As the New Year rings in, one thing you start to hear is peoples “New Year resolutions” and what they are going to do to make this year better than the last. About 80% of the time, nothing changes from the previous years, no habits broken, no adventures explored, and promises broken. I too am guilty of not taking that leap into something new and exciting, but I knew this year…2014 was going to be different. I mean, what better way to start off the New Year than taking a trip to Tokyo, Japan with your closest friends? One thing we all have in common are the love and passion for cars, and like others we grew up quoting every Fast and the Furious movie from the beginning.
“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time. Nothing else matters. Not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.” — Dom, “The Fast and the Furious” (2001)
With roughly 3 weeks to plan a weeklong trip across the world for 5 people is what it sounds like…CHAOTIC! We could all agree that in life sometimes you just have to “wing it” and this trip was the epitome of “just winging it”. When life gives you lemons, you turn that sh** into lemonade. Planning a week trip to Tokyo in less than 3 weeks is quite stressful but also made the trip the experience we were all out to seek. With our short time there, we had the opportunity to visit Shijuku, Shibuya, Roppongi Hills, and Chiba, all unique in their own ways, with way more than a weeks’ worth of sightseeing. The Emperors Palace, Tokyo National Museum, and the Tokyo Skytree, were just a few of the places we were able to get in, I definitely recommend staying for at least two weeks.
During our time in Roppongi Hills, Rauh-Welt Begriff holds an annual RWB meet every year right before the Auto Salon, we happen to be at the right place at the right time as we see in the distance a bright red Porsche supporting a RWB windshield decal. Never in a million years would I think I would be standing in a parking lot right next to Nakai-San surrounded by nothing but RWB cars. Can you say fanboy? I can! It was definitely a surreal feeling being around the creator himself observing these, in my opinion, works of art with a style that refines its own rules. The best part was that, as nice as the cars were, the people were even nicer. It was no surprise seeing Nakai-San conversing with everything while puffing on his cigs and sporting those super smooth sunglasses.
The Tokyo Auto Salon was a car show like no other and absolutely blows away every car show I have ever been to. From only seeing pictures from previous years I had no idea what I was in for, the cars, the atmosphere, the shops all tied in together giving you a feeling you couldn’t get anywhere else. I instantly knew I was in the right place, it almost felt as if you were in a dream garage hanging out with all of your closest petrol heads. The highlight of this trip was definitely having the opportunity to meet Kato-San and the Liberty Walk crew, I was speechless! I honestly felt like a little school girl smiling from ear to ear, trying my best to disguise my nervousness..HA! They instantly made us feel at home, and with no surprise, some of the friendliest people we had the honor to meet. If you’re ever down in Long Beach, stop by their stateside shop!
I could go on and on trying my best to describe this trip, but honestly neither words nor pictures will ever do it justice. I can’t emphasize enough that the style, class, and respect the Japanese have for their country and for their people; it truly was an honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to visit. We will definitely be back and hope to see you all there! A big shout out to my sister Cierra, my brother Chase, and two of my best friends Anthony and Jonathan and also a huge thanks to InfestForum, without them the trip never would have happened! Peace!
Words by Richard Benson
Photography by Richard Benson