Hey dude, how was your trip to Tokyo then? Mine was excellent and I ended up coming home with a RG2717FX. Pics will be up once I get the BKP aftermath into it! What did you get up to when you were there?
Just saw your FB photos, awesome! Looks like you went everywhere, definitely more places than I've been. I've always wanted to go as far west as Fukuoka but never had the time and chance from my previous visits. Probably because I enjoyed the Kansai regions a lot (particularly Kyoto) and I just never got bored in Tokyo...
Unfortunately, I'm too self conscious to go to an Onsen.
Whereabouts in Japan are you now? I found out that Okubo and Shin Okubo (in Tokyo) have a fair amount of music shops as well (about as much as Ochanomizu from what I've heard) so you may wanna check those out if you get the chance.
I forgot how insanely hot it can be during summertime, but it's still great. Also Shinjuku has everything, loads of stuff to do!
Let's put it this way... an RG1527M costs 3500AUD here. I got mine in Kyoto for 700AUD (Golden Week marked down from 1000AUD retail). I chose that over a 700AUD Edwards Michael Schenker replica. I've seen some dirt cheap J-Customs, RG7620s and K7s as well, but remember, I'm from Australia.
If you can get some Japan exclusive models (like Killer, Edwards etc) for cheap, by all means do so.
Haven't heard much or played Deadly Premonition and I dunno if I'm gonna add any new games to play since I've still got an outstanding back catalogue to go through. I may get the latest Castlevania though....
EDIT: Looks like I liked, I just bought Bayonetta and Front Mission Evolved (such a dissapointment the latter...)
Am I interested?! The GAS has been fucking killing me! I badly want a 6 string with a walnut neck and body, dual humbuckers, a piezo bridge, stainless steel frets, (unknown fretboard), and an Icon headstock. Saving up to buy one has been a failure though.
As for gigs, depends on what you want. There's certain bars around Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya (Tokyo) and Namba (Osaka) that'll have local bands. You get 1 complimentary drink card too. For bigger gigs, you may want to book in advanced (best to get your friend to help you out on that one). There's also street performers, they're littered everywhere and are quite entertaining at times too. As for metal shows, it's not really big there. Check with Naren (also at mg.org) to see if his band is playing during that time.
That's awesome you're staying with a mate. A local can help greatly with showing you around.
Kyoto and Osaka may not have as much as Ochanomizu but some decent shops too like branches of the big companies like Big Boss (ESP custom shop specialists), Ishibashi etc.
Kyoto has a few around the main shopping district (near the southeast river) like Big Boss and another one further up north of that same road (past the Shimizu building). There's Kinko Gakki down south of Nijo Castle too. Very nice guys and I even bought my 1527M there too.
Osaka has a few shops right off the main Osaka station (not Shin Osaka). Take the northern exit. Theres one off a walkway I remember and another near a department shop (IIRC 3rd-4th floor) near the Pokemon Centre. Lots of nice cheap J-Customs there. I don't remember Osaka shops well enough, but Google maps can help.
You going Tokyo? I'm so jealous... it's been a year and I'm seriously suffering withdrawal, I'm missing the place so much.
For guitar shops, you really can't go wrong in Ochanomizu (basically an entire district for guitar stores). The Chuo line will take you there. Another easy way is to familiarise yourself with all the JR Rail lines (it's not that hard). The Yamanote line will get to to the essential places, in this case, take the Yamanote line to Akihabara (you'll have fun there too), then Chuo line to Ochanomizu. The one street of shops is literally guitar heaven. You'll be spending days there.
Other districts also have some sweet shops. Shinjuku has some awesome places (Rock Inn and a few others) and Shibuya has Ikebe (which has different departments all in one building). Both are easy to get to, as they're both in the Yamanote line and very close to the stations too.