× Car Boy Adventures with CircuitSoul and HighTopFade – Pt. 1 ×
Recently the guys from CircuitSoul visited HTF and I here in Japan. Our first meeting and adventure started on a fairly overcast rainy day in Tokyo. Taking a short trip up to Harajuku from my house HTF and I headed out to Chiba where we met up with the CircuitSoul Car Boys. The long train ride gave us some time to get super excited and when we stepped off the local train the clear skies of Chiba greeted us. The sun was out and the town had a much more relaxed and quiet atmosphere to it. We waited around at the station for them to pick us up and headed out. After walking to “X”‘s house who owns “X” we held a small meeting to plan out day out. The boys were hungry so an obvious first choice was food. That didn’t quiet go down as simply as it is said. Finding a ramen shop took us almost an hour and 6 km of walking. After eating though, everyone’s cranky moods were eased.
HTF mentioned a tiny wheel shop that specializes in wide wheels. Totally amped on anything cars, Watanabe-san was all for it! Our detour out into the depths of Chiba’s suburbia began! The sun was nearing the horizon line and provided for a beautiful view across Chiba.
HTF aka, Maps leading the way through the maze of small winding streets. Watanabe-san steeling the spotlight in this photo. The, “dramatic walking through Chiba shot” with HTFxCircuitSoulxConstantFun. I can’t wait to have these guys back in Japan. Watson, what a go getter! Have a trip on us, aye!
Just around the corner of the next bamboo covered road was this rustic shop and tucked away behind the crane truck was this GTR R32. It looked like it had been sitting for a while. As soon as we spotted it Rywats went a little bananas and all I could hear in the background was, “Day 3 boys, day 3! Man I’m getting fired up aye!!”. The tires were flat and as you can see in the photos it was covered in dust. Snooped around and had a good look. Alex was tempted to come back and offer who ever lived or worked here a hundred dollars for it. Probably could have had a steal of a life time. Aside from the cobwebs and minor scratches it looked pretty mint back there. All she needed was some fresh liquids and a good bath. Maybe next time we’ll go pick her up!
Just behind the R32 was the local high school and Watanabe-san had a good response to that. No no no school! This is a good example of what people in Japan would call “High Tension”. Rywats was just on fire all day!
Single file through the civilized jungle, Chiba. Probably the loudest thing on the road was Rywats voice. The Kei cars were no competition for his “Canadian Fighting Spirit,” and Alex and I made sure to keep everything documented.
Your isolated vending machine with a selection of drinks. In Japan during winter the vending machines carry both hot and cold drinks to warm you up if you are out walking the dog at 2 degrees Celsius. We didn’t need to stop at this one because it didn’t have Watanabe-san’s favorite hot coco that he practically searched for at every vending machine. For me this photo is very representative of Japan. The mix of technology with old cultural traditions is something magnificent that is really cool to be immersed in because it makes you stay in touch with the history of the culture. Surrounding this small vending machine was the local vegetable patch where the community grows there goods. This wasn’t even out of Tokyo by 2 hours and already the difference between the bustling life of Tokyo and its surrounding cities was evident.
Finally, in the distance tucked away in the middle of no where we spotted the work shop. It’s set up is pretty close to another vegetable patch full of what looked to be some long onions. Homegrown goodness! The shops workshop was behind the small cloud shaped trees and the residence lived in the very Japanese styled house to the right. The show room and stocking area was under the sign and it when it came into view everyone started getting really excited.
I think our excitement overwhelmed the owners and they stood by nervously as a pack of foreigners rushed into the stock room to take a look. From my point of view I think they were surprised that people outside of the Japanese tuning society had found their small tucked away shop. They specialize in wide wheels with steel and have stock of singles and doubles, and only a few sets. There were a few single Watanabe’s and Rywats eyes lit up. He started asking questions and trying to figure out if the owners had any sets, fortunately for us they didn’t. Carrying a set back home would have been, well…yea. Annoying and heavy.
Some pretty nice re-barreled 11j widened wheels. The silver ones in the back had semi-slicks on and were ready to be driven hard, all they needed was a snug home to roll under.
Some of the cool paraphernalia around the shop. That faded poster with the Skyline on it was my favorite. The battle ship was pretty cool too.
A close up of a few of the awesome wheels. A nice set of 2 Impul’s were in stock and just needed a good polishing on the face.
Alex and the owner had a chat about some business related stuff, we said our good-byes, and our big thank-you’s, and were soon back on the road. Looking back I wonder how a place like this exists. It is a super cool little niche in Chiba and it is a wonder it survives. But it is what makes the culture of cars in Japan just that much more special. Truly something worth remembering. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Watanabe will forget himself walking back from this shop in the middle of nowhere yelling “Yakimoooo” or “Sweet Potato” through the streets for about 10 minutes straight.
We got closer to the station and then Noogz spotted a toilet at the construction site and made an Olympic speed walk dash for the Porta-Potties. The glow from the sunset lingers in Chiba a lot longer than in Tokyo because, for the most part, everything is two story and so the non-existence of the highrises lets more of the horizon line visible at a lower level. So while we waited for Noogz to finish beating the world record in the Porta-Potty we all took in the view. Something so subtle that the people in Chiba don’t probably take into account. But all the same, it makes for some pretty cool photographs.
Amongst the depths of Chiba in a pretty ragged housing setup we spotted a very clean VIP cruiser parked back a few cars. It feels like you have found a gem in an adventure game every time you come across something like this. When you are with people that are not associated as much with cars as you are, it is hard to explain the excitement and awesomeness of a simple finding like this. It becomes a mission! But these super car boy moments were ones that everyone could enjoy equally.
More veggie’s just around the corner from the VIP car spotting. From here we took a quick left and right and then headed towards the main street…
Until Rywats Watanabe-san caught this beauty in the corner of his eye. This was actually the first real KenMeri I had ever seen. I was pretty stoked! The fan in the corner was awesome and just reminded me how analog Japanese can be. They love to keep the working stuff, even if it is ancient. Spent a few minutes snapping away some pictures and fan girling. It had some SSR Mark 1’s on it and was lowered from stock to just the right height; the functional, daily driving height. But even if this car was daily driven, the owner took special precautions to make sure it was safe at all times by chaining the front control arm on the left of the car to the garage support beam in the photo. Quite a site, another sparkling gem added to our collection.
We arrived back at “X”‘s house and all sat down to have a small rest. From racing suits to stickers and models jammed from the floor to the ceiling. “X”‘s house is full of racing memorabilia and, for the sake of not listing out everything, insane amounts of cool stuff . It was like a small museum of sorts, visual sensory overload.
Anxious to get back out after our rest “Canadian Fighting Spirit Car Boy Watanabe-san” was ready to roll. I tested my skills in Japanese and dabbled in some fast paced phone calls to some local rental car shops and decided on one back near Shin-Kamagaya, where we first started our adventure earlier that day. I took this shot of HTF and the Ninja Turtle himself as we waited for the local train to arrive. Our plans were simple. Head out, rent a car and boogie down to UpGarage and Super Autobacs to satisfy Watanabe hungry Ryan.
Ryan’s first expression at the entrance of Super Autobacs. Car Boy’s priceless photos. He was having a good 3rd day on his trip to Japan.
Spotted some crazy flower wheels. Might look good on a newer beetle but that’s probably about it.
After that HTF, Rywats and I headed to Maccers because it was the only real place we could find that was open. I pulled an illegal U-turn and we bolted back the other way and popped into the parking lot. We walked in and ordered and right after noticed that the guys behind the counter were giving the girl some “jokes” as “X” would say. So after we finished our meals and banana milkshakes, I coaxed Ryan into getting a shot with the girl behind the counter. Pretty sure she was stoked! Ryan made me get in on this shot but she was pretty happy when I just shot the picture of just the two of them. I think one day in the near future I’ll drop by and give her a print out of Ryan and her, and just write his Facebook address on the back and hope all works out well in the end.
Us three hooligans raced back to “X”‘s house and got the car ready for our big night adventure with the Sexy Knights. Packed everyone in and headed out on our long journey into the night.
More adventure coverage coming soon.