May 21st, the sun rises in Utsunomiya Japan. A weary traveler awakens, his body restored after a good nights sleep, ready to stride out into this strange new land in search of more Sofubi, Gokin and hopefully, Polyethylene goodness. Today was the day a certain fellow from SF had managed to secure me an audience with the great Ishida-san of Kaikodo. The trains were as such though that me and my friend decided it would be better to head back to Tokyo, hit Jyarinco and then stop off at Kaikodo as it was on the same train line we’d need to get back.
Off we went, and for whatever reason, it was decided we were going to ride bikes to the train station….. Now is a good time to mention I hadn’t ridden in over 10 years… I think you can fill in the blanks yourself here..So ok, after a train ride that lasted a little over an hour we arrived at Ueno station. Both being hungry, we headed out to get something quick to chow down before getting on the Tokyo metro subway for Machiya and then Jyarinco. first thing we hit up was a McDonald’s. Ohhh hell yeah. Why is that soo special you ask? Well, in Japan, they still serve the mythical fried apple pies.
We sat down and after making a quiet toast to JoshB and CDX I skipped the meal and headed right for desert… and Gentlemen, it was yum to the max.
The subway ride was uneventful, though I did see some awesome character warning signs, forgot to take pics I’m afraid though. The map in Tokyo underground came in real handy here, the streets were a bit twisty and it took a few wrong turns but we finally arrived at shop #2, Jyarinco.
Luckily for my sanity this shop was muuuuuuuch better layed out and organized than Senshutei.
After the initial greetings with the owner, I started to look around.
One thing I noticed was that this shop seemed to be very Sofubi heavy compared to the others I’d been to this trip, not a bad thing, I had a few sofu pieces I was gunning for.
I whipped out my wish list pics and we went though them together, the first thing that came out was a Mecha Machine Blazer. the price was a bit high for a loose one, at 25k. I kept looking. I saw a complete set of those carded Harlock vinyls hanging next to a Blue Noah set I’d never seen, though the card was damaged on the Harlock set.
Cool stuff for sure. I showed him pics of my collection, just so he knew I wasn’t a casual tourist looking for go-bots or transformers. while he checked those I noticed a ZZ-8 JM accessory fist castle on top of one of the gokin cases, the box was beat but it was complete. Ikura desuka? He thought for a moment and said 5,000 yen… fantastic! onto the counter it went. he handed back the pics eyes wide eyed and we went into the gokin cases. I snagged the Astro Mu tank from there along with an Ark King Joe and a couple 1/144 Blockheads, 2 different paint schemes. There wasn’t a key for the tank so I wasn’t able to test it out, but it was cheap so it was worth the risk. we went back to the counter and added everything up. He was being a bit inflexible when it came to the final price. I was about to put back the Blazer cause it was high to begin with and I figured I would find another one later.
I took one last look in the vinyl case and saw a killer Dougram mini sofubi along with a Popy clear Barom 1 in good shape (until now I never realized these were soo small, but you can’t put a price on the awesome internal details on these guys). I went to pay for them and saw the blazer sitting there. I guess I made a sad puppy dog sorta face cause he offered to slash 5,000 yen off the price on it. I said what the hell and went for it, granted the price was still high, but I really wanted one of these and didn’t want to risk not being able to find another one. Before we left I took a quick tourist shot with him and we headed out.
It was still a bit early so on the way to Kaikodo my friend suggested we check out Harajuku. it was cool, got to see some interesting things that’s for sure.
Ummmm…. ok….. Now THERE’S a character that Matt should have put into Hello Please! After a bit of wandering in Harajuku we hopped the next train bound for Okegawa for what I knew would be the most mind blowing shop of the day, Kaikodo! We got there and found the place pretty easily. The sun was starting to set and we were both kinda tired from wandering most of the day but as soon as I saw that sign the lust started to flow anew.
After a couple of obligatory tourist V pose shots I entered. Whoa…. Sjoen told me this was a HUGE, KILLER shop but I was still flabbergasted.
The greetings were made and I asked about taking pics. At the time Ishida-san was out of the shop, I still showed the employees there pics of the collection and wish list. What got me was how the gal working there knew all the toys I was looking for, amazed at the shot of the magnemo groizer x, and shocked at the toy room shots. At this point my friend Satomi became an official “Toy Widow”. She opted to wait outside as the shop was a bit on the hot/stuffy side. Myself and an employee walked across the store to one of the gokin cases that had the major dx box sets and the like.
Some great stuff and the prices weren’t all that crazy either. I picked out a clover DX Walker Garrier. I wandered a bit more, finding myself in front of one of the vinyl cases.
I picked out a few cool items there, mini sofubi Blazer, Mekanda, Xabungle enemy bot and a Godamu. the Blazer and Mekanda were unmarked, this would lead to some interesting stuff later on. we went around the corner to another vinyl case, this one stuffed with Mid size and larger pieces.
I made my selection and we moved on, it was kinda cool having the shop worker there along side me, keys in hand, ready to open any and every case I wanted to dig around and grab at stuff. Here I should also mention that Kaikodo was probably the most smartly laid out of any of the shops I went to. You’d have one case of mini sofubi, another with mid size and up, then you’d have one case with Macross and Orguss stuff, another with Takemi/Bullmark gokin, etc. all of it separated out by genus and phylum as it were. It made things a lot easier when it came to hunting stuff down, you can tell Ishida-san cares about this stuff by how everything was neat and well displayed, like this was his personal collection.
More selections were made, one of which was a Meisaku Q-taro that at first glance appeared to be only 5,000 yen… wtf?!?! that’s cheap as hell! And here, this is a lesson kids, make sure you read a price sticker very carefully. Turns out it was 85,000, for whatever reason they had it written as 80k and then 5,000, this I didn’t find out till we were adding it all up. By now I had been digging wide eyed for a while, grabbing some killer stuff. I looked at my watch and saw it had been a while and Satomi was still waiting outside. I made a final sweep and asked them to let me open boxes, examine the pieces and ring everything up. As the tabulations were made they discovered some of the vinyls I’d selected didn’t have prices. Both employees called Ishida-san to get the information from him, one would be running the numbers while the other talked to him and vice versa. It dragged out for a looong while, I didn’t get the specifics but there was a problem with the math when they tried to add in the discount Ishida had authorized over the phone I guess. After the 3rd phone call Ishida decided he wanted to see what the fuck was going on and meet the strange Gaijin who was buying such a massive pile of higher end gokins and vinyl. Luckily he was at his office around the corner and was there within 10-15 mins. We exchanged greetings and I showed him the collection pics and the tabulations began anew. By this point Satomi had come back inside the store to see what was going on. At this point there were 2 different notepads and a calculator working to get the numbers right. When it came out to roughly 180,000 I figured something had to be put back. when I looked at the scribblings I saw that the Q-Taro was 85k (d’oh), that had to go cause I only had 65k on me at the time. Also returned was a loose incomplete DX Ideon at 9k. Ugh, it was still WAAYYYYY over what I could possibly spend. Ishida seemed to notice my confusion and sad/worried expression so he asked me how much I had on me. I pulled out my wallet and, being careful to show I was completely emptying the contents of it, I showed him the 65k I was carrying. Without batting an eye he said OK and had his guys ring it all up…… I was shocked… he had basically taken nearly 20k right off the top like it was nothing. I thanked him like a thousand times, becoming somewhat emotional about everything while his guys carefully wrapped everything in bubble wrap and plastic. Before we left a group shot was taken, a massive dumb-ass grin plastered on my face.
This was a truly amazing, even magical, stop off.
Ishida-san and his guys working there were awesome, knowledgeable, clearly as into this as you or I, kind and courteous, putting up with my odd questions and requests without even a glimmer of annoyance. After the funds were exchanged we headed to the door, all 3 of them came out with me for a rather drawn out sweet farewell, waving and saying to be sure to come back and see them again as me and my dead tired partner for the day headed off to the station to return back to Utsunomiya. It was this time I remembered how we had to somehow ride bikes back with bags of gokin and sofubi goodness in hand once we returned…. you can imagine how that went I’m sure O_o. besides that last min. snag the day worked out perfectly, I managed to check off a bunch of wish list items, saw awesomely cool non-toy related sights, got to meet and hang out with some amazing, kind and cool folks and to top it all off, ATE A MOTHERFUCKING DEEP FRIED APPLE PIE, WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *ahem*.. ummm… yeah…. Soooo here’s the score card again as it were.
Jyarinco: ZZ-8, 1/144 Blockhead x2, Mecha Machine Blazer, Sofubi clear Barom 1 and mini dougram, Ark King Joe, Astro Mu tank. Kaikodo: Mini sofubi Mekanda, Blazer, Godamu, Xabungle enemy, MFV Pegas, DX Walker Garrier, Grip Rockbat, Grip Pegas tank, 1/40 Orguss, 1/40 Nikick, M Lover Mea, Bullmark Z-gokin Blazer…. Well not much else to say here folks. Hope you enjoyed another long winded rambling old man style tale of my strange adventures over there. Stay tuned for “Umm, Where’s My Passport Part 3: Tales from the Bandai Museum, Yeah, Fun-Tak should hold that down juuuust fine.”