Tag Archives: Liberty Walk

2017 Top Five

When I look back on the year that was 2017, I think that all in all, it was very good to me. I did a lot of cool things, went to a bunch of cool shows, and met a lot of cool people. Here is a list of my top five accomplishments from this year.

Side Note: here’s a link to Catching Up, a post I created in June to show how much I’d done by that time alone!

1) Japan – I finally went on vacation to Japan, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time. While there I was able to check off a lot of things from my to do list. I got to: fly on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, see a whale shark, visit Liberty Walk, visit Nagashima Spa Land and ride Steel Dragon 2000 (a coaster I’ve wanted to ride for 17 years!), ride the Shinkansen (bullet train), see Mt Fuji, visit RWB (Porsche), go to Tokyo Disney Sea, ride go karts on the streets of Tokyo, and see The 5.6.7.8’s in concert.

2) Got a “promotion” – I put promotion in quotes because though I did get a raise with my new job, in terms of level of importance, I am not much, if any, higher from the bottom than I was before. That said, it is a new position and it makes me feel like I have the potential to go places within the company. Additionally, I like it’s better than the role I was in before, so that’s a plus.

3) Moved to Brooklyn – this is the third year in a row that moving has been listed amongst my accomplishments. Unlike the last time I moved to NY, where it was more haphazard, this time the move was due to my new job which required a relocation to the East Coast headquarters. The nice thing is, because I’d lived here before, I was comfortable finding a place to live, getting around, and exploring the city.

4) Met a bunch of people – I got to meet several of my hero’s or people I admire/look up to. While at Liberty Walk I met Kato San (the man who started it) and at RWB I met Nakai San (the man who started it). This was a pipe dream that I did not expect to come true. I also got to meet Josh and Eli from Smoking Popes and I got to meet Matt Gourley and Paul F. Tompkins at the Superego show. I also got to meet my new co-workers who have become very good friends.

5) Explored New York (and beyond) – since moving here, I’ve been to a bunch of shows including: Dave Chappelle, Just Between Us LIVE, Smoking Popes, Eleanor Friedberger, Superego, Angel Olsen, LCD Soundsystem and a few underground shows sprinkled in between.

I did a bunch of cool things like going to Bike Expo New York, did a lot of karaoke at The Alligator Lounge, went dancing at Home Sweet Home, went to Smorgasburg, went to the Mermaid Parade, went pool hopping at the FiDi Hilton, went to Coney Island and rode the Thunderbolt and the Cyclone, went to Six Flags Great Adventure, went on a 30+ mile bike ride with my buddy Jordan, took a day-cation to Philadelphia, played movie trivia at Videology, found “MIB headquarters,” went to Bike Kill, went to Fat Cats to play pool with my co-workers, went to Jingle Hells pop up bar, not to mention all the other bars, clubs and restaurants I either went to or have scoped out for future visits, went to several house parties and probably a few other things I’m forgetting.

I visited a bunch of museums including The Met, The MoMA, The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of the City of New York, The Queens Museum, The Brooklyn Museum and The Cloisters. I also checked out public art such as Descension by Anish Kapor and Photoville. Additionally, I went to the Louis Vuitton exhibit Volez Voguez Voyagez.

I’ve gone to and or ingested (in one way or another) a bunch of movies this year, namely: Alien Covenant, It Comes At Night, Spiderman Homecoming, Dunkirk, Passengers, The Founder,  My Neighbor Totoro, Nocturnal Animals, The Incredible Jessica James, Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, Mother!, Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver, Jim and Andy and the Great Beyond, Lady Bird, Man on the Moon, Get Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Voyeur.

Lastly, I attended the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I finally attended this parade with my sister, something that has been on my bucket list for a long time because the watching on TV of which has been a part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition for as long as I can remember. My sister and I would wake up on Thanksgiving morning, in a similar way as we would for Christmas, run downstairs and put on the TV to watch the parade. We always said that one year we’d see it live and now we can finally say we did.

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Japan Top 10

1. MariCar

This was by far the most fun I had the entire trip

2. Nagashima Spa Land

I was able to fulfill a 17-year old dream of riding Steel Dragon 2000, plus the day was a lot of fun

3. Tokyo DisneySea

You kinda can’t beat Disney Parks

4. Tsutaya Daikanyama T-site

I could have spent an entire day their looking at books

5. Anata No Warehouse

The theming was great and the games were fun

6. Liberty Walk and RWB

Tied at #6 because of how similar the experience was, I was so grateful to meet Kato-san and Nakai-san

7. Gonpachi Nishi Azabu

Not only was it cool to be in a location that inspired a scene from Kill Bill, this was also my most memorable and probably best meal of the entire trip

8. The 5.6.7.8’s

I got to fulfill a long time goal of not only seeing this band, but seeing them in Japan

9. Kaiyukan Osaka Aquarium

Whale Shark, nuff said

10. Miraikan

The Art of Disney: The Magic of Animation exhibit brought me to tears

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Japan – Day 2: Osaka – Day 2

Sunday – April 9th, 2017

Today was the first day that the group split up. Dan stayed in Osaka to see a bunch of sites in the city while Pete and I ventured out to Aichi Prefecture to visit a few car sites.

First however, we had to get there. Rather than go into the details of our travel, I’ll give you the cliff notes:

We got up around 6:30 and left the apartment by 7:30-ish. First we took the subway from Nippombashi to Namba Station (1). Next we took the subway from Namba Station to Shin-Osaka Station (2). Then we took a Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Nagoya Station (3). Here is where things got a little tricky.

In my notes it said to take the Higashiyama train from Nagoya to Fujigaoke Station. However, what I failed to add was that in order to access the Higashiyama train, you need to exit the station and enter at a different part that is, for whatever reason, not connected underground. This led to us going the wrong way a bunch of times and eventually asking an attendant where to go.

Once we figured it out, we stopped and grabbed breakfast at the Mermaid Cafe in Nagoya Station. After, it was back to smooth sailing and we took the subway from Nagoya to Fujigaoke Station (4). On the train, Pete and I noticed the guy standing in front of us had a cool design on his shirt. I told him so and at the next station we got out.

We then transferred to the Linimo train (light rail) -which also required us to get out of the station and enter a different one- and when we got to the platform, who was standing there but cool shirt guy. Somehow we got to talking and came to find out we were all bound for the Toyota Automobile Museum. We took the tram from Fujigaoke to Geidaidori Station (6; total number of trains it took us to get to the museum).

As we rode to the museum we basically became “single serving friends” (see Fight Club). He told us he his name is George and was/is from the Czech Republic and we commiserated over our love of cars.

This entire train process took about 3 and a half hours.

Toyota Automobile Museum

When we got to Geidaidori Station we walked to the Toyota Automobile Museum together and unofficially decided to check out the museum together. The first thing that stood out about the museum was that the employees, mostly female, were super traditional and respectful, bowing any time you did… anything. Next, for whatever reason, instead of it costing 1,000 Yen, it only cost 500 Yen (~$4).

IMG_5551Toyota 2000GT and a Sports 800

The museum was laid out in historical order ie. older cars first, newest cars last. While George and I were looking at an original Fiat 500L, an older gentleman/employee opened the door for us so we could see inside. He explained things about the car and would continue to do this -opening doors and hoods for us- intermittently throughout the museum.

Eventually we got to a Mercedes 300SL (Gullwing) and when George saw it, he turned into a little boy. He ran over and immediately started taking pictures. It was adorable. As we continued through the museum, the inevitable happened, I was at the end of the hall and moving on to the next and Pete was just beginning the hall; taking pictures and looking at EVERYTHING.

IMG_55411959 Cadillac

Because I knew we had one other thing to do in the area and because I wanted to get back to Osaka in time to get more than just these two things done today, I was sort of in a rush. Naturally however, Pete took his sweet old time.

I made the mistake of telling him there was an “Annex” too, and so of course he wanted to check it out. Then he want to shmy in the gift shop. Then he wanted to go to the car meet in the parking lot and had to have a super long conversation with the owners. Then he had to look at a classic Mini Cooper in the parking lot and had a chat with the owner. All of this led to leaving 2 and a half hours later than I wanted to.

Liberty Walk

Next we made our way to Liberty Walk, a wide body kit company that’s popular in the tuner car scene. Getting to LW involved taking the Linimo train from Geidaidori to Yakusa Station (the end of the line (7)). There we switched to the Aichikanjo Tetsudo train -for which we could not use our IC (PASMO) card and had to buy a regular ticket- from Yakusa to Setoshi Station (8).

Next we had to get out and change stations to take the Meitetsu train from Shinseto to Sango Station (9). From there it was a straightforward (12 minute) stroll to Liberty Walk. When we got there, I was wondering if Kato-san would be there. No sooner did I mention this sentiment to Pete did I look up and there he was talking with some kids a few cars away. I was going to walk over but I didn’t want to disturb him.

IMG_5579Liberty Walk Cafe

I kept looking at cars until an employee came over and asked if I needed help. I told him I was looking for Kato-san, and he brought me to the LW cafe. There he was, sitting with an older gentleman. I walked over and started chatting with Kato-san. He smiled but did not respond. Seeing this, the same employee came over to me. “He doesn’t speak english.” I had the employee translate and during our conversation, found out that he is Kato’s son!

Huma (pronounced Hue-mah) took a picture of me and Kato-san and then, after instructions from his father, gave us a drink on the house. After that he gave us a tour of the two LW facilities. We chatted and hung out and got pictures of the shops. Pete took his sweet time looking at everything and finally, after we both got some merch, we made our way back to Osaka.

IMG_5594Liberty Walk Garage

We went from Sango to Sakaemachi Station (10). There we switched to Sakae and took the train to Nagoya Station (11). From Nagoya we took the shinkansen to Shin-Osaka station (12). And finally we took the train from Shin-Osaka to Namba Station (for a total of 13 trains in one day).

From there we walked back to the Air BnB and met up with Dan outside.

Dinner/Dotonbori

When we got back to the Air BnB, Pete took a nap, I organized some stuff on my computer and Dan did the same on his computer. After about an hour or an hour and a half of chilling, Dan and I were ready to go, so we woke up Pete and we headed out. Pete and I had only had breakfast and we were starving so we grabbed a bite at a greasy meat/noodle place down the street from our Air BnB.

When we were done, the game-plan was to go to Dotonbori and maybe to a bar. I was pretty chilly and had been to Dotonbori the night before so I deiced to go home and write this. Pete and Dan ventured into the night and I let them in about an hour and a half later. I then contined to write until I completed the day.

So, because of all this I’ve decided that on our next free day, I’m breaking away and doing my own thing so I can finally accomplish all of the things I’ve been putting off. If I don’t, I’m gonna start resenting people and that will put a dark cloud over the trip.

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