Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tokyo Game Show 2009

DSC00002 If you know me well enough, you’ll know I’m really into playing and collecting video games. So what better place to nerd out than one of the bigger game expos in the world than the Tokyo Game Show.
I’ve been wanting to attend TGS ever since the first time I lived in Japan. I finally got to go because Yuko actually agreed to come along. Going there alone would have been boring for me even if my girlfriend isn’t all that into games. But the cool thing about Yuko wanting to come along is that she actually was interested. Maybe I’m wearing her out with my games, I don’t know.
 DSC00039Most of the major game publishers and system manufacturers outside of Nintendo were at TGS in full force. The place is fairly large and most of the events had people packed in like sardines. I only managed to play test one game called Bayonetta at the SEGA booth. But that was enough to satisfy me.
DSC00054 It was neat to see how the Japanese hold expos, since I'm a seasoned veteran of E3 and Anime Expo. Lot’s of cosplayers, booth hotties, and plenty of free goods if you were willing to stand in line for it. Maybe if I were single and about 6 years younger I’d be going nuts there but I think having Yuko around for over 2 years has tamed me quite a bit. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s definitely helped me curb my big spending habit on new games. I appreciate my hobby a bit more now.
Driving there was pretty fun too. I got to experience the scary, narrow, and notoriously crowded Tokyo Highway system (Shutoko.) It’s cool being able to drive on the same highway as one of my favorite racing video games, Tokyo Extreme Racer (Shutoko Battle.) 
After the game show we hit a nearby IKEA and Costco for some cheap food and interior goods. I ended up buying another large block of Colby jack cheese, beef jerky, mashed potato mix, and another slice of yummy pizza. At IKEA I picked up a big cinnamon scented candle to get me into the fall seasonal mood.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Costco in Japan.

DSC00002 Sorry for the month long lapse between posts here. I keep forgetting to write about stuff I do here. I even have about half a gigabyte of unsorted pictures I need to decide on putting up here.
I finally got my own Costco at the Costco in Iruma, Japan which is on the outskirts of Tokyo. It takes about 2 hours to get there by highway but could be much faster if Japan had a decent speed limit. I’ve been wanting my own membership card for over a year ever since I found out there were a few Costcos in my general area.
DSC00025The membership card is 4000 yen ($40) and like all other Costco cards, can be used at any Costco in the world. The interior and exterior of Japanese Costcos are identical to their American counterparts minus the huge parking lot surrounding it. Japan has a little problem with space so the parking garage is above the warehouse. Pretty cool I think!
SN3A0003I can get pretty much anything I would want from a US Costco including the trademark Costco restaurant area with Pizza and Hotdogs, tire garage, dirt cheap Visio TVs, Kirkland brand foods and goods, and all other kinds of bulk goods.
SN3A0005 Surprisingly enough, Costco in Japan carries every thing there at pretty close the price you would find stuff in the US. Which is the reason why I love picking up beef jerky and sandwich wrap platters there. The best thing about having access to a Costco now is that I don’t  have to ask friends/family to send me stuff from home. Stuff like roll on deodorant (Japan prefers spray which doesn’t work for real men like me), beef jerky, candies, and other odds and ends that would normally not be found in Japanese stores.
 DSC00020 Whenever I visit Costco I always grab a huge slice of supreme pizza and a coke. The food tastes the same and the toppings are loaded on just as generously as they would be in the US. The only big difference between US Costcos and Japanese ones is that Japanese Costcos are a little cleaner and better lit. The aisles are just as wide and goods are stacked on pallets reaching the ceiling. Ahh Costco, I think I love you.
Just recently, I also visited another Costco in Chiba, Japan near Tokyo. It’s much better and less crowded than the Iruma Costco. Plus there are many more large stores nearby like IKEA. Iruma Costco is nice but it’s really crowded due to it being adjacent to a large outlet store that just opened a year ago. I will probably go to the one in Chiba from now on.