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Hoonworthy stops in Japan

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jibduh

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Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostMon May 20, 2013 1:53 pm

So, let's see... I'm taking my cue from Marto's USA trip and looking for some insight.

If you've done much traveling, have any of you made a stop in Japan? If so, have you found much of hoonworthy worth there? I'll likely be staying a few days in Tokyo with a friend, but will see if I can dig out my couchsurfing account to explore a bit of the country.

Non hoon attractions I should try to visit? Travel advice in general?

How open are the tracks to the public when there's not major races going on? Would I be wiser to drop all hopes of a car and pick up a train pass and bike?

I'll only have about two weeks at the end of June to beginning of July, so with that limitation to my epic, what have you got for me?
BlackIce_GTS wrote:M is a number somewhere between 53 and 75, X is between 12 and 13
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zsm

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostMon May 20, 2013 2:57 pm

Get an international driver's license and head to toyota mega web. There is a Toyota museum (lots of cars, not just Toyota), dealership (it's neat, the cars come right off of boats on these elevators), and some rides including a test track where you can drive (if you have that international driver's license). Mega web is pretty neat too (like Ceasar's in Vegas) so walk through from one end to the other. Sometimes they have cruise nights in a parking lot near mega web too. Same island is a big Sega arcade (near the mini statue of liberty), there you can drive a simulator in an AE86 on hydraulics plus have great crepes. Just walking around is neat to see cars, out in surrounding areas in hills might be better. Chiba might have a cruise night too. The headquarters of Subaru is in Tokyo too, but it's just a sky scraper. I saw this recently, never been there, and Osaka is pretty far away: http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/worlds ... -493122112 Have fun!
Well, you know what they say, "The candle that burns exponentially more durably, burns several decades after it was lit and for a completely different reason." - BlackIce_GTS
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Marto

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostMon May 20, 2013 7:45 pm

Just by coincidence, I just left Japan on my way to the states. Main advice: get a J Rail pass. Unlimited bullet train travel. Anyway, I didn't do any hoony stuff. But I did see an Enzo, a Flying Spur and a million lowrider scooters. And a cat locked in a Nissan Micra during a thunder storm.
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Marto

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostMon May 20, 2013 7:46 pm

Also, unless you like shrines, forget Kyoto.
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Marto

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostMon May 20, 2013 7:49 pm

Also also, most Japanese ATMs do not accept Mastercard at all. Only Citibank and the post office will help there.
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jibduh

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostTue May 21, 2013 9:36 am

zsm: Thank you! this is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. On the one hand, it looks like an international driving permit is only $15, a lot better than I was expecting. Though, taking a look at the mega web site (http://www.megaweb.gr.jp/About/en.html), my almost total lack of knowledge of the Japanese language could be a problem, depending on what they mean by:
"
*Test driving can be allowed only to those visitors who understand the Japanese language and have one of the following licenses:
"
The rest of the attractions do sound like they're worth the trip, so I'll definitely have to check the place out.

We'll see how far I manage to make it out of the city. It's a small country, but it seems a lot bigger when time has been compressed.
BlackIce_GTS wrote:M is a number somewhere between 53 and 75, X is between 12 and 13
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jibduh

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostTue May 21, 2013 9:44 am

Marto! Welcome to the US!

Thanks for the tips, you'll have to give a more through account in the other thread. I'd like to hear about where you did stop and whether you'd recommend a stop to someone following in your steps.

As for cash, was the citibank card accepted universally? Is there any sense in traveler's checks? My alternative line of thought was getting some pocket money exchanged and having more wired as necessary.
BlackIce_GTS wrote:M is a number somewhere between 53 and 75, X is between 12 and 13
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Marto

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostWed May 22, 2013 1:08 am

Japan is all cash. Your card is only there to get you more cash. Visa cards work in all ATMs I think. If you get a 2000 yen note hold onto it. They are insanely rare. Convenience stores in Japan rule, the food is fresh, cheap and delicious. And for the love of beer, get a Japanese speaking guide for at lest one day in Tokyo.

My highlight was the Japanese alps, but I'm am Aussie for whom snow is a mystically scarce thing.
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jibduh

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostWed May 22, 2013 7:18 am

I've just done a quick search on them, they sound a little rare. I'll keep an eye out for it, though I may just have to cheat and ask for one at the bank. 8-)

I think I'll have to take a trip to the mountains just for the scenery, if not for the snow in June (I'm all set on snow for the season!)
The guide is a good tip. How did you find yours?
BlackIce_GTS wrote:M is a number somewhere between 53 and 75, X is between 12 and 13
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zsm

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostWed May 22, 2013 2:30 pm

What Marto said, I used a Visa in an ATM. Almost no place takes credit card (rarely JCB). The convenience stores are everywhere and that's what you'll eat and drink from most. I would recommend you find a fried food place too. There are ones that are like all you can eat for the sides (like cabbage, fried veggies, and miso soup) but you choose the fried tempura and panko meat that you want. Not so much near Tokyo, but other places near train stations there are udon noodle places. Just like a curtain, bar stools, and a counter. If you find one, try that. They serve it REALLY hot (temperature). If you want spendy but worth it, try and find a recommendation for Kobe beef somewhere and get a good grade. Another good thing pretty much everywhere is curry, it's almost like brown gravy but more flavored. There are really expensive curry places and really cheap ones too. Give sushi a shot too if you like that. I found a random place next to a grocery store that was better than any place I've ever been in US. If you stay at a hotel, a good thing to try once is the breakfast. Often for like $10-15 they have a certificate you can get when checking in (cheaper than paying the morning of, I don't know why, just is that way) and then you get the breakfast buffet. you can try all sorts of things then. Also if your hotel has a spa, give that a shot. You basically need to wash yourself really well first in the shower area, then grab a fresh towel for later when you come out and soak in the buff in the hot water.

If you are pressed for time and only around Tokyo, here are some other not car recommendations. Are you flying in to Narita? If so, take the bus when you land (they have these coaches outside, buy tickets at what looks like car rental counters). You get to see some roads then. On the way back, take the train, then you see different scenery (more farms).

Do you like animation? There is a studio Ghibli museum nearby. You need to get a reservation in advance (tickets not sold at the door, very limited amount of people allowed). You do that at a touch screen that looks sort of like an ATM at 7/11 (probably the most common convenience store). I would print out the instructions on the web page and bring them with you and ask for help from a 7/11 employee, cause they don't really match-up.

Do you like electronics? Go to Akibara and head to a camera store, like ten story one, I think BIC is the one i went to. It's pretty neat to look at what is for sale. There is also a Taito arcade there and you might see women dressed as maids on the streets trying to get otaku to eat with them. Yeah it makes no sense, but Japan!

How about toy stores? Go to Harijuku. You will see the Take-a-shit-a exit (no joke, has a WC men and women symbol on the same sign) and if you go right you have a big shrine (yippie, can cross that one off the list) and if you go left it will be super crowded. Lots of shoppers, but about two blocks in is a great big multi-story toy store. Also they have people dressed in cosplay there.

Will you be there with friends? I suggest a night of drinking and karaoke! Oh man do they do this right. You reserve a private room and they serve alcohol, it's a blast! They are all over. Stay away from Roppongi, it's way overrated, and full of people trying to take advantage of you. But the best karaoke bar I went to (went to three) was at the place that is like the new Roppongi, less seedy, can't recall the name of the area though, think it started with a Sh sound, but I don't think it was Shinjuku. Has a lot of dance clubs there. If you go dancing, again Japanese are insane when it comes to partying, they don't really start until about 2AM! Sleep it off in a pod hotel if you have to, but be prepared for smoke everywhere, i had to leave because of that.

Oh yeah, thought of another car thing, take a ride in a Japanese taxi once, just for the experience. The cabbie will have this uniform with white gloves. He (always a he I swear) will use a lever to open the door for you, and then he will drive pretty spiritedly. That mega web thing, looks like things changed a bunch. back when I was there you could drive the Japanese Toyota version of the IS on the track, and people were really hustling. Before I left you did not need the international license, but when I got there, that was the case, a recent change. There was nothing about the reading Japanese requirement though. It's really like a small track, don't know why you would need to read a thing... For $15, you might as well give it a shot, maybe they meant a test drive, like test drive a car from the dealership on surrounding streets? You can rent a car, a coworker of mine did, but it's really expensive to drive. Work covered it for him back then though.
Well, you know what they say, "The candle that burns exponentially more durably, burns several decades after it was lit and for a completely different reason." - BlackIce_GTS
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zsm

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostWed May 22, 2013 2:41 pm

Neat, it looks like you will be traveling. If you decide not to go N, my favorite city was Kobe. They call it the international city, and because of that the people were very friendly and outgoing for Japanese to me. It's also pretty, I hiked in the mountains a lot. There is a great little jazz club too. That's pretty surreal to witness, Japanese Jazz, often in English or French. Also in Kyoto the people were friendly, I think they were used to tourists, but yes it's all shrines really, which is cool if that's what you want to see. My favorite place in Japan was Hakone and the surrounding areas, less hustle and bustle, scenic.
Well, you know what they say, "The candle that burns exponentially more durably, burns several decades after it was lit and for a completely different reason." - BlackIce_GTS
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Marto

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Re: Hoonworthy stops in Japan

PostSat May 25, 2013 8:32 pm

ZSM said it way better than I could. As for a "guide" I was lucky to be staying with a few Japanese speaking (and more importantly Japanese reading) people.

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