Retrospect: Excursions to Japan in 2000s
From 2001-2006, I traveled to Japan on my own. I wasn't military or some kind of media personnel.
Before social media such as Facebook, Instagram and dare I say, Myspace, many Japanese owner's made their own websites. Example: This an Estima/Largo dress up club or Private dress up unit !
I connected with many different car owners and we exchanged gifts (I'd send them Import tuner magazines and stuff from America and vice versa). When I decided to go to Japan, I was too naive. I thought people would speak english, ATMs were everywhere (at the time they were, but didn't use Visa or Mastercard) and I thought Yokohama was close to Tokyo. Well, nothing like being lost, language barrier and in a foreign land! I learned my lessons and improved subsequently.
My first trip would be to Yokohama to meet my friend Mege-san. He was a drifter who gave me his spare s13 parts.
I would stay with Mege-san for those trips. I would walk around and when I saw a something I liked, I would go ask the owner and try my horrible Japanese (high school classes).
*Please excuse the quality, it was film camera back then. I had also lost many pictures when my computer crashed.
I had lost many of my pictures from this trip. Mege-san showed me around and we went to parking lot one night. I saw the Wild Toyota Hiace Vans and I loved it! Remember, this was in early 2000s. Wild style cars were in.
I went up to them and asked if it was okay to take pictures of their vans and they were actually happy. They even gave me a placard. It was for Club Honey. My friend told me it was a symbol of being an honorary member. I thought it a misunderstanding, but I confirmed it with one of the Toyota Hiace owners.
One of my other friends had invited me to visit Osaka. I figured I would go check it out. Nobuo-san gave me the royal treatment (ありがとうございます!!!)
He was big in the Subaru scene there, but he also knew many of the shop owners. So he took me to Signal Auto, Bori's Factory, Kakimoto Racing, Trial and Wald.
Much of the vanning did revolve around VIP style. Wald was one of those shops.
Also in Osaka.
It was my birthday and I decided to go to Japan for a week. Mege-san said I would stay at his place. He still worked, so during the days I would go around exploring Yokohama.
When the weekend came, it was one of those, wake up early and stay out til it was early type of days.
We went to Daikoku Futo and it got shut down. So we went to another parking lot where there was some VIP cars and vans.
(*some of these pictures are blurry from the camera without a tripod)
While this is super blurry, The van was amazing.
Friends from Wild Beast High Quality
Next day we went to check out parts and tuning shops. Super Autobacs in Yokohama was the Business!!!
The hardest part was trying to make time for people. I met many friends back then, but time constraints made it hard.
The vans I saw during that time reinforced my appreciation for them. During that time, there were tons of aero companies making stuff and almost any vehicle had parts to choose from.
- Wald http://www.wald.co.jp
- Super Autobacs http://www.sa-yokohamabay.com/