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Old 2008.04.28, 04:29 AM   #1
Aurora
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Miniz experience in Tokyo, Japan

Hi, all.

Since I started two years ago, I have always been waiting for a chance to return to Tokyo, where I gotten my first AWD assembled kit, and to drive on the Omotesando circuit. And in the last week of March 2008, this dream came true.

I will write up this great experience in two parts: shopping and racing, and hope it will be of help to the others who wish to visit and follow suit:

I have visited three different locations for both shopping and racing on this trip, and exact address(or even map) could be found online if you logon to their webpages:


Tokyo Miniz Shopping info:
1) Kyosho Omotesaido Hills Shop (at the lowest basement)
2) RC paradise at Akibahara
3) RC Champs at Akibahara



Tokyo Miniz Tracks info:
1) Freaks Garage
2) ARS circuit
3) Kyosho Omotesando Hills shop/circuit
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Old 2008.04.28, 04:31 AM   #2
Aurora
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Mniz shopping in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Miniz Shopping info



1) Kyosho Omotesaido Hills Shop
I first discovered the miniz when I was visiting this shop in Tokyo, and it has a good display of Autoscales bodies for MA010, MA02 and MA015. Also if you are really into static modeling, Kyosho made some of the finest product in that alley.

This shop is basically arranged in three section, static modeling, miniz products and the circuit part. For the circuit part, mostly targeting beginner and served as testing ground for first-timer, it is a small sized elevated carpet circuit well kept in shape and hosting a mini bar and 4-5 small standing pit for drivers who come with equipment.(Talk more about this track in the following section)

Specialty items to look for in shop is a Aluminium block(heatsink car stand) which is Omotesando only, or the shop used to exclusively offering a pearl-white 350z body.

According to the shop keeper, a new location is to be opened at Akibahara and it will be twice the size of the Omotesando Hills shop on April 18, 2008. And D'nano car will also debut the first time on the same date in that shop as well as the Omotesando.



2) RC Paradise at Akibahara
Every guy who has visited Tokyo probably will know or heard of this place, Akibahara, which is famous for its variety of Electronics and anything animation related.

As most of the major electronic shops/mall is located on a long stretch of street. RC Paradise is located almost in the middle of the street. This shop is seperated into 3-4 floors, and each floor offers something different. One of the floor is entirely dedicated to HPI goodies, and the top last floor is a small Miniz carpet track.

This shop offers various parts from different makers for different cars. Parts for MR015, MR02, MA010 can all be found, and different makers of parts, including Kyosho, Tagu, Atomic, Eagle racing, Squart, Kawada and etc. Most parts are pretty up-to-date, for example, I could easily find the top cover for the 2.4G board in MA010, which has just gone online this part week or two. Or the latest Tagu bumper for the 02LM shell for MR02. It also offers 2 dozens of white bodies, and a variety of autoscale bodies. Some harder to find shell could also be found.

I do recommend checking out this shop since it has a good collection of Tagu parts, which is rare to find in Hong Kong and if you come with friends, this probably will be one of the locations that everyone will find something on the street (while you can spend time digging goodies or driving here).



3) RC Champs
This shop is conviniently find in the same area as the Akibahara, but it is off the main street that most eletronics shops are located. This shop seems to be around for a while, and mostly dedicated to larger scale(1/10, 1/8) of cars. It offers RC planes stuff as much as the RC car goodies.

Their products are pretty much up-to-date as well, since the latest Yokomo 1/14 scale drift car could be found right at the entrance. The collection of miniz stuff as well as the autoscale stuff is a little limited, and not as many as the RC paradise. And mostly all the miniz stuff are divided into brand names, instead of car types or group together.

I got myself a bunch of Hudy tools since my friend back home recommended me to get. They might not meant for the Miniz at all, but they are well discounted and worth the money according to my buddy.

Last edited by Aurora; 2008.04.28 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 2008.04.28, 04:36 AM   #3
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Miniz Tracks in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Miniz Tracks info:




1) Freaks Garage

www.freaksgarage.com


The RCP track featured at FreaksGarage (pix from FG site)


The store counter where racer register and can purchase miniz or other RC related products (pix from FG site)


Drivers stand and pit area, Ittoku san is standing in front and one of the fastest driver at FG is standing at the end...both are excellent 02 drivers. I like how the car can launch from a designated position.


Ittoku san shown me one piece of of his original overlander/monster crawling set...and it is just one tile of the set.


A great RCP track recommended by the RC-miniz, this is probably one of my favorite tracks in Tokyo. Ittoku san (or Mr. Ittoku) runs the shop all year round, and the best part is it basically opens until 3AM in the morning!

The circuit is equipped with pit areas for approx. 12 people, compressed air, electric outlet and offers free coffee/use of microwave to all drivers, drivers could bring their own drinks or buy from the track as well. In addition, it offers sale of different Autoscale bodies, and some really cool looking painted shells.(including multi-led lit with great airbrushed shell). The RCP track do have restrictions on what tires to use, and Kyosho MT tires or Atomic silicone-based tires are mostly prohibited. I would suggest to ask local drivers in terms of what to use, and mostly likely or not you probably could purchase those tires there. For my AWD, I find it ok to use Kyosho front/rear slick 20s with chassis/body that has a ground-hugging/low ride-height setup.

The track also has embedded a Kyosho ARC system, which is quite popular used in Tokyo, and it requires connection to the board power in order for it to work. It will work with the AM band, but not the AD band board. Result is posted on a TV set next to the track. From time to time, it will host races for miniz; and they have an upcoming 3-hours edurance race in April 08; which loosely follow the Kyosho Cup rules.

I came to shop late at nite around 12 in the morning(middle of the nite), and there were around 4 people driving still. Some of them kept on driving until the late nite of 2-3 AM and it is obvious that they took this hobby quite seriously. I was lucky to meet the Kyosho cup finalist for F-1 last year on the track, and some of the fastest drivers on the track are also presented there that night.

Most popular cars driven is MR02, and AWD is a little rare to find. With my fetted AWD, it was a great fun to chase or being chased by these guys. I was presently surprised to find drivers so dedicated to their MR02s and skillful to make them very competitive, and they were also a little surprised to find my AWD doing well on the track as well, since rarely will people drive AWD on their track(or AWD is simply not as popular in Japan, as in Hong Kong or other parts of China).

Ittoku san, the track owner, is really friendly and a handy person. He has created a hand-made scenery for decorating his track, some extremely realistic obsticle track for overlander/monster truck to play with, and he shown me pictures of his lifted-up version of Overlander, which gives these puppies that much more potential to go off-road. A seasonal RC driver(for more than 30 years of RC experience), he was kind enough to find a translation program on his PC, so he could go to the PC to type in Japanese and translate it to English to speak with me. We chatted after the track was closed at around 3 and kept chatting until 5 in the morning, and I do thruly enjoy the experience and his company.

Some RC celebraties will also come into the shop from time to time, which including the founder/Inventor of Miniz from Kyosho, Ko Propo workers, or Bosses/Directors of major brand names around the world. I have humbly suggested Ittoku san to recommend Kyosho folks to consider the idea of 4WD miniz crawler, and keeping my fingers crossed that this dream will be granted in the not-so-distant future.

Fee wise it was 2500 yen for 3 hours, and it has a cap for the day(probably is just around that number as well). I think this is well worth it as an experience.

All in all, a fun-filled RCP track that opens late into the night. I do strongly recommend anyone who is visiting Japan/Tokyo to find time to visit the Freaks Garage.








2) ARS circuit

http://www17.ocn.ne.jp/~acebrain/map.html


ARS is a carpet track located in Asakusabashi, right above a post office


Another view of the track, you could see a TV showing the ranking for an ongoing race...and a small shelf offering a small number of essentials (white bodies, tires, etc)


Pit tables which can host up to ~15 people; all conveniently has power outlet next to each seat. But beware, Japanese voltage is supplying at 110v(instead of 220v as some parts of the world)


A quick snap of pix for everyone at the track that day, time was still a little early(only around 6:45pm) and probably many didn't get off work yet. Gentleman in front is a decent 02 driver(the 'battle station man'), and Fumio san is standing at the very end of the group.


Following the footsteps of other forum members, I have came to visit this great track at Asakusabashi. Located around 15-20 minutes away by car from Akibahara, this carpet track is equipped with approximately 15 pit areas(all has electical outlets), compress air, and drinks that driver can buy.

This circuit has embedded a Kyosho ARC system, which is quite popular used in Tokyo, and it requires connection to the board power in order for it to work. It will work with the AM band, but not the AD band board. Result is posted on a large TV set opposite to the driver's area. From time to time, it will host races for miniz. And there seems to be a schedule for designated days of week to play a particular car type, for example, friday night is designated MR02 night.

I came to the track around 4pm that day, and people start coming in after 5pm. The carpet track seems to be in used for a while, and the traction is rather good. I was quite impressed by some of the folks who has driven that night, one of them practically bring in a wheel cart to carry many of his goodies, and turn his pit area into a 'battle station'...A driver was driving with the new Loni shell and it was interesting to watch.

Again, AWD seems not to be popular on track for the same reason, and when asked about the reason why it is less popular, one of them has commented that it had too many parts and too much trouble to tune right. Another person has commented that more people use it for drifting than for race. Nonetheless, I had fun drifting my AWD a little bit prior to everyones' arrivals, and enjoyed driving with all the skillful drivers there that night.

The track owner, Fumio san, is very helpful and can speak decent English to communicate. He was one who had spotted my car using too much rear camber(which was actually the setting for RCP and I have forgotten to switch it to a lesser degree), and suggested a lesser camber setting--which shown the depth of his knowledge just by watching my few laps on track. And as being a lazy soul as I am, he was kind and generous enough to help me re-tape my rear tires and show me his way of doing it--which he would spray the double-sided tape with motor spray after it was on the rim. Though I think this step might soften/weaken the tape stickiness and may beg to differ, it is a really kind gesture that I really appreciate.

It was a little unfortunate that I had a dinner appointment and didn't get a chance to drive more and enjoyed the companies of the drivers thereof. But the short 2 hours do leave me with good memories and I am certain I will revisit them next time in Tokyo.

Fee wise, one will need to 'join' the track before starting to run the car, and the initial joining fee is 300 yen. And it is approximately 1000 yen per first hour for the new comer. Returning customer/member will probably cost less per hour.

Last edited by Aurora; 2008.04.28 at 11:24 AM. Reason: put in more pix
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Old 2008.04.28, 04:42 AM   #4
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Great review. Well written. Thanks for sharring.
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Old 2008.04.28, 11:03 AM   #5
Aurora
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(con't)

3) Kyosho Omotesando Hills shop/circuit


The entrance of Kyosho shop at Omotesando Hills shopping mall, I can't believe my eyes when I first see it...I was told a larger shop will soon be opened at Akibahara on 18 April, 2008 (pix from kyosho site)


A pretty small track for all the first timers, but it is tiled. I saw a gentleman driving his d'nano there and had fun playing with one of the demo d'nano at shop... (pix from kyosho site)


This elevated carpet track is in a simple small L shape, and the longest stretch is no longer than 3-4 meters. A little cool feature is some part of the track is tilted, so it felt like a driving a nascar and allows you drive around it really fast. The track has 4-5 small standing pit area for people to charge battery; but certainly is not meant for 'working' on your car.

The size of the circuit should be able to barely accomodate 2-3 cars, and mostly serve as a testing ground for first timer.

The circuit has embedded a Kyosho ARC system, which is quite popular used in Tokyo, and it requires connection to the board power in order for it to work. Also, it will work with the AM band, but not the AD band board. All the test-cars provided at the track are equiped with this timer.

Fee is kinda expensive (since Omotesando Hills is probably the most expensive mall in Tokyo), and 15 minutes time-slot is sold prior to driver going onto the track. It comes to 300 yen per 15 minutes if you have your own car and more if you use their cars. This may be a place to visit if you have friends who will visit this mall and if you want to introduce them to what miniz is all about.



Thank you for viewing, pardon for the two pieces, the post past character restriction and has to be cut into halves.

Last edited by Aurora; 2008.04.28 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 2008.04.28, 11:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCPMini-z View Post
Great review. Well written. Thanks for sharring.
Thanks, I am glad you like it.

It was a privilege to visit and be able to play with the Japanese drivers, and am grateful to have available info here to lead me to them. Just a simple way to give back.
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Old 2008.04.28, 11:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aurora View Post
Thanks, I am glad you like it.

It was a privilege to visit and be able to play with the Japanese drivers, and am grateful to have available info here to lead me to them. Just a simple way to give back.

Kyosho is looking into opening one of these specialty stores with dNaNo tracks here in the states. The planned location is only 4 hours from my office and will be cool to go and visit.
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Old 2008.04.28, 12:14 PM   #8
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now that is good news to hear! to a customer of thier micro scale products, it seems they may be doing more to legitimize the scale domestically. lets face it, most u.s. shops think these scales are a joke/toy. using a retail outlet would come along with advertising, etc. which will only help the cause. or am i being overly optimistic?
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Old 2008.04.28, 12:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by arch2b View Post
now that is good news to hear! to a customer of thier micro scale products, it seems they may be doing more to legitimize the scale domestically. lets face it, most u.s. shops think these scales are a joke/toy. using a retail outlet would come along with advertising, etc. which will only help the cause. or am i being overly optimistic?
Overly optimistic.

But it's a start.
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Old 2008.04.28, 02:24 PM   #10
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Am I reading this right? They are planning on bringing the Dnano to the states? Please say I'm reading this right, please!
By the way, awesome report! My causin work's in China and I may have a chance to visit him some day, would love to visit these places you mentioned. Seems like if your hunting for a rare AutoScale body, say example, black Murcielago, this would be the place to find it!
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Old 2008.04.28, 02:31 PM   #11
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marc,
tim already answered this question in his thread... goes back to asking the same question over and over. rcp's bit of info is a confirming tid bit.

this review is for jpn, not china. do not confuse the two, your likely to really offend someone.
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Old 2008.04.28, 03:26 PM   #12
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Thanks for sharing! Nice pics and write up!
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Old 2008.04.28, 05:24 PM   #13
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RCPmini-z and Arch2b,

I too dream that 1/28 will be just as popular as 1/10 or 1/12...but between here and there, a lot of ground has to be covered. Way back when I first in touch with RC, back in the 80s, I remembered there wasn't much choice of 'high tech' toys to play with at that time, and having an authentic RC fast car is definitely a true privilege amongst the kids.

But time has changed. After many year of dropping out and coming back via this scale, it goes without saying that RC industries is now facing stiff competition like never before, let along the 1/28 scale.

For generations of RC drivers has come and gone, the 1/10 scale is no doubt time proven and accumulate a large crowd for its maturity. But I think 1/28 still has its battle to fight, and the responsibilities lie with us drivers.

I think it is important that as we enjoying ourselves in our hobbies, we find time to look around and say what else can I do to make this a better scale/hobby. By promoting to our friends and relatives? Being a helping hand to the new drivers? Where I drive in China nowadays is relatively under-developed in this scale/RC industry, and I found myself facing the same questions each week at the local track.

For that, I must express my immerse thanks to this online community. Though sometimes I may appear to be argumentative in my posts, I certainly do enjoy all the conversation and exchanging ideas with all of you. And without you all, this experience will certainly be different.

Alrighty, this writing is sounding like I won the Emmy or something...anyway, just 2 cents from an old timer.

Last edited by Aurora; 2008.04.28 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 2008.04.28, 05:30 PM   #14
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Marc,

Haha. You'd get your places mixed up a bit. But I am definitely a lot more familiar with the Beijing track(s) and Hong Kong tracks than the Japan tracks. So if you(or anyone) who is coming this way. Maybe I will write some reviews to promote them sometime.

Right now I am planning to take on a huge project for shooting a ~5 min short film, with hopefully good music, editing and special effects to promote the scale in China/Hong Kong. This probably will take a few months, but sure should be something that I can be proud of, to say the least.



Tjay,

Thanks for viewing, and the pleasure is all mine.
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Old 2008.04.28, 07:11 PM   #15
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Aurora, I enjoyed reading your thread. It's nice to see how the mini-z scene is outside the US. Or should I say, outside Arcadia lol.
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