Wekfest Japan 2016 Coverage…Part 1…

Wekfest Japan 2016 has come and gone. I say it was the “best one yet” with supreme confidence because it most certainly was. The show itself was bigger, the cars overall were better, and they (or we) have worked out most of the kinks that came with transitioning the show to a completely Japanese audience. Judging was always a big deal for me, being that I have been a Wekfest judge now for the last couple of years. The Japan event just didn’t have that feel that I wanted because I don’t think the Japanese judges were looking at these cars the same way as we Americans were and being that it was a import to the Japanese crowd, it was important to keep that “U.S. feeling”, if you will. I appreciate their hard work in year’s past but it felt better knowing that this year, we had a group of judges that were all from America. That way all the judges could communicate openly without bias and without language barriers. It made things so much smoother and I hope that in the future the organizers for the Japan event continue with this idea. The show itself was very enjoyable, even as a person who has been there from the beginning to watch it grow. Normally from a behind-the-scenes perspective, you don’t really have that much time to enjoy the event because you’re trying to make sure that everything is running smoothly and that everyone else was having a good time. Just think of it from the perspective of a person who was planning and throwing a party. The organizer typically doesn’t have the same amount of fun as the people that simply attend the party because there is so much that goes into making the party fun. Car shows are much the same way in that it is all effort and typically very rare moments of pure enjoyment. With everything going smoothly this year, I actually had some time to sit back to experience the show for myself as an attendee. That is why I was able to get so much video done during the show and now, with the photos you’ll see in the coming days…

I love that there are some people that complain that there are not as many photos as their were in the past. The introduction of video has taken some of my attention away from just doing photos but I actually did get quite a bit of photos during the show. Did I photograph every single car there? No, of course not. I never did that in the past either and I don’t plan to in the future. I capture what I like and what catches my eye. If you don’t like it, well, no one is forcing you to stay. There are so many media outlets now that you can easily find the photos you are looking for elsewhere. If you enjoy my perspective, than I greatly appreciate that. Please stick around and enjoy the content provided. Video has taken up a big chunk of my time now because I honestly just really enjoy doing video blogs/vlogs. It is fun for me and I think it provides a unique dynamic that photos couldn’t provide in the past. The vlogs are doing great over on the YouTube channel and has brought a completely new audience to this site which is a pretty cool thing to see. Just when I thought the success of this site had peaked, it continues to grow thanks to people who just come here to enjoy what my friends and I see. I am happy that the videos have taken off, though I would do them whether or not people cared, but it is great to know that people enjoy them. I noticed at the Eibach Honda Meet this year that there were more people coming up to me and talking to me about the videos more so than anything else on the site. I understand that there are some of you who just enjoy photos and that is completely okay. Lately I’ve been pretty motivated to start shooting photos again and am even currently looking for a new camera body to play with since I think my Canon 5DMKII is now a little worn out after heavy duty service over these past few years…

Japan, like every trip, was amazing. It really helps to have friends over in Japan but I’ve gotten so familiar with the country now that it honestly does feel like a second home. As you saw in the Vlogs, I only stayed in Osaka this time around and didn’t venture into Tokyo. It was Tiffanie’s first time in Japan so I didn’t want to overwhelm her with doing too much and running back and forth from city to city. Tokyo sounds like a better idea in January so hopefully I can show her around next year if/when I return for the Tokyo Auto Salon event. Another reason why I chose to stay exclusively in Osaka this time around was so my friend Yasu didn’t have to feel like he had to accompany us everywhere. He is a great friend of mine and is just overly hospitable so he will usually go wherever we go just so he can spend time with us. With so much going on leading up to the Wekfest event, I wanted to ease his stress by not having to worry about driving us around everywhere so we just stayed in his area. The big news this time around for Wekfest Japan was that we ACTUALLY got the Phaze2 Integra over to Japan. We had planned to have the car transported over to Japan for last year’s WFJP event but things just fell apart the last minute and we couldn’t get the car over there in time. One main issue that prevented us from bringing the car last year was that the vehicle no longer has a visible VIN number. The engine bay was shaved and reworked so many times that the body shop just inevitably shaved the VIN number clean off the engine bay. If you know anything about transporting cars to different countries, you’d know that it isn’t exactly easy to bring a VIN-less car back into the United States, even with the title in hand and everything. Mikey was worried that the car would get stuck in customs and it would ultimately be withheld from him permanently had he taken the risk of sending the car to Japan just for Wekfest. Oddly enough, in January, Yasu decided that he wanted Mikey’s car so he actually bought the Integra from him. This fixed the issue of the car not having a VIN because the car would never have to come back. It would become a permanent resident of Japan and Yasu would take over the reigns of the vehicle. We were all happy that the car stayed in the family and went to Yasu because we knew it would be well taken care of in his hands. That and the car is quite popular in Japan so it would be better appreciated overseas by the enthusiasts there. The past 6 or 7 months when we had the car, the Integra was literally just sitting in the back of my shop collecting dust. Japan was the perfect place for it to spend the rest of its days…

Below are the photos that I, myself, and Tifffanie Marie captured during our trip to Osaka, Japan. Not all of it is from the Wekfest Japan event but I decided to lump them all together since our main purpose for going to Japan was to attend the WFJP event. Enjoy. You’re going to be flooded with probably four-parts worth of photos so be prepared for the onslaught of photos…

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Honestly, it felt a little odd to see Mikey’s (formerly Mikey’s) Integra in Japan. We had always talked about it happening but to see it sitting in front of us on those green floors inside the Exceed Japan shop was a surreal feeling…

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What you don’t see is all the salt that was on the car after it arrived on the boat from California. Even though it was shipped in a sealed container, the car was still riddled with salt and Yasu had to detail the car immediately to keep the paint in good condition. He and his friends also went through the engine bay in detail to bring the shine back to all the custom-coated engine pieces…

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Yasutaka Shimomukai, the new owner of Mikey’s DC2 Integra from Phaze2…

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As soon as Yuta Akaishi arrived from California, he went right to work on the Integra…

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Yuta and Yasu are always tinkering with cars, no matter what country they are in at any particular point in time…

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The Phaze2 Japan DC2 seeing the sunlight for the first time after getting fully-detailed for the Wekfest Japan event. I must say, it has never looked better…

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The Exceed Japan office, still under construction like many of the cars that come through this place…

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Eishi Suzuki from Phaze2 Japan’s newly-completely S2000 alongside Yasu’s Millenium Jade S2000…

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Suzuki’s S2000 features a Voltex aero kit, Voltex swan-neck rear wing, and authentic Mugen hard top….

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Bringing the body closer to the ground is an Airrex air set-up, which is an uncommon suspension mod to add to an S2000 in Japan…

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A better look at the new Voltex swan-neck…

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Rear view angle of Suzuki’s S2000…

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CCW LM5T wheels with a red face and gold hardware…

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Front view of the Voltex front bumper…

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Sitting just right…

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Tiffanie getting some shots of Suzuki’s S2000 as the sun sets in Osaka…

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If you guys were wondering, the WRD Chevlon wheels were taken off the car before transport and arrived with a set of spares on it. Yasu had these Rotiform wheels already from his EG6 and they just happen to fit perfectly on the Integra…

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The engine bay after Yuta went over it and hand polished the chromed-header which had been worn over time with heat and the salt from transport…

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Welcome to your new home, hope you stick around for awhile…

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The morning of the Wekfest Japan event, we arrived at 4 am to set-up. The first group into the venue was our crew, Phaze2 Japan…

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Myself along with Mikey and Tina Cristi, who were in Japan for the first time ever…

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Ken from Wekfest, along with some other friends of ours early that morning…

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The Phaze2 Japan guys also came early to help out the Wekfest Japan staff…

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One of the big debuts at the Wekfest Japan 2016 event was the TRA Kyoto Pandem Civic, which was the first completed Pandem Civic in the world, built by our friend from Rhythm Motors….

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Yasu was originally offered the kit by Kei Miura himself, but he turned it down as his EG was already in the body shop getting repainted….

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The guys from Five Mart pushing the their Integra Type R into the event. The car runs just fine to my knowledge. I think they just pushed the car in to keep it clean…

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Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical of the Pandem kit when I first saw the renderings but after seeing it in person, the car looks way better than I expected. I think it works because it isn’t overly wide like some of the other TRA Kyoto kits. the lines aren’t bad, really. The wing is not something I’m all that keen on and some of the guys don’t particularly like the rear spats but overall, it’s not a bad-looking car. The Sunoco theme works with the colorway on the car but that just goes with people who know how to build and theme cars correctly….

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Another thing that I am not sure I like all that much are the Pandem aero disks that go over the wheel faces. I think the car looked fantastic when it showed up to the venue on the Volk TE37V wheels so it was slightly surprising to see the disks go over the TE37Vs….

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A nice capture of Yasu’s Integra parked at the Wekfest booth by the entrance…

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One of the things I enjoy the most about the Wekfest Japan event is how epic the Port Messe venue looks. The dome makes for some pretty amazing photos, especially when the natural light peeks in through the windows above…

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Lexon Exclusive Lexus ISC parked at their booth…

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Motoki’s K-swapped EK Civic build from Phaze2 Japan which I shot and featured in Super Street magazine a couple years ago…

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Tomoyuki Sasaki’s Civic Ferio build now with new Rays Gram Lights 57DR wheels…

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Atsushi Honda’s BMW coupe was supposed to feature a Mazda Rotary engine swap but certain parts just didn’t arrive on time, preventing the car from being completed…

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Not too far away from Honda’s 3-Series was a cabriolet variation…

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Phaze2 Mao took some time from helping out the staff and working on his own car…

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Phaze2 Keigo’s Integra Type R was finally completed in time for the Wekfest Japan event. If you remember last year, we were working furiously to finish this car for the 2015 event but just ran out of time. They didn’t want to bring the car not completed so the guys took their time this year to get it perfect for the show…

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The Integra Type R featured a completely reworked engine bay done in the traditional “Tactical Art Gray” colorway with a B18C Type R engine with Kinsler individual throttle bodies…

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Gonna wrap Part 1 right here with one more shot of Eishi’s Voltex S2000 parked at the Exceed Japan booth which we hadn’t yet set-up during that morning. There is a shit ton of photos to come so make sure to check back daily for updates!!…

5 thoughts

  1. That white Voltex S2k is my new favorite S2k out of your friends haha. Also, seems like it was attack of the red DCs at the show. I really like the FIVE MART example, as well as the DC from TA. So cool to see Mikeyyyys Integra in Japan, wish I got to see it before it left. Whatever happened to the other DC with the radius fenders?

    I find it funny that the people always find something to complain about with your coverage. No pics of car “A”, not enough pics of car “B”. I personally find it mind blowing the amount of coverage that you are able to do. My head spins at car shows trying to figure out what to take pictures of. Yet you put together seamless videos and photo coverage that is pretty much perfect.

    Aloha.

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