Sticker Tuning

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Weekend Vanlife - by the Sea

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On a free weekend, I wander seeking relaxation and end up watching the ocean.

One day :

#sunday #morning #coffee by the #beach
#海 を見ながら #日曜日 の#朝 #コーヒー

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Another day :

Overlooking the #coast on a #Saturday
#湾を見ながら #土曜日
視線の先には #駿河湾

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Just DIY work and setting up equipment (portable sink, bed board/shelf) is like like putting the cart before the horse, so I decided to go out auto camping with the NV200. I wanted to check out the added stuff in real usage to see if it works. I departed Tokyo late afternoon and headed south towards Mt. Fuji without a specific destination in mind. I ended up heading towards Fujikawa Service Area (SA) on the Tomei Expressway which I read as having a nice view of Mt.Fuji and nice facilities. I ended up arriving in the dark at night unable to check whether my read was correct, but I decided to trust it.


Before arriving at my destination, I exited the expressway at Fuji interchange and headed to a public bath place for a dip. As the name Fuji-city says, Mt Fuji can be seen from just about anywhere in the city.

After getting dinner and dessert, I headed to Shimizu interchange to get on the expressway and headed towards Fujikawa SA.I later learned that I could have accessed this SA via local roads. Lesson learned.

Arriving at the SA, there were very few cars around, and the (annoying) trucks which keep their engines running all night were parked in their spots a distance away. A few camping cars ready to spend the night here were already parked. In the darkness not knowing which direction and where Mt.Fuji can be seen, I randomly picked a parking place away seeking silence from other cars. Though I ended up having to move the car to a different place early morning in order to enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji from the window, the initial place was also good since I was unexpectedly able to shoot a nice night view.

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As I spent the night eating bento dinner in the car watching TV (no cooking, just boiling water for my instant miso soup and tea) and having dessert while checking my emails, I quickly became sleepy. (I guess that tennis in the afternoon followed by a hot relaxing bath did it.)
Using the sink unit which I filled water with before departure to wash my face and brush my teeth (fulfilled it's role perfectly) , I converted the space to bedroom mode by changing the rear shelf to the bed board. The switch was very easy being able to leave the sink as is. The legs attached to the bed board is a bit weak resulting in the board moving when I turned over, but that's nothing compared to the extended bed width achieved. It was still a chilly night but the FF heater made the van warm and comfortable to sleep in.


Getting out of the van midnight for restroom business, I was welcomed by a beautiful night view looking down at the lights of Fuji-city. Was able to catch a nice Instagram pic.

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However on my second wake up as the sky was beginning to brighten, I discovered that the view of Mt. Fuji was blocked by a building and unseen from where I was parked. No wonder no one was parked around the area. After thinking about the burden of moving the car to another lot, I decided to do it out of strong desire to wake up to a view of Mt.Fuji though the van window. I went back to sleep for another couple of hours, and happily woke up to see what I had wanted to see.

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Dripped coffee, roll sandwich and yogurt from the portable refrigerator powered throughout the night by the EFDELTA power brick (another equipment check item) was breakfast. Spent some lazy time in the van slowly packing up and tearing down my sleeping quarters until realizing that all the SA facilities and shops had been already open for a while, and visitors were already coming in waves. I went window shopping teasing the gift shops, enjoyed the full view of Mt.Fuji from the observation deck, and casually strolled around the area till the clock was telling me it was about lunch time. After purchasing a small cactus as my new traveling buddy at a local market booth, it was time to start the engine and leave the SA searching for lunch.


I ended up visiting a local seafood bowl eatery called "Sunzoku" near Tagonoura fishing port. The raw fish bowl included maguro tuna, raw and boiled whitebait, and sakura shrimp. Eating the bowl as recommended, I discovered that sesame oil (with a sprinkle of salt) goes well with whitebait.


I stopped by the river side of Fuji River for an after-meal cup of coffee, before heading home.



Filet cutlets have become very tender these it age that is making me like them more than loin cutlets ? lol



The "L" mode sidew bench layout has been something that has been on my mind since I got this camper, or maybe even at the point of choosing this model. The portable sink galley was actually designed with this layout in mind. In actually setting up this layout, it's much more spacious than the standard dinette mode. I like it so much that it's been the fixed layout this couple of weeks, and looks like it's going to stay that way as the standard setting, especially for solo traveling.

The down side with this layout is that though it's comfy spending the day, it's not an one-touch conversion to the standard sleeping layout. Dismantling the galley is especially something that needs avoiding. The width of just the side bench seat is also too narrow to act as a bed.

Being a lazy person, I needed to find a way to configure this layout into a sleeping setting without a drastic change. After a while of staring at the interior, the idea of an additional bed board came to mind. Placing a bed board next to the side bench will add width to the seating surface and turn it into at least a single bed. The galley will keep it's place since the bed board will be designed to fit right in between the bench and galley.

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I measured the length of the bed board to be 120cm, which is achievable by pushing forward the second seat. This 120cm becomes key, which will be explained later. The gap between the bench seat and the galley is about 35cm, and I decided the board width to be 30cm to keep allowance. I chose a set of folding table legs that would give the board a height of 33cm when in use. the height would be just about the same height as the bench seat.

I found a stock table board of 120cm x 30cm size on Amazon, and I picked up a no-brand one over the Iris Ohyama one which was said to be lighter but had quality and packaging issues by the reviews.

Now, an issue that had to be solved was where to store a 120cm board in the daytime when not in use as a bed. Once choice was to look for a place to hide it, but it would be better to make use of it rather than put it away. As I was searching, I found out that other owners of the same model camper were adding rear shelves that span across the width of the car, and can be used as a table in addition to the storage shelf.
Guess what...the length (width) of the shelve/table that's bingo for the NV200 happens to be....120cm !
The 120cm that was just the right size for the bed board is also the just fit size for the rear shelf, making it possible to kill two birds with one stone, a bed board and rear shelf.


The table board that came is sturdy and looks strong enough to hold my body weight as a bed board, but needing a bit of strength moving it around.. Looks nice too being a melanin board with a gloss surface. After pre-fitting the board in the car, the table legs were screwed on. It turns out folding table legs are flexible to weight, but luckily wasn't a show stopper. I added rubber edge guards that act as stoppers to keep the rear shelf fixed while the car is moving, and also to gain a little height to avoid the seat back of the bench seat.
With the DIY finished, the bed board/rear shelf is complete.

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Since I had pre-fitted the board, the completed bed board went in with a snug fit as planned, with the board legs avoiding the dining table stem base as calculated. The height is slightly lower tan the bench seat which will be compensated by the thickness of the blanket laid down as a mat.

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The board as the rear shelf is also a perfect fit, and the just right width of 120cm feels so good. The height gain to avoid the seat back of the bench seat needs tuning, but hoping to keep it minimal.

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My living quarter for the solo auto camp is about complete. Eager to head out adventuring.



Pfizer Covid-19 Vaccine 3rd shot:
No relevant fever, dull pain on the upper arm and slight fatigue and sleepiness the day of vaccination.
Muscle (arm) and joint pain throughout the night.
Fatigue, fever-ish symptoms (slight dizziness and higher body temperature) but no fever (36.8degC) the next day.
Side effects heavier than the first two times.


The completed portable water sink & table galley is ready for fitting in the car.

First, the lower frame. The portable galley was made so the upper and lower frames can be detached, and the backside of the lower frame kept open. The purpose of this design is to utilize the lower frame on it's side as a storage box when the galley is not in use. The reason for keeping the depth of the galley to 29cm was to fit the lower frame underneath the bed. To make this happen, I was lucky to find a sink with a width of 28cm. The felt on the front side makes it easy to slide like a drawer on the floor.

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I intended this galley to be used in a sideways seat configuration. This seat layout mode was not one that was lectured when I got the car, so I assume it's not a layout intended by the manufacturer. However, the width of the bed floor board (which is designed to fit in the width direction of the car) happens to be the same dimension as the length between the second seat to the rear hatch door...what a coincidence ! This makes the "L" type seating configuration possible. I personally like this configuration since it feels more relaxing than the face to face "dinette" position. The galley was made with this layout in mind, and it can be used sitting on the side seat.


It was relieving to confirm that the galley size was just right, not interfering with the side door even with the table in place.

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The galley is tied down using a belt and tie down suction cups. The test drive proved that it was firmly fixed tight without any moving around, more than expected. The part added to the rear of the galley to press the galley to the interior wall seems to be doing it's job well. Let's hope the strength of the suction cups last.

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The "living room", from a different angle.



A water sink and cooking table... a galley was something I wanted to equip my camping car with.
Some camper models equipped with a galley were candidates in my search, but were filtered out due to not only budget reasons but lack of sleeping space due to the permanent galley unit. I actually consulted my dealer about adding a simple water sink in my NV200 Camper FOCS Luz but gave up on it since it just didn't work.
As result, I decided I'd DIY a portable water sink system that can be carried on and off the car.
Starting off with collection of parts and materials.
The wood parts of choice was 1x4 and 2x4 lumber so I can make adjustments to height as the frame built up. One piece boards may have looked prettier, but 1x's and 2x's have it's tastes too. The sink, supply and waste water tanks, and a USB charged electrical water pump were other parts that were collected.

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The design sketch. (Click to enlarge)It ended up close, but not exactly since some tweaking was done as the build was in progress.


Putting together the upper and lower frame independently. Making the upper frame detachable is for efficient use of the lower frame for other purposes, as well as for easy access to the water tanks.

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The main frame structure completed. The front side is covered whereas the rear side is left open not only for easy maintenance but for another purpose.

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Test fitting the sink and water tank went well as designed.
A cardboard mock up was made beforehand to get an idea of the size, but it's role ends at this point.

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After securing the sink to the frame, an extra feature added on while waiting for the USB charged water pump.
A foldable table is added on to the side using leftover material. The table size was designed to keep the unit easy to carry, but luckily resulted in enough size to place a cassette burner.

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The water pump arrived dead on arrival, and needed a disassembly to get it working.
Once it was sucking up water, the water system was checked for leaks and to see if the pump had enough power.
It succeeded, and the unit is complete.


The whole picture of the portable galley (water sink). The size was designed to fit my Nissan NV200 camper which is a rather small camping car, as well as with the mind for easy loading/unloading. On the other hand, the size of the sink needed to be practical at the same time. Water capacity is 10L each for supply and waste which is a bit over spec. I might get a smaller supply tank of 5L instead.
Time for fitting the unit in to the NV200 after adding few parts to help a snug fit with the interior.
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continued to PART2...



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  • 湿気(結露)対策

  • 荷物の固定

  • 車両の傾斜防止


I can easily imagine that knowing the outside temperature when staying overnight in a camping car would be useful in determining heating/cooling options.
I found out about an inexpensive monitoring unit Inkbird IBS-TH1 that can monitor temperature and humidity and send the data via Bluetooth to your smartphone app. The dedicated app can display the current values as well as log and graph the monitored data. The unit comes with an external sensor probe that can be placed away from the main unit where the measurement is desired.

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I placed the main unit in the back engine room wall and extended the probe cable up to the front of the car just outside the upper front grill, just beneath the hood. Getting it to communicate with the smartphone app took a few resets to succeed coping with the whimsy nature of cheap Chinese products, but succeeded to display measurements on the app once it got going. (I had to open up a sticky battery cover to take out the battery each time to power cycle. Troublesome Chinese gadget should all have reset buttons. lol)
All went well though I was wondering if the placement of the probe was sufficient to get accurate external temperatures.
A search on the internet (and asking for advice) revealed that the sensor is typically placed near the license plate where there is minimum effect from the engine heat. Next day, rewiring is done and I change the probe location to the lower grill near the license plate.

The day happens to be a cold one with a cold front setting in, and I couldn't help smiling to myself watching the app display showing 4-6 degC in the coziness of 26 degC air conditioning.

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By the way, there is a version with a display on the main unit, that can be used for internal temperature monitoring. The app can be used to log and display both sensor units and play around with. Geeky.

Thanks to @wakuwakuturtle for introducing this to me.

p.s. Something to get rid of the "commercial van" look. Still haven't decided.


January 15th, I became an owner of a camping van trading in my Mercedes Benz SLK.

I started my search (and study) back in the latter half of 2020, filtered the search down to several candidates around June 2021 and was asking for information and quotes from the manufacturers. I boiled my choice down to one and placed my order around the beginning of fall. With camping currently being a big trend in Japan, delivery typically takes 1-2 years. However with luck and fortune on my side, delivery came earlier than expected.

The solar panel, the portable power unit...a lot of stuff I bought at Black Friday last year was for the camping van I was waiting for.

Considering the in road and parking situation in Japan, I had my thoughts on a van type from the beginning instead of the truck/bus type "motor home" that can accommodate 4-5 people which people would typically imagine as a "camping car".

I did have the desire to get one with many built-in features though, and my search was initially focused on a larger van, the Toyota HiAce with a variety of standard equipment. However, the HiAce was rather large in size to casually use not just for traveling but for daily use. In addition, I learned from research that fixtures such as refrigerators, sinks, and microwave ovens take up sleeping space and not worth the burden in contrast to their low usage. I also found out that many people DIY them afterwards (and find it fun too.) Change of mind.

I ended up choosing a model called the FOCS Luz based on the smaller Nissan NV200, not the HiAce. The camper is equipped with only the basic features such as the sub power supply and FF heater (both necessary when spending time in the car with the engine shut down), and obviously the bed unit. It accommodates only 2 people, fine with me. The minimalist camper. My mind is already thinking about where to put stuff inside like the portable refrigerator, and even have a few sketches already for my DIY sink unit.

The NV200 base car is a commercial van. The 1600cc engine has no positive specs to note, and the interior full of plastic is by no means luxurious. It's not the most exciting car to drive, but I have no issues with it. I do have some worries about how it'll run on the highway since it is low geared and the engine being not so powerful. I opted for off-road looking wheels and tires since the standard ones which are very small and narrow added to the "commercial van look" which I wanted to avoid. The macho looks of the mud tires are nice, but but the massive road noise has me thinking I made a wrong choice.

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Two weeks have past, and I've only started playing with it.
Added blankets and pillows to make the interior "American" looking, making coffee and eating inside, relaxing with my MacBook (and napping), and trying out my solar panel charging of the sub battery. Even paid a visit to a nearby roadside station for a "park and nap"
Can't wait to take it traveling.

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Van Weekender

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Childhood memories living in the US.

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The scenes of camping cars gracefully and happily coasting along US highways.

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The Tonka Winnebago parents bought for my brother, and I was secretly jealous of.

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My buddy Nissan Terrano (Pathfinder) which was my second car and traced (the majority of) the whole coastline of Japan together camping in the car.

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The LEGO VW Camper Bus I instantly bought and built just ten years ago.

My longing for camping cars and car camping has been in my blood since my youth, initially sinking in without me noticing, but coming out and taking shape once in a while. The fact that I've owned three station wagons and one SUV (utility cars) despite my love of sports cars is probably a sign too.

Then, my detailed daydream (comparison )about my dream traveler last summer.

Traveling around Japan in my own camper.
Another one of my to-do's in life which I've decided to put to action. The events that occurred this past couple of years has made me decide that now is the right timing to make it real at last. While I can.

Van Weekender....Gonna spend my weekends and vacations traveling all over Japan with my new partner, a NV200.
(and there's a sticker for it !)

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The Toshiba HDD recorder I've been using for 11 years is slowly breaking down.
DVD-R formatting isn't working, so I can't get it to copy recorded contents to DVD.
The DVD drive seems to be reaching it's life.
About time for a replacement ?


SLK R170 - Final Thoughts

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Among all the cars I have owned in the past, I'm having the most difficult time parting with the SLK. I am even still partially regretting the decision to let go of it though there is no going back now.

I love(ed) all my cars. I am confident that every car I bought was the best and reasonable choice (including the compromises) for the everyday/weekend drive at each moment of life. Some added performance and added luxury at times, but all were practical choices.
My partner.

In contrast, the SLK was an inspiration. I had searched and looked for this near-20 year old specific model because I was in love with it. The pleasure of ownership. The pleasure of looking at it for hours. The pleasure of going out with no destination in mind. It gave me the experience of owning a near classic sports for pure hobby and self satisfaction, something that was on my To Do list in life.
My lover, and the reason why letting go of this machine is so emotional.

Some say that the R170 represents the start of quality decline with the merger between Mercedes Benz and Chrysler. The R170 has been mentioned as the secretary's car due to the lackluster performance. From my point of view, I see it as a well balanced and (maybe the last of ? dunno) no-compromise (heavy steel door) Mercedes Benz. Most important, fun to own and drive.

Life is short. Time for other ambitions.
However, life also doesn't always give you everything in your way.
I desperately wish I was able to keep the SLK (forever) while seeking my other long-treasured desire, but it turns out I just don't have the capacity to do so. Owning 3 cars is just too much. Tough choice to make, but I've decided to part with the SLK and move on.
Only 4 years. It's half-assed, and I accept the criticism.
I respect everyone who is doing it.

Saying bye to your lover while you are still in love.
That is also life.
As of now, I'm not sure if I can get over it.


Schwalbe Tube 16" x 1 1/4 SV4

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BlogGariGaiKunAudi A4, SLK 燃費情報を随時更新中。


Recap, 2022 New Year

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Looks like I had a very fulfilling 2021-2022 new year holiday though it was a quiet one without any party plans in particular.
Blessed to be able to welcome the new year in peace.
The breakdown, below.

#mt Fuji shivering from cold
#year end tennis
#Win11 unapplicable(what ???)@GPD Pocket
#year end soba - chili oil sesame soba@Ishihara
#enjoy, be bright, be cheerful
#hotcake@Repol Sugi
#car washed x2
#wiperblade logo
#year end Chinese food with family
#happy new year
#festive flowers
#safety drive in the year of the tiger
#wish for good health
#osechi new year dishes 2022
#zouni soup dish with rice cakes 2022
#router failure (not now...ugh)
#new year Fuji
#Tokyo strolling on Wheels
#scenes with the SLK, 1
#Pavlov Patisserie
#Farewell Drive
#Open Air Ginza
#Open Top Seating
#Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Odaiba
#homemade roast beef
#Garigari-Kun ice bar
#Scenes with the SLK, 2
#Big Mouth No Guts
#curry udon with eggs and yam@KonpiraChaya
#homemade pancake with potatos@Denny's







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