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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got to travel a bit East of Boston.

Many evenings of research, Google Translate, Google Map, many e-mails and a few international calls, my trip to Japan became reality.

I visited the later part of October and November during fall foliage season. Koyo!

Being a MK2 geek, I really wanted to meet some Celica XX owners in Japan. Even if it was a quick hello.

Then visit historical and scenic locations, and experience as much Japanese culture and food as possible.

Simply, it was great. Many memorable experiences. Too much to write here, so I’ll list my tops (work safe):
- Meeting some Celica XX owners : Satoshi, Giro, Mahki, and their marvelous XX's. It's confirmed, they are Celica XX/MK2 geeks also!
- Giro’s gift of fake wax sushi. I still laugh to this day about it.
- Satoshi. Too much to thanks and say.
- Okonomiyaki – I like the Hiroshima style best. Hassho restaurant was the best.
- Driving through rural Japan. Gifu prefecture is very scenic with lots of rolling big hills, nice roads, more tunnels than Switzerland (it has too!), and fall foliage was really spectacular.
- Toyota factory tour and museum. No picture taking allowed at the factory. :( Though the plant was likely where the MK2 was manufactured.
- Some of favorite stops: Kanazawa, Takayama, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo.
- Okonomiyaki! Yep, I’m addicted.
- The toy and hobby stores. Leave your credit cards in a safe place. One could go bankrupt!
- Many people I met in Japan.
- And no matter where I went to eat, it was *always* good and tasty. I could easily go back just to eat. :D


So this thread won’t be completely useless, here are some select pics.


Tokyo Celica XX ultra mini-meet. They were really nice Celica XX's.


Satoshi and Giro next to their Celica XX's. This was after one fine Japanese dinner.


Nice car.


Funny characters at Ueno Park


Japan's Romatic Road - hours of HD video I need to process...


Matsumoto Castle


Hida farm houses


The *real* MKII in Japan


Super Rhindo Road closed due to snow. :*(


My turbo rental car


Toyota museum


Todaiji Temple - largest wooden structure in the world. And one big Buddha inside.


Shugaku-in Imperial Villa -I was very fortunate to visit. A long funny story I can not even describe here...


Mazda factory tour. The famous Cosmo..


Morning view in Miyajima from my Ryokan


Miyajima Itsukushima Shrine


Miyajima - Walking down from Mt. Misen


Big thanks to PhilB, as when the trip plans finally lined up, he was literally a cheerleader. “Go see and do everything!”

And Domo arigato gozaimasu to Satoshi. Memories for a lifetime. I'll definitely visit Japan again.
 

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I'm jealous. Seems I never get to go anywhere.
 

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That rocks dude, been dying to go to Japan for the longest. Even taking Japanese classes in preparation for it. :sadsmilie, one of these days eventually. Congrats on finally heading out there too
 

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Jim King sighting....about as common as seeing bigfoot in these here parts :badger:

Looks like an awesome trip - we need more stories/pics!
 

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Most excellent adventure!

Please post up some more photos when you have a chance - especially of the Toyota and Mazda museums...
 

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Wow! what a trip. Cool pics of the bad 2000. The Closest I've been to japan is kyoto steak house. lol.
 

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Geez Jim, looks like you had quite an experience...good for you!

What's next, taking a spin with Dan Gurney? lol

You da man!
 

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Awsome pics Jim! It looks like you had a blast out there.

Jim King sighting....about as common as seeing bigfoot in these here parts :badger:
lol yea it's been a while!
 

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Amazing for sure! Has been a while without you here Jim... I as well have that place on my places to visit.
 

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I wanna go to japan and raid some xx stashes:naughty: Really though speedstar rims and either a regulus or an old style erebuni kit. I'd be one happy camper, then I'd see the toy factory:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A few more items to note.

- Premium Japanese toilets rule. The Toto company has the best one.

- Seeing older Japanese cars is rare. Keeping an older car in Japan is expensive. Hence the JDM export motors. And when I say older, anything pre-1995.

- Fortunately, I've been able to see a MK2 in all my trips. Though this time,
it was pre-arranged. No suprise sightings. :(

- A common misconception is it's expensive to travel in Japan. A few things are more costly than other countries. Car rental was nearly $100/day. I only
had the car for 8 days. Japan toll roads are mighty expensive. I had to eat that cost twice. A Japan Rail pass for foreign visitors is the best value. Overall, it fit within my normal travel budget, which is on par with traveling in the States.

The parking police in Tokyo.
Day 2, I'm at a local Doutor coffee shop looking out the window. The parking police wear green uniforms. Imagine Joe Pesi and Danny Devito as parking police. This larger car is parked not within the lines. Both these guys bring out these measuring devices, electronic handheld recording devices, etc. They are poking all around the car for measurements. It's almost like for every parking measurement infraction, they are adding more to this guys parking ticket.

The guy comes running out of a building, obviously realizing the longer they probe, he's getting in deeper doo-doo. Clearly, these parking police are enjoying this, as busting this guys ballz is part of their job perk.

Later, Satoshi indicated that many parking police were retired regular police.

Getting lost
It's always going to happen when visiting some place new. I'm usually good at getting un-lost. Though in a country with a different character set, it can be a bit challenging. The rental car GPS did provide major place names in English, though that was it. It kept saying things in a woman's Japanese voice. I had no clue.

The most fun I had was when I stopped at a park entrance, which meant I was missed the turn off road. Two women were at the park office, and realized I had a map, so I was lost. I indicate where I wanted to go, and one starts talking directly in Japanese. I infer she is giving directions. She stops, then realizes her mistake. I didn't understand one word. She laughs a little, then apologizes in volume. Both get on the phone and all I understand is they are saying "Eggo". Which means they are calling everyone they know if anyone speaks English to help me out.

Out comes pen and paper, and I indicate we can resolve it with pictures. This has saved my arse many times.The road I missed was closed for construction. Go figure. So she draws the road back to town, makes traffic light signals and when I need to turn for the alternate road.

I thank them, and they were so jubilant were able to help me. I emailed Satoshi about experience, and he said I "really" made their day helping me.

Which I found many other instances of this. Some would go out of their way to help a traveler. In Hiroshima, I stopped at a bakery since I knew I was really close to the hotel. The woman actually walked me to the hotel 2 blocks away.


More pics

A river raft tour in Kyoto. We pull up to a snack boat. :)
This is where I would have preferred to know more Japanese. One of the boat guides was funny. Though in the end, I learned some more Japanse...


Another nice autumn picture in Takayama


Look closely for the CelicaXX visual


Some JDM car pics..






 

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Jim! I had no idea just saw this! Thanks for the update and awesome pics, yes, as you have heard I too want to go there so thanks so much for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I started taking longer distance vacations about 10 years ago. Prior to then, I actually did not take any vacation for nearly 3 years. :duh:

The GF at the time was European, and indicated I was not well traveled. Gee thanks. Although not the icing on the cake, the complaining about my MK2 ended that relationship. Surprised?

With Rick Steves travel book, I traveled to Germany for 2 weeks. Although a great experience, I did it the "see as much as you can" American style. Even a black MK2 sighting on the Autobahn!

The next year, I had still had 5 weeks of accrued vacation I had to burn. The company said use it or loose it. A few of us were in this situation. So we could either work short work weeks or use it all at once. I packed up for 5 weeks traveling in Europe.

This time, I decided to spend a bit more time at different locations. Traveling can be exhausting and it's almost like one needs a rest vacation after a vacation.

After that, I was addicted.

Mind you, I've met some people so much more traveled than myself, I'm still a noob traveler.
 
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