The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 9 of 9…The Finale…

Alas, we arrive at the conclusion of my Wekfest Japan Trip coverage. It is my hope that all of you have enjoyed your stay here and have had some more insight as to all the happenings in Japan while I was there. It seems like a lot of content to absorb but we actually managed to squeeze all of these activities into only about a week’s worth of time in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. Wekfest Japan was a great success and an incredible event. I couldn’t have asked for much more from the guys who ran the show in Japan and if all goes well, I plan to go back for the 2nd WFJP event in 2015. I hear it is supposed to be even bigger with more cars so that’ll be exciting….

Today we’re going to be looking at my last two days in Osaka. We didn’t have much planned other than some more shopping so I wanted to maximize my time in Osaka but getting some work done. I was pretty impressed by the K-swapped Tactical Art EK build and wanted to shoot the car for a possibly feature in a magazine back at home. The car was already finished and running, so it would almost be a waste if I didn’t shoot it. If one of the magazines picked it up, then that would already pay for my trip. Unfortunately with the news that two of the magazines I do work for shutting down, there really aren’t many options left for the shots other than for Super Street. I’m not sure if SS will pick up the story with all that is going on lately but I was really happy with how the photos came out. In the days leading up to my trip to Japan, I had seemingly misplaced my tripod and was in a frenzied panic to try to find it. I need my tripod for certain shots and I then remembered that I had left it in my friend Tony’s car after we had gone to Autocon LA together. I wouldn’t be able to get my tripod back in time so I ended up buying one while I was in japan. I didn’t need anything fancy and just needed something that got the job done so I ended up buying a somewhat cheapy tripod in a camera store in Tokyo. I used it numerous times but I ended up leaving it at Tactical Art because I just didn’t need it anymore. It kinda sucked since it had some stupid crank handle to raise the camera up and down but I gotta admit, it helped a lot while I was shooting stills. It especially helped on my shoot with the Tactical Art EK Civic. Shooting cars in Japan is a little weird. Finding a good location is difficult because everything is so compact..The only really cool spots are the industrial locations but they are usually occupied. I thought it would have been cool to shoot in the popular shopping areas in Osaka just because but that proved to be incredibly difficult with the tall buildings casting shadows throughout. In the past, all the Tactical Art cars have been shot either inside or right outside of their shop and I really wanted to do something different this time. I guess if this set ever gets published you’ll get to see the end results…

For Part 9, we’re going to check-in one last time with the TA guys and you’ll get to see some updated shots of my friend Masashi’s Toyota Mark X. I love this particular body style and how good it looks one Work Meister wheels. After that we’ll take a look at some photos from our Okonomiyaki dinner on our last night in Osaka. Okonomiyaki is one of my favorite foods in Japan so I’m really happy to have gotten to eat it once again during my stay. I try to eat it here at home every now and then but it just isn’t the same. Anyways, I’d like to once again thank everyone in Japan for the hospitality. My trips just aren’t the same without our friends in Japan because they really go out of their way to take care of us. During the show I was showered with gifts from people throughout Japan who attended the show and that was quite a surprise. People are so generous over there and I just love the culture from that country. Most of all, thank you to the Tactical Art family for ALWAYS taking care of me and the rest of my group. These guys seriously go above and beyond. Yasu takes time out of his busy schedule even to take us to do the most simplest of things and I couldn’t have asked for better people to be with in Osaka. Not only are these guys great car builders, they are also great people, which is what I always strive to find when I set forth to meet new people in this worldwide car community of ours….

If you missed any of the previous 8 parts, here are the links below so you can see all that I did during my time in Japan…

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….

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

The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 4…WFJP Begins…

The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 5…Wekfest Japan Inside and Out…

The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 6…Even More From WFJP…

The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 7…Closing Out The Day At WFJP…

The Chronicles Wekfest Japan Trip 2014 Coverage…Part 8…Celebration Time…

Now, we kick things off on our last afternoon in Osaka with some lunch with Yasutaka and Masashi from TA…

Yasu came by to pick us up in the early afternoon after we got a good night’s rest. Masashi was set to meet us at the lunch spot so we hopped in the Toyota Alphard and headed over to the shopping district of Osaka…

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Lunch was simple. I know we like to try these crazy new things while in Japan but sometimes, you just need to enjoy the simpler things…

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Mr. Masashi Kameoka….

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Sushi was also consumed…

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Along with some a Tempura mix…

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Our boy Yasu and his Rywire shirt…

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Ryan literally inhaling his food…

After lunch, we explored Osaka some more and went on a search for Salem’s coffee maker that he couldn’t stop talking about the entire trip. We eventually found it and then decided to check out one of these maid cafes that are popular in Japan. Ryan and I had been earlier in the year when we visited for Tokyo Auto Salon but the rest of the guys hadn’t. Let’s just say that it was an interesting experience…

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They don’t typically allow photos in there but I didn’t give a shit. We snapped this pic with my phone so you guys can get the general idea of what a maid cafe looks like. It’s actually pretty innocent. They don’t suck your dick or anything in maid outfits, they just serve you food and drinks and its kinda awkward because they are like, overly cute. It is definitely not something you would see here in the states but in Japan, it all just sort of makes sense. They even had girl customers just sitting in there and eating lunch and what not so it is completely normal. I’m sure at some point some guy has jerked off in one of these places but the maids probably didn’t have any idea….Or they did but were too polite to tell him to stop…

There wasn’t a whole lot of time left because I still had to go back to Tactical Art so that we could shoot their EK build. Before we went back, Yasu and Masashi decide to take us over to Supreme. There aren’t very many Supreme locations throughout Japan and the Osaka storefront is a pretty popular one…

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I was pretty much tapped out when it came to shopping so I waited outside and snapped photos of Masashi’s Toyota Mark X…

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Love the way this generation Mark X looks…

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Side profile shot of the Mark X on Work Meister S1 wheels with a bronze face….

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Posted up near XLARGE© which is a popular street wear brand….

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As you can see here, the streets were pretty busy with pedestrians walking through this small area…

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You can see Supreme Osaka here in the distance…

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Rear shot. Thanks to Masashi for always reppin’ The Chronicles on all of his cars….

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After we left Supreme, it was time to head back to the shop to get ready for our shoot. This just looks like a typical stretch of highway in Japan, but what you’re looking at is the infamous “Loop 1” highway during the day time. The Loop, of course, is the playground where all of Osaka’s Kanjozoku call home….

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We had a small stretch of open road so I took the opportunity to capture some rolling shots of the Mark X…

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Back at the Tactical Art shop just in time to get things rolling for our shoot. Yasu couldn’t figure out why his S2000 wasn’t starting….

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…then he realized that he just needed some gas. Sometimes the most effective solutions are also the simplest ones…

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My muse for the afternoon…

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We put Yasu’s S2000 back in its regular spot and headed out to find a location to shoot at. The sun was setting quickly so we had to move fast….

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The most time consuming part of the day was finding a location. As I mentioned earlier, everything is pretty compact in Japan so getting a nice wide open area was not easy. Eventually we did find a spot though and I was able to get some photos. We ultimately ran out of time but I was able to finish the shoot the next morning before I flew back to America. Of course, I can’t show you the photos in hopes that it will get published, but if they don’t, then I will just toss them up here on the site later….

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Tomoyuki Sasaki stopped by the hang out during the shoot in his orange Ferio…

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The sun set and we made our way back to the shop to meet up with the rest of the fellas for dinner. Above is Atsuki’s DC5 Integra Type R that has been re-imagined to look more like a USDM RSX on CCW wheels…

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We put the EK back in its hiding spot…

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Directly behind it was Masashi’s EF9 which they went right back to work on after Wekfest Japan….

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Random shot of Yanagi’s ITR engine bay just because the hood was popped already….

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Now that WFJP passed, the guys have some time to finally start working on Yasu’s EG, which has been stripped and sitting on a lift for almost two years now. You can see a K20 motor in the background here. That will eventually make its way into Yasu’s EG once they decide to work on it….

For our Okonomiyaki dinner, I wanted to try something a little different with the photos. I always try to switch things up with the food shots since they provide a lot of creative freedom so I went with a completely different look. While I was editing these photos, one of my favorite movies, “Goodfellas” was on TV and I really liked how the colors looked during the dinner scene at the Bamboo Lounge. The lighting was pretty similar so I tried to make these dinner shots look like movie stills. I don’t know if it comes across that way but I really liked how they came out…

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Dougie and Salem looking over the menu at the Okonomiyaki restaurant…

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The always hilarious Beeyan Hamada and Masashi Kameoka….

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What seems like the 47th beer photo of my 8-day trip in Japan…

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The guys comparing USDM and JDM smart phones….

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Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style pancake that has a variety of different types, depending on what you want inside it. You can either add seafood, meats, green onions, etc. I love this stuff because I love eggs and omelets. Above is the pancake/omelet in cooked form without the sauces applied…

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Some corn was tossed on the grill as a side dish…

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Salem applying some sauce over the cooked Okonomiyaki…

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Here is its final form with a light layer of mayo sauce applied to the top of it. The one next to it has dried Bonito, or “Katsuobushi” on top….

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Yasu cutting the Okonomiyaki up into pieces with a spatula, which is the traditional way to eat it in Osaka….

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Armando applying the sauce to their’s….

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Tactical Art boss Atsuki. Always good to see this guy happy since he works so hard day in and day out….

Once dinner wrapped, we made our way over to a bar/lounge to meet up with some other friends. I had to finish the shoot early the next morning and fly back to the U.S., but we were all more than willing to lose some sleep to spend time with our friends. We only get to see these guys once or twice a year so we try to make the most of our time together.

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I relaxed with a JDM 6oz Red Bull and Vodka….

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The guys chatting amongst themselves…

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Then Salem decided to show everyone what “Flappy Bird” was and these guys were going crazy the rest of the night trying to play it. If you guys know what Flappy Bird is, you already know how frustrating that game can be….

And, well, that pretty much wraps up the trip. The next morning I finished up my shoot, grabbed my luggage, then Yasu came by to take us out to breakfast before taking us to the train station. We took the Shinkansen back to Shinagawa station in Tokyo and proceeded to make our way back to Narita Airport where we flew back…

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A parting capture of the Tactical Art K-EK on the go….

That’s it. Thanks for looking everyone and I hope you enjoyed the photos!!…

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