Life of a tourist can be tough. I was shocked by the cost of parking a car in Tokyo, and the rental Nissan March K13 did not have a tachometer. Not to mention, the agony of being cooped up in a plane for seven hours. And, getting lost on the train.
My holiday motoring salvation is the “Meet Me Underground Tokyo” meet, organized by car fashion brand Copaze in collaboration with stance crew Level One Japan. Finding the meet wasn’t easy. I had to figure out what “MP82+83 Tokyo” meant. Last but not least, trying to drive through Tokyo with Waze happily giving me directions in flawless Japanese.
Minutes of driving around a rather empty basement carpark looking for a group of people, I managed to catch a glimpse of a silver Honda Civic Type R EK9 heading towards the lower decks. I followed, parked and let my camera roll…
I knew I had reached the right place when I started seeing all the Japanese tuner cars, but what surprised me most is the strong presence of non-Japanese marques.
German cars are like treasures in Japan, and their owners treat them as such. With many nice examples, it’s hard to believe that discerning owners will import LHD models for the exclusivity.
A while later, I heard a growl of a V8 with a 90 degree plane. Definitely the iconic American muscle sound.
Arguably one of Japan’s most iconic exports is the Nissan Skyline GT-R, and there is no lack of representation of the different generations at the meet.
The Toyota Supra would be the next well-known Japanese Superstar, but what really caught my eye is the Toyota Century, an ultra-luxury sedan produced mainly for the Japanese market.
Next up, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Subaru Imprezas are still raking high in the desirability list of many car fans world-wide. It was a real treat to be able to see the classic Evolution IIs rolling along with the Wagons.
Hondas are still hot favourites in the tuning scene, and one of the popular mods is to give domestic Hondas a export treatment. Here, a Honda Accord to an Acura TSX conversion. Type Rs are still in demand here, and the tuning culture still thrives around it.
Before you think that Japanese car culture is all about old cars, there are people who love the latest too. The latest Mazda 3 joins the Miatas and RX-7s at the meet.
Japan’s extremely diverse car scene is hard to beat. Initial D, Wangan Midnight or the Fast And Furious: Tokyo Drift are just a few examples in pop culture. Remember the “stance movement”? It is still alive and well here, be it on bags or static.
I would have gladly included even more cars if I had time to walk about. But, I ran into a few fellow Singaporean friends in the carpark. We had a good catching up session to end the night before the cops came.
Oh, if you were wondering, the parking fee for three hours was 1050 JPY ($13.91). KLP on Friday night would had been free…