Author Archives: Skorj
In Part 01 of our Grand Tour through Japan’s Tohoku region we headed north from Tokyo, past tsunami-devastated villages and deep into Aomori Prefecture. Normally on such trips the nostalgics we encounter are the most beloved — Skylines, rear-drive Corollas, Honda … Continue reading
For the last year or more, most of our visits to Tohoku have been single minded – helping with the recovery efforts. This trip was a chance to relax, tour the glorious countryside, meet people and, of course, capture some … Continue reading
Earlier this year the first section of the Shin-Tomei Expressway opened for traffic, marking a new era for Japan’s highway system. Naturally we went exploring, taking this newest road to one of the oldest inhabited regions of Japan, the Kii Peninsula.
Eight-and-a-half feet of reliable snowfall blankets the mountains of Nagano Prefecture each winter, transforming quaint and quiet towns into temporary getaways for Tokyo-ites. When the snows disappear so do the downhill skiers and onsen soakers, but local FJ40 Land Cruisers stay to witness the spring thaw. … Continue reading
In exploring the non-traditional Japan, you quickly learn to identify markers to indicate you are on the right track to discover something old and special — narrow roads lined with closed shutters, anything made of red brick, disconnected power meters, … Continue reading
A few weekends ago, we were again exploring some outlaying areas outside of Nagoya, and in the middle of the rice fields was a small mechanic who had amazed a sizable collection of varied old Japanese cars. As distressing as … Continue reading
The Tokyo Motor Show is under way and we were on hand to bring you the first live, in-the-flesh shots of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, as well as initial reports on what it actually feels like to sit … Continue reading
On the dark-side of Fuji-san, a village with 200-year-old thatched-roof buildings was abandoned in the 1970s. In one of the remote and largely intact houses, hanging from the shredded shoji, in a living room full of bear- and tanuki-tossed futons … Continue reading
Location scouting North of Tokyo, we were surprised to pass a yard not filled with the usual rural kei cars — or farming implements — but one filled with an enormous range of nostalgics.
The first real hot day of summer. I’m looking at a few options in buying a nostalgic car, so we took a quick drive on the Shuto to a reasonably well stocked shop near Yokohama. While I’m interested in one … Continue reading
The Tokyo Nostalgic Car Show took place at the bizarre inverted ziggurat known as Big Sight convention center last weekend. The annual event isn’t limited to Japanese classics, and this year focused on high end Italian exotics. Ho-hum, right? But like the … Continue reading
Thirty-five kilometers north of Tokyo is Ageo. A once semi-rural area, its main inhabitants are now mostly daily commuters to Tokyo — the famous Japanese salaryman and the odd OL — trudging off via their packed trains to slave away … Continue reading
Tokyo’s Metropolitan Expressway — Shuto Kōsoku Dōro (or just the Shuto) — is Tokyo’s answer to handling large volumes of traffic traversing the megalopolis.
Unlike some rural areas of Japan, the blue-skied Miyagi-ken, in the northern areas of Honshu, seem to be retaining their prosperity. The cows live indoors, the residents drive new cars and build new houses — even some in Meiji-era castle style, … Continue reading
One of the curious aspects of Tokyo living is the often cliched perspective of the new vs. the old. The fall-back standard for no-need-to-think international correspondents who like to show keitai girls in yukata, shinkansen and rice-fields, cosplay and temples, … Continue reading
Students of automotive design and history advise us that the death of the rear-engine air-cooled car was dictated by a number of changing fashions and requirements. Pollution and noise requirements ensured two-strokes, with their oil-burning lubrication systems, were phased out … Continue reading