Well im back from a rather brief trip to the G motherland and while im deflating from holiday mode, I thought Id write a post about it and how things have changed in the last decade. Turns out ive gone 5 times in the last 12 years or so and I’ll happily go back tomorrow if given the chance… even tho my Japanese is still rubbish I can pull off a convincing enough greeting that they start a full conversation with me where I then bail and try to get my mouth around “I don’t speak Japanese” in Japanese and a flurry of gomennasai’s (sorry) and profuse bowing haha
the place changes dramatically in the space of a couple years, whole neighbourhoods have gone from dingy alleys to paved marble, oh and look, that skyscraper now has a train line running thru it! lol
So the best part of japan (apart from, well, everything) is spotting Gs in the wild, walking thru the airport I spotted at least 3 5000s, one on a guard, one on a ground crew guy and one on the chick at immigration, then a splashing of various 5600s and 5500s on other staff and locals at the food court. On any given train there’s at least a handful of diff. Gs in the space of half a carriage. The common trend is not surprisingly, mostly smaller Gs, mostly digital and mostly on “salary man” workers of all ages. The question of wearing a G with business attire/suit would probably be quite amusing there as its pretty much as common as choosing a shoulder bag over a briefcase. Oh and I always manage to come across an old guy with a vintage protrek for some reason lol
If the school kids are wearing watches, its likely a G. it wasn’t all digitals tho, mtg’s, gpw’s and gsteels were out and about along with the gwa1100fc that seems to still be sold at most places and still getting a lot of love. The price of which was around Y56800 which im sure is higher than when they were originally released cos that’s close to AUD rrp!
On to the hunt, let me start by saying, the internet has ruined everything lol being a little naïve years ago, and more so having to do the leg work yourself as opposed to just reading someone’s blog for tips or looking up new releases/rarities made things a little more special and rewarding. My first few trips were great in that sense, I like buying models I haven’t seen before or don’t see very often, scouring little alleyways and finding gems in shops that most wouldn’t even think to look. It was all very Indiana jones-like, you never knew what was around the next corner or in that back cabinet. Nowadays, everything is all out in the open, everyone knows all the models (or can easily find whats available) and where to find them. don’t get me wrong tho, this helps me as much as the next guy but it does lose the magic esp. when our AUD is still in the toilet, gone are the days it was on parity with the yen and things were cheaper enough to warrant a purchase. The forex on this trip pretty much landed most things in the “might as well just buy it online” column. I normally come back with a suitcase bursting at the seams but I didn’t even buy sneakers! :-0 (tho i did buy 2 pairs as soon as i got home to make up for it :p ) came back with under 2kg on top of my original weight limit, some 4kg under my return limit, have never don’t that before, normally im loading up my carryon and wearing half my packed clothes to save weight haha
There were of course finds to be had, I mean where else in the world would you be able to spot a mrg100, dw6100, dw6500 or a bunch of dw003s just lying in a pile at a flea market? (I might’ve been getting the gai jin price but they were def. asking too much for the condition of some of them) the used market has swollen and is bursting with popular areas like Harajuku and shibuya sprouting streets full of used goods stores but that poses its own problems, almost every store has a couple Gs but that means you need to look in every single one to see what they have which requires a lot of time and legwork (side note: my wifes gmas130 clocked us at close to 20k steps most days which didn’t accurately register steps when we were holding hands or if she was carrying bags). But if you look long enough theres always a honey hole at the end of the rainbow? Ramen bowl? Lol where you’ll see a nice loaded cabinet. Hello mint condition dw9100? Gw700? Mtg1500? Some older models may not be everyones cup of tea (or mine) but seeing them out in the wild looking like they just rolled off the production line always makes me smile (:
Changing pace and going with current models youre spoiled with choice of models and stores, its easier than finding a beer at Oktoberfest lol prices are pretty much the same across the board with only slight variations, large stores like yodobashi and bic actually have some of the better prices, esp. when youre looking at the ex-tax price. Not to mention being in town for a batch of new releases, getting to see them in person and try them on is def. exciting :D
A new phenomenon ive noticed is the infiltration of garish customs, many having a dedicated display sitting along side originals at ADs and even one that advertised it as a collab with the store.
The work itself isn’t anything new, tho some of the intricate designs show some craftmanship, but to me it always seemed more of a SE asia thing than a Japanese one but I guess the demand for eye searing bling knows no bounds haha
There is also the odd batch of fakes but theyre smart enough to not use the casio branding lol
One last thing, my hotel was about a block away from a casio service center, every time I walked past, it looked like it was closed, just one guy behind the counter looking bored out of his brain haha I hope he has a side job fixing iphones so he can keep the lights on haha
ps. i found this double sided taped to the underside of the desk in my hotel room. the curious nerd in me threw caution to the wind and i plugged it into my laptop (which i have no problem reimaging if i have to), unfortunately nothing was on there bar some empty android phone folders. so i put it back to where it was just in case the yakuza was having a slow day lol