Taiwan and Japan

2015 - 2016

Day 18


After two big days at the Disney theme parks, today was a free day. Chris, Sarma and Rob were going to Nakano Broadway and I was tempted to join them because I hadn’t seen it before, but knowing that it would be another big day of shopping for things that I’m not that interested in, I decided to skip it and have a quiet recovery day - I had to digest all that Disney!

I had a bit of a sleep in, got some food and decided to explore our local Shinjuku area. While I’m not a big fan of shopping, there is a massive shopping complex in Japan called Yodabashi that sell all sorts of electronics including lots of photography gear. I remembered I bought my filters from a Yodabashi last time I was here and there was one in Shunjuku so I thought I’d slowly make my way toward that.

Along the way I looked through some of the other multistorey department stores and just took in the sights. Most of the big department store type of buildings that I saw were fairly narrow but pretty tall with an average of ten floors, each selling different types of goods. For example, I went to one that sold home appliances on one floor, bedding stuff on another and the top floor sold electronics including a nice collection of quadcopters!

After a quick walking tour of all the floors, I kept going in the directions of Yodabashi. A bit closer to my destination I saw another Taito Station. Our trip was almost over so I thought I would fit in a couple more games of Jubeat before I leave, this time I was prepared! I had my eAmusement card and headphones, found the floor with the rhythm games and played a few songs. I felt a little like a local because we saw so many people that looked like they had come straight after work for a couple of games before going home and all of them had the eAmusement cards and headphones to make the most out of their play! While I don’t want to become addicted, I think I do want to find this game in Melbourne somewhere!

Continuing on my way I eventually found Yodabashi! A big building lit up with big signs, most of which I couldn’t read, but there was a URL for yodabashi.com so I knew it was the right place.

I walked inside and did the same sort of walk through each floor until I got to the top except none of the floors had photography gear. This seemed a little strange, so I asked one of the attendants and they walked me down a floor just to show me a map. They explained that Yodabashi is made up of multiple buildings, we were in building 1 and the photography gear was in building 4 so I quickly snapped a photo of the map, thanked the assistant and walked over there.

I walked into building 4 and it was obvious I had found the photography section - it was the entire building! The entrance had lots of fancy gear on display and there was some stunning photos all over the walls. Once again I did a tour of every floor, there were floors for everything! There were a couple of floors for cameras and lenses, another one for lighting equipment and flashes, another for bags, another one for tripods and even one for the more traditional photographers that sold the chemicals needed for developing film!

There were even some cameras I had never seen before (although not surprising, I don’t often look for cameras). There was one that looked very alien so I snapped a photo of it to look up later. It turns out that in that small (but odd shaped) form factor was a whopping 39-megapixel APS-C sensor, pretty cool!

I love my camera bag, I bought it at Low Yat Plaza in Kuala Lumpur back in 2010 and it has served me very well. One of the best features of the bag is a little pouch at the bottom with a small strap at the top to hold a tripod. Not only does this little strap hold the tripod, but it has saved me in so many occasions! If my bag was full but I still wanted to bring a jacket somewhere, I would use the strap for that (and did on so many occasions) and in Bali I went snorkeling but didn’t have any way to secure the GoPro to my body, because I was scared I would drop it underwater and loose it I used the strap from my bag and managed to use that as a make-shift wrist strap. Without that I’m pretty certain I would have dropped it. Anyway, a few days ago I lost the strap! Very sad! So needless to say, I spent some time looking at bags.

There was one bag there that I particularly liked. My old-man back was so sore at this point I couldn’t afford for the bag to be very heavy, but at the same time I wanted it to have the capacity to carry my laptop as well because this is perfect for carry-on luggage. The bag was just big enough for a laptop, it could fit a tripod and had side access for the camera so it met all my requirements. The strap that holds the camera wasn’t removable, but at least I wouldn’t loose it this way! I converted the price into Aussie dollars and it worked out to be about $214, but after doing a quick search on eBay I found that I could get it for a little under $140, so I left it. This would also give me more time to think about it.

While I was here I also looked at getting a new eye piece for my camera, an assistant was able to show me my options, but none of them really appealed to me. To get a cone shaped eye-piece that would cup my eye better to reduce glare, I would need three separate pieces (adapters) and then the cone would cover the screen a bit, so I left this too.

The last item on the list was a monopod. I had considered getting one of these for so long but could never justify the price, so I thought I’d take a look, after all there was such a variety here, they had a whole floor for tripods and monopods! I must have spent so long looking at these! I compared all of them and even did some on-the-fly research on my phone and in the end my decision got narrowed down to two models. The first one was about $78 AUD, was very portable and would easily fit in my bag, it didn’t have a head on it so the camera is just rigidly attached to it, but these things are so easy to pivot around most people don’t worry about it. The other was about $35, did not retract as much and so would be a bit harder to fit in my bag but it came with a small ball head.
Both of these options were significantly cheaper than what I could get them for back in Australia. Even on eBay, the $35 one was about $67 + $51 for shipping (!) and the $78 was about $110 delivered. My use case is mainly for all the times I can’t (or don’t want to) carry a tripod and still want some stability for slower shutter speeds, etc. which is a little different to the normal use case. In the end I opted for the $35 one - for something that I’ll only rarely use, with the added ball head and the massive price difference it seemed like the best bet.
I ended up buying a tripod mount for my phone too so I could do some timelapses, this was an easy choice because it was only a couple of bucks!

By the time my extended, indecisive purchase was finally made, I was getting messages from the group to organise dinner, so I headed back to drop of my new toys and meet up with the others. After dinner we wanted to get some dessert and we discovered that Lobada had never had crepes so we went in search of some! We walked for about 20-30 minutes towards Shinjuku station and up a few floors of some mostly empty building until we finally found the crepe place! The only thing was it wasn’t what we were expecting, it was more of a cafe that happen to sell crepes along with other stuff and the crepes didn’t look as appealing as something like Harajuku Crepes in Melbourne, so with some hesitation we started walking away to find another place that Chris and Sarma had seen earlier and out of the blue, just one floor down was another place that was exactly what we were after! We had a lot of fun on our little crepe adventure with lots of laughs (and a fair share of potty humor).