A few years ago, I was hit up by a friend in the US looking for some aero mirrors to fit on his AE86. A common replacement for stock AE86 mirrors besides the “F1” mirrors available all day on Ebay, are to get some FC fiberglass mirrors and graft them onto the body. There are a few options in Japan but they are either made in small batches (read as EXPENSIVE) or elusive such as East Bear. We talked a bit and decided to go with a set offered by Cashiew Sports. They have always had a small selection of unique upgrade parts listed on their website. I found their email and shot a request the next day.
I waited and waited. Then waited some more. Finally, I got a response (in Japanese) almost two weeks later saying they had been busy and would check on the mirrors. Hmm, maybe they have a warehouse I thought. I responded back with a request for two sets and proceeded to wait some more.
After another few weeks or so they responded with an apology that they no longer supply the mirrors since the manufacturer (EC Works) no longer produces them. Damn. Well, after that email, I checked their sparse website and noticed the listing for the mirrors had been removed. Not to take the news badly, I decided to make a trek to Cashiew Sports and have a look myself because hey, it’s Cashiew Sports! I remember watching all the coverage on their rides on old Option video tapes (yes, VIDEO TAPES) and, who knows. My experience with shops had yet to be a bad one in that meeting the ????? (Presidents) of tuner and specialty shops have been very pleasant. I pick my weekend and set off.
Living on the outskirts of central Tokyo off the JR Chuo line is great if you’re into animation since such studio juggernauts as Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, Ghost in the Shell animators Production I.G. (5 minute walk from my apartment), and others all are based along this train line. But for auto shops, it’s just the opposite. My destination was Okegawa station, a long hour and 20 minute train ride with a fare of ?820, about $10 each way. After some lunch in Shinjuku and a few transfers to the Takasaki train line, I was on my way.
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I arrive at the station around 2PM. The place reminds me of a small town; quiet but with a few nice touches. The sidewalks had plenty of flowers and regular upkeep sprinkled with mom and pop shops.
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Cashiew Sports was an eight minute walk by my calculations until finally I came to what looked like a two story house. It REALLY looked like a house from one side. Complete with green garden hose wrapped on a holster. If it wasn’t for the large glass windows just around the corner, I would have thought the map was wrong. It wasnt very flashy and only a very small cartoon character of their mascot on an anodized valve cover near the front door solidified the location. There was something wrong, though. The lights were out. No one was home.
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I went to the side of the building; nothing. I went to the back hoping there was a hidden bay door open with guys working on some wicked frankenstein with cigarettes barely hanging onto their lower lip: nothing. My hopes of seeing this famous shop was dashed. Chatting about some of the iconic, in my mind, builds I watched and read about back in the US: gone. Not even a sticker for a keepsake. I tried to call the shop phone in the desperate hope that someone might pick up and come down from the second floor: nope. The best I could do was take a few pictures, look at the expelled radiator under an outside table, and go on my way.
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I later found out from the manager of Techno Pro Spirit that Cashiew Sports doesn’t really participate in the parts game anymore. They focus on running events and entering their cars in races. Even after the disappointment, it was a decent trip. I did get to go to the shop (outside of it), and walked around an area of Japan I’ve never been to and won’t have much need to go back unless Cashiew Sports decides to keep office hours.
And that friend that wanted the mirrors? Well, he finally sourced a set of East Bear’s after another year of searching. I guess if there was ever a lesson it would be that if you want something, you better get it when you see it, otherwise you could be standing outside a nondescript building in the middle of Saitama.
At least I could add to my Street Cap collection!
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