The Chronicles Osaka 2015 Coverage…Part 4: Late Night Osaka Civic Gathering…

“When are you going to post the Kanjo stuff?”…

“Where’s the racing footage at?”….

“I want to see Kanjo!”…

Uhhh….well, there isn’t any. I never said there would be. I’ve literally even answered questions about it on various social media outlets when asked about it and I wasn’t joking. If you thought there would be, you probably came to the assumption on your own, because I have never mentioned or alluded to the idea that there would be any sort of “racing”. In all honesty, I sort of cringe at the word “Kanjo”. Like when I see it or read it, it makes me uneasy. It’ll never get to the point of over-exposure because it is still very much an underground thing that very few people have access to (Brandon from Bowls, Mike Garrett from SH, and myself in particular) but I almost liken it to the often overly misused and misinterpreted “JDM”. People have taken “JDM” and pretty much done everything they possibly can to make it mean everything that it isn’t. Over the years, the word has lost all meaning. You see guys throwing it out nowadays when they describe their cars or use it in their car club names and it’s fucking terrible. Why? Because there is absolutely nothing “JDM” about most, if not all, of their builds. I’m not trying to discourage you from doing what you want to do with your cars but I think there is a strong possibility that maybe you were misinformed early in your hobbyist endeavors by your peers who also have no idea what they are talking about. JDM = JAPANESE Domestic Market. It’s not “life”, there’s no such thing as “mad JDM” and if you use the phrase “JDM 4 LIFE”, you need to ask your parents if you were born in Japan or of Japanese decent. Like your car, you are not JDM. There is nothing Japanese about you, unless of course, YOU ARE JAPANESE…

The word “Kanjo” is often used VERY incorrectly by people who believe that they can be Kanjo racers because they speed around on the highway. That’s not “Kanjo” because you’re using it in the wrong context. I’ve said this like a thousand fucking times now, but you are NOT a “Kanjo racer” because you do not drive a modified vehicle on the Osaka Loop Line of the Hanshin Expressway. Anytime you want to tell your friends that you’re going to “Kanjo” that literally does not mean a fucking thing, haha. I mean, unless you guys are going to pretend to be Kangaroos and play the banjo together and decide to shorten the activity and give it a cool name. I can see that this can sound incredibly discouraging but come on, let’s be real. You will never be a Kanjozoku much like how a Ford Focus with a Japanese New Driver Magnet will never be “JDM”, whatever the fuck that means, right? You will never see me claim to be a participant in “Kanjo” (again, meaningless word in this context) and I have physically been on this highway with many of these Kanjozoku. What we are doing is merely documenting what they are doing. The last time we went out there in 2014, there was some highway racing activity but you need to remember that what they are doing is not meant for your eyes. We cover it because they trust us enough to allow us into their world and to give us a glimpse of what they consider to be an important (and possibly even sacred) tradition to them. I remember specifically while I was out in Osaka last month that a guy commented on my Instagram account and said that I was lucky to see all that stuff because he waited for days by the Osaka highway waiting to see them race but found nothing… well, that’s because things don’t work that way. You would be incredibly fortunate to catch a glimpse of this because it is very much a rare and secretive thing that they do. Just because you see it happen online or in video it doesn’t make it a regular hourly thing…

I am coming off as a real asshole but seriously, like, I don’t really have any other way of communicating it to people without being a dick about it. That’s the only way people seem to understand anything these days. Bluntness works because it is the quickest, swiftest way to deliver a message…

In the previous week or so, I’ve thrown up imagery of Hondas in Osaka on the highway. They are moving, sometimes at fast speeds. These photos were used to capture your attention because I want you guys to see this stuff. I never said that there would be any racing on the highway. Early on I even stated that we were just cruising to a meet and then to dinner, and that is exactly what we did. Some of the guys that were driving are Kanjozoku and some are former Kanjozoku that just own Civics now. When we are in their presence we don’t ask them to do anything for us. It would be foolish of us to do so. We experience whatever they give us and remain thankful that they invite us into their world. What you’re seeing or have seen is my friends and I inviting you into our’s. If you don’t like what you see, LEAVE. Go find someone who will cover Osaka Kanjo culture for you who isn’t just grabbing photos from some of these guy’s personal Facebook accounts. They’ll probably tell you that they’ve known about so and so for a long time now and are buddies with them. They aren’t. You live in a social media bubble where you somehow think that being Facebook friends means real life friendship. Oh shit, hold on, Kourtney Kardashian wants me to feed her baby because she’s out shopping for the day. We’re friends you know. FACEBOOK friends. We get to a rare glimpse into their world because we have actual friends who are trusted by many of these guys and are respected by the right people within these circles. They’re not coming over to eat dinner for Thanksgiving. We’re not doing Secret Santa together and exchanging gifts…

Let me take a step back and breathe a little… If I am being too blunt, I apologize, especially to those of you who really do understand what I am doing here and what I’ve been dedicated to for going on 7 years now here on The Chronicles. I don’t like to use the word “Kanjo” just like I don’t ever use the word “JDM” unless it is referencing a specific part. These words just get thrown out there and people just misinterpret them so easily that they become unimportant. I don’t want you guys thinking that you are Kanjo racing because it really takes away from the people who have dedicated much of their lives to keeping something that is important to them alive. Many of them have been deep in it for three decades now or have grown up with guys who brought them up to respect what they do. You don’t have to like it, many don’t, but calling yourself a “Kanjo racer” is disgraceful to everything that these guys are about. It’s tradition. It is fuel that ignited Osaka car culture. It became something far beyond what they expected and made Hondas relevant and revered in this area of Japan, which ultimately translated to the growth of Japanese car culture here. I make a big deal out of it because I am passionate about what I do. And that is covering car culture. I understand where many of these guys are coming from when they talk about it because you see the passion in them. It matters to them and is a major reason why they build cars. Just like how you have your own reasons for building your’s. People need to understand that, and more importantly, respect it…

I am deeply appreciative that they have opened their doors to allow us to document what they see and do. It is of the utmost importance to me to protect that as well. I would do the same for the guys out here at home too. I respect, maintain, and try to educate the enthusiasts here who share the same passion that I do….

Did you know that around the same time last year, I was contacted by Vice Media Group because they wanted to produce a documentary piece on the Osaka Kanjozoku? Vice Media Group is the company that produces the popular “Vice” show series and magazine. I respectfully declined. I would rather not have a third party involved. If there is anyone who should tell their story it should be us…

The content provided below is a direct continuation of what you saw in the previous post. On the same night when we got to visit Mecha-Dock and Across, we also accompanied them to a special late night Civic gathering. The great thing about being out in Osaka is that the enthusiasts here always make an effort to spend time with us. The guys that we met the previous year(s) want to visit with us and there are always new guys who trickle in to see why there are Americans around and want to see their cars. The plan was to go check out the meet and then grab dinner. We went into the day not really knowing what was going to happen. Der and I wanted to see Car Make Across and we were perfectly content with just doing that. When our friends told us that there was a meet in the evening, we were both surprised and stoked. In this setting you just do what they plan for you. Don’t ask questions, just trust the people with us, and go with the flow. We didn’t even know that Joe from Across had planned to bring his EK9 out that evening. I think we were all rushing to get photos of it because we didn’t know when we’d ever see the car again. He then hopped in the car and we followed…

When in these situations, never ask. Just do. That was the mindset. We were along for the ride and down for anything short of having to bury a body or some shit. That whole idea doesn’t sound too far-fetched either, if you met some of the personalities that we did…

You wanna blast through the Hanshin Expressway? Fine, we will do our best to document it… Give us an exhibition….

Video…. 

The Chronicles Vlog #4 (Part 9): Late Night Osaka Civic Gathering And More… 

Huge thanks to Robert and Der for being down to film whatever they could outside of that van which was going over 110 mph in 30 degree temperatures which were probably much worse with windchill. It was Robert’s first time out there and he literally stuck his neck out there the entire time. Der did his best on both his cameras while I did the photo work. This is the last bit of content, unfortunately, featuring these guys and their cars. I shot so much that day, from the Tactical Art visit, to Mecha-Dock, then Across, and the Civic gathering after, that my camera battery died by the end of the night during the meet-up. There is no footage of the dinner portion with some of the Kanjozoku because it was a private setting where we didn’t want to film because these guys were just trying to grab a bite to eat. Some of them have their identities concealed so it would have been difficult to film anyways. We don’t want to make them uneasy or have to worry about hiding their faces or recording their private conversations. Please understand that…

And like I mentioned yesterday, please allow yourselves the time to read through this and take an all the content as a WHOLE. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it was important so please try to share the words along with the visuals. Thank you.

Photos from the drive as well as the Civic meet-up below…Enjoy…

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Since dinner was going to be late in the evening/early morning, we made a stop at a local 7-11 to grab snacks and drinks. Seeing the Red Bull EF9 from NO GOOD at Across was cool but it was way more surreal seeing it out in public and posted up in front of the store….There were people all around who were staring, and some who pulled-up to the parking lot, saw the Hondas there, and then immediately drove away. Again, remember that for decades now, this has always been seen in a negative light and there are still regular folks out there who remembered that these cars once terrorized their highway. Standing-out and making a spectacle is totally against traditional Japanese thinking so people still think of them as bad people. Some are also very aware that some of these guys may be tied to other organizations unrelated to just their car club affiliations, if you get my drift….

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Across EK9 parked right next to our ride for the evening, which was a Toyota Alphard van which we later found out is very stable at high speeds…

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Closed the Alphard door for a better shot of the Civic Type R…

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NO GOOD RACING EF9, Across EK9, and MECHA-DOCK/NGR EG6 in the distance…

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The rain earlier on in the day time made for great photos at night with the wet pavement. As you can see, the parking lot emptied pretty quickly after these guys arrived…

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Our next stop was at a gas station so that they could fuel up for the cruise. As you saw in the video blog above, it was interesting to see them at the gas station because they still have full-service operations there where attendants come and pump your gas for you. It was a cool moment seeing the worker walk up to the NO GOOD EF trying to figure out how to pump gas into the fuel cell….

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After the fuel-up, we hopped onto the highway to head over to the Civic meet, which was held at a quiet parking area not too far away….

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I noticed the “Loop 1” sign as we were driving so I made sure to get a photo as the cars cruised by the infamous sign…

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Again, there wasn’t any racing. They did some fly-bys just for photos and video but for the most part, everyone was just chillin’….

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EG hatchback that accompanied us from Across…

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One of my fondest memories from my trip was seeing these guys on the highway just enjoying their cars…

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The NGR Civic occasionally weaved back and forth and popped on the bright beacon on the roof while it was behind regular cars. Here in the States you’d get slapped for a “impersonating a police officer” ticket/fine or worse but over there, it didn’t seem like too big of a deal to them…

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I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing this EK9…

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Interesting to really think about how odd it is that a group of modded Civics pretty much own and dominate this highway…

Not too long after, we exited the highway and pulled right into a giant parking garage area that was basically empty….

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Three of my favorite things all combined into one special vehicle; Red Bull, Hondas, and SSR Type-Cs….

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Friends Joe and Kazu pull up to the parking garage together….

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No this isn’t the real Spoon Sports EK9, which should be pretty obvious to you diehard Spoon guys. I refer to this one as the “Evil Spoon CTR” since it still wears a livery similar and looks more like an alternate universe variation that is far more unrefined and raw….

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The only CR-X at the gathering was this EF8 rocking a full Mugen aero kit. This isn’t a Honda meant for highway racing and is actually a track car. Awesome that he has one of my older decals on the car and I love the aggressive Gram Lights wheels up front…

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A duo of white EK9 Civic Type Rs that cruised in together….

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This EG looked like it just recently had this livery applied…

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Across EK9 and the Evil Spoon EK9, which was also painted at Across I believe…

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EG6 and EK9 together…

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Bright orange Kosei K1-TS wheels on the EG….

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Owner is a NO GOOD member…

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Kazu’s EG6 remained one of the cleanest at the gathering…

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I wish I knew the whole story on this EF but according to Joe from Across, the owner of this car died over seven years ago and the car has remained unchanged since then…..

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This blue/magenta EG is female-owned and from the LATE RISER crew…the same LATE RISER that Miura from TRA Kyoto was from. On a side note, great to see SSR Type-X wheels again as you don’t see very many sets floating around in the U.S. anymore…

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This yellow EG from TEMPLE Racing was really clean and was also one of the only TEMPLE cars present…

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I don’t know if you guys remember, but last year and the year before that when we first met the “Kanjo King”, there was a teal green EG6 that was always with him (Seen HERE in this video). Any time you saw the Kanjo King, the green EG would be beside him. Well, the owner ditched that Civic (maybe he crashed it?) and is now driving this white EK on white SSR Type-Xs….

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NO GOOD RACING EF9 SiR looking real clean on black Kosei wheels…

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The most unexpected Honda there was this CF4 Accord Euro-R from STREAM Racing…

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Love this old WHARP decal and how it says “by. SPECIAL STUFF”, haha…

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Club WHARP

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You might remember this EF from my post in January, which covered many of the cars you’re seeing here on the track at Nakayama Circuit. Well, this EF crashed and this whole front passenger side was pretty beat up and the front wheel was completely destroyed. It pulled up to the meet that evening like nothing had ever happened to it. The car was already back together in one-piece with another Type-C wheel. Click HERE to see that post as many of the cars there will look familiar to you now…

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Very traditional colorway and design on this EG Civic….

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STREAM Racing EG….

Towards the end of the night, we had a surprise visitor that we didn’t expect to see; the guy who we have come to know as the “Kanjo King”. He had recently crashed his EK and the car was already awaiting repairs at a shop. He found out that we were in town and actually went to go grab his car so he could come by the gathering. Much respect and thanks for that…

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Not much has changed since the last time we saw it. The DC5 Integra parked next to him is also his car…

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It almost felt a little odd to see this car under bright lights because most of the time when we see him, he is very much in the dark and constantly on the move…

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Here’s how the damage looks on the passenger side. Nothing major but definitely needs a new front bumper and paint….

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A couple more photos of the K-swapped Across EK9….

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The gutted and caged interior….

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Holes everywhere for overall weight reduction. I’m sure the ones in the taillights were done more for novelty than functionality….

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We stayed way longer than we thought we would and by the middle of the night, most of us were hungry for an actual meal… My camera was pretty much dead with the battery light flashing for attention. I covered what I could at the meet and managed to have just enough juice to capture some photos on the highway….

The rest are just a series of photos of the Kanjo King doing his thing and putting on a little show for us on the way to dinner…. The guy is a showman, what can I say? He always knows how to put on a good performance….

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….and that is a wrap… Again, we didn’t cover the dinner portion for specific reasons but if you must know, we drove out to a random rest area between Osaka and the neighboring city of Kyoto for Curry. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest. It was visual overload x1000 that day and boy was I happy to finally see some of these cars in person. Racing, not racing, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to see these cars and to get a close look at them. It’s not every day that we get to be around these guys so we really had to maximize our time with them…

Overall, I’m pretty content with how it all came out. I appreciate everyone taking the time to read through it and all the love (and/or hate). Thanks for looking!

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6 thoughts

  1. Just wanna say, i really appreciate how much info you put into your posts and the fact that there’s almost always a story to go with all the photos.

    Thanks dude.

  2. Well said Joey. It’s a difficult message to put across without alienating people, but it’s an important addendum for anything related to the Kanjozoku.
    There are too many out there with an EK9, straight pipe and Jason mask thinking they’re “Kanjo racers” in the same way that me riding my bike down a hill makes me Lance fucking Armstrong.

    Thanks for taking us along and showing us what you can, but equally thanks for keeping some stuff private. I’d hate to see the culture die away from over exposure.

  3. Pingback: stickydiljoe – Honda Civic Kanjo | Motokar Agenda

  4. Pingback: JAPAN NAKAYAMA TRACK DAY // Welcome, to the best day of my life. | Honda Car Parts - Genuine Honda Car Spares - Honda Accessories UK

  5. Nice write up beautiful pictures of the cars amazing drivers beautiful works of art, love the blue gray ef9 would you happen to know the name of the color of that ef9 ?

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