Be sure to 'click' on the thumbnail photos to see them in their full-size, and with their complete captions!
Two happy video journalists at Tom Bradley Terminal, LA International, ready to board the all-new B-777 for Tokyo. After flying almost every airline which flies between LAX and TYO over the past 25+ years, American was, by far, THE WORST. The plane itself was great; the service something else. Food a joke; audio/video service horrendous. One friendly and disgruntled stewardess (the best kind!) told us they feel lucky when the company puts enough fuel in the tanks to make it to their next landing...
On the train from Narita Airport to Chiba City --- this is what I look like after a loo-oo-oong day of travel including a 7,500 mile flight...
Rather tha take the "Limousine Buis" from Tokyo's Narita Airport to our hotel, we took the ultra-clean, quiet and fast express train. Specially built to allow folks carrying luggage to get in and out, the trip, about 40 minutes (the bus takes a minimum of 90 minutes due to traffic) was a pleasure after getting off a jammed Boeing 777.
With the Makuhari Messe Convention Center more than an hour from central Tokyo by train, we chose this time to stay in the Hotel Green Tower in Chiba, just 20 minutes by train (and monorail) from Makuhari. This is the lobby of the hotel, where our 21st floor rooms, in a 4-star hotel with every possible amenity, were under $90 per night --- all because we were not in Tokyo! We WILL be there again in 2007!
While our usual video shooter, Carey Parker, couldn't make this Tokyo trip, Tony Fote', chief of the video and video edit crew for TV station KTLA/TV5 in Los Angeles, the first licensed TV station west of the Mississippi River, filled-in for her and took his first trip to Japan's ancient Imperial Palace (the real one, not just the hotel, though we went there, too). We managed a quick visit in the middle of a seasonly monsoon, which cleared up the next day.
A Daihatsu mini-van, typically-sized for Japanese streets, is also a hybrid gas-electric concept vehicle for future study. Daihatsu is almost fully-owned by Toyota and does much of that giant corporation's small car engineering and design.
A wild, open and most importantly "cute" concept made for warm-weather resort areas, the Daihatsu Costa caught the attention of the constantly vacation-dreaming Japanese.
Sipping a late afternoon tea high above the Nissan exhibit, following the company's media presentation, young Nissan designers focus intently on one of their "sensei", or teachers.
Overview of the Porsche exhibit at the Tokyo Motor Show.
A large open "food court" outside the Convention Hall kept the media fat and happy during the two press days of the show. These two women were among the 100's of workers at these stands. Not so glamorous, but necessary and appreciated.
The LEXUS name had just been introduced to the Japanese market during the run of the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show. This concept LF-Sh is the forerunner to the Lexus $100,000-range super cruiser.
Concept for the future Lexus "super sedan" which will challenge the S-class from Mercedes and the 7-series from BMW. Priucing? $100,000.
Lots of 'energy drinks' in the Press Room...
A huge press facility holding up to 1,000 working (and sleeping and drinking) media members from around the world served as 'home base' for lots of foreigners.
In the right attire, some of ther women at the Tokyo Motor Show can also look downright business-like! This is one of the many, many security people apparent throughout the show (one day of our visit the Prince, titular head of the show, made his Ropyal appearance).
This clear contraption was part of the Alpine display, allowing the company to demonstrate their latest audio/video gadgets for potetntial customers and watch their reactions.
Tokyo Motor Show women dressed for success (in their society). Japan is a great place to be a man, if you can get over seeing most of the women treated badly by their bosses, husbands, friends, etc....
Typical end-of-day line-up for some of the girls of the show --- the team leaders are to the left in the more conservative outfits...
Each evening, the girls fo the Tokyo Motor Show gather in front of their respective tands to bow to each attendee and say "oyasuminasai!" (good night) to all...in getting ready for this nightly event there's a lot of running around to get in position.
The girls at the Tokyo Motor Show are recruited from all over the country and only the best need apply, evidently. The show clearly encourages manufacturers on the use of show-women on the car stands, the more the merrier!
Tony and I enjoying the sushi meal --- one GREAT thing about Japan: Tokyo and environs have the most eateries in the world (over 5,000), as very few people entertain in theior small homes. Hence, a restaurant has to be better than good to succeed as there is so much competition. So almost every place you enter will be a winner.
Our first night we walked to the main nearby train station, which is where all the small restaurants are located in Japan, and this fellow (and his daughter) served us the BEST sushi we'd ever tasted --- at prices which would shock American sushi-goers. The entire meal, which consisted of much sushi and several TALL Asahi beers, was less than $50 for us both. The restaurant itself consisted of a traditional sushi 'bar' seating 5 people, and three tables to the wise seating four each. With a TV blaring the Japan World Series in the background, it was a few moments of peaceful, restful Tokyo-type bliss.
Here's how most people enter the Tokyo Motor Show after arriving by bus, taxi, private car or, more likely, train. The sign says 1200 Yen to enter (about 10 US bucks), 600 Yen for children.
We show the Tokyo Motor Show with a crew of TWO --- me and my shooter --- but this Tokyo TV crew consisted of no less than *6* folks, plus the 'talent" (putting on her mic).
The huge Makuhari Messe Convention Center, about an hour from downtown Tokyo, hs served as home to the bi-annual Tokyo Motor Show for about 20 years. It formerly was held in an olld convention building near the Ginza District of Tokyo, not far from the fragrant Tsukiji Fish Market.
One of the smaller 'hits' of the show was this Toyota I-Swing, a one-person 'car' for running aorund town. Here a TV crew from NHK TV gets some shots of the I-Swing in action.
Mercedes' B-class is not yet sold in the USA, yet with the company discontinuing their SMART ForFour, that might increase the chance of this smaller Mercedes seeing USA shores.
Tony Fote' gets some Car Nut TV video of several Japanese in the new R-class Mercedes, built in the USA. Seems they can fit a LOT of Japanese in there!
Daimler executives announced the first week of April, 2006, that this car, the ForFour, would be discontinued, dashing hopes for a US version of the car -- Unless the SMART plant in Brazil is put to work just for the US market. The smaller ForTwo models will continue in production.
First time we saw the Bugatti Veyron was at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show --- Now it was back, at $200,000 more, and the builder is claiming they have sold a few of them, too. Volkswagen owns the company.
Appropriately, the specifications for the $1.2 million Bugatti EB Veyron is cut into marble.
You don't see dancing too much at US auto shows anymore, but it's still common at Japanese and Euro shows.
Dancers show-off the Suzuki ESSE small car.
At the Kenwood display, show-goers listen to an audio presentation about the McLaren-Mercedes F1 race car --- a model of which sits on the stage in front of them. Note the wheelchairs: During Tokyo's two Media Days, the Tokyo Motor Show is also open to the physically challenged, helping them to see the show while avoiding the huge daily crowds of over 100,000 per day.
Nav systems with HD screens and Wi-Fi Internet hook-ups were all the rage...
WHO could walk by the CLARION display without taking one of these...folders?