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I was in Japan for about 2 weeks. It was quite the experience. I don’t know how else to put it. While it was fun, it was also tiring. While I enjoyed it, I also hated it. Either way… The best way to express myself is to show you what I experienced. Below is gallery of photos and some commentary about my most recent trip. Enjoy!

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It’s a me! Mario on your sneakers! I’m just gonna leave this here. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Converse One Star J sneaker model, Converse is teaming up with Nintendo to create two snazzy limited edition leather One Star J designs that feature Mario & Bowser from the original Super Mario Bros. Check out the awesome pics below! Slated to release this week in Japan only, best wishes trying to get your hands on these!

SLAM_DUNK_AJ6_001If you’ve been following sneaker news, you might have heard that a few months ago Jordan Brand was putting together something special for Slam Dunk fans! Takehiko Inoue’s classic ’90s basketball manga/anime was a cultural phenomenon for Japan. Much like what Eyeshield 21 did for American Football in Japan, Slam Dunk did the same for professional basketball. Basketball culture and everything that went along with it, was (and still is) in full swing all over Japan. Sneaker culture in particular made a big impression amongst fans of the show. Click below for some background info and some new pics!

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img_topLate last year Converse launched an awesome collaboration with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure / 『ジョジョの奇妙な冒険』 to do a special sneaker (Chuck Taylor All-Star) based on the first arc (Phantom Blood) of the recently launched animated series. At the same time they teased about a special sneaker commemorating the then forthcoming third arc of the animated series and arguably the most popular, Stardust Crusaders. Based off the main character Jotaro Kujo, the Converse ALL STAR OX/JO2 is now open for preorder until June 15th on the 2PMWORKS & p-bandai online stores. It should be noted that they are making these available in men’s and women’s sizes! These limited edition Converse are scheduled to ship later this year in December. Check out all the awesome detail in the gallery by clicking below!

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I wanted to get this out there, especially before the anticipated re-release later this year. My favorite sneaker of all time is the Air Jordan XI that Michael Jordan wore in the 1996 All-Star Game, better known widely by it’s nickname the ‘Columbias.’  As a Michael Jordan fan, 1996 was a very key year. The year prior, MJ had come out of retirement towards the end of the 1995 season with the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls fell to the Orlando Magic in the playoffs, but MJ vowed to come back strong the following year and work off the rust. Long story short… The Chicago Bulls ended up winning their 4th NBA Championship and setting a record 72-10 season.

4d80cd44_JordanXI-2So why this sneaker? I think a lot of it has to do with the All-Star Game hype and everything leading up to it. The Bulls were already having a franchise best season and everyone was expecting them to take the crown. Michael Jordan was back in the best shape he’s ever been. My friends and I were really into basketball at the time, especially sneakers. At school we would gather around the latest Eastbay catalogs or go to the mall after school and check out the latest styles. When we weren’t talking about the game (basketball), we were playing it on Super Nintendo… Anyone remember EA’s Bulls VS Blazers & The NBA Playoffs? We were just INTO it. This was a rare time in my life. It was before I got into competitive fighting games, it was before i started collecting video games… and it was before I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life.  After Michael Jordan retired, I just couldn’t enjoy the game of basketball as much as I used to. San Diego didn’t have a ‘home team’ and that’s when I started focusing more on school and life. Even when MJ returned for his brief stint with the Washington Wizards, it just wasn’t the same. I was a fan of #23, but not of the Wizards…

That didn’t stop me from reminiscing and appreciating the old days. Thankfully Nike and Jordan Brand started to retro (re-release) the Air Jordan XI again and in 2001 they brought back the ‘Columbias’ … I absolutely had to track down a pair. While I missed out on the release of them, I had to go to NIKETALK to acquire a pair from their forum marketplace. This was new to me. The internet proved to be a very useful place filled with knowledge and holding no bounds to race, color, creed or location. LOCATION. That was key. I ended up using my PayPal account and ‘copping’ a 10.5 pair of the 2001 Columbias from a NT member in New York. It was a smooth transaction and a week later I finally had my ‘holy grail’… But why stop there?! What could be next?

I kept seeing people talk about “one to rock, one to stock” … Shit. Me too! So I scoured the forum marketplace until I finally found another size 10.5 or 11 pair. This time the seller was from Sweden. Now that might not seem like a big deal nowadays, but back in 2001 when I was new to doing person to person transactions over the internet? It was crazy. Same story, different tune. A few weeks later I had my second pair and all was well in the world. I then took it upon myself to be more of a collector and actually pay attention more to the science and community behind sneaker collecting. This was back in the day when NIKETALK actually had a WEALTH of knowledge on the message boards… so much that you’d have to have a back-up account for when you’ve reached your daily viewing limit (LOL). Shoutouts to retrokid, snugglesmcduggles, flipjays, dependablejay, Method Man, kingcrux and all the other OG NT heads that used to share the knowledge. If it wasn’t for NT and eventually ISS/SC, I probably wouldn’t have been as appreciative as I am now.

COLUMBIA_MESHYou know what the crazy thing is? It was through that knowledge that I ended up finding out the minute and subtle differences between the retros, the OGs and all that. So when I saw and confirmed that the 2001 pairs of Columbias did not have the glorious icey blue tint to the sole, it kind of ticked me off a bit deep down inside. That blue tint that the original pairs had, I just had to have it… I eventually ended up getting a deadstock size 10.5 of the original 1996 pair. Thanks to my sister for copping those for me way back when I didn’t have a job. LOL. I don’t know if I clearly conveyed why this sneaker is my number one of all time, but I know that it is and you’ll just have to take my word for it.

It’s been over 13 years since the last release of this shoe. Some pictures have finally started surfacing and the hype is slowly but surely building for the holiday release. Am I ready? Yeah. I’m planning to get 4 pairs. Why 4? I plan on wearing these for the rest of my life. It’s nice to have one aspect of life thought out… I’m still figuring out the rest. I guess I should thank the sneaker game for that, heh.

AKIHABARAJune is when it starts to get busy. It starts off with a bang with the 2014 Electronics Entertainment Expo, better known as E3! One of the most wonderful times of the year where the gaming industry comes together to show off their big guns and set the pace for their year. I have the privilege of working in the game industry and I will be busting my ass off to prepare for E3 & beyond! I’ll need a little break though. Sometimes you NEED to take some time off and just enjoy life. That’s exactly what I’m doing after E3. Vacation destination? Tokyo and Singapore.

I’m no stranger to these faraway lands, quite the contrary. I’ve been there a few times each the past couple of years. I’ll be doing my usually GEEKMODE hunt of sneakers, arcade sticks, gaming goods and whatever else tickles my fancy. While in Singapore I’ll be representing Mad Catz and attending SEAM 2014 (South East Asia Majors), a major fighting game tournament for the surrounding countries. Stay tuned to my twitter & instagram for the latest pictures of food, cool stuff and whatever else I encounter.

video_image-204844This news has been out for awhile now but still, worth mentioning… There have been a number of Reebok inspired sneaker collaborations in the past, but this one…. THIS ONE takes the cake. Reebok’s Insta Pump Fury OG line has been pumping out retros & new colorways as of late, one notable one for geeks out there is this latest one featuring the beloved Gundam franchise.

While they are both the same shoe, the attention to detail for each design is astonishing. On the MS-06S Zaku (on the right) is based off the Commander type Zaku II that was piloted by Char Aznable, complete with outer space detail and everything. For more detailed pics, check out this link.

Based off the Gundam RX78-2 and Zaku MS-06S mobile suits, these sneakers were released in VERY limited numbers in South East Asia. No word on whether or not it will be releasing to the rest of the world, but you can bet that sneaker enthusiasts/gundam fans are paying attention.

Most places are sold out now, but you can still get it at kix-files for the Gundam version. Check it out!