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WEEKEND EDITION: Anti-missile missile

By in 16-08-2009 10:56 pm

Does anyone else have the problem of not being able to read the large blocks of text that some people tend to write on their blogs? It might be some sort of computer-related attention span issue, or it could be that a majority of what people think is carefully constructed prose is in fact like rubbing your eyes with razor blades. With the risk of going Gilette on your pies, here’s an all-text post!

When working at Auto Salon Magazine before I came to Japan, making sure that what you wrote was at least somewhat interesting was the entire reason you were getting paid, and even then, there were at least three other people who read it with a critical eye before it went to print. I recall making a reference to Matt Damon wearing swimming shorts in “The Talented Mr Ripley” in an article I wrote once. Needless to say, that paragraph never made it to print.

Just a quick aside for any Aussie readers, Auto Salon is organising a guided tour of the Tokyo Auto Salon this year. If you’re looking for a pain-free way to see the 2010 show, I recommend giving them a call. You’ll probably meet me at some point on the trip too. Wow, incentive or what!

So, I was pulled up recently by a local driver who reads my site (Japan is the third biggest viewer of Noriyaro, behind the USA and Australia, believe it or not), who had a bit of an issue with how much glorified coverage I’ve been giving to missile cars. You see, there’s actually a fairly strong divide between the people who love the demolition derby-style missile cars, and the people who can’t stand them.

“The reason to have a missile car is not so you can smash into things on purpose. They’re just meant to be cars to practice in, and if you crash, it’s not so much of a problem.” he said.

When a Japanese workshop holds a track day, famous drivers will often be invited to enter for free to give the spectators something to watch and the other drivers something to study. Often, shop owners will attend each others’ track days out of courtesy, and bring their D1 cars with them, often using the chance to shake down any new mods they have done, or check engine tunes or similar.

At one particular day, that was the first ever drift event held at this particular circuit, a group of drivers (you may be able to guess who, considering my past coverage of missiles) turned up in their junkers and proceeded to rip up the grass the edge of the circuit. The workshop owner wasn’t too happy about this, since the circuit manager was annoyed, and these guys were banging around in ugly cars that weren’t much to look at.

Personally, I’ve never been the type who enjoys breaking things for the sake of it, nor do I like crashing, mostly because you end up with a jerked neck and a lot of work to. Isn’t part of the fun of drifting knowing that you’re toeing the edge, and could wipe out your beloved car at any second? Who is more hardcore if they’re pulling off the same crazy lines and angle? The guy in the car that looks like a piece of crumpled newspaper, or the one with fresh paint and expensive wheels?

So, let’s start the campaign against junk missiles!

Kiss the wall tenderly, don’t give it a black eye! Damage is a side effect! Keep it straight when sideways!

Anyway, since there are no pics today, here’s some other blogs you can look at!
Written mostly by Garth from Sydney, who drives a JDM Trueno hatch that should be running soon, right?
It should be first on your list if you dig AE86.
Written by Chris from New Zealand, who drives a rad Datsun 1200 truck in mustard.
It’s about Starsharks and smelling of petrol.
Written by Chops from Jersey, who drives a Scion xB in yellow.
It’s van, wagon, micro and truck stuff that’s enjoyable to read for people who aren’t into vans, wagons, micros or trucks.
Written by dudes from Chicago who drive all sorts of things.
Reading it is like eating a bag of Skittles in a cloud of tyre smoke.
Written by Brian from California who will probably stop driving his 180SX soon.
It’s about stickers, events and hate. There’s also too much damn hockey stuff in there.

I really should update the cryptic introduction on the “About” page too…



By in 07-08-2009 6:14 pm

The only criticism I’ve heard from people so far about Noriyaro is that I don’t update enough. I suppose I should remove that RSS feed thing there on the right of screen…

Seeing as anything is better than nothing, here’s some words to read.

Things to look forward to next week are the pics from the August 8th AE86 meeting at Nikko Circuit and pics from Ebisu Summer Drift Matsuri this weekend. All my tyres are sorted out, but there’s still a few more things to do. As for coverage, I’m going to carry my little camera around and take photos at regular intervals during the day and night. I had planned to do this last time, but I didn’t end up bothering since drifting is a lot more fun!

That reminds me, I’d better go and put the second battery in the charger.


WEEKEND EDITION: Superhypermegabrake

By in 01-08-2009 3:09 pm

I’ve said before that I don’t really want to post up pics of “Engrish”, since you get emails from people calling you ignorant and racist.

How you can be racist and live in Japan though, I have no idea.

Anyway, just like anywhere else in the world, truck drivers are considered tough and rough guys in Japan. As a result, the names of some of the big road machinery sound equally impressive, such as the the Isuzu Gigamax and the Mitsubishi Fuso Super Great.

Sometimes though, they kind of miss the mark.


SMALLER IS BETTER: Mature’s new RC track opening

By in 30-07-2009 10:58 pm

A while ago, I received an email from Yoshibumi-san of the Mature panel shop in Utsunomiya, asking if I’d like to come along to the opening of his new remote-control drifting track.

“Your what?” I thought.

Turns out that he had decided to build a dedicated RC drift course in the top level of his workshop to give local drifters a place to hang out together and drift on a smaller scale when they weren’t at the track. I wasn’t able to make it on the weekend during the opening, but I was in the area on Friday, so decided to drop in and have a look.

Out in front of the shop was this JZX100 that belongs to the owner of Technical Garage Sudou. Yoshibumi-san not only did the awesome fade on the paint, but designed the bodykit too! Mature kits aren’t all that well known yet, but they make ones for quite a few vehicles, including Yoshibumi-san’s favourite Imprezas.

If you’re wondering about the flowers, it’s customary when a business in Japan undergoes a grand opening or expansion that other businesses related to that one, or even ones in the same field, send flowers with large name tags to congratulate them.



LOWDOWN CROWN: Stopping for nothing

By in 28-07-2009 12:45 am

I saw this guy on the highway the other day. He zoomed past me at about 160km/h, swerving through traffic the whole time, which made it a bit hard to catch up and follow him while holding the camera out the window!

His mudflaps were about an inch off the ground. Try to imagine this going about twice as fast as everyone else, and you might understand why I took this pic.


GIVE ME GAS MONEY: Drift tourists without the funny accents

By in 19-07-2009 12:30 am

These two happy chaps, Dave and Devin, are AE86 guys from Canada. Dave sent me an email a while ago saying they were coming to Japan, and luckily for them, our schedules meant that I was able to give them some rides to various places to see interesting things, like Ebisu Circuit, SS Park and Honjo Circuit. As you can see, they’re standing in a place that looks like a lot of fun.

Devin even makes a bunch of custom parts for AE86 under the name “D Garage”, so I’m sure he’ll comment with some contact info if there’s anyone here who’s interested!



SUPER AUTOBACS: D1 in-store event

By in 17-07-2009 7:00 am

This weekend, my local Super Autobacs is having an opening anniversary event. Daigo Saito, Yoshinori Koguchi and D1 commentator Manabu “Mana-P” Suzuki will be there, so I would have liked to go and take some pics since I could practically walk there, but I’ll be somewhere else this weekend!

To make up for it, here’s a pic of Daigo’s D1 car at Super Autobacs, surrounded by shiny things.



By in 05-07-2009 10:41 pm

Any info is better than none, so here’s a bit of news about what’s going on with Noriyaro at the moment.

I recently posted the 200th article on the site. Hooray!

I’m also currently back in Australia for the next two weeks, so posts might slow down a bit (what, even more?!?). I have an enormous backlog of random photos I haven’t used so far on the site though, so I’ll be going through my old stuff when I have some spare time, and posting up what I can find. Off the top of my head, I know I have some pics of a 1JZ-powered Toyota Crown wagon drift car that some of you might find interesting, as well as pics from the “2PD Meeting” for automatic-only drift cars at Fuji Speedway.

Now here’s an interesting one. I won’t be contributing any more content to the Speedhunters website.

I remember that a lot of you guys had a gut reaction of “Thanks for killing another blog I like to read, Speedhunters” when it was announced that I was going to write for them.

I should have listened, since the readers who said that are exactly the ones I’m writing this sort of stuff for.

Let’s not go into that too much though. It’s done, and I think the car blog world already has enough slow-motion “I just bought a camera that can do it” videos, or self-absorbed art-school verbal wankery where I talk about myself and my own “journey” instead of the subject, or sentences that end with “don’t you think?”.

Noriyaro is and will always be all about showing you what goes on in Japan: cool people doing cool stuff with cool cars.

I also have a couple of ideas for making Noriyaro a little bit more interactive. More on that another time!