Authentic Japanese experience by Riko….
On my annual ritual trip to Japan, for my RWB New Year’s gathering, and just that in itself is something to write about. The warmth and friendship I receive from my brothers and the joy of welcoming in the New Year together. It is really and truly an escape to wonderland for someone like me who lives and breathes cars. Back home my daily routine is nonstop digging through socials on new trends, keeping up with diary of cars and new builds.
I also have my own collection of cars to keep me busy but I am kind of a hermit back home.. My main focus is running my business with my family. A few times a month I will fire up one of my four choices to take to a night meeting…
In Japan I abandon my shell and Riko comes out to play. To be able to live Japanese car culture 24/7 in real time, no downloads, not on social, not hearing about it till the next day or in a magazine. It’s going to happen right in front me and I will be participating in it. For a business owner like me it is the ultimate escape, to run away and play cars. Life is short, keep moving.
There is more beyond RWB, is something I try to teach other RWB members and other visitors who fly into Japan for Tokyo Auto Salon. There is more than what you came to see. Most important I share with people as a tip for travel to Japan. Have one point of contact at the minimum. Otherwise you will just have the generic tourist experience, you will always be on the outside looking in.
You need to find some one who have meet on the gram or socials who has the same car as you or something in common. Who you can meet for coffee or a beer. If you have a good connection and are you are given a user name and password. Each person has access to their own world of adventure. And with each new friend you make in Japan this world of cars you play in will only expand.
In Japanese culture you must have a Japanese person to introduce you to another Japanese person. It’s a vetting system they use to protect themselves as a safety net. Always be on your best behavior, be respectful and humble. Bring gifts. Going on your own, it’s gonna be tuff. That’s why you need that inside edge. Good luck..
So on this particular day, I had just finished playing golf at a country club in Chiba, with my RWB brothers. The General, Mori-san and Nakamoto- San from RWB Kansai. It was our way of ending the New Year celebration.
On our way back to Tokyo, they asked me what I wanted to do. I had mentioned, I keep missing the Akihabara UDX meeting and this year I wanted to go. Since my friend Takashi-San throws the event. I wanted to support him and to see his drift R34 again.
My hotel was in Shibuya and it would be a 1 hour train ride at night, that was not acceptable for my friends. So we called Itakura-san owner of RWB Rauh Passion. He was going to the meeting and would pick me up on the way. So I was all set. But he later called me that he was taking longer at work than expected and would have Naosato-san from RWB come pick me up.
Naosato-san I have become friends with over past few trips to Japan, what I knew of him was he was a Judo fighter in his prime. He is a very large shoulder man and with a fighters glare. But how I know him is from racing at Idlers and that he has a car towing service. I often see him moving the Mc Donalds colored RWB for Iders boss Seike-san. And this year we both worked together with Nakai-san driving Naughty Dread Jr. for the Tokyo Auto Salon. Yes, each day, each minute is filled with stories to share.
He would be coming to pick me up is his 964 cabriolet. With a line call, I waked out of my hotel into the night, not knowing much of what to expect or to see. But I knew it would be real and in front of me. The winter nights in Tokyo are filled with trees lined streets with lights and buildings outlined in neon. I started taking pictures and video as we worked our way to the meeting about a 30 min drive. You know you arrived to a car meet when you start see street machines sniffing around for the meet location.
The meeting was located in the lowest level of an underground parking structure. We worked our way into the belly, and on the last floor we saw people lining the driveways and cars all backed into their stalls for display.
There was a team gathering I didn’t know was happening, till we parked alongside a sleek black slant-nose 930 Turbo. As we backed in alongside, I was just admiring the quality and maintained black paint. I had a black r35 in the past, black car owners only can appreciate another black car looking immaculate. Once out of the car to my surprise, my escort was friends with the slant-nose owner, with handshakes ,embraces and smiles. I was then introduced to the owner Ebizuka-san.
Now when I do car meets I am not much of a walk around guy. I kinda let fate do its thing; usually I will stay where I park and meet whoever is next to me. Even in Japan I still practice it. And this was no different.
So let’s dig into this real slantnose 930 Turbo, the car was built by RWR ( Rauh Welt Republic) who is our inside tunning house for Nakai-san and many RWB owners. This car has its own custom bodykit pieces, front bumper and lip, running boards, rear bumper and modified headlights.
With proper shoes for the dance, gold BBS Wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilots. When you pop the boot, you find an enlarged intercooler and turbos, all business. The interior matches the boardroom, with Recaro racings eats, full roll cage, Momo steering wheel, chrome polished shift knob, polished plated foot work, and a fire extinguisher near the drivers shoulder.
But the one thing that is so different about this car leads to its purpose, most air-cooled Porsche owners rotate their rpm gauge for a classic-retro feeling from the race track. On this specimen he has his speedometer rotated to show 300 km and 12 o’clock. Why? You may ask…
This car is a top speed battle fighter, with only one concern, top speed and manoeuvring through traffic on Tokyo’s highways and usually you don’t venture off into the Wangan at night alone you have a team. And that teams name is REAL STREET KINGS. As the night went on I learned Naosato-san was a member also, as he has his own 930 turbo back in the garage. And I learned also more members would be coming to join us.
Car meets are never something to bet money on, after being there only 30 minutes the management came down to tell everyone to leave and turned the lights OFF. There was a backup meet in Shibuya and most everyone left, and I was encouraged to go as well. But as I said I like to go with fate, and I stayed. Once 80% cars left the lights came back on. By then the more team members rolled in.
Never expect it, let it happen and you will enjoy the moment. The Germans are coming. Coming down the driveway was a 190E Evo2 and a 190E Tommy Kaira edition. Crawling in so everyone can see them, then manoeuvring their rear ends next to ours. Naosato-san greeted the new comers, it’s something beautiful about the level respect given in Japanese culture. I love it.
Time for more introductions, the Evo 2 is driven by non other than RWR owner Yamazaki-san, it would be my first time meeting him. I already knew some from reading features about his shop. He is a strong character similar to Nakai-san, with puffy curly hair and a weather faced. He has spent years building and modifying Porsches. But he also has affection for Mercedes. And I was delighted to finally see a real Evo2 in person. It just screams factory DTM racing. With its exterior bodykit, bumpers, overfenders, sideskirts, and the main tell-tale sign the large wing. With proper BBS wheels wrapped in Goodyear tires.
The factory goodness keeps coming with Recaro seats in the cockpit, ATiWE steering, some carbon touches around the shifter. But again what’s special about these cars is the are very rare, and to see one in this condition. The interior is immaculate as the exterior, it’s a gentlemans racers car. Next up is the Tommy Kaira 190e driven by Higuchi-san. I have seen them in pictures again, never in person. What is the first thing I noticed about the car though, is the wheels. He is running is own branded AMG retro style wheels. (photos of car to be added soon)
Finally my friend Itakura-san rolled in with Rauh Passion, with another red RWB in tow. He had driven two hours to meet with us. I was in his debt again for granted me passage to such a special evening.
We continued to enjoy the meeting and then finally left the cars behind and went to have a late night dinner in Akihabara. Going back to my tip in the beginning I now have more brothers in Tokyo, and on each trip I hope make our bonds stronger and richer.
Practice respect and love.