This past weekend, all the core enthusiasts in Southern California's Japanese car scene gathered once again on the intersection of First Street and Alameda in the Little Tokyo area of Downtown LA for the annual Nisei Showoff
celebration. The event was super fun as always - when I showed up at the event, it felt like a big block party with several friends all gathered around different cars, admiring the immaculate engine bays, or trying to figure out new wheel sizing and/or suspension setups. Read more...
After spending an entire day in the scorching hot sun for the IDRC Finale, I felt sooo incredibly burnt out (literally) and didn't feel like doing anything at all. However, I couldn't exactly just relax at home, because I had plans to link up with some good friends for dinner and an after hours party. Needless to say, it was pretty hard to get out of bed early again (I had to be at IDRC by 7:30am on a weekend!) for the GReddy Festival
this past weekend, so I just made a leisurely day out of it.
Since I had plans to hit up the GReddy meet with my friend Brian Urbano
, we decided to cruise one of his Supras down to Orange County for the event. On this particular day, the vehicle of choice would be his black JZA80 Supra twin turbo
. Read more...
I'm sure many will agree with me when I say that I'm glad that the City of Los Angeles didn't complete its bulldozing and reconstruction project surrounding Downtown LA's newly built Alameda Street train station... this allowed Ken Miyoshi
Import Showoff crew to continue their tradition of throwing the Nisei Showoff
in the heart of Little Tokyo. According to Ken, this year marked the 10 Year Anniversary of the Nisei Showoff, which always took place in conjunction with the historic Nisei Week Festival in Little Tokyo, celebrating the culture of second generation Japanese living in the United States.
This year, there were a ton of new cars that made their debut at the show, and several regulars that received makeovers. According to Ken Miyoshi, one of the things that has always separated Nisei Showoff from the other carshows is the face that Showoff has a really qualified panel of carshow judges who really have expertise in the automotive aftermarket. Nisei Showoff's judges include people who have a background of working with companies like HKS, Blitz, Toyota, and places like that. This may be a major differentiation factor to some people, but to me, it's completely different.
Nisei Showoff just has a particular vibe to it. It starts early in the morning, in the exciting hustle and bustle of the competitor load-in, as the cars form ridiculously long lines, jamming up the streets of Little Tokyo as they wait for the show staff to let them in the gate and park at their assigned spaces. It continues throughout the day, as the noontime sun heats up the entire place, and you get to bump into old friends and catch up on the things that are going on in everyone's busy lives. For me, the excitement continues on to the late afternoon too, as I complete my rounds through the show and stop by the cars that catch my eye, making new friends and checking out all the subtle things that everyone has done to their cars. Probably the most fun thing about Nisei Showoff (for me at least) is the fact that Ken Miyoshi has asked me to be the official emcee for the awards ceremony. I've been doing this for the past three (or four?) years now... and that part is really fun, because you get to see what the owners of the cars look like, as they come up and receive their trophy at the stage. Read more...
This past weekend, I went up to San Francisco to hang out with some of my old school friends from the Bay Area... but unfortunately a lot of them were out of town! Hawaii, Japan, Philippines... damn! Sometimes I have such bad timing! It was a good thing Calvin Wan
was in town - he told me he had two events that he needed to attend that weekend. He needed to bring his FD3S RX7 to a motorsports show in Vallejo, and then bring his S14 Silvia (it really is a RHD Silvia from Japan) to the Wekfest Car Show
San Francisco. I've been hearing about (and seeing pictures of) the annual carshow in San Francisco's Japantown for quite some time, but this weekend was the very first time I had ever had a chance to attend it myself. I think in the past it used to be called the JDM Theory J's Gathering
, but apparently they decided to rename it Wekfest (pronounced like 'weak-fest'
). Or it could be that the organizers are different now? Not sure.
Anyway, the Weksos Wekfest event was pretty crazy... TONS of cars, TONS of people in attendance, and a line of impatient people that stretched around the block. Seriously... that was a pretty long line! Read more...
These days any car I see sporting a paint job from the pastel side of the palette automatically reminds of Team Instant Party (TIP). I'm sure everyone who knows or has seen Team Instant Party cars is nodding right now as they envision a procession of Easter eggs with badass offset shooting shaved rubber into their mind's eye. So you can see why this air bagged GS300 had me completely perplexed since the VIP style is the last option I would expect from a TIP member. Read more...
I was on a hunt for footage of one of my favorite cars – the JZZ30 Toyota Soarer (aka the Lexus SC300/SC400) and lo and behold, what should I find but Manabu Orido drifting Honjo Circuit in Japan.
Although in this video, Orido’s driving his Project Mu/Autotech JZS161 Toyota Aristo (Lexus GS300) and not a Soarer, I thought it was worth it to post this gem just to show the interior action shots. Look at how little he has to do to control the car – his economy of motion and technique is amazing.
I know that we’re not supposed to be envious…but I just can’t help it! Who wishes, like I do, that they could plug into The Matrix (I’m talking about the movie, not the FF Toyota) and download Orido’s drifting skills like Neo, waking up suddenly, saying… “I know drifting.”
This past weekend in Bellevue Washington... the Northwest's Imperial Car Club
, Carnutz Customs
, and the US Army
teamed up to throw an "end of the year" charity food drive and car meet to enjoy the last few days of summer before the rainy season pours down on our state. Read more...