The Last Nisei Import Showoff….EVER?

Got an email today…I’m sure many of you got a similar email as well if you’ve participated in an Import Showoff event within the past couple years or so. If not here it is…

It’s our 15th Anniversary and it’s the


Nisei Week SHOWOFF Car Show
August 15, 2009

Did we get your attention? Since SHOWOFF gets no love from industry = no sponsors, it might just be the last SHOWOFF ever! Come support the orginators of car shows and be a part of history.

For the first 25 car show registrants we are hooking you up with discount $10 OFF Nisei registration fee. We call it the “Recession Hook-Up” so hurry before all spots fill up. Like always, SHOWOFF comes correct and will have top notch show cars along with prestigious awards.

This is truly sad…Man I have so many great memories of doing these shows. I remember either participating or just attending these events and they’ve always been one of the best shows out there. I can’t say enough of Ken Myoshi for staying loyal to the import community by keeping this event going for so many years. It’s a shame that the industry hasn’t given back to him by not sponsoring his events and letting this show die off. Falken used to be their major sponsor but I guess they’re busy doing drift events and what not and no longer support car shows other than the major high dollar ones like Hot Import Nights. It was already weird enough coming into 2009 without a Chinatown Showoff. Those were usually held during Chinese New Year in conjunction with the festivities. Even though the shows were usually a bit smaller than others, and the driveway totally sucked dick, they were always heavily attended and the best cars always made an appearance…

Damn I remember the first Nisei Showoff I did with my Honda back in 2005. It was my Accord’s “official debut” I guess you can say. I had just recently completed alot of stuff on it and was anxious and nervous to do the show, because the quality and competition were always so high. I decided to do it just because. What made it even nerve-racking was that I was doing the show by myself that year. I really didn’t know anyone because I had just gotten into Hondas and my car crew that I was rolling with was basically separated. I ended up driving to Little Tokyo from San Diego with my friend Kevin early in the morning. Like REALLY early. My carbon fiber trunk didn’t really seal correctly and so we were kinda breathing in gas fumes all the way up…it was pretty bad. We ended up having to crack the windows the majority of the drive and my friend ended up getting sick from all the cold air and fumes. I got to the venue and didn’t have anyone to park with so I ended up parking right by the Showoff booth, which worked out for me because the spot got alot of traffic and people got a chance to see my car. I didn’t think much of it but I had alot of people come by and pay me alot of compliments…

This was also the first time I got to officially meet the late great Randy “Questoyz RHandy” Gagan. We had been exchanging PM’s on Honda-Tech because he saw some pics of my car online and was giving me advice and what not on what to do. If you knew Randy, you knew that he was always willing to help anyone and always had a kind word to say. I remember him coming up to me and introducing himself. I shook his hand and he told me to stop by and check out both of his cars that he was showing. He brought out his beautifully done DA Integra and CRX and it was mind boggling to see those cars finally in person. Just talking to the guy for a couple minutes and you instantly knew that this guy was a class act. Sadly it was also one of the few times I would ever see Randy again as he passed away the year after. I truly miss that guy, and I can’t even imagine how much his really close friends and family do. After the show he continued to help me out and I even ended up picking up some stuff from the Earl’s shop that he was working at. I was also on the verge of buying his DA too but it just never came to fruition because I had no where to store the car. R.I.P. Randy, you are truly missed….

Over the years I also met alot of other great people. Many of who I consider to be my close friends today. This show did a great job of bringing all the great car builders together in one place. It wasn’t overfilled with people, and neon lights and loud music and shit. So you actually had the opportunity to go around and truly look at other peoples’ work and talk to the owners. The only downside was that it got progressively hotter every year but you can’t really blame that on Ken. The show was simple, go to the lot, park, hang out, look at cars. No extra bullshit and that’s what made it great….

I remember the last Nisei I did with my Accord too, shortly before I sold the car. What a hell of a weekend that was. I had just recently completely my NSX-brake swap that week and was planning on driving up to Los Angeles early and stay at a friend’s house so I didn’t have to deal with the grueling morning drive. Boy did that end up being more grueling than anything. I swore I double-checked everything that day that I drove up. I had left Chula Vista and stopped by Oceanside to get some gas and a hot dog because I was hungry. I didn’t get a drink because I honestly didn’t think anything of it. By the time I got on the 210 west freeway towards Pasadena, I was hauling ass because it was the heart of the summer and I no longer had A/C in my car. I was also thirsty from throwing that hot dog down so I was going about 80mph. All of a sudden, I heard a lot pop while I was on the phone and after that, an even louder screeching/grinding sound. I pulled off to the side immediately from the fast lane and got out of my car. I was like “Man, what the fuck, did I get a flat or something?” My tires were brand spanking new so it couldn’t have been and the car didn’t drive that much differently. I stare at my front driverside wheel and my fuckin NSX caliper had fallen off and was sitting on the inside of my wheel. With the speed I was going, the caliper grinding on my wheel also caused a bit of a groove inside my wheel. I stuck my arm behind the wheel and realized that the top caliper bolt was gone and the vibration from the road and probably caused it to come loose and fly off. I was stuck on the side of the freeway at around 3pm or so with traffic with an Accord that was dumped and a brake caliper sitting on my wheel. Luckily the lower bolt was still on and the brakes were big enough that the caliper wouldn’t have completely ripped off the car. I obviously couldn’t tow it at this height and I couldn’t drive it, so I was standing there for about an hour and a half before I could reach any of my friends to help me. Funny thing was some guy in a Civic rolled up and got out of his car on the shoulder and was like “hey nice car man” and then proceeded to drive off…haha…I couldn’t leave my car there so I had to MacGyver some shit and ended up taking one of the bolts on my Autopower rollbar off and remounted the caliper so I could get it off the freeway. Man what a day that was….To make matters even worse, the morning of Nisei, I was driving to the venue and tore a C/V boot and ended up with grease all over my newly polished Work S1’s and all over my white NSX calipers….Like I said, I have alot of memories of doing Nisei shows, whether they be good or bad…

Anyways, I’ll let you guys go now. There are many more stories but they’re probably better left told in person. I’m really gonna miss Nisei Showoffs when they’re gone. It was probably the number one show that I looked forward to every year. People from all over the country would come out to do this show and now with this being the last one, it makes it even harder to meet other enthusiasts that we’ve come to know. It’s really a shame. I wish it didn’t have to be this way but I guess that all good things inevitably come to an end eventually…

I’ll definitely be attending the last and final Showoff event ever. I can’t wait to make more memories….

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  1. Wow, that’s really sad to hear. I maybe just have to come all the way down from Oregon just to go to this show.

  2. Speaking of car shows, you participating at HIN or just attending? Maybe I’ll see you there.

    • I’m still undecided if I’m going or not actually…it’s hard to cover those shows cuz its so damn dark….plus HIN has changed ownership this year. Thats why all the shows are outdoors. They’re trying to save money and I’m wondering how many cutbacks they’re gonna have at the show…..Plus I think I have a friends birthday to attend…

  3. Damn that last Showoff. Didn’t think it would happen, but I guess with the current economy it was bound to happen. Makes you wonder what else will be closing up shop.
    I’ll definitely be attending this one. Doods/Phaze2/HSI! LOL!

  4. dark isn’t an issue. I assume you’re using a DSLR. just pump the ISO way up there.

    and i hope its good, since I shelled out $30 out of my empty wallet. XD and I’m gonna be heading back down at 11PM so actually home at 1AM or so. Then get up for Cars and Coffee at 7AM. Lol. bleh.

    • Eh, still not happy with the results…pumping the ISO is definitely the only real option other than using a huge flash but either way its gonna come out looking like shit..

  5. haha, well you could haul around a tripod. kind of a pain though. Hmm, maybe I’ll have some better luck.

  6. get an IS lens and a decent flash. That’s all you’ll need in the dark. Pumping up the ISO looks like shit, but sometimes it’s the only resort.

    Discount codes for HIN: “AUTO” for $5 off. $10 off if you bring a NOS bottle.

  7. Oh WOW i never been to Nisei, all those years wanting to show or attend never happened, i will definetly go.

  8. Thanks for your thoughts on Nisei and glad to know we are on the same page on what a “car show” should be. This scene started with the “cars” and now has gotten so diluted with candy coated shit that the scene/industry is lost. Hope Nisei stays alive for 2010… I always wished there were more guys like you with the enthusiast mindset.

    • Thanks for reading….It’s a sad to see Nisei Showoff go so let’s all hope that this really isn’t it’s last run. You guys over at Showoff have done an excellent job for years of throwing shows that truly bring out the best in the enthusiasts. It is also sad that the scene has become so commercialized that often times people lose track of shows like these and cater to the shows that are more about concerts and light shows. Good luck to you guys and thanks for everything.

  9. Great post…

    I’ll start with – I have many memories of Showoff – I obsessed over the show many years – and couldn’t wait for mags to come out with pics of the show… Showoff was great because it was the one real show that gave you bragging rights – I mean – it was all or nothing.

    Back when I had C16 Magazine – that was really the only show I wanted to bring my book to and to have a booth. We came all the way from Florida to represent and to share with the world our little book called C16. Thanks Ken for all your support there…

    I truly hope that this doesn’t end Showoff. I hope we can see it live on for years. We are gonna have to stand up and maybe be a voice to help get sponsors aware of it. hmmmmm ?

    Anyways – great stories on your cars and experience. First time I have been to the site – someone sent me a link. I’ll keep an eye out here more often.

    Ken – much love – keep it up….

  10. You attended your first showoff in 2005, so you must not know Ken Miyoshi very well. For those long in the industry that have known / worked for him, he pretends he’s your buddy. But the only reason he’s kept the show going is of course to put money into his own pocket. He’s had a long history of recruiting younger kids to work for him for free. Kids that want to get into the import industry. No one sponsors his events, because he also burns his vendors. Everyone that got to know the real ken miyoshi all knows who he is. Give him props for starting the first import car show??? That story’s OLD now. The import industry is much bigger than “import showoff”. I got that e-mail too. He really needs to get over it. It’s a little ridiculous to be pointing fingers at everyone else as he’s made his own downfall. If you can’t evolve with the industry, you can’t blame everyone else for leaving you behind. Everyone who knows or has worked with Ken Miyoshi knows how he is. And if you still vouch for him, you really don’t know him that well…

  11. i heard that this may be the last showoff ever, so i did a google search, and came across this page.

    i went to my first showoff back in the mid 90’s. imho, showoff always did a much better job than hin.

    i recently had a chance to attend hin last month and have not gone to hin for more than a few years. man, hin has gotten really bad!! imho, it’s not even really much of a car show any more. and their admission prices were crazy overpriced. if i had to pay, there is now way i would’ve gone. hin = hella lame.

    showoff brings car shows back to the import roots and how a car show should be. i surely hope this is not the end of showoff.

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