CHAPTER ONE || Finding Heroes

Japan. 日本. Known for amazing food, anime, bidets, bullet trains, and everything small and cute. But if you are a car enthusiast, you know it for the car cultures: the drifters, Bosozoku gangs, and widebody showstoppers like Liberty Walk, and Rocket Bunny… the list is endless.

Time froze as I rode the train out of the airport because there was so much to take in – the architecture, the flashing signs, the narrow and busy roads, and the cute and boxy, little kei cars.

Feeling a little jetlagged, I pulled out my new camera to begin the hunt for JDM heroes.

AutoRealist’s first article from Japan. No pressure, then. Ready. Set-o. Go.


I first spotted this white Chaser at an ENEOS gas station, near my hotel. The bumpers and skirts barely missed the pavement, while sitting on large, chrome wheels. This gave me hope for what I had yet to see…

Nothing modified here at Nissan Gallery Global Headquarters, Yokohama. The Skyline brand turned 60 this year, so Nissan brought out four immaculate Skylines.

Of course, there was a brand new GT-R in this massive showroom so I just had to hop into this RHD Godzilla. Although I’m not a fan of the Rakuda Tan Leather, flicking the three “R” toggle switches is just so satisfying. Also note the JDM clear side markers, which replace the red and yellow ones found on our North American versions.

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Hats off to this Fairlady Z. Nismo.

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After seeing Nissan HQ, I roamed the Yokohama streets and found this blue Silvia S15 at the local ENEOS.

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Meanwhile ON the street was this modified Legacy Wagon, complete with STi rims, a roof box, and lots of go-faster stickers. These three were all within the same minute of each other.

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Day one of the tour and when in Japan, you check out the sites such as the many shrines and temples, which is where I found this Stagea RS in Meiji Shrine’s employee parking lot. It may be stock but  Mario loves these Skyline wagons to death. And frankly, why wouldn’t you?

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Meanwhile in the visitor lot, a wild Microbus appeared. Only this one was a lot smaller. And not from Germany. Underneath this cute, miniature VW Type 2 body lies a Subaru Sambar Kei Van.

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Nearing the end of the first tour day, I ended up in Ginza which is bustling with upscale department stores, restaurants and coffeehouses. One of these coffeehouses is Nissan Crossing, which is a café not known for their coffee, but rather for having some incredible displays of Nissans. What you see here is Nissan’s IDx Nismo® Concept, taking the Crossing’s Center Stage.

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It captures Nissan’s boxy­ racing cars of the past and is stunning up close. Nissan says the car looks like it came straight out of a simulator, and it really does look animated and cartoonish, with the massive 19” wheels, carbon fibre pieces and dual side-exit exhausts on either side. Shame that like a cartoon, it won’t become a reality anytime soon.

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You never really know what to expect on the streets of Ginza, but a damn go-kart? Is this even legal?

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I’ll stop right here with this VIP Crown Majesta, but how I saw this in a bus, at highway speed, using my 55mm lens beats me. My Japan coverage is not over as I still have a lots more to show, so hopefully you’ve enjoyed my visuals and be sure to stay tuned for more!


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