Author Archives: Skorj

GRAND TOURING: Mt Fuji and the Toyota 2000GT, a meeting of Japan’s icons

Mount Fuji holds a unique position in the minds of both Japanese and visitors alike. There is nothing else quite like it anywhere else in this world, and even many of those who have never visited the country are aware of … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Isumi Matsuri

If there’s one thing that gets carriage-loads of people enthused, it’s trains — especially in Japan, where everyone loves trains. So, combining a wide range of Showa Era kyusha with a summer matsuri (festival) and organizing it at the most famous … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Chubu and Kinki, Part 03

In Part 02 of our grand tour through central Japan, we experienced some of the best touge roads the country has to offer. After making it as far west as Matsue City, we decided to head back home to Chiba via a … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Chubu and Kinki, Part 02

Part 01 of our grand tour through central Japan took us to Toyoma, a city that revealed not only castles but a trove of classic Toyotas. After prying ourselves away, we headed inland. 

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GRAND TOURING: Chubu and Kinki, Part 01

After a longer than usual break between our tours, we decided to take a full week off and continue our Western Coast explorations through the Chubu and Kinki regions. As we embarked, the outer bands of a seasonal typhoon loomed over Japan. … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Mazda Hakone Turnpike and Izu Skyline

While living in Tokyo has many problems, finding a place to go for a drive is not one of them. There are countless skylines, touge, and turnpikes, all challenging and spectacular roads within a short distance of the capital. For this … Continue reading

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EVENTS: Okutama Sunday Meeting

A short time ago, we were invited to attend the monthly Okutama-ko Sunday kyusha meeting. Loosely organized by the well-known Isuzu shop Eagle Sports, it always attracts a wide range of cars. This weekend was special though, as GT-B driving … Continue reading

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EVENTS: Nostalgic2Days 2016, Part 01

At this year’s Nostalgic 2 Days show, we were on assignment to meet a very specific person, a towering figure from the golden age of Japan’s automotive history. Before our appointment — which will be covered in the next installment — … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Tohoku, Part 02

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the twin disasters — a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami — that struck Japan off the coast of Tohoku in 2011. In remembrance, we are re-running a series of stories that relate to the event’s aftermath. This … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Tohoku, Part 01

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the twin disasters — a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami — that struck Japan off the coast of Tohoku in 2011. In remembrance, we are re-running a series of stories that relate to the event’s aftermath. This … Continue reading

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EVENTS: Old Car Heaven, Part 02

While Part 01 of our Old Car Heaven coverage concluded with a mob of rare Mitsubishis, we begin this installment along the perimeter of the show and a bevy of box vans. The Nissan Caravans were part of the Nissan Commercial Car … Continue reading

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EVENTS: Old Car Heaven, Part 01

Recently I was invited to accompany the Prince Driver’s Club to Kyuusha Tengoku, or Old Car Heaven, on the outskirts of downtown Tokyo. With many cars expected, we were asked to assemble on site at 06:00 in the morning. The early … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: A Miura Hanto Sunday Drive

For most, the term “Sunday drive” means a leisurely excursion, to no place in particular, just a way to exercise the family car. In Japan, it can include a number of things — blissfully empty touge, kohi (coffee) and kuruma (car) … Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: How to park your car in Japan, Part 03

Welcome to the final installment in our multi-part treatise on short-term automobile storage in Japanese society. In Part 01 of the investigation we studied what was within and without the bounds of the law, as well as the ubiquitous steel-bar-rising-up-out-of-the-ground parking lots. In … Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: How to park your car in Japan, Part 02

Sure, owning your own kyuusha in Japan sounds like a lot of fun, but where do you put it? In Part 01 of our damning exposé on the topic of parking an automobile in Japan, we illustrated what was legal and illegal, and did a … Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: How to park your car in Japan, Part 01

Finding public or street parking in Japan’s major cities is sometimes chotto muzukashii — a Japanese saying for “a little difficult,” said through clenched teeth with a trailing “iiiii…” it essentially means, with typical Japanese subtlety, impossible. So there is naturally … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: The Onsens of Yamagata Prefecture

Having toured Aomori and Iwate Prefectures previously and discovered many interesting sights along the way, we decided to again return to the northern coasts, this time to explore the Prefecture of Yamagata and the Sea of Japan Coast Road. 

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NIHON LIFE: Summer Evening on the Wangan

The O-Bon is an annual festival that honors the souls of one’s ancestors. Many Tokyoites head to their hometowns to visit the graves of their forebearers, leaving the city strangely free of its dreaded logjam traffic. In other words, it’s the perfect … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Lake Okutama Getaway

In the far western outskirts of Tokyo, Okutama-ko (Lake Okutama) has been a popular weekend destination for many years.  The scenic touge on the north and south sides of the lake provide a popular destination for weekend motorcyclists and kyuusha drivers … Continue reading

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NIHON LIFE: Commuting above-ground

Living in Tokyo’s 23-ku has many benefits, and detractions too I suppose. However, one of my great pleasures is the early morning commute across town. Many years ago I decided to ditch the usual meek-gray-mouse-crammed-onto-the-Ginza Line experience for a motorcycle. 

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