Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Visit to Mutant Vinyl Hardcore (LASH) Studio

The other day, I had the pleasure of training up to New Haven and spending a day with Rich (aka LASH), the tour de creative force behind Mutant Vinyl Hardcore. Rich has been a top notch customizer for years, but over the last year he has exploded on the scene with a growing line of original vinyl characters.

Here's my photolog of the trip.
The MTA runs a great service between Grand Central and New Haven. And only 14 bucks!

We started with lunch at the legendary Pepe's pizza. We didn't have to wait, but those who do are surely never disappointed by the food. Try the margarita and live!
After lunch we headed to Rich's new studio, a kind of artist's loft space with plenty of room for jazzercizing and Yeah....
 More after the jump:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Upcoming from US Toys!

Really nice mini, coming soon from US Toys..

Price is 2100 yen.
Size: 85 mm.
Release date: March 30

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Orleans

I had a chance to spend a few days in New Orleans. Admittedly, I didn't know much about the Big Easy, other than Mardi Gras and of course the string of disasters starting with Katrina. But I'm glad I was able to get to know the city a bit more, since it has a lot to offer. Here's my pictorial.

St Patrick's Day, when the clothes, drinks, and (later on) gutters ran green!
Of course, New Orleans has been known as a party town for a long time. A lot of the partying is in the French Quarter, in the streets around Bourbon Street, where college kids juggle Hurricanes and Hand Grenades as they struggle to stay upright.

I was in the city during a couple of celebrations: St Patrick's Day and St Joseph's Day.

More after the jump:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Max Toy 5th Anniversary Show Preview

This just in - the show poster and a slew of preview images for the artwork set to be shown at the upcoming Max Toy 5th anniversary show in Tokyo.

I'm hoping to be there but am not sure yet if I'll make it. But I'm glad to at least have a chance to post some of the fantastic artwork that will be on display on April 2-3 at the Design Festa Gallery in Harajuku:

 More after the jump:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The day after the Japan quake: Getting out of Japan

By coincidence, I was scheduled to fly out of Japan for a trip to the States on March 12. Initially, in the aftermath of the big quake, though it was huge, I think many of us felt things would soon return to normal. Plus, at that time, there wasn't serious concern over the nuclear power plants.

I called my airline (AA) the morning of my flight and discovered it had been canceled. I was able to reroute and reschedule for another flight that same evening. It was either that or cancel the trip, since the other flights out were full for several days going forward.

So I got everything together and headed to the train station. At the time (we were less than 24 hours from the time of the quake), there was scant information from the various train lines that serve Narita airport. That, and the airport's website is not the most robust. So, I decided to take a bus, even though my flight was listed as "Indefinite."

Here's a stroke of luck: On the way to the station, I ran into my neighbor, who suggested I ask the station attendants if the express train might be running. I did that, and I was told that though the Narita Express line was down, the local trains were running. It would involve 3 trains and, in normal conditions, take around 90-120 minutes. Well, things didn't turn out quite that way, but I eventually did make it to the airport, four hours later. Here are some pics from the trip:
The first train I took wasn't too crowded, but the next one (and most after that) were overwhelming.
It was a good thing I decided on the trains. The roads were solidly jammed as, as far as I know, many elevated highways were closed for inspection.
One of the many stations I stopped at. It was soon evident that one couldn't go by timetables and expected final destinations
So basically the growing crowd just got off whenever an announcement was made that the train would go no further.
It was a tough ride, but most people were calm and kind to one another.
Time stopped at this station.
There were many people going to the airport, but through it all, most kept in good spirits and maintained a sense of comradery.
The airport was less crowded than I expected.
Some of the supplies brought out for stranded passengers.
Not sure how long these people were there, but it looks like a long time, as they created a little island of suitcases which they sat around.
You can see here the blankets and other supplies handed out.
A sense of how many flights were either canceled or in "Indefinite" limbo.
The plane I went out on. The flight took off about 2.5 hours behind schedule. All in all not bad at all, but it was at the airport that news started coming in about the nuclear situation.
But before the plane took off, there was an incident at the gate as a passenger, who was traveling with his wife and child, was screaming at not having a seat.
The gate was full of people either scheduled or hoping to get on the flight.
And this was looping on one of the monitors.....????
Touchdown at Dallas Fort Worth.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Huge earthquake in Japan. One view from Tokyo.

This is the largest earthquake I've experienced in more than 20 years. Fortunately, Tokyo seems to have emerged in good shape, but the news from the North is tragic. Here are some shots I took in Tokyo a couple of hours after the big quake.

All JR train stations were closed after the quake.
As people waited for the JR station to reopen  (which didn't happen today), they watched the news as details of the disaster unfolded.
At another station entrance.
It was soon evident that this was an extraordinary event.
 More after the jump:

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Mandarake window display

Akihabara Complex. From the signs, I think the items are set to be auctioned off.

More after the jump:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gargamel custom show

 Today, Gargamel hosted yet another fantastic custom show at Thrashout, their flagship store in Tokyo.
It was a beautiful late winter day in Tokyo. Hopefully the warming trend will continue and we'll be able to put the cold and snow behind us for the season!
Quite a huge turnout made the trek to Koenji for the show. At least 50 people were there. It was done lottery style, so at 2:00, the Gargamel crew came out, and we drew lots to determine the buying order.
The show featured customs of large mini, and micro figures by several members of the Gargamel crew.  Here's the whole enchilada. Around 50 detailed pics after the jump. (Click on each image to see the original size.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Coming tomorrow: Gargamel custom show

Heads up - Kaiju Korner will be in Koenji tomorrow covering the Gargamel custom show at Thrashout. I'll try to have pics up a few hours after the event.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brief Shinto Gangu hiatus

Just a heads up for RxH fans jonesin for pics and news. Shinto Gangu is closed this week as Mori sets up the new shop - Real Headz - and stocks up on new figs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kamen Rider!

As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, Kamen Rider is everywhere these days. Here's a display of publications for sale in front of a Broadway bookstore:
Detailed shots after the jump:
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