Friday, May 20, 2011

G-Shock #22: Ninja!

I must have this watch. Not that I am fond of motorcycles. Nope, cars and motorcycles are not really my interest. As a small child I as mostly impressed by trains. When I finished middle school, I went to a Laboratory School, 30 kilometers from home. Every school day I made the 20 minutes train trip to school and back for 7 years. I never got bored of it.Actually it was a bummer that my school moved close to my home, for my last 2 years.
My brother however was born for wheels, specially motorcycles. If you had a problem with your bike, you went to the garage of our house and my brother would get your bike riding perfect again. We were never surprised as we went to school in the morning and had to step over a motorcycle that has been spread in pats all over the garage in the morning and was riding again in the evening.
One day my brother had bought a Kawasaki 500cc motorcycle. It was quite a fast machine for those days. My brother often took me or my sisters for a ride. Of course, riding with two is always more cozy than riding alone, but there was one better reason. With a contra weight on the back, you could make wheelies of a few hundred meters (yards) with no problem. Later my brother got an old BMW R60/5, which he upgraded to 900cc which he had for many years.
A few years ago I bought a box of “Taxi” movies. These are hilarious French comic movies about a taxi driver, who, even when he is driving “normal”, is faster than any rally car. Some police men are chasing him in the first movie, while yelling “Ninja!” every time. My son Bram, who loves fast cars, kept yelling “Ninja” since then and discovered there were motorcycles called “Ninja”. Every time Bram saw a poisonous green racing motorcycle, he yelled: “Ninja!”.
In October 2009 I attended the Barcelona leg of the “Shock The World Tour 2009”. This leg was held in the beautiful Casa Batlló, created by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. When I was in the basement looking at the ice sculptures, with some friends of the Comando-G, I decided t go to the bar and get something to drink. While I was meandering through the crowd, somewhere in the middle of the hall, I almost walked upon a Japanese man. We both apologized deeply and I followed my way to the bar.
While a few people were waiting before me at the bar, I started looking around, noticing the same Japanese man was standing behind me. I felt a bit ashamed. That man also went to the bar and I blocked his way, I thought. “Sorry, I didn’t know you were also going to the bar”, I said. “No problem”, the man said and he smiled. “While we are both standing here at the bar, can I offer you a drink?”. “Yes, please, a cola”. I waited patiently for a free bartender, while obviously observing the red G-7700 models they were wearing. I thought, “I wish I was a bartender, I bet they got these from Casio”. I didn’t have to wait long and I gave the man his cola, while I enjoyed my ginger ale.
In the crowd was a lot to see. A lot of people were wearing newer G-Shock models, but I also noticed some vintage models. Also my eyes wandered off to the wrist of the Japanese man. “Excuse me sir, I noticed you are not wearing a G-Shock watch. Aren’t you a Casio representative?” , I asked. The man smiled: “no, I’m not. Do you know Kawasaki motorcycle?”. “Yes, my brother had a Kawasaki motorcycle and my son is fond of the Ninja motorcycles”. The smile on the man’s face became even bigger: “I am the director of the Kawasaki Motorcycle Factory in Japan, can I take a photo with you”.
I was stunned. This man is a director of a well known motorcycle company and he wants with me, the simple guy from the countryside in the Netherlands, on a photo. I think I don’t have to explain this was one of the greatest highs in my life. Of course I also gave my camera to one of the Comando-G boys, to have evidence this really happened. After taking photographs with me I was introduced to the whole Kawasaki team that was attending Shock The World. I’m not sure if this was a team from Europe or Spain, but, hey, this was awesome!
I have been lurking long at the G-300 Kawasaki Ninja models, that were for sale on eBay. I believe these were for sale since 2005. I kept saying to myself, if it only was red. Of course, most Kawasaki Ninja models that you will see are the poisonous green models. And frankly, I like the green/black color scheme too. Somehow I never bought one and now it’s simply too late. You don’t see those green Ninja G-Shocks anymore. Sometimes someone tries to make a profit out of his purchase, selling his for twice the usual price or higher.
In 2007 Casio released a lot of 25th Anniversary models. One of them is a collaboration model with Kawasaki Ninja. Guess what, this model is red. Also it isn’t the G-300 model. Not that I totally dislike that model, but I admire the DW-6900. This watch is awesome. Only problem… It could only be ordered directly in the Kawasaki on-line shop in Japan and it was only meant for the domestic market. Well, with the enormous 25th anniversary models coming out in 2007 and 2008, it was of course not a real disaster I couldn’t get this watch.(Check out my comment on this post on My G-Shock, I was already lurking 3 years ago)
A few months ago I saw a green Kawasaki motorcycle riding through the street. I thought, let’s do a search for a green Ninja G-Shock. To my surprise, there were no green Kawasaki G-Shock models for offered on eBay, but I found three red DW-6900 versions!
I wish I had more funds as I simply couldn’t afford those watches at that time, but I really wanted this model bad. Really bad. I tried to save up some money last month and also this month I tried to save some money. I was thinking about this model practically a few times a day. Around the beginning of the Golden Week (GW)I pulled the trigger. I knew if I bought this watch, I needed to be careful with how I spent the rest of my money for this month. The watch was located in Japan, so I expected I had to wait a little longer due to the GW, although I had paid instantly after the purchase. Finally I got a mail that the G-Shock was in process in the weekend after the GW and it was sent from Osaka to me on may 11th. The waiting begun, but like the Japanese EMS service, the watch was in no time in Amsterdam. [rant] On Friday May 13th, it arrived at the office of the Customs Commissioner. I knew what that meant. A Loooooong wait and a huge bill. I can understand that we have to pay taxes for important goods. The only thing I don’t understand is the extreme long waiting time on a Express Mail Service package (usually 4 to 5 working days) and an additional fees of €17.-. If I sent a package registered from one part to the other part of the Netherlands, I pay €7.50 and even for Europe I pay less than €17.-.. No, for carrying a package from one office to another near Amsterdam Airport, the TNT parcel service write out a bill of €17.- , no matter what the content is worth. Once I got a bill with a $20.- watch. I had to pay €4.- tax and €17.- fees. The fees were even more than the worth of the whole watch (less then €15.-). I was pretty annoyed that Eva threw away this bill, because I wanted to save it for reference. Maybe I could go with similar bills to a consumers program on television, because I still think this is a horrible money grabbing practice of the Dutch TNT.
Today I got a telephone call from Eva. Your package arrived. I almost fell of my chair when I heard the height of the bill. “How Much!”. “It was 53 Euro something”. Bad timing. My father was hospitalized last Monday and some idiots (I have no other words for these selfish managers) have thought out that it would be good to keep only one hospital (the smallest) for two (former) islands and of course that hospital is located in the least populated island, about 30 kilometers from where I live. Instead of taking my bicycle and ride to the hospital in Vlissingen I now have to ride daily 20 minutes to the hospital in Goes. I pretty much could have used that €53.- to fill my gas tank of the car.[/rant]
This afternoon I got home and saw the package on the table. I also found my envelope, where I had put in the money for the customs. Eva had left €5.- in it. I must have looked pretty sad at that bank note. I took a deep breath and took the package outside. The watch was well packed in several of layers bubble plastic. First I found a personal letter of the seller. I must say, this cheered me up a lot. He was very happy that I bought the watch and also made two origami Ninja stars for me. Bram immediately recognized them.
The watch itself is a bit packed as the Toyota Land Cruiser Mudman. The big red outer box has a graphic of a Kawasaki Ninja on it, and also the marks Kawasaki Ninja x G-Shock , G-Shock 25th Anniversary, Kawasaki Limited Edition and both the Kawasaki and G-Shock logo.
I think the inner “trunk box” is even more beautiful. I noticed that someone had bought a 25th anniversary model a few weeks ago and he was disappointed he didn’t get the 25th Anniversary tin by Eric Haze. Well, those tins are looking great, but the trunk cases are at least as nice as these tins too.
Inside the trunk case, you finally find the G-Shock. Of course well packed in another plastic bag. This watch is a DW-6900FS model, with the typical gold trim, as we are used from the 25th Anniversary models. The buttons and buckle are in a gold tone. Strangely the back of the watch is silver. It has the 25th Anniversary logo on it, designed by Eric Haze. Very cool on this model is the face plate. I always wanted to have a model with a red face plate. Above the eyes there is the Ninja logo in white. The Ninja logo also appears in the display as the backlight is activated.
 The straps have red racing stripes on them, which make them look pretty fast. For those who didn’t get it already, Ninja is the trademark for the Kawasaki sport bikes and have been around since 1984, only one year later than the first G-Shock.
This DW-6900FS model has the 1289 module. I see this article has become quite long, so I think I can best refer to other 50 Gs articles about DW-6900 models featuring the same 1289 module. In short, it is a pretty basic module, with the basic G-Shock functions , as you found them on G0Shock’s in the 90’s.
 This model was available in the Kawasaki Store for 14700 yen, which would be now around $180 or €125.-. I wish I could have bought it for this price, but I paid $260.- (€175.-) for this watch plus €53.50 tax and fees, raising the price to a sad €228.-($326.-). There are still some for sale on eBay. If you are handy with From Japan, you can also find a few for a good price on Yahoo Auctions Japan. Although I have paid a high price for this watch, I am very happy to have this one in my collection. If this watch was priced more reasonable, I probably would have tried to find a second to wear.

4 comments:

pclegge said...

Sjors, you've done it again. This looks like one of the best limited editions that i've seen. I wish i had your contacts to some amazing watches.

Please keep up the good work and keep buying .

pclegge said...

A watch that is good enough to grace any collection. I would love this watch and i am very jealous of you.

Please keep up the good work, i am an avid fan.

3dna said...

Hi Sjors, I was just lurking after having not had a G Shock for many years. Now I ordered a dw5600e-1v, I will be back with G. Love your work.
Cheers

Sjors said...

Hello Pclegge and 3dna,

Thank you for your comments. I am glad you enjoy reading my articles.

Happy G-Day,

Sjors