JNC is back home in the States, but there’s still much leftover material from Japan to write about. Here’s a look at the typical Japanese scenery one encounters during a drive to Narita Airport. This was my coach, my friend Satoshi’s S130 Crown Wagon.
Satoshi demonstrating proper bosozoku driving position. Note rearward-center lean, arm fully extended with hand on 12 o’clock position of steering wheel, and pimp-tastic sunroof curtain.
Whoops, hands at 10 and 2 as we roll by the Five-0. I wanted to see a Seibu Keisatsu-like chase break out, but for some reason Satoshi wasn’t up for it. By the way, the drab and cramped apartment buildings in the background define life in Tokyo.
A distant relative of the JNC wagon. We never got gold ones in the US and Mark II wagons are a getting rarer and rarer in Tokyo, so this was a treat to see.
Sometimes you just luck out with the perfect background for a photo. I snapped this bright blue WiLL Cypha on the highway and the stripe on the fence served as the ideal complement in an otherwise colorless environment.
If you’re wondering what a WiLL is, in the early 00s Toyota hooked up with Panasonic, appliance maker National, stationery company Kokuyo, confectioner Glico and others to come up with a lifestyle brand that they dubbed WiLL. The idea was that you could waltz into a WiLL store and fulfill all your household needs in one spot: everything from a home theater system to a refrigerator to office supplies to a bicycle. There was even WiLL beer by Asahi. Toyota’s contribution was a series of three quirkily designed cars, the Cypha, Vi and VS. The experiment bombed big time, but this Cypha lives on as a reminder of the power of marketing in Japan.
We stopped off at the Makuhari Service Area for lunch. It’s a year old, but still cleaner than the JNC office at any given moment.
Here’s the interior, with a food court nicer than my local mall’s. They must employ a small army of janitors (or robots) to keep it sparkling at all times.
Parking lot finds: a Honda That’s, the kei car with a name ripe for an Abbot and Costello routine.
A S130 Crown Van. Note the chrome bumpers and fender mirrors, which distinguish it from a Crown Wagon like Satoshi’s.
Seriously, the entire rest stop was so neat and organized it looked like a Tomica toy set. There wasn’t a single crack or pothole or speck of litter. Every brick and line of paint was a straight as a ruler’s edge.
Well, my time in JDM-land was over, and of it was onto Narita Airport, where a FedEx jet crash sadly killed its two pilots, from Oregon and Texas no less, the day before I left. It was the biggest news in Japan that day and caused a slew of canceled flights.
My flight was on time, however, so here I am back at home. Here’s a shot of the Crown filled with my luggage, including gifts for JNC readers! Stay tuned.