retailer that does everything from camping and climbing stuff to bikes. They have three buildings all within a block or two of each other. In the bike shop, we see the most incredible collection of Campy stuff. It is in a glass case with labels telling the model and year. The owner of the collection is the shops mechanic who is quite famous in Japan. He shows us pictures of some of his bike collection that he keeps at home. Incredible.

On the wall of the shop hangs the #6 Colnago ever produced complete with original parts. It turns out both Colgango and Campy have been trying to buy this guys collection as he has stuff that they don’t! But, the stuff is not for sale. It is just for his enjoyment and the viewing pleasure of those that come to the shop. Nice.

In his headbadge collection is a really cool diamond shaped badge with the world champion stripe borders and a photo of Eddy Merckx in the center. Man was that thing cool!

He also has his newest hobby on display, building robots from bike parts. A whole shelf of them made up from shock bodies, brake arms…you name it. It’s pretty fun stuff.

After leaving OD Annex we wander through an outdoor market and then stop at a little sushi resteraunt to eat. The prepared dishes ride past us on a moving conveyor and we just grab dishes as they come by. The sushi chef is making the stuff fresh constantly so you can grab it as fresh as can be as he puts it out. I try a few different dishes and they are all very tasty. You know how much something costs based on the color or patter of the plate that it is on. A pretty ingenious system I must say.

When we are finished the wait staff comes and tallies our plates to calculate our bill. We lift the umbrellas again and take the train back to Shinjuku.

It’s 9pm and the electronics store is open till 10pm so I wander through the maze of digital goodies. They have tons of cool things, especially some really nice Nikon lenses that get me jazzed up. 17mm F2.8…oh that would be nice indeed!


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