I’ve never really been one for supercars, not really.
I’ve always appreciated them, it’s not every day you see a Lamborghini, Ferrari or something else exotic trundle down the road. Not around my neck of the woods anyway. But they’ve never tickled me quite the way that old French, German and Japanese metal does.
I’ve wanted to visit Japan ever since I started reading articles on Speedhunters back in my teenage years. I wanted to see the RWB shop with my own eyes, head down to Rocky Auto, and gawk at heavily modified Datsuns and experience the intoxicating truck stop of Daikoku Futo for myself. At the end of last year, I got my wish – well, sort of.
I’m new travelling, I’ll be the first person to admit that outside of West Cumbria and the city centre of Sheffield, I’ve not really got a clue what’s going on. Until October of last year, I’d not actually been abroad (bar a school trip to Morocco). So when I found myself in Tokyo 2 weeks into a 12-month loosely planned trip with my girlfriend, Ann (who also documented the whole trip), I had to continuously pinch myself. We still had absolutely no idea what we were doing, but at least we were somewhere new.
The plan was to stick in Tokyo for the first week, catch the bullet train to Osaka for the second week and finish off the third in Kyoto before flying to Bangkok for a few days and continuing the trip. Sounds simple enough right?
What we didn’t count on was the 40+ hour journey featuring a 24-hour stay in the Moscow airport taking it out of us as much as it did (yes, it was planned). When we did arrive in Tokyo, I’d been awake for 30-odd hours at didn’t know left from right. This was our first experience with jetlag and with the daft travel plans, I imagine I’d have had the same experience without the fatigue and a couple of bottles of Sake.
What I’m trying to say while regurgitating loose memories and premature excuses on to the page is that where car culture is concerned, I didn’t quite get my fix. I was teased – like a bee landing on a fantastic bouquet of plastic flowers – but the itch wasn’t fully scratched.
That first week in Tokyo was spent in a mad dash of half-awake sightseeing and attraction visits. Regrettably, car culture took a backseat.
Don’t get me wrong, we did a couple of things that I’d been looking forward to. We visited the Megaweb Toyota City Showcase and the Car History Museum just down the road from teamLab Borderless. The latter was a real slice of me and gave me my first Hakosuka, Cosmos and 2000GT experiences that I doubt I’ll ever forget.
But aside from those visits and a brief stop at the fancy JDM car rental place that I’m still ready to talk about – there were big plans to rent a Midnight Purple R34 GTR that was shattered upon discovering I’d left my passport in the hotel – we never went out of our way to spot cars.
I think what surprised me the most was just how many cool cars we laid eyes on and how many I captured on our shared point-and-shoot. Cars that I had only dreamt spotting in the past are now proudly stored both in my mind and on my Instagram for the world to see.
We were in Tokyo for a week and in that time we saw some incredible stuff, most of which I didn’t have the camera ready for, cruising the streets that I couldn’t have hoped to see at home. There were real RWB Porsche’s, GTR’s, Silvias, Special Edition Lamborghini’s, and my personal favourite jaw-dropper, a Ferrari F40 (yes, a street-driven F40) that nipped past whilst we were in Starbucks.
The quality and the sheer number of next-level cars we spotted was incredible. It was something that Ann wasn’t best pleased about when I’d impersonate a giddy schoolgirl in the street after spotting something else obscure on wheels. But it was bliss.
Ultimately, our time in Tokyo definitely wasn’t long enough and before we really got settled, we’d managed to fumble our way onto a bullet train to Osaka – but what a place. Needless to say that we’re planning on going back, for both of our sakes. When it’s a little safer to do so we’ll be on the first plane out.
But this time I’ll be sure to get some more ocassions ticked off the bucket list.