The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 1: Intro and TAS 2013 Coverage…

Japan, to be completely honest, was just an absolutely unbelievable experience. I didn’t go into it with many expectations, I just wanted to make sure that I was prepared for the trip and let everything else fall into place. I hadn’t been back to Japan in over a decade and my first time was for a family trip so going with a bunch of friends was an entirely new experience for me. Everything that happened from start to finish was great. There were some hitches of course but nothing that could really ruin the trip as a whole. I wouldn’t really change a thing if I had the chance to because it was an amazing time overall. I have some memories that I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life…

After seeing how much fun people had during their Tokyo Auto Salon trip in 2012, I made a promise to myself that I would make every effort to go to Japan in 2013. It was something that I’d always wanted to do but a big trip like that just wasn’t always financially feasible. Work went well and I really hustled to make some extra cash throughout the year and by the last quarter of the year, things were looking good. A couple of us decided to start planning for a trip together and before we knew it, December rolled around. The last month or so, I had a ton of people come up to me and ask me if I was excited about Japan…and I didn’t really have a response for them. There was a lot of planning that went into this trip and with having to manage the site and finish up some work before my flight, I didn’t even have time to conjure up a reaction or any type of excitement for the trip. I just knew that I’d be in Japan by the second week of January and I’d try to soak it all up when I got there…

I did a lot of thinking and I’ve made the conscious decision to present my trip to Japan in the order that everything happened, from start to finish, instead of separating everything I did into sections. This creates a more steady flow of how the coverage will be presented to you and you will also get a in-depth look at how things really went down for us. For those of you that have never been to Japan, you’ll get to have a close look at what it is like and for those of you who have made the trip before, I’m sure you guys can relate to our experience and you may even see some familiar places in the photos. There are some of you who may not like how things are presented, because it may be too much for you and you may want to just look at car photos. If you are one of those guys that doesn’t care about anything other than car photos, I apologize in advance because you won’t like what you see. I’ve documented everything and the coverage will play out to reflect our trip from the flight there, to Tokyo Auto Salon, to stuff we did that didn’t relate to cars, and some really cool car stuff that we did end up doing. If you don’t want to see all that, well, I guess you can come back later when this series of coverage is wrapped up. I’ll link back in each new part to the previous posts and include a snippet of what the photos contain so those who really like to nitpick and go back and find what they want to look at…

With that said, I invite you to take a look back at my trip to Japan for Tokyo Auto Salon. I’ve compiled this coverage more for myself and for friends who are directly involved in my everyday life. They’re excited to see how our trip went and so I wanted to make it as detailed as possible…

Those who are new to this site, here is a “cast” list of people that appear in these photos because we all planned this trip together. You’re going to be seeing a lot of these people in the coverage so you may as well get to know them by name. Everything will just make more sense that way…

  • Joey aka StickyDilJoe – You won’t be seeing a whole lot of me in this series of Japan coverage because I am the one behind the camera 99% of the time. You should be familiar with who I am if you’ve followed this site for any length of time. I rarely am in front of the camera and I prefer to keep it that way, haha. But I am the one who has documented this entire trip with photos and words.
  • May – May is my partner in crime and Mrs. StickyDilJoe. She was super excited about this trip because she’s never been to Japan.
  • Ryan Basseri aka Rywire Ryan – You guys all know Ryan. He’s the man behind Rywire Motorsports Electronics.
  • Ryan Der – Der is the other Ryan at Rywire but he works for Ryan and engineers many of the engine harnesses for the business. You may also know him as “Airbag Club” and a key member of the ATS Garage family. He is the only one in the group that has been to Japan in the last couple of years so he served as a guide for us since he is more familiar with the rail system in Japan than us. You’ll see him referred to simply as “Der” most of the time.
  • Nick Caster – Nick is the newest member of ATS Garage but has been friends with Rywire Ryan for years and years now. Nick lives in the middle of nowhere in Norcal so we don’t see him that often, but he’s a dear friend to all of us and always game for anything.
  • Salem aka Willy – Salem is the owner of the J’s Racing-themed Acura TSX that you have seen multiple times on this site. We didn’t think Salem would actually make the trip out there with us but he was actually going to go even if we didn’t so it all worked out in the end.
  • Joy Abdalla - Many of you will know Joy as the owner of the widebody orange Subaru WRX STi that graced the cover of Import Tuner last year. She’s actually from the East Coast but flew out to Japan to meet up with us for our trip.

So now that the intros are out of the way, let’s get started….

We departed from LAX on January 9th… May, Salem, and I booked our flights around the same time so we were actually able to reserve our three seats together in the same row. The two Ryans and Nick had booked separate flights because they wanted to fly JAL to get the full Japanese experience and I couldn’t justify spending that much money, so we flew via Singapore Air. The funny thing about that was our flights were significantly cheaper and they ended up not even getting a JAL flight. Their “JAL” was actually a American Airlines charter flight so not only did they not get the JAL experience, they got a crappier flight, haha. The only advantage to their flight was that they would arrive on the 10th of January 3-4 hours ahead of our flight so they would have some more time to hang out in Japan before we got there in the evening. If I remember correctly, Joy’s flight out of Maryland would be there even earlier than their flight so we were the last to arrive. Coincidentally, Jonathan Wong and the other Super Street staff guys ended up on the same flight as us. The three of us didn’t really know our way to the hotel from Japan and since they were also staying at the same hotel, they could serve as our guides from Narita Airport to our hotel in Shinagawa…

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Salem grabbing a bite to eat before we boarded our flight to Japan…

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I had a laptop with me with a bunch of movies I had planned to watch but the battery wasn’t all that great on it. Luckily, Singapore Air provided a bunch of the same movies I had planned to watch already so it kept me occupied on our 14-hour flight. I’m not gonna lie, it was a pretty grueling flight. The service and overall experience on the flight was great, I just don’t like being stuck anywhere for 14 hours. That’s more than two nights worth of sleep for me normally. Being stuck in a seat for more than a couple hours would already make me restless…

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There was a USB port next to the TV so we could charge our phones, but with a USB port on every seat, it wasn’t going to be the best charge. I think Salem plugged in his phone for like 6 hours and it didn’t even charge his phone fully. There was a point when I got pretty bored and I literally got up and sat down in the bathroom toilet for no reason. I didn’t even have to shit or piss or anything, it was just nice to be in a different environment, haha….

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I usually hate airplane food but the meals that they served us on that flight was actually really good. This is a cell phone shot since I put my camera away at that point but you get the idea. This was a Teriyaki Salmon dish with cold Soba noodles and some other side dishes…

Hours and hours and hours later, we had finally arrived at Narita International Airport. It was about 7:20 pm local time so we wanted to grab our luggage as fast as possible so we wouldn’t get stuck at the airport for a long time…

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We met up with the Super Street staffers and exchanged our American currency to Japanese Yen. Then we purchased our shuttle passes so we could hitch a ride to the hotel, rather than having to take our luggage onto a train…

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The busy ride was actually a lot longer than I thought. Normally a shuttle ride sounds fast but the airport was actually quite a bit of distance from Shinagawa. It took over an hour just to get to our hotel. I checked-in and since we had no real way of communicating with the others, Ryan left us a note at the check-in desk letting us know what room they were in. We dropped off our stuff in our hotel room and then met up with the rest of the guys. The Super Street guys ended up staying in a different section of the hotel so we parted ways and the rest of us went out to go explore the town with whatever time we had left that day. It was already 10 pm or so by the time we had settled in and it was time for us to grab some dinner. We weren’t really familiar with that area yet and weren’t really sure what there was to eat, so we ended up at a 24-hour spot called “Sukiya”, which I guess was a rival competitor to Yoshinoya, a popular beef bowl chain in America and Japan…

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Ryan getting ready to order some dessert since they had already eaten upon their arrival hours prior to us…

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There wasn’t much of an English menu, as expected, so we kind of just pointed at pictures on the menu to order what we wanted… This was the beef bowl that I ordered. It had some sort of Sriracha Mayo on it and it was pretty good…

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May got some sort of green onion beef bowl…

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Der enjoyed another meal even after he had already eaten…

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The Yen conversion was a little confusing the first couple days in Japan but we eventually got used to it. It was just odd to be paying a 1,000 for a meal and a lot of the other currency was in coin-form so there was a learning curve involved when spending there…

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One immediate observation upon arrival was that there were just a ton of vending machines EVERYWHERE. I mean, every block seemed to have a vending machine and not only did they have a wide variety of drinks, the machines also distributed hot drinks as well. Many of the others decided to call it a night after our meal so Salem, Der, and I walked around to explore the town. It was a week day so it was pretty quiet but it didn’t matter to us. We just wanted to walk around to see what was around our hotel. At one point we spotted a late 60’s Chevy Camaro parked at a car port that was just immaculate. I couldn’t take a picture cuz it was so dark but we stopped to stare at it for awhile. It even had M Racing mirrors on it and everything…

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After I got back to the hotel room, I decided to update my current Facebook cover photo in which I was sitting on a toilet on the phone in Las Vegas. It seemed appropriate to take a similar photo with Japanese themes so I snapped this photo while sitting on the heated toilet seat. I was rocking the mask on my face because it is pretty common in Japan and I even wore it for the first half of my trip since I was sick. It looks odd to us but it is actually really helpful…

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The toilet seat all kinds of wizardry and gadgets which was also new to us. I have a pretty good relationship with my toilet seat back at home in the U.S., but my seat at home definitely doesn’t keep my ass warm or spray-clean my butthole with warm water…

With my ass renewed, I went to sleep in my small ass bed and prepared for day one of the Tokyo Auto Salon event….

Now, let me explain to you guys how Tokyo Auto Salon works; TAS is an annual event that last 3 days. Friday is the “premium” day where you can pay a little extra to get into the show on Friday. This day is usually the best for taking photos because it isn’t as crowded and is reserved only for people with the “premium” ticket or if you have a press/media pass. Press can go in early to walk through the show and the “premium” guests get to go into the show after 1 pm. Since I was the only member in my group that was a media representative, I chose not to get a media pass because I would be the only one that was able to get in. So to stick with the group, I got a “premium” pass like everyone else. And being that we could get into the show until after 1 pm, we decided to spend the morning/early afternoon in another city, Shibuya. Shibuya is a major shopping district with the infamous intersection from Tokyo Drift. If you guys watched that movie, then you know what I’m referring to…

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Here’s Nick, the two Ryans, and Joy getting together for a photo-op in a part of Shibuya by the train station where they have a bunch of dog statues…

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May was happy to do some sightseeing before having to walk the halls of the Tokyo Auto Salon…

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Salem doing the tourist thing and capture some sights with his Sony NEX camera…

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Joy getting an iPhone snap of the infamous “intersection”…

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The group on our way to a popular department store in Japan known as “Don Quixote”. How or why they came up with that name I don’t know, but it’s a store that sells all kinds of goofy stuff…

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I snapped a shot of this Honda Odyssey because this is by far one of the most popular cars in Japan. These things were everywhere, some modified, many not, but you can look outside at any time in the day and you’d see one of these pass by. Wagon and van culture is huge over there in Japan and it was rare to see a regular passenger car that wasn’t a small kei car and not a van or wagon….

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Trust me, this somehow translates to “Don Quixote”…

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To illustrate the amount of randomness inside, here is a titty pillow…

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…a “T-Shart”…

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…and for those of you who happen to like eating snacks that look like dookie, they got you covered with these shit crackers… “LOOKS LIKE SHIT”! If you’re wondering, “GST” stands for “Good Shit Time!”….haha…

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…For the ladies with the over-sized clitoris, feel free to turn your vagina into a corpse pussy with this gigantic vibrator…

That store was random as fuck but had a ton of funny stuff inside. Everybody went and bought some stuff but nothing major. We still had to go to the show after all and having to carry all that stuff would be a major hassle…

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Der holding some shit crackers… After we left the store, we decided to go fuck up some sushi before taking a train over to the show. Down the street from Don Quixote was a pretty nice sushi restaurant so we sat down to eat. This place wasn’t the most tourist-friendly and didn’t really have much of an English menu, but that was fine. The great thing about restaurants in Japan is that a lot of their menus have pictures. I notice that when our Japanese friends come over, they have a tough time ordering and that’s because many of our menus lack photos and are just text…

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Some hand rolls and Sashimi that we ordered…

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Nick and Salem gettin’ down…

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First time trying Clam Miso Soup… I’ve had clams and Miso soup before but never together… shit was pretty delicious…

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Ryan and Ryan consuming Japanese deliciousness…

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After lunch, it was time to catch a train over to the TAS show. Outside, I snapped this photo of a Toyota Century that was parked on the street. The Century is one of the most respected vehicles in Japan and the limousine of the Japanese market…

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As I said earlier, van culture is huge there so you’ll often find vans like this that are VIP-themed….

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One of the biggest issues that we knew we’d have to deal with in Japan was trying to figure out how to get around via the train system. We bought 7-day rail passes that gave us access to everywhere we needed to go, but how we got there was totally dependent on us. The maps were confusing at times but Der and Nick did a great job of figuring out where we needed to go….

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Some parts of Japan were pretty hectic and some stops where we stopped to switch trains looked like an absolute ghost town…

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Salem taking Smart Phone photography waaaayy too seriously and busted out the tripod to get a shot on his Galaxy S3…

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On our way to the Makuhari Messe where Tokyo Auto Salon was taking place…

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Both Der and I had rented mobile WiFi units with us the entire trip so that we could still take advantage of the internet functions on our phones. That way we could email and communicate with one another and we could also keep track of what was going on at home….

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Ryan and Joy laughing about nothing in particular. It’s funny how polite and how quiet the Japanese people were while on the train. It almost felt wrong to talk and to joke around on the train…

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After about an hour or so, we arrived at the Makuhari Messe. We had all purchased our TAS tickets online prior to leaving for Japan so we just presented our tickets and walked right in. This is a shot of the first building that we walked into. TAS is a massive event and this was just a small portion of what the show had to offer. The orange carpeted area you see in the photo is the Option magazine display area that they always do at TAS. It has a variety of really nice and unique builds selected by Option to be on display. If you’ve never heard of Option magazine, then you probably don’t know too much about Japanese car culture…

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One of the first cars I was greeted by when I walked down to the Option area was this Voltex S2000 bearing a very familiar name. It had an Evasive Motorsports sticker on it because Evasive and Voltex have a very strong working relationship in the U.S. I love how this S2K looked with the new Voltex over fender add-ons…

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Instantly one of my favorites at TAS 2013 was this S13 Nissan 180SX, prepared by Spirit Rei. You probably know of Spirit Rei for their work in creating the Odyssey headlight-equipped “Odyvia” conversions that are available for the S13 chassis. This 180 was beautiful in person and very aggressive with the widened body panels…

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Directly next to the Spirit Rei vehicle was this yellow S15 Silvia from Garage Yamaguchi wearing BN Sports aero…

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Seeing this thing in person was worth the price of admission… I was an absolute awe of this Kakimoto Racing Super NSX…

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The NA1 had a ton of aero front and back with a titanium center-exit exhaust…

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Love the scoops the drive air into the motor along with the Kakimoto Racing carbon fiber induction box/intake….

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Zesty Racing widebody FD3S RX-7…

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Garage Saurus R32 Skyline GT-R…one of only a handful of R32s in attendance at TAS 2013…

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Interesting custom fender treatment on this Toyota. Would have been cool to see the fab work throughout the car but the sides and rear are just airbrushed to match…

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If you’ve seen some of the other coverage from Japan on this site, you probably recognize this Toyota Soarer on Volk TE37SLs from N-Style. Very cool to finally see some of these cars in person after seeing them only in photos prior…

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Widebody Porsche 911 built by Common Snapper on display for Barramundi Design wheels…

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…and featuring their new 18×10/18×13 Barramundi Fogo wheel…

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Not sure if this was once a complete car but transforming the front end into a couch was fucking bad ass, haha… Cool that it even has TE37Vs still…

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TRD widebody AE86 Levin rocking the classic TRD livery…

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Star Road’s pristine S30Z on display seated on Work Equip 03s. You have to really see this thing in person to truly appreciate its beauty…

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Drift Tengoku magazine’s booth with a very cool display featuring the decals of some of Japan’s most well-known drifter clubs…

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The talk of the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon event was undoubtedly the Ben Sopra Nardo Challenge Nissan 380SX, which was an 180SX utilizing a stroke 4.0L R35 GTR powerplant. Pretty fucking nuts…

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The car was still in an unfinished state for TAS and it was hard to get some clean shots of it since it drew such a large crowd while guys were still working on the car at the show…

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The rear of the 380SX was also missing a rear bumper to complete the Ben Sopra/TRA Kyoto/Rocket Bunny aero kit…

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Custom fuel cell and fuel system set-up featuring Bosch 044 pumps…

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Full carbon dashboard inside with custom switch panel…

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Closer shot of the massive wing. In this shot you can see guys still prepping the car for the show that Friday. I wish I would have gone back the second day to get better shots but it totally skipped my mind since I was trying so hard to cover the entire event in the time I was there. You can read much more about the car over at Speedhunters.com. CLICK THE LINK HERE TO READ MORE ON THE 380SX….

Gonna stop here for today and end Part 1. So much more to come and tomorrow we will continue with day one at TAS 2013… Thanks for looking everyone and also thank you for your patience. I want to give you guys a glimpse at what it was actually like to be in Japan and I hope you’ve enjoyed the view so far….

22 thoughts on “The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 1: Intro and TAS 2013 Coverage…

  1. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 2: TAS 2013 Coverage… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  2. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 3: More TAS 2013 Day 1 Coverage… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  3. Pingback: weksosUSA » Tokyo Auto Salon 2013 – Part Four

  4. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 4: Dinner With USDM FREAX and Day 2 of TAS ’13… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  5. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 5: The Last of TAS ’13 Coverage and Dinner With USDM Magazine… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  6. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 6: Twin Ring Motegi and The Honda Collection Hall… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  7. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 7: More Honda Collection Hall and Trackside At Twin Ring Motegi… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  8. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 8: The Meal After Motegi and We Begin Our Journey To Osaka… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  9. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 9: Our Visit To Tactical Art… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  10. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 10: More From Our Visit To Tactical Art… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  11. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 11: The Historical City of Nara… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  12. Pingback: The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 12 of 12: We Visit J’s Racing and Meet Some Kanjozokus… « The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  13. Pingback: The Top Ten Stories Of 2013 According To You… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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