Haunted by the Ghosts of Nostalgics Past

For someone who loves driving, I am notoriously bad at recognizing landmarks. It’s embarrassing, really. Ex-girlfriends have raised many an eyebrow, astonished at how I could fail to notice — even though “we’ve passed by a thousand times” — that a new upscale condo complex has sprouted up where the old Cafe Luna had once been. That’s because I’m looking at cars, and they are have this tendency to not stay in one place.

I may not notice the vacant lot morphing into a row of boutiques on a street I pass every day, but I’ll never forget that one time when I came across a Toyota Publica in Shibuya. January 2004, just up the hill from the busiest intersection in the world. Good luck finding parking within a 20 mile radius of Tokyo’s teeming nightlife hub, but somehow that UP20 had snaked one. Its owner had parallel parked right there on the main drag, an anachronism among hordes of CNG taxis and seizure-inducing neon pulses.

I didn’t even remember taking a picture of it, but going through old photos over the holidays turned it up. Sure, it’s great to see rows of nostalgics at a show like the New Year Meeting, but catching one in the wild sears it into memory. As for where I was headed that night… I can’t for the life of me recall.

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5 Responses to Haunted by the Ghosts of Nostalgics Past

  1. Curan Loh says:

    Beautiful! I remember our neighbor had a Toyota Publica in Singapore in the early 70s. It seemed so “big” then, but it’s tiny inside. Love this site!

  2. Toyotageek says:


    For me, THAT is what JNC is all about.

  3. Nigel says:

    Nice to see this.
    This gets me away from the Xmas insanity, for a bit.

  4. Tyler says:

    It’s great to see old cars in the wild, whether they’re JNC’s or anything else. Last weekend I spotted an orange early 70’s Mopar driving around, and in Minnesota winters that’s very rare. Thank God we don’t have snow yet! Anyway, great spotting. 🙂

  5. Brad D. says:

    Before the age of cell pone cameras (prob ’99 or so) I spotted a Ferrari 330 GTC sitting on the side of the road in downtown Salem Ma, similar story. I may not have a photo, but I will never forget that car!

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