Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tokyo Auto Salon video in association with Temple of VTEC


We just did a Honda video on GT Channel in association with one of the most popular Honda enthusiasts site Temple of Vtec
It is now the second most watched video on GT Channel. Spoon's Ichishima-san always has something interesting to say and the guys always like Lisa Fleming!

GT Channel Podcast on Melodeo

Now you can subscribe to the GT Channel podcast. Check it out.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dog Quarantine at Narita

So prepping our dog to leave Japan was just hard as obtaining my working visa for the US. Ok, maybe not that hard but it sure took a lot of effort.
First of all this is probably useful information if you are plannning on returning to Japan with your dog. Our return date is not set yet but we went ahead and did everything possible to get back into Japan if and when we need to. So here are the things you need. I suggest everyone confirm with the Animal Quarantine Officials way before hand.

1. Rabies shot certificate. You need 2 certificates with at least 2 months intervals from each shot. You can get this from you vet when your dog gets the shots
2. Rabies serum anti-body certificate. You need to have a vet send blood samples to the MAFF testing center. The testing center will send you back the stamped certificate to your home.
3. Application letter signed by owner and vetenarian. There is a MAFF application form. I got mine at the vet.
4. Health check dated within 1 week from the day of your departure. In the middle of shipping your stuff out, saying goodby to friends, co-workers and relatives you have to take your dog to the vet one last time for a check up.
5. Certificate of microchip with ID number and injection date.

I faxed the Narita quarantine office everything about 1 month before my departure date. They will check and tell you if you are missing something or you need to make some changes in the form.

At that time, you will tell them the date and make an appointment about 3 hours before your flight. I went a 2:30pm for my 5pm flight. Everything went pretty smooth because they already had seen my papers and knew I was coming in at that time. They checked my dog with the microchip reader to see if it matches the papers and a simple check up.

They place a "Quarantined" sticker to place on the crate. We were done by 3pm. Then you take your dog out to pee for the last time before checking in.
We were flying ANA and of course you need to tell them you are bringing a dog when you purchase your ticket. You need to tell them the info on the dog, size and weight of the crate.
Dogs are placed in a pressurized compartment with aircondition. You are not allowed to go check up on your dog during the flight. Actually no one is allowed down there during the flight.

Some people drug their dogs to make them groggy but we didn't wanted to take that risk. Our dog is pretty used to staying inside his crate for a long period of time. He would probably prefer to sit underneath our chair but his crate was too big to fit. I think dogs that fit in smaller bags or crates are allowed in the cabin. He would probaby be more comfortable in his crate, although he would probably be a little scared.

So you check in your dog at the counter along with your check in luggage. Just like that. We waited until the last minute, about an hour until departure. We ran inside from the priority check in lane since we were pretty late by that time.

Only to know after we pasted customs that our plane would be delayed for one hour. At this point there is no turning back so you just have to wait and hope.

At LAX about 10 hours later, we were stuck at customs for about an hour. Visitors are stuck in a lane that lasts for ever. When we came to the luggage claim area, the crate with our dog was waiting for us next to all of the other suit cases. He looked happy to see us but we were not allowed to let him out yet. We had to go thru US quarantine.
Which takes about 2 minutes.
At Japanese quarantine, they give you a stamped and signed certificate. US quarantine just takes a copy of it for their records. That's it. Easy as that.

You go thru the lines and get out. We ran to the first grassy area and let him pee. What a relief. Despite our worries Payton took it like a man and was just fine with everything. He didn't dirty his crate in anyway. He jumped up and down just like anyday before going out on a walk. I was very proud of him. Now's he's been to 3 countries. Australia, Japan and the US. What an international dog!

Monday, January 15, 2007

So here is a behind the scenes shot of Lisa Flemming and Dai goofing off, off camera. We got a lot of footage of these two playing around a lot actually. I shot this with my digital camera. TAS is about having fun anyway so we want to get that feelingacross thru our videos. Should be coming up soon.

Before leaving Japan tomorrow I wanted to make sure to visit Meiji Shrine once more. It listened to my wish last year. Hopefully they are still listening this year too.

Here is my dog Payton among all of the boxes in the house. He's having the toughest time wondering where in the world everything went. Now tomorrow he has to go thru quarantine at Narita and get in a cage for 10 hours. On second thought, he's probably got it better than economy class!

Tokyo Auto Salon 2007

Went to Tokyo Auto Salon on Friday. We were shooting some video segments for GTChannel. We uploaded some photographs on GTChannel Auto News so you can get a sneak peak before the videos are up.
Nice thing about the TAS is that it's at the beginning of the year so it's a good chance to see everyone and greet them happy new year.

Besides that I had to move this weekend so everything was so crazy at the Koki house. Dog had to go to my parents for a few days, giving the keys back to the landlord, dealing with the move to LA, getting our huge sofa out of the house etc. I'll post some more pics later. Now I have to go to get my eyes checked up. I just got Lasik last week!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Nissan in Great Condition

Saw this nice classic Nissan in my neighborhood. Don't know what it is though.
Getting ready for the move to LA. Boxing are piling up in one of the bed rooms in our apartment. Haven't figured out what car I will drive in LA yet. Will probably end up driving an SUV since they are so convenient to haul people and things around. Looking forward to starting everything new.


Friday, January 05, 2007

XS Engineering R32 GT-R

This is a shot from our American Touge shoot in December. As you may well know the Skyline was never exported to N.America. What a shame. There were a few that made it out there but I'm not getting into that story right now. The remaining Skylines in the States are mostly track use like the XS Engineering R32 Skyline GT-R. This Japanese muscle car is kicking serious ass in time attack events all around. From Japan, the time attack champ Mine's R34 GT-R makes its way to Willowsprings to take on the challenge.

The following video is not from the video shoot but something I found on from XS Engineering. It's from the Super Street time attack with Tarzan Yamada behind the wheel. This is what we call stupid fast...

アメリカにGT-Rは正式に輸出されませんでした。しかし公道を走ることを許されたスカイラインはごく少数ありました。この話をすると長くなるのであえてしませんが、現在米国内のスカイラインはほとんど競技用車両です。このXSエンジニアリングのR32 GT-Rもその一台。ジャパニーズマッスルカーとして北米でタイムアタック大会荒らしをして回っています。そのR32が今回はわれわれのAmerican Tougeに登場。日本からは国内のタイムアタック王者のMine'sのR34が参戦。

下のビデオはSuper Streetのタイムアタック大会にXSが参加したときのもの。ドライバーはターザン山田選手。馬鹿っ速とのこのことですね。まさにStupid Fast...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year
Best wishes for the new year.
The photo is of a Porsche Carrera GT I spotted in Ginza during the new year break.

I expect 2007 to be a great year both personally and professionally. My family will move to Los Angeles in 2 weeks. I wil base myself out of our Zigzag Asia (America) office in Torrance from now. Of course I will be travelling back and forth to Japan very often. But since I spend a lot of my time in LA anyway and my business targets the N.American market, it was only natural to make the move. Stay tuned for a lot of adventure on this blog this year. : )

2007年は個人的にも仕事の面でも非常に期待しています。2週間でアメリカのロサンゼルスに引越します。これからは米国トーランスにある子会社Zigzag Asia(America)Inc.をベースにします。