Author Archives: Skorj

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

17 Comments

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

13 Comments

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

17 Comments

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

28 Comments

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

27 Comments

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

32 Comments

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

32 Comments

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

19 Comments

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. 

42 Comments

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

13 Comments

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

23 Comments

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. 

20 Comments

EVENTS: Akio Toyoda shows up at Cars & Coffee Tokyo

At a recent Cars & Coffee event in Tokyo, the usual proceedings were disrupted when a formation of Lexus supercars arrived on the scene. Emerging from the fleet was the most famous man in Japan’s auto industry: Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corp, … Continue reading

33 Comments

NEXT VERSION: 2015 Honda S660 review

At the time Soichiro Honda made the decision to jump head first into automaking, the Japanese government was deep into kei jidosha, pressuring car manufacturers to create cheap, utilitarian microcars that would mobilize its citizenry. Honda-san had no interest in that, opting instead to develop a … Continue reading

19 Comments

NIHON LIFE: A kei car Sunday

For a number of years we’ve passed a lone Subaru 360 perched atop a rack built from scaffold over a similar-age Sambar truck. I kept thinking, “I must stop and photograph it before it disappears.” Like a Honda S500 no … Continue reading

7 Comments

SPOTLIGHT: Fastest “car” at the Tokyo Bayside Classic Cup

What’s mid-engined, twin-cam, hits 11,000rpm, and laps Sodeguara Forest Raceway faster than most things that were on the track at the recent Tokyo Bayside Classic Cup season closer? 

11 Comments

EVENTS: Cars & Coffee Tokyo at Daikanyama Tsutaya

In recognition of Honda’s return to Formula 1, the regular Sunday Morning Cruise in Daikanyama, Tokyo recently extended an invitation to “all Honda and other classic Japanese cars.” There was little excuse not to take the S800 out for an … Continue reading

10 Comments

EVENTS: Sunday morning at Daikoku Futo

Located right off the famed Wangan Bayshore Route in Yokohama, Daikoku Futo PA is a congress for car fiends. As die-hard fans of JDM-land know, representatives of any and every type of Japanese tuning subculture come together to appreciate the many facets of … Continue reading

13 Comments

EVENTS: 2014 Meiji Jingu Classic Car Festival, Part 02

The annual Meiji Jingu Classic Car Festival offers something few other shows can claim: the chance to see its cars driving through public streets. It’s not simply witnessing them in motion, though It’s the fact that those public streets are in Tokyo, in some of the … Continue reading

15 Comments

GRAND TOURING: New use for a Toyota Hiace

The Honda S800 has been a great steed for Grand Touring, but it’s going off to get a tear down to look at some possible valve clearance issues. Who needs a flatbed?

8 Comments