From the RWB meet in Roppongi straight to Odaiba over the Rainbow Bridge for the Super Street meet, the night before the Tokyo Auto Salon this year was absolutely crazy. The scene that greeted us at Odaiba was like something out of a movie franchise mixed with a bit of an underground racing game.
Traffic jams consisting purely of modified Japanese cars, police blockages lighting up the cold winter night with their red sirens, and the general sense of chaos transformed Tokyo Bay into something that didn’t even feel like reality.
We spent more time in traffic queueing to get to the location for the meet, an unassuming parking complex at a mall, than we did driving halfway across Tokyo. It was a mess, refreshingly messy in a most un-Japanese sort of way.
By the end of it, the police told us to go away so we just got out of the car and went to the car park by foot. Before we had even crossed the pedestrian crossing cars were doing burnouts and skids exiting the parking area – right in front of a whole road of policemen. Basically, we got a taste of the meet before we were even there.
As soon as we got in it was literally like all my Fast and Furious dreams had come true. Unlike other meets I’ve been to, this was almost exclusively for modified cars. People brought their pride and joy to share with people from all around the world, cars they’d poured their sweat, time, and money on.
Bonnets were open, people were discussing what they’d done to their cars, and there was a general sense of proper car enthusiasts enjoying a night out. Even with mostly JDM cars, the variety was still out of this world. Everything from slammed kei cars to widebody Maseratis were here.
It was great to see all sorts of cars with different kinds of builds, not everything had millions of yen spent on them like at the Auto Salon. From rough and incomplete builds, to clean builds, and some with literally everything from the Autobacs accessories catalogue thrown at them, there was something interesting and surprising to see around the corner.
The meet occupied both floors of the Decks Odaiba Mall parking complex, with crowds everywhere. The cars even continued to pour and gather outside the mall. Out of all the cars there, and there must’ve been at least a hundred or so, the baby blue Rocket Bunny Nissan 350Z stood out. The colour scheme probably wouldn’t be my pick but the kit and the build were undeniably awesome. These widebody cars sure are everywhere these days.
Another noteworthy car was the apolcalypse spec Suzuki Swift, complete with chicken wire on the windows. How that car even passed its shaken I’ll never know. The orange Supra with the crazy widebody kit and massive rear wing was quite a sight too.
These cars and this scene aren’t exactly my forte, as some of you may already have noticed, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate the cars. In fact it made me more curious to get to know this side of Japan’s car culture even more. I loved the atmosphere of the meet too, the whole underground vibe of the event and the enthusiasm of everyone around me. It was a completely different feel to something like a Sunday morning meet at Daikoku or a McLaren track event for example.
After spending an hour and a half inside, we went outside to see some of the cars in action. If anything, the show outside was crazier than the one inside. Despite the police presence on the road, people still wanted to put on a show for the hundreds of spectators. You had motorbikes doing wheels, cars accelerating hard off the lights, and even a few attempting (and failing miserably) to powerslide. But points for effort though.
The police didn’t seem to care though, it seemed like they were more there to control the flow of traffic and make sure things didn’t get too out of hand. I was amazed they didn’t pounce on this chance to write tickets. Say what you will about Japanese police but they’re not revenue mongers like their counterparts in other countries (coughnzcough). On the other hand, the local news did blow this meet out proportion.
Overall it was a great event, and one I wished I had gone to in previous years. As a way to get hyped for the Auto Salon it’s hard to beat. The Super Street meet happens annually the night before the Auto Salon so if you’re in town for TAS, make sure to give this out of this world meet a visit. Unless of course the media, authorities, and public shut it down before then.