Photo: Manga Store

25th March 2015

One of my favourite shops in Japan is Mandarake, not just because their slogan is “Rulers of Time”; but also because they sell everything an Otaku could ever wish for. The labyrinth of manga leads to models, toys and all sorts of awesomeness. Here’s a photo from inside the Sapporo store…  

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Feature: Volkswagens of Ginza, Tokyo

23rd March 2015

It’s a well known fact that all cars look cooler with a Japanese license plate, here are some examples of how the Japanese can modify and restore Volkswagens with a touch of class. I know nothing more about these cars, other than they were all cruising around Ginza on a Sunday afternoon. Ginza is more famous for its high-end department stores than its car culture and you are more likely…

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Feature: Itasha Culture

8th March 2015

Akihabara (also known as Akiba) is known as Electronics town. The area became famous after World War II and was THE place in Tokyo to buy radio and electronic equipment on the black market. Nowadays, Akiba is synonymous with the Otaku subculture. Often misrepresented as ‘nerds’, the term Otaku encompasses anyone with a passion for something; usually comic or gaming related. Akiba is a hub for manga, anime and gaming; so when you throw…

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Photo: R246 Akasaka, Tokyo

21st February 2015

If you’re a Gran Turismo fan, you may recognise the final hairpin of the R246 track in the photo. It wasn’t planned, but my hotel was located on the final corner of this fictional race track. We were coming back from Fuji Speedway when Mike pointed out that we were driving part of the track as we approached the hotel. As it was Golden Week and the roads were quiet, we…

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Photo: Driftworks S14a

10th February 2015

Driftworks’ D1GB Championship winning Nissan 200SX S14a was not only a legendary machine capable of keeping up with the Japanese D1GP stars; it grabbed the attention of the non-drifting community with its mid-body side exit exhaust and extreme styling. Its real advantage over the competition was the pilot. Phil Morrison’s flair, style and disregard for his own safety, ensured that this S14 was always on (and often way over) the limit…

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Photo: JUN Super Lemon RII R33 GT-R

29th January 2015

For ‘Throwback Thursday’, I thought I’d upload one of my favourite machines from my time at J-Tuner. This photo was taken at the cover shoot for the March 2006 issue. I didn’t do the shoot (that was the work of Craig Pusey) and I hadn’t really played with cameras much at this point, so was pretty pleased with this shot. The 2.7-litre R33 was running 500bhp and was about to be…

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Feature: A Museum Unlike Any Other (Part 2: Cars)

27th January 2015

Having looked around the Toy part of the museum, it was time to explore the classic cars of the Yokota Collection. Masahiro Yokota has collected and meticulously restored some of Japan’s most iconic cars. Spread over three floors, they range from the modest to the marvelous. We start on the lowest of the three floors and are immediately introduced to some of the weird and wonderful cars that kickstarted the…

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Feature: A Museum Unlike Any Other (Part 1: Toys)

26th January 2015

The M. Yokota Classic Car Collection is only a small part of the (take a deep breath) ‘Ikaho Toy & Doll Teddybear Confectionery & Chocolate Automobile Museum’, but if you ever venture off the well trodden Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka path, it is definitely worth a visit. If I had the money, this is what my house would look like. Fortunately, Masahiro Yokota is a kindred spirit and after making his money in the building industry…

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Feature: Initial D Arcade Stage 4 Limited

22nd January 2015

Ok, it’s an Initial D post and if you’re not a fan, then don’t worry – you’re probably here because you like either; A) Japan, B) Cars or C) Cool Shit; and you can see the photos – so you already know this is going to be awesome.   Initial D Arcade Stage games have been a ‘thing’ in Japan since around 2001. Rarely seen outside of Japanese waters, you will…

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Japan, December 25th 2014

25th December 2014

After the cancellation of our original flight, I tweeted Virgin Atlantic and jokingly asked if they would change our return flight for free – waving the £100 admin fee. To my surprise, they phoned me immediately and did everything they could to help. We were due to return on Christmas Eve, but with their help, we rearranged our departure date to Boxing Day. This meant that we could spend Christmas…

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