The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 9: Our Visit To Tactical Art…

One of the questions that I was most often asked when I returned from Japan was, “What was your favorite moment?”…It’s a difficult question to answer because I don’t feel like I really have an answer for it. I mean, even though we did a ton of shit while we were in Japan, I almost felt like I was always on the move and barely able to really “be in the moment”, you know? We had done all kinds of stuff in Japan but it almost seemed as if we just didn’t have enough time there so I was constantly rushing myself and making sure I was able to fit everything into the schedule. There are times when I almost feel like I missed out on Japan because I was so busy trying to document it. To be quite honest, putting all these photos together into the multiple parts of coverage really helped me to relive the trip as if I was there…and I was…I guess it is hard to explain unless you were really there but it wasn’t until I got to Osaka and stopped at Tactical Art when I finally was able to soak in the reality of the moment. I had spent maybe an hour or more just documenting everything inside their shop and looking over the cars…

After I felt like I was able to get all the shots I wanted, I walked upstairs to the second level of their shop where everyone had been hanging out a majority of the time. The guys from Tactical Art were constantly going back and forth but for the most part, everyone in our group was hanging out upstairs. Why? Well, because it was raining outside and cold as shit and also because the second level of their shop is really nice. It’s like a hang-out spot for them that also serves as a showroom for their shop. Everyone was having a great time upstairs while I was just kind of in my own zone snapping away on my Canon 5DMK2 dSLR. I walked upstairs, set my camera gear down on the table and walked over to the couch and as I was taking a seat, Nick said something to me that was probably one of the most memorable things that anyone had said to me the entire time we were in Japan. He looked at me as was like “Dude, come take a seat and enjoy this moment. You worked hard for this.” I don’t even think he would remember because it was such a nonchalant type of moment but it honestly kind of woke me up. Kind of like a finger snap that wakes you up from some sort of trance. I was so consumed with the idea that I had to capture every single thing on our trip that I was barely even there to take it all in. I’m glad he said it because I felt like I had a weight lifted off my shoulder. I sat down and just kind of relaxed. Everybody was in a conversation or looking at their phones and I just sat there and didn’t say a word. I was awake and looking at the company that surrounded me and I was at peace…

Dinner that night was amazing, the people around me were wonderful, and the experience was unbelievable…

Now, as I said earlier, there wasn’t an event or moment that I could really narrow down as a “favorite” of mine. On paper, there were only a few key events that I absolutely had to experience that I knew would make the trip for me; going to Tokyo Auto Salon, seeing my Japanese friends i.e. Takeshi, Hiro, the Tactical Art/Team Madame family, and visiting the Tactical Art shop. I can’t sit here and say that it was my “favorite”, but going to Osaka and being inside Tactical Art was a huge moment in my vacation to Japan. I know it is a lot of reading today, but bare with me, because I’ll tell you why it was such an important moment… By all accounts (you can take this however you want), everyone in the U.S. knows the Tactical Art name because of The Chronicles/Stickydiljoe.com. I’m not trying to be bragadocious in anyway, just very honest. Maybe at one time or another, a couple years ago, someone spotted their cars online. That is how I first discovered them also but I was the one that put in the effort to contact them and provided them with an outlet to be seen here in the U.S. I literally spent hours and hours trying to dig up information on them and it wasn’t easy. There wasn’t any particular reason behind why I did it…I honestly just liked what they were doing and really liked their cars. There was nothing to be gained other than the idea that I wanted to show you guys their cars and what they were about. I was intrigued because when I first found their website, they looked like just a high-end audio installation shop (which they still are). They have Hondas because they are just like the rest of us, they love cars, they love motorsports, and they just happen to have a particular affection for Hondas. And they were on the other side of the world. I dug it. Besides their grouping of Hondas, they also had friends that were car guys that drove non-Hondas that were also pretty interesting…The rest, I guess you can say, is history…

Fast forward to 2013, and we’ve developed a pretty solid friendship. The language barrier is still kind of a hurdle but we are both making an effort to have a better understanding of each of our native tongues. It is actually because of the language barrier that we also made a friend in Ayako Kawato, who was their translator when they came to America to attend the Year.IV event in 2012. They have shown me nothing but love since the first time I met them back in SEMA of 2011. They happened to be at the SEMA show in Vegas that year and personally contacted me to arrange a meeting. At that time, they didn’t speak a lick of English. I had no idea why they wanted to meet but they have shown me and my friends nothing but the greatest hospitality since the first initial meeting. You’ll see later on in the coverage just how well they took care of us. It is just amazing. We had a blast together at SEMA last year, the Year.IV event before that, and they’ve promised to once again come out in 2013. Yasutaka is constantly sending me photos that he takes from events over in Japan as well as builds that are going on at the shop. Above everything else that they’ve done, he’s also helping by feeding me content from Japan for the site. Seriously, what more could I ask for? They are an awesome group and I’ve can’t say enough good things about them. I think they have gone above and beyond for myself and my friends because they feel like maybe they owe me something for their crossover here into the U.S. but I’ve never felt that they were indebted to me whatsoever. I’ve told them personally before that I just love what they are about. Nothing would make me happier than for them to continue to do what they love and what they are passionate about. That above all else is paramount…

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Part 9 will be dedicated exclusively to covering what I saw upon my visit to Tactical Art. Though the shop was small, there was plenty to see and I found myself fully entrenched in my surroundings. Admittedly, the shop was kind of messy compared to what I had seen before in photos from them but it wasn’t supposed to be a special event or anything. We went to go hang out and Atuki was fully involved in his work and was still busy working on the cars in the shop. I almost preferred that they didn’t attempt to change anything in the shop because I wanted to see what it was like naturally, on an everyday basis…

Before I officially get into the photos, I should add that many of the cars are currently in their rebuild stages. The only car you’ll recognize from when I initially showed you guys the shop and their cars is Taku Kusugami’s EK, which was the Super Street Honda Issue’s cover car in 2012. The others are torn apart and getting completely redone from the ground-up. I don’t know if their trip to America had anything to do with motivating the changes but their cars are showing a lot of attention and detail within the engine bays, something that was not a vital part of their builds previously. They were just very raw, gutted track cars back then that occasionally showed up to some meets and shows for the hell of it. They are weekend track warriors and their cars represented that. Now you’ll see a theme where the engine bays are (will eventually be) completely redone. They’ve also gone with a traditional, uniform theme of going with battleship grey engine bays and interiors. Though they are very fond of the USDM style, only some of their cars truly resemble that style while their original cars will continue to take on the traditional race-specific Honda look that we’ve come to see from Japan through the years. It’ll also have a bunch of modern styling cues but you get the idea….

Here are the previous EIGHT parts in order so you can catch-up if you missed anything before…

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…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 4: Dinner With USDM FREAX and Day 2 of TAS ’13…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 5: The Last of TAS ’13 Coverage and Dinner With USDM Magazine…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 6: Twin Ring Motegi and The Honda Collection Hall…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 7: More Honda Collection Hall and Trackside At Twin Ring Motegi…
The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 8: The Meal After Motegi and We Begin Our Journey To Osaka…

Now, onto Monday evening of our trip to Osaka, Japan…

Okay so when we last left off in Part 8, we had just left the Dotonbori after doing some sight-seeing. Since Tactical Art isn’t exactly accessible to the Japanese rail system, Yasutaka had arranged to drive us to the shop. We hopped on a subway real quick and a couple of stops later, we arrived at the parking lot where they had parked. Since there were so many of us, we had to take two separate cars. Yasutaka picked up the guys and Ayako in a Toyota Alphard van while May and I got into a Nissan March hatchback that Kazuya was driving…

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I don’t remember how long it took to get there because they made a detour to show us the infamous Kanjo Loop, a spot on the highway where a lot of late night racing occurs, before we finally got to the shop. This was the scene when we arrived at the shop. Posted out front was Taku Kusugami’s EK and Masashi Kameoka’s brand new Toyota Mark X. If you’ve followed them here on the sight closely, you’ll remember that he had a Mark X before but it was the previous generation. He also had the same set of Work Meister S1 wheels that were stolen awhile back. He liked the wheels so much that when he picked-up a new Mark X, he decided to get the same wheels. Hopefully he has better luck with them this time around…

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After we exchanged pleasantries with our Japanese friends, I walked inside to see what was going on. Towards the back of the shop were these three Civics; to the far left was Yasutaka Shimomukai’s EG6, in the middle was Kazuya Kamashima’s Civic Ferio project, and on the right up on the lift is shop owner Atuki Tubouti’s EG6 hatchback. All were under serious construction…

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Parked in front of the trio was Toshiyuki Yanagi’s Honda Integra Type R, completely re-created to resemble a USDM-spec Integra with aggressive CCW Classic wheels. While the stance might not be for everyone, you have to agree that it is a good representation of what an Integra in the U.S. would look like if built to current trends. The only difference is that many over here wouldn’t attempt to do what he did with an ITR, but hey, ITRs are more commonplace over there so it was a good platform for them to start a project with…

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Under the carbon hood is a neatly tucked engine bay with the original B18C motor. The bay has also been re-sprayed in grey. Nothing really crazy added, just a carbon fiber whale penis intake and JASMA header…

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The interior matches the same grey tone as the bay, with a ton of fab work by Atuki Tubouti…

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All the metal work performed in the shop on all the cars is done by Atuki. He’s a fabricator that not only does metal work, he also does custom audio components, and as you will see later on, all the shelving upstairs in their show room…

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They’ve taken quite a liking to CCWs and have even developed a pretty good relationship with Dan from CCW. They carry a couple of their wheels at the shop and I think they are one of the distributors for their product over there…

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On the dash, Yanagi aka “Kichi-Gay” is reppin’ the Super Street decal on his dash. A couple days after our visit to Tactical Art, the Super Street guys actually came and shot the car for the magazine…

Now let’s take a look at the three Civics…

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I haven’t realy communicated with the Tactical Art guys much since our trip to Vegas so I really had no idea what they were up to lately. One project that I was really surprised to see was Kazuya Kawashima’s new Ferio project. For reference purposes, this was his previous project, a Honda StepWGN…

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There haven’t been any modifications to the exterior yet and I highly doubt that the Mugen MR5s will stay on the car other than to keep the car upright temporarily…

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Replacing the headlight on the driver’s side was a custom made headlight air intake scoop….I believe this was the old scoop that was previously on Atuki’s EG6…

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Inside the repainted engine bay is a B16B CTR motor…

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The motor has also been refinished and the block has been repainted a fresh coat of silver…

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The custom-fabbed cage inside the Ferio… I was happy to be able to see these cars in progress because it’ll help me appreciate the cars more when they are finished…

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Really like the dimple died panel under the rear windshield/trunk section…

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Another angle of the cage through the passenger window…

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Up on the lift was Atuki’s personal EG6, which he lowered down to the ground for us to check-out…If you have forgotten which Civic this was, CLICK HERE to see an older photo of it before the current transformation…

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I don’t recall what motor was in the car but it should be the same B18C block/B16A head that was in it before, with the exception of the added individual throttle bodies…

This is strictly a track car so normal headlights aren’t important. Instead you’ll find Password:JDM carbon fiber headlight ducts on each side…

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The individual throttles on Atuki’s EG… One thing that I’ve noticed about their engine bays is that they haven’t really gone the route of tucking and creating their own brake lines yet. I don’t know if they plan to do this or not but considering how much progress they’ve made lately, I don’t see why they wouldn’t…

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Atuki was already running a pretty wide wheel up front before with spaced-out OEM fenders so these aggressive Work Meister S1s shouldn’t really be a surprise. I think the specs are similar to his old SSR SP3Rs. If I remember correctly, these S1s are 16×9 +11 and mounted to 225/45 Yokohama Advan A050…

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While I thought the SP3Rs looked good, Meister S1 wheels have always been one of my favorites so I really like the new look…

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The interior used to be white but has since been repainted. He also had a custom made fiberglass dash that was currently sitting upstairs in the show room…

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Another look at this ITBs…

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His Civic was already fully-caged before but he actually cut it all out and redid the entire cage…

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The third Civic, belonging to Yasutaka Shimomukai, has seen the least amount of progress out of the trio. This EG will go through a complete rebuild once the other two are finished. You guys should be familiar with how his car looked before, but HERE is a reference photo…

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I walked upstairs real quick to drink some coffee and spotted Beeyan Hamada hanging out with his Chronicles hoodie on…

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A look outside as I made my way back downstairs…

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Framed by the staircase was Taku’s Super Street cover that had been blown-up and framed…If you take a closer look you’ll notice that whoever printed it took the liberty of adding their own personal touches…

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One more look at the Tactical Art trio…

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…and another of Kazuya’s bay and B16B engine…

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Here you can really see the width of Atuki’s 16×9 Work S1s…

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Quick shot of Taku’s EK. I really wanted to get better shots of the car but it was raining and darker than Wesley Snipes outside. I borrowed Yasutaka’s tripod but was still pretty limited to what I could do out on the street…

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I managed to drag one of their work lights outside real fast and was able to get this shot…The white fluorescent lighting coming from the right of the EK is actually from a vending machine outside the shop…

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And one final shot for today…

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Oh, and to give you guys an idea of just how cold it was in Osaka that day, here you can see the two Ryans huddling up next to a portable heater while I was shooting…

That’s all for today. Tomorrow we will take a look at the show room area upstairs and then we head out to dinner with the Tactical Art family for some Yakiniku! Stay tuned!…

15 thoughts on “The Chronicles 2013 Japan Trip…Part 9: Our Visit To Tactical Art…

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

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

  3. 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

  4. Thaaaaaaank you for posting photos of that four door! I’m building a track four door and it’s cool to see others because they aren’t that common.

  5. Pingback: Exclusive Content: A Look At Atuki’s EG6 Build From Tactical Art… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  6. Pingback: Exclusive Content: A Closer Look At Kawashima’s EG Ferio Build From Tactical Art… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  7. Pingback: Exclusive Content: The Tactical Art Ferios Completed… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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

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