Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 Tokyo Auto Salon

I just got back from Japan. I coughed up a credit card to pay for my spot for the Turbo Magazine annual TAS (Tokyo Auto Salon) tour. It's basically a 6day/ 4night trip to Japan to take a VIP tour of TAS, local race tracks, and misc tourist stuff. I didn't know what to expect on this trip, but I thought it was just going to be typical tourist trip. Don't get me wrong, but a tour is usually a go here and there, see this and that. But this trip overall has exceeded all my expectations.
Everything the TAS tour provided itself was great since I was able to see things up close and personal, that only the media was able to provide. The parts and other goodies being sold was really cheap too. Of course, I grabbed stuff for myself. It was really different from the SEMA in feel and presentation. It was much smaller than SEMA so I was able to see everything from the show. But I was still tired from all that walking and snapping a bunch of photos. I was even able to see an AE86 Corolla at the parking lot in Japan, I couldn't ask for anything more. Yeah it's retarded, but that's what you get when you own a Corolla I guess.
The next day was a trip back to Auto Salon for half day. On the way there we saw alot of sick cars heading out to Auto Salon. I thought, wouldn't it be nice just to see an AE86 Corolla in Japan driving around. I tell you the guy up stairs was listening cause a few minutes later I saw a panda trueno hatchback drive past our tour bus. WTH, this just couldn't get any better. Unless the driver's name happened to be Takumi. Yeah, it's retarded, remember I'm a Corolla owner.
The other half of the trip consisted of a visit to a local buddhist temple, to remind us that Japan has more to offer than cars and JDM parts. There was a vendors row, which reminded me of our local swap meets. A toy shop which carried some old toys of my childhood, food vendors selling japanese traditional food and snacks, and the obvious souvenir shops. Maybe next time I take a trip to Japan I'll do the tourist thing. Cause Japan has so much to offer and not enough time to see them.
Their drift experience tour, sponsored by Nitto tires. Brought out a couple of local drifters, probably Nitto sponsored, to provide rides to the tourists. They also had a driving experience, which provided regular cars equipped with different types of tires that were offered by Nitto. Unfortunately one car had some sort of accident so it was cancelled. A visit to a karting track was o.k. but that's something I could do back home. During lunch we visited the Fuji Speedway restaurant/ souvenir shop. The first thing I saw when we rolled in were a couple of old school Datsun Bluebirds. I made a note to myself snap a couple of photos before we left. Waiting for lunch I realize there won't be enough time to eat and look at the cars. So a grabbed a can of creamed corn from a vending machine and headed to take a couple of snap shots. Thank goodness for those vending machines. Anyways after taking a couple snaps in the paddock area, I climbed 3 stories of the garage building to take pictures of the track. Thats's where I realized they were having an open track session, I just about pooped in my pants. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, all these hot cars old and new were flying down that track. From old school Datsuns Fairlady Z and Blubirds, Toyota Sprinters, and Mazda 1st gen RX7. To Ferrari Testarossa, Nissan Stagea (a Skyline GTR wagon for those who don't know) and the infamous Skyline GTRs. Where in the world can I ever see this except for here at world renown Fuji Speedway. What's really funny was that exploring Fuji wasn't really part of the itinerary, but was actually the best part of the whole trip for me.
The trip was worth everything and recommend it to any Japanese car aficionado, whether it be ricers, racers, or enthusiasts. This trip has something for everyone. So save up your money or call your credit card company to raise your limit for next year cause you won't be disappointed.
I've got tons of photos I'll try and get something up soon.

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