Robot-Japan Summit #2 Wrap-up

Written by Myles on Monday, November 15, 2010.

The second Robot-Japan summit has come and gone.  It was a great time.  I'll detail my personal experiences and impressions, but there were so many people and so much happening in other circles and locations that I'm sure many people will have much to add.  Please post up your own personal experiences in the comments section below.

For me, the festivities actually began a few days earlier.  Forum member Jonathan R. (reparitechjon) made the long trek down from New York to brave the cold winter climate of Florida.  Wink  He was arriving in South Florida and making his way up north to stay with some friends prior to the summit.  We coordinated his trip so he would have a chance to stop over my place for a visit.  This would be only the second time a fellow collector was invited into my home to see my collection (I documented the first here), so again, it was pretty special to me.  Jonathan was an extremely friendly and enthusiastic individual, and I immediately felt at ease around him.  It was like we had know each other for years (which I guess we have).  I'm not sure what his overall impression was of my collection - perhaps it was shock and horror that so many toys could be crammed into such a small space!  I think he was looking for the interdimensional portal that allowed the room to be bigger than it actually appeared.  The visit was too short, unfortunately.  Jonathan was beyond generous as he surprised me with a fantastic litho train made in Japan, a creative handmade sewn robot creation from a upstate NY artisan, and even a puzzle dino toy as a gift for my kids!  What was especially surprising was that he remembered that I admired that train from a long time ago when he posted his finds.  What a memory!  I was dumbfounded by his kindness and thoughtfullness. 

Jon_gifts_s

The following days were filled with trips to the storage unit, sorting through bin upon bin of crap, and packing all that I was to bring.  I finalized plans for the trip with both Jonathan (who was going to share a room with me on Saturday night) and Steve (who was going to join me on the ride over to the west coast of Florida).  Steve is someone whom I wrote about in the past - he is the author of a fantastic blog called Roboplastic Apocalypse.

All was set, and Steve arrived early Saturday morning for the long trip cross-state.  I stacked my goodies by the front door and snapped a quick pick with my toys I brought for my "Toys on the Move" photo ops sitting on top. 

Stockpile_s

We loaded up the car, leaving the stinky dogs behind, and hit the road.  On the way, we talked about all sorts of facets of collecting, and I realized that Steve and I had very similar personalities, including a twisted and dark sense of humor, so I really enjoyed our time together on the drive.  We passed a sad looking flee market in the middle of nowhere, and we vowed to try to hit it on the return trip.  Hey, you never know what you'll find. 

The trip itself includes several sights, including Disneyworld, Dinosaur World, and Tampa Bay.  Unfortunately, most of our photo attempts for "Toys on the Move" fell flat.

We arrived in St. Pete earlier than I expected, and after a call over the Ed, we headed over to his place.  A fellow collector from the Miami area, Amy, was already present.  She is a new convert to the robot-collecting madness, though not collecting in general.  I believe that she got into the hobby around the time of the popular Morphy's auction.  It was nice meeting her and hearing about her collecting interests. 

Others soon began to show up, and the summit was in full force. 

Outside_1_s Outside_2_s

Attendees included Jack F. (jacksauce), Patrick (GetterBlakk) and his son, another Jack (TattooJack), Tony (tampabayhobbies), Steve's friend Zack, and many others.  Numerous trade tables were set up, and Patrick displayed his interesting and twisted creations made from parts of various Transformers, Zoids, Gobots, and whatever loose parts he could get his hands on.  They were some truly funky bots, and definitely unique. 

Customs_2_s Customs_1_s

Some shots of the trade tables in various states of setup:

Trade_table_2_s Trade_table_1_s Trade_table_3_s

Ed and I obviously discussing the merits of Aphrodai's weapon systems:

MC_and_ES_s

Of course, Ed gave a tour of his mesmerizing collection, which had been partially reorganized since my last visit.  I noticed a few new gems hidden amongst the masses, and I congratulated Ed on these recent top-notch pickups.  Gamera enjoyed a few of the shelves in particular:

Collection_1_s Collection_2_s

Time seemed to pass fast, and before you knew it, a few people had to leave.  I wanted to show a few select pieces I had brought with me, so I pulled these out of my car at this point.  But before I got the chance to do a little show-and-tell, I got caught up in a Skype session with Erik Sjoen chiming in from San Francisco!  My apologies to those who had followed me into his house in the hopes of seeing my stuff.  I didn't get the chance to properly show them or say goodbye. Erik had some sick stuff to share, included a Nakajima Astro-Mu nodder.  Can you believe he was just going to hold it up without making the dude actually nod?  Hell no - I called him to task, and he not only made that little bastard nod, but he also pulled down his Capsule Robo Jumbo and put the nodder inside!  Sick.  He went through a bevy of amazing toys, including a Grendizer talker.  It was a blast chatting with Erik again - the last time we really talked face to face was during the Kimono My House closing gathering.  I even got to show him a few toys he was unfamiliar with - rare Star Mites second edition stuff.  Almost immediately after Erik signed off, diceone (Sean G.) Skyped in.  I gave him a quick virtual tour of Ed's collection, then saw a similar tour of Sean's collection.  It was filled with some nice Jumbos and quirky underappreciated gokin.  Good stuff!  Ed's laptop battery was dying, so that unforunately was a short Skype session. 

Through all this, we held the drawing for the Grendizer Jumbo Machinder graciously donated by forum member and administrator Godaikin.  The winner was jacksauce, of the mad-scientist Jumbo mashup fame.  How appropriate!  But I made Jack promise not to degrade this beauty. 

Grendy_JM_s

Soon it was time to head over to TattoJack's house for his collection tour.  Before we left, jacksauce quickly pulled out his Murderlizord for several to see.  Then into the cars we went.  TattoJack's collection was pretty damned impressive too.  Wall after wall filled with Transformers from every toy line.  Not being a TF fan myself, I wasn't truly sure what to make of it all, though I was certainly impressed by the variety and the display.  But I later was asking Steve and Zach what they thought, since they are infintely more knowledgable about these toy lines than I, and they were very much in awe.  So if you ever get an invite from Jack, take him up on it!  In addition, he had a very nice and extensive Gobots and Soul of Chogokin collection, among other toys.  Jack pulled out the CM's Goshogun for me since I had never seen that in person and was unfamiliar with CM's craftsmanship.  That toy sold me - I'll have to keep my eye out for an affordable one. I brought some home-made DVDs for a handout at Ed's and Jack popped his in.  After some technical difficulties (because of my disc, not his equipment), we had some super robot intros rolling while we continued to chat and take in his collection. 

It was getting late, and I was hoping that a whole bunch of us could head out and hang, continuing the party late into the night.  However, most had to either head home or had other plans.  So Jonathan, Jack F., and I went out for a leisurely dinner.  We found a nice Thai restaurant, and Jack schooled us on Thai delicacies.  After a great meal and even better conversation, we headed back to Ed's so Jack could pick up his car.  It was at this point that Jack pulled out the big guns - two very large and insane toys.  One featured a Dairugger-like battery-operated figure that had a spinning chest piece on which you could mount three different weapons that operated in different rotating fashions.  The top half of the robot could then be mounted on this crazy vehicle with a Golion figure mounted on the hood.  The whole thing was massive, had flashing lights, and was covered in gold chrome.  Wackiness to the extreme.  The second one was quite similar and even stranger.  It featured this He-Man-ish figure again with the rotating part on this chest.  The weapon attachments were similar to the other toy.  The figure had flashing lights under his skin, and the top half could be mounted on some prehistoric creature.  We had lots of fun letting these things light up the dark night-time sky and scare Ed's neighbors. Unfortunately, photo-documenting these rare finds did not occur to me at the time.  D'oh!

Jack had a long drive back to Orlando ahead of him, so he hit the road, while Jon and I returned to our hotel.  Since we didn't have a chance to check out the toys I had brought during the summit, we took the oportunity at the hotel to examine them in detail.  First up was the Big Scale Grandbirth.  I also had brought along the DX Chogokin version of the toy for a potential trade (if necessary), so were were able to compare the two:

Hotel_1s Grandbirth_1_s

Grandbirth_2_s Hotel_2_s

I had also brought the Big Scale Gavan Crystal Base for show-and-tell.  We pulled this baby out and enjoyed its massiveness and amazing details.  A 12th hour trade was worked out (no, not for this), and we called it a night.  In the morning, we grabbed a hearty breakfast and met up with Steve and Zach again for a lengthy chat.  Zach then headed home, Jonathan headed to a local anime store run by one of the dudes who attended the summit, and Steve and I hit the road. 

We did manage to find that flea market we saw on the way up.  We didn't expect much, especially for the middle of the state, but lo and behold, we encounted two milk crates full of Gundam models and some vintage anime VCR tapes.  Nothing was purchased, but it was interesting to see. 

Soon after, my "Service Engine Soon" light came on.  Steve ventured a random guess that my oil cap had been left off after an oil change I had received a few days prior.  We pulled over at the next rest stop and popped the hood.  Yep, he was right.  I had only driven over 500 miles without one!  Friggin stupid dealership.  After adding oil and chasing down a new cap, we resumed our journey home and finally arrived at my house.  By this time, exhaustion had caught up with me.  I was fighting to keep my eyes open.

When I came in, my wife was in the middle of adopting out one of our rescue dogs (my wife has taken it upon herself to rescue dogs from the Miami shelter, one of the highest kill-rate shelters in the country).  More on this later.  While this was going on, I gave Steve a tour of my collection (the third ever visit from a fellow collector, all within a relatively short time span).  Time was short as he had to try to catch the last bus of the night.  However, it was pitch black, and he was biking between buses and homes, so I gave him a ride home.  My family came since I could barely stay awake.  We dropped Steve off at his home and met his lovely wife and energetic son.  My kids took a cue from his son and proceeded to become phrenetic.  Anyway, back into the car to head home.  We stopped to pick up a late dinner and arrived home to a message from the adopters stating that the dog broke free in their daughter's neighborhood.  Since the dog was with people she didn't know and in an area that was unfamiliar to her, we just had to head over to help look.  By this point, I couldn't stop saying "I am soooo tired" every three seconds.  Luckily, we found the dog before it was hit by a car.  Back home we went. Preparations for the evening ensued, and finally I was able to drift off into unconsciousness. 

Why the long after-summit story?  Well, I just wanted to point out that even though things started to turn sour, it didn't dampen my experience of the weekend.  I truly enjoyed the lengthy time I got to spend with Jonathan, Steve, and Jack, the three individuals who had visited my own personal collection.  Of course, meeting all the other new faces and seeing Ed again was great too.  I had an amazing time and learned a lot about these individuals.  As entertaining it is to chat online, meeting in person is much more gratifying.  

Again, big thanks to Ed and Jack (and families) for allowing us to enter their sacred halls, and also to Godaikin for the generous donation of the Jumbo giveaway.   

As I said in the beginning of this write-up, please post your own experiences.  Thanks!

 

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About the Author

Myles

Myles

Myles a.k.a. Kingboy D calls the paradise of South Florida home.  This closet case collector relishes online gaming as well as a zinc fix away from the children.  Myles is a tour-de-force of once lost archives and a collector of all toys pre-loved.