The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 3…#Wekfestprep With Tactical Art…

After an amazing evening in Tokyo, we woke up early the following morning to get ready for our journey to Osaka. The trek from Tokyo to Osaka is pretty easy and stress-free as long as you get out the door early enough to catch the train. If you have never been to Japan, going from Tokyo to Osaka via the Shinkansen (bullet train) takes roughly three hours. We had to leave early because we didn’t want to lose a big chunk of the day traveling. Sure, it takes only three hours but you also have to remember that we have to get off the train, figure out where we are, find our hotel, check-in, and then unload our gear. This probably adds another hour or two into the trip so we really wanted to maximize our time in Osaka…

In the last few months leading up to Wekfest Japan, I was beginning to feel and understand the stress level coming from my friends over at Tactical Art. I was communicating with Yasu regularly and all he could really tell me was how busy he was and how he wasn’t getting any sleep. We’re all car guys so we understand the stress that comes with preparing for an event, but I must add that the Tactical Art guys were attempting to prep 7-9 vehicles for the show. Yes, you read that correctly, not 1, not 2 or 3, but NINE cars. It certainly seemed ambitious but I somehow believed that they would figure it out. Some of the cars were already done mostly and just needed to be prepped, while others were full-on builds where engine swaps and paint were required. Yasu is one of the most generous people I know in Japan and he is usually more than willing to pick us up from our hotel to take us wherever we needed to go, but this trip marked the first time where he was so busy that he told us that he didn’t even have time to come get us. That was fine with us because we know our way around Osaka by now. There was still much to do so we pretty much put everything aside that day to go over to Tactical Art to help them finish their cars. We would be making the drive with them from Osaka to Nagoya the following morning for Wekfest Japan so it was important that we all got together to try to help them with whatever they needed…

Today we’re going to be looking at the day prior to the first inaugural Wekfest Japan event. You’ll see our arrival in Osaka, detailed photos of what was going on over at Tactical Art, and as an added bonus, we managed to find some time to stop by over at Tracy Sports, which is another tuning shop in the area. Every time we are in Osaka, we always pass by Tracy Sports but have never actually gone inside. We had some time to spare that day so we finally decided to pay them a visit. There is some cool stuff to see there so make sure you read through the post thoroughly…

Thanks to everyone that is embarking on this journey with me as I look back on my trip. I know it is a lot to read through but it is great to know that you guys appreciate everything that you see and take time out of your day to read it all. Before you move on, make sure to see all the parts prior to this if you happened to have missed any of it. Everything happens in sequence so if you miss a portion at any time, some of the stuff that happens later might not make sense…

The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 1…

The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 2…FEEL’S Twin Cam and Tokyo Bay Dinner….

Before we headed out to Osaka, I met up with my buddy Brandon from BOWLS L.A. for some breakfast. He had just flown in the night before and I wasn’t sure when or if I would even see him while we were both in Japan. He was out in Japan on assignment for Scion Canada so he had a very specific schedule to follow. I had an hour or two to spare so we headed over to the train station to get some stand-up sushi. If you guys followed my trip previously, then you know what stand-up sushi is. You walk into this small spot inside the train station and you literally stand and eat sushi on a metal bar top. The Sashimi is always amazing and fresh there so it is a regular spot for us. I messaged Elissa Alva too to see if she was down to grab some sushi and she followed soon after. We went to this spot so many times during the trip that the sushi chef that was working there recognized us, haha. I didn’t cover a whole lot of the sushi since we were in a bit of a rush but you’ll get the general idea of what is going on. Enjoy….

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I can’t even remember the last time I ate sushi back home in California. I think coming to Japan has ruined me for sushi everywhere else and I honestly don’t even crave it normally. When I’m in Japan, however, I’m all about it and just want to eat Sashimi every chance I get….

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There is just something so simple and elegant about stand-up sushi. You don’t have to worry about finding a seat, waiting for your order to come, or worry about bougie wannabe sushi-experts pretending that they know what they are eating. You walk in, tell them what you want, and you just pick it up and eat it. They open at 7 am in the morning so you avoid the morning rush of people if you walk-in an hour later. If you’re wondering, yes, you do just eat it off the metal counter top. It’s incredibly clean and they don’t even want you touching that service while you are eating. That’s why they serve you sushi on a large leaf…

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Some fresh Maguro (Tuna) and Salmon (Salmon)…

After sushi, Brandon and I parted ways and I met up with the rest of the group to prepare for our train ride to Osaka. Since we were staying in Osaka, we had to check-out of our hotel as well and bring our luggage with us on the Shinkansen. We had a little trouble at first figuring out which train to take but we eventually figured it out and set off to Osaka-shi…

I think I spent a lot of time napping and just chillin’ on the Shinkansen….

Roughly three hours later, we arrived in Osaka. The hotel that Yasutaka had found for us was incredibly close to the train station so we found it fairly easily. We checked-in and then walked over to a local cafe to get some lunch. This particular spot was one of the more common eateries in Japan where you order through an automated vending machine-style menu. There is no waiter or anything, you just select what you want through a series of photos, insert money, and then a ticket comes out. The order is sent to the kitchen and then a server brings you your food soon after. It is incredibly efficient and saves the time of having to wait for someone to come take your order….

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Japanese people love hot dogs (They call them wieners. For the sake of perversion, I will refer to them as hot dogs so I’m not saying “the Japanese love wieners”). I don’t know why but I can’t complain, because I too enjoy hot dogs. In Japan, they have hot dogs with everything, even with fries as an appetizer….

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Dougie ordered some chicken and egg over rice…

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I had no idea what I ordered at first because the pictures on the ordering machine were so small, but when it came, I was pretty happy with it. It was apparently some sort of skillet dish that had a little bit of everything; chicken steak, hamburger steak, and yes, a wiener….

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Salem taking a picture of my wiener and his wiener together. Yes, he ordered the same thing as me….

Haha…

Okay, so after lunch, we decided to head on over to Tactical Art. We convinced some Japanese Taxi drivers to take us there even though they had absolutely no idea where Tactical Art was. I guess Japanese addresses translated to English and then back to Japanese just don’t make sense. Anyways, we were eventually able to find it and realized immediately just how busy the guys really were…

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There was so much going on that we almost didn’t know where to start…

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Keisuke Morita from HKS Japan installing some new canards onto the front bumper of his U.S. imported Scion FR-S Yasu greeted us with some freshly-wrapped interior panels for his S2000…

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The car that I really wanted to see was their recently-completed K20-swapped EK4 Civic. I mean, in terms of “USDM style”, man, they nailed it. Not only is this one of the rare K-swapped Hondas in Japan, it is also one of the most accurate portrayals of what a Honda built in the U.S. would look like. I got some more photos of this further down in the post but try not to look at this bay just from your perspective as an American import enthusiast. Look at it from an outsider stand point trying to execute U.S. style… it’s pretty remarkable how quickly they adapted the look. It’s pretty much a standard out here in the West Coast for Honda bays to look like this but this is still very uncommon in Japan…

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This V36 Skyline 370GT sedan was new to me. I hadn’t ever seen it before but it was fully customized inside and out in a purple and yellow motif. I guess you could say it was “Laker-themed”….

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Finally was able to get some shots of Tomoyuki Sakoda’s EP3 Civic. I was only able to get a quick glimpse of it during my last visit so I was happy to see Yasutaka’s old EP in full detail, fully redone. All you EP owners constantly ask me for more photos of this car so here it is…

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Yasu’s Lexus IS on CCW wheels…

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Most of the cars were basically in their final stages of completion by the time we got there, but Yasu’s S2000 was probably the one that needed the most work. The interior had to be put back together and there seemed to be an issue with the motor cutting off….

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Dougie lending a helping hand by popping some trim back into place…

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Hiroke Nakano helping Keisuke out by doing his tire lettering for his FR-S…

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All hands on deck in preparation for Wekfest Japan…

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Another look at the Skyline 370GT that has been re-imagined to resemble a Infiniti G37….

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One of the things that needed addressing was the tune on Yasu’s S2000. The plugs kept fouling-out and the motor was just running incredibly rich. Luckily, we had an HKS engineer (Keisuke Morita) with us who could help….

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Ryan looking at the motor to see if he spotted anything that was out of place….

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Morita’s HKS supercharged Boxer motor in his FR-S….

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Nakano making progress on the Advan Neovas….

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Armando Flores putting in work and re-installing the custom suede interior pieces on Yasu’s S2000 while they worked on the motor…

We decided that it was time for a snack and some beers so we headed over to a local convenience store down the street. Since Tracy Sports was on the way to the store, we stopped by to check it out. It always looks like they’re closed but the front door is just hidden behind a bunch of cars…

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For those unaware, Tracy Sports is a full service shop and also a racing team that participates annually in Japan’s Super Taikyu (Super Endurance) racing series. Above is the Tracy Sports Civic Type R #42 Mugen Power Cup car….

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Quite a beautiful sight to see upon entering the Tracy Sports facility….

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One of the first cars that we saw was the HERO’S x Tracy Sports INGS+1 S2000 which was receiving a new graphical livery…

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Love the colors and graphics of the HERO’S car…

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The rarely seen INGS+1 S2000 front bumper…

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Outside of the shop was a ghost of race cars’ past with this wrecked NSX that has certainly seen better days…

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Team Tracy Sports…

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The HERO’S x Tracy Sports S2000 participates in the Super Taikyu ST4 class, which is denoted on the number plate on the door. The ST4 class consists of cars that have stock motors and if I remember correctly, only exhaust modifications…

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Tracy Sports NSX demo car, also on SSR Type F wheels like the FD2 Civic…

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We didn’t stay much longer at Tracy since it was hard to communicate with them. They were pleasant people though but they seemed busy so we didn’t want to intrude. After we left, we made our way to the store to grab some food and snacks. Like usual, we stood outside and ate our sandwiches and what not, and brought beer back to Tactical Art. The guys were working so hard that they looked like they could use a couple beers…

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Keisuke’s FR-S back together with the new aero additions. Now all it needed was a quick wash….

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The guys enjoying their beers while others continued to work on the S2000…

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Keisuke checking that everything is properly wired on the HKS F-CON iD management system…

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One more shot of the Tactical Art EK before its official debut at Wekfest Japan…

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Probably my favorite feature of the EK is the custom suede interior. Also make note of how cleanly the K-Tuned shifter box is installed and how the center console around it is wrapped in suede with white stitching….

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Toshiyuki Yanagi’s Integra Type R also received some new additions before Wekfest Japan. They switched over to black CCW Classic wheels, which I think looks way better, and added a set of carbon canards up front…

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Under the hood, they also added a black chrome-coated valve cover and an FCS engine breather set-up…

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Tomoyuki Sasaki’s Civic Ferio was cleaned-up and ready to go…

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A quick hand wash and detail on the FR-S…

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A friend of the Tactical Art guys cruised by to see what they were up to in his Honda Partner wagon on Work Equip 03s….I can’t really recall the last time I saw a Honda Partner, let alone a modified one. Kinda cool looking…

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One more of Sasaki’s Ferio, representing Phaze2 Japan…

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That’s pretty much a wrap on this day. We left the shop around 10:30 pm or so to head back to the hotel to get some rest. We had to wake up pretty early the following morning since the drive from Osaka to Nagoya is a couple hours long. Tomorrow, we embark on our next journey to Nagoya for the first ever Wekfest Japan event. You won’t wanna miss it so check back soon!!…

12 thoughts

  1. Pingback: The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 4…WFJP Begins… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  2. Pingback: The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 5…Wekfest Japan Inside and Out… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  3. Pingback: The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 6…Even More From WFJP… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

  4. Pingback: The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 7…Closing Out The Day At WFJP… | The Chronicles© - No Equal Since 2008 | www.stickydiljoe.com

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