The Chronicles© – No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

There Is No Rival, Because There Is No Equal.

Diving right into Part 4 of our ongoing coverage of our trip to Japan. When we last left off, day one of the Tokyo Auto Salon event had just ended and we returned to our hotel to meet with our friends for dinner. Hiro Ueda is originally from Osaka but was in town for the TAS event with Ken from Wek’Sos. Hiro had arranged a dinner for us but didn’t provide very many details so we really had no idea where we were going or what we were eating. Hiro is good people so we trusted him with whatever he had planned. The guys from USDM FREAX magazine came along with us for dinner so it was going to be an interesting night. Other than Ken, none of us had really met any of them before but it’s always cool to connect with people in a similar industry on the other side of the world…

After we all met up, we made our way to the restaurant that was walking distance from our hotel. I should add right now that I have absolutely no recollection of what the restaurant was called, haha. It was all kind of a blur that night because we had just gotten back from a very overwhelming Tokyo Auto Salon and immediately headed for dinner. What I can tell you is that this restaurant was a really classy, very traditional, Japanese establishment. It is one of those spots where you have to take off your shoes before being seated in a recessed area where you’re basically sitting on the floor. I’ve been to places like this before in my 30 years of age but I certainly did not expect Hiro to invite us to such a nice spot. Whenever he’s in the U.S. with us, we just take him to whatever spots we like eating at and some of the places are far from classy or traditional anything, haha. It was really nice of him to bring us to that spot though because we honestly wouldn’t have been able to find a place like this on our own with our limited knowledge of the Japanese language. We asked Hiro what style of Japanese food they’d be serving us and I believe it was called Kaiseki, which is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. You don’t order anything and you don’t really get to see what you’re eating beforehand. They sit you down and bring out different dishes from a set menu, and well, you just eat it. My set meal usually consists of just one dish so the thought of being able to eat a variety of Japanese dishes was intriguing. Again, things were a bit blurry that night, especially after all the beer we consumed during dinner so I do not remember what any of the dishes were called. I had my camera gear with me at all times since I didn’t want to just leave it at the hotel so of course I documented everything that went down…Stuff like this is especially unique when we are in a different country so I would have covered it either way. Even though some of you may not care, I’ve taken the steps to cover my entire trip and the meals are moments that I feel are of the utmost importance since you get to see a more human-side of things. Car shit is cool but what is a hobby and community without the people that help maintain it?…

Since I’m going to be showing you guys some candid photos of my friends and people you’ve come to know from viewing this site, I’ll re-introduce you to the people you’ll be seeing here in Part 4 in the same style as I’ve presented them in the introductory portion of my Japan trip coverage…

      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Hiro Ueda – Hiro is our long-haired friend from Osaka, Japan. He’s the owner of KC Trading and a huge aficionado of both the Japanese and U.S. car scene. He’s a regular visitor to the States and has become pretty close to the guys from Wek’Sos Industries
      • Kenneth Li – Ken is one of the owners of Wek’Sos. He made the trip out to Japan to attend TAS ’13 as well as hang out with Hiro. Since he’s been to Japan multiple times, he also served as a contact for us and helped us get around Japan.
      • Takeshi Kobayashi – Takeshi is our buddy from Sendai who you should all be very familiar with by now. He’s a regular visitor to the U.S. and we always make time to hang out with our friend whenever he comes out for business. He’s the owner of Type_K Autosource and spends a lot of time in America arranging the sale and transport of USDM vehicles back to Japan for his customers.
      • Hideo Shingu – Hideo is a friend of Takeshi’s. We met him first at TAS ’13 and he later accompanies us to the Twin Ring Motegi.

Conspicuous by his absence in this portion of the coverage is Willy aka Salem. He went to Tokyo Auto Salon with us that day but was feeling pretty nauseated throughout the day. We all aren’t entirely sure what was wrong with him but we suspect that he might have gotten food poisoning at some point earlier in the day. He stuck it out though the entire first day at the show but decided to stay-in at the hotel to rest…

I didn’t get any close-up photos of the USDM FREAX guys but if you aren’t all that familiar with their magazine, you may have seen this cover not too long ago…

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This is their 4th inaugural issue from a couple months back featuring Anh Truong’s Integra Type R from ATS Garage and model Elissa Alva…

Now, before we begin…if for whatever reason you are just thoroughly confused with all of this and have no idea what you’re reading about so far, then you probably missed the previous three parts of my Japan Trip coverage. Click the links below to catch-up, otherwise everything will be out of sequence and I would have spent all this time detailing everything for nothing…

The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 1: Intro and TAS 2013 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 2: TAS 2013 Coverage…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 3: More TAS 2013 Day 1 Coverage…

By the time we get halfway through all of the coverage, I hope you guys will have kept track of everything in the order it happened. There is a ton more left to go so get your mind right and be prepared to take everything in…

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Here we are seated at the fancy Japanese establishment. The lighting and overall ambiance really set the mood for some heavy-drinking and consumption of Japanese cuisine…

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We had a big group with us since the USDM FREAX staff came along and they took the other table behind us in this photo. They are the dudes with the mouths wide-open with excitement. There was a bit of a language barrier, as expected, but we were able to communicate with them. They came by our table and gave us a bunch of stuff including stacks of their previous issues as well as stickers and other goods. It was a pleasure meeting them and I’m happy to have been able to sit down and break bread with them…

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The first dish that was brought out to us… The whole process of this Japanese multi-course meal is very traditional and has been served for ages now in ceremonial fashion so we did not ask any questions. We just ate whatever they brought us…. “When in Rome” as the old saying goes. If you aren’t familiar with that oft-used saying, the more modern version would be… “I’d fucks wid it”… i.e.  “Oh little tiny fish with a piece of olive on it and a slice of tangerine? Sure, I’d fucks wid it.” Haha…

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Nick about to consume what I believe was Japanese Daikon or Chinese White Radish… I don’t remember what it was because I don’t believe I “fucks wid it” at that particular moment since I was taking pictures…

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Takeshi and Ryan checking out an issue of USDM FREAX magazine…

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One of our favorite features of Japanese dining was that alcohol was almost always unlimited. If you wanted to drink with your meal, they would just keep bringing you beer after beer after beer. We quickly realized this and drank like we didn’t have to spend a whole day at Tokyo Auto Salon the following morning. We felt like kings at that point with an endless supply of Kirin…

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Nick holding up a piece of Hamachi that was the best piece of raw fish that we had ever eaten in our collective lives…

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One of the next dishes that came out was a veggie and pork dish (if I remember correctly)…The black stringy stuff is what I believe to be Wood Ear/Cloud Ear fungus that is used traditional asian dishes and soup…

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Joy was happy to see a photo of her Subaru in an issue of USDM FREAX…

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Next on the set menu was a cooked fish plate with a side of garlic…

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Huge thank you goes out to Hiro for organizing the dinner for us… It was our first time experiencing a ceremonial Japanese dinner like this and it will be a memory we won’t soon forget…

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Nick was amused by the Osaka JDM advertorial in USDM FREAX magazine featuring the slogan “EAT! FUCK♥ HONDA!”…

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Ken, Der, and Joy sharing a laugh…

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Nick took the reigns for a moment and grabbed the camera to snap a rare photo of May and I together… I often spend so much time behind the camera and May is by my side usually so we don’t have very many photo opportunities with one another…

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Takeshi capturing some moments of his own…

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Something that we’ve become so accustomed to here in the U.S. is how smoking is prohibited inside restaurants. In Japan, smoking is a very common thing and you’re free to smoke inside restaurants as well as drink alcohol publicly on the street…

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None of us are really heavy smokers by any stretch of the imagination but we enjoy the occasional smoke in a social setting…

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Ken actually showed us these Marlboro Ice Blast cigs that we hadn’t really seen before. They have a little green ball inside the filter that you have to break before smoking that helps increase the flavor and menthol taste. Pretty novel idea but again, I rarely have the urge to smoke or enjoy it enough to really notice a difference in taste…

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We hung out for a bit after dinner and then Hiro and the USDM FREAX guys wanted to take us out clubbing. Even though some of us had been to Japan before, we hadn’t experienced the late night club scene in Japan so we decided to go along. I mean, we had to be up early the next morning for the next day of TAS but shit, it’s one of those things where you kind of have to sacrifice sleep to experience something different. The rail system shuts down around midnight so we ended up taking a couple of taxi cabs to Shibuya. We arrived at this totally unassuming spot in the city where you wouldn’t even think would be a nightclub. There was a single bouncer at the front door but you couldn’t hear music outside or anything. He checks all of our I.D.s and we make our way down a couple set of stairs. Apparently this is some sort of underground hip-hop club where they played strictly American music. It was defintely interesting to see first hand. Japanese patrons were singing along to the English lyrics and dancing the night away. I had already drank plenty at the restaurant so I wasn’t really in the mood to drink so Nick gave me the rest of his Red Bulls every time he ordered a Red Bull/Vodka. I enjoyed the bursts of liquid energy while watching one of the USDM FREAX guy chat with basically every woman at the club. This guy just had no fear of rejection. I think that culturally people in Japan are so nice anyway that a woman might actually humor you when you approach them instead of blowing them off and pretending not to hear them. In any case, this guy was chatting these girls up and even getting the Ryans into the action. Der even met a Japanese girl at the club who had grown up in Pasadena, CA and spoke a bit of English…

I’m not gonna lie, even with the help of Red Bull, I was pretty beat. After going to Shibuya earlier that morning to walk around, then spending the rest of the day at TAS, and then having a big dinner, I was spent…We decided to call it a night and grabbed a cab back to the hotel. Since we all couldn’t fit in one cab, Nick and Der stayed behind to catch a cab with Hiro and the USDM FREAX guys. Nick and Der thought that they were going back to the hotel but Hiro ended up taking them to another club and they partied the night away unknowingly, haha. I was glad to be back at the hotel and knocked the hell out as soon as I laid down. Salem was still feeling pretty sick so he spent most of the night in bed…

The next morning, we all got up early to get a full day in at Tokyo Auto Salon. This was going to be our last day at TAS so we wanted to be up as early as possible to see as much as we could. Nick and Der met up with us in the lobby still pretty worn out from the festivities the previous night while Salem decided to stay behind since he was still throwing up that morning. I remember our conversation before I left the room where he was simultaneously talking and throwing up. It was quite a sight to see. Not my favorite memory of my trip but I’m glad Salem got better later on in the day. He would end up traveling to the Makuhari Messe on his own later and since the show was so big, we didn’t see him for the rest of the day…

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Day 2 of the Tokyo Auto Salon event, was much more crowded than the first. People were fucking EVERYWHERE. And if there was a model/race queen around, there was almost no opportunity to see the car they were posing near because people flock to the models like they were giving out free handjobs or something. It was crazy. The guys that do most of the model photography were very polite, there just happened to be a lot of them. They usually stayed in a very uniform line so you’d know if there was a model in that area before you even got close enough to get stuck in that crowd. I just stayed as far away from them as possible and did my own thing. If I saw a crowd I would just disregard that area even though I know I’d possibly be missing out on some great cars. There was a ton of cars left to be seen so we once again separated and decided to meet at a designated area towards the end of the day. Below is the start of Day 2 of my TAS coverage…

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The first area that I visited was the building where the Top Secret booth was located. I had seen some very cool titanium coffee mugs for sale there the day before that and wanted to pick up a couple of them as souvenirs. By the time I got there, there were only two left and I immediately bought them. After I bought my cups, I snapped this photo of one of their R35 GTRs…

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Another shot of the Top Secret Toyota 86 with molded Rocket Bunny aero…

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One Japanese tuning company that I had been following for ages now was Phoenix’s Powers. I’ve always been a fan of the cars that they produced so I was excited to see what they had brought to the TAS show…

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They had an all R35-lineup and all were very impressive…Loved their use of the BBS F1 wheel…

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White Phoenix’s Powers GTR wearing their own original aero products. This one also on BBS F1 wheels…

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The highlighter green/yellow R35 that you guys saw towards the end of Part 3 of my coverage…Same aero kit as the other two R35s but this one is on GTR-spec BBS LM wheels…

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Z33 Fairlady at the Endless booth…I picked up a Endless keychain while I was over there as a memento…

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1st generation Toyota Estima on some newly released Work Durandal wheels from Kanto 92 Family…

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Really digging these new Fabulous Pandemic wheels on this LHD Lexus GS400…The nice, subtle aero on this GS is produced by J-Unit…

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Nissan Fuga representing for Leon Hardiritt wheels at TAS…

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Toyota Crown Athlete also reppin’ Leon Hardiritt on full J-Unit aero…

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MJK Customs was a company that I wasn’t previously familiar with even though I try to keep up with the Japanese VIP scene. At TAS ’13, they brought out a fleet of really nice VIP builds, all with custom fender work and extensive body modifications…

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Toyota Crown from MJK Customs (http://www.mjkspl.co.jp/) once again on Work Durandal wheels…

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One of my absolute favorites from the TAS ’13 event was this red Toyota Crown Majesta from MJK…I already love the original lines of the Majesta but you add to that a custom widebody that still flows with the OEM lines and you have yourself a VIP beauty…

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This Majesta build was a perfect display vehicle to show what MJK Customs is capable of in terms of building a complete custom car…

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Widebody Fuga from MJK…

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While VIP-themed builds were a huge part of TAS, I was also able to enjoy the pure race builds like this Mazda Demio Super Endurance car adorned in a full RSR livery…

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One more of the Datsun truck with Hakosuka Skyline front end…

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Gram Lights-themed Toyota 86 from the Rays Engineering booth…

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Full carbon front end, doors, and sideskirts on this R35 GTR inside the Rays booth…

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Mad Mike’s D1GP Japan FD3S RX-7…

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Another tuner that I’ve been following for ages now is the work of RE Amemiya, one of (if not the most) well-respected Mazda tuning shops in Japan. They had a decent display with a fleet of some of Amemiya’s most unique creations… Above is the RE Amemiya 20B NA Europa…

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RE Amemiya “Genki 7″…

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One of the many signature attributes of an RE Amemiya build is his utilization of Porsche headlights and (outdated or not) Lambo doors…

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Blitz showed-off their Subaru BRZ developmental project in full chrome vinyl wrap…

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In comparison to the flashy mirror-like BRZ was this much more subtle Toyota 86 also from Blitz…

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86s were all the rage much like at SEMA and one of the more anticipated debuts was the Varis widebody 86….

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While visiting the Varis booth I also discovered the Varis R35 GTR, looking great on Advan GT wheels…

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Varis Subaru WRX STi…

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…featuring the new “6% stiffer” Volk Racing TE37RT wheel…not sure how they measure that or how it affects performance but I’m not in the wheel manufacturing industry so I’ll just believe it… I usually get 6% stiffer when I discover free working Brazzers passwords…

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Varis Evo X widebody sharing the same TE37RT wheels as the Varis STi… I like how Rays has decided to now engrave “Volk Racing Original” into the spokes now instead of just offering decals that can easily be copied…Maybe we’ll start seeing Varrstoen engrave “Varrstoen Obvious Copy” into their spokes, haha…

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Mirror chrome Toyota Aristo from Sessions…

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Project Mu Toyota 86 demo vehicle wearing Tommy Kaira aero and Advan GT wheels…Brakes, obviously, are Project Mu…

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Closing out this glorious 4th edition of our Japan Trip coverage with this widebody “Daredevil86″ by DROO-P…

That’s a ton of reading and way too many photos so I’m gonna cut it off here for now. Stay tuned for part 5 and have a great weekend… Thanks for looking as always…

11 thoughts on “The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 4: Dinner With USDM FREAX and Day 2 of TAS ’13…

  1. Rick says:

    I’m sorry but those Rx-7’s ( especially the red one with the ”Porsche” style front end ) from Amemiya, are ugly as hell ..the cars have been murdered, raped and left for dead if you ask me …

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