The Car Lovers Guide to Japan! Part One, Non Car Stuff to Do in Tokyo and The Nissan Crossing Part 1

Nowadays there are a lot more foreigners in Japan than ever before.  Japan’s birthrate is falling rapidly and because of this, there is a bad labor shortage.  Insular Japan has been forced to ease up on its immigration standards to gain workers to keep the economy afloat.  Just 10 years ago it was rare to see foreigners in Toyko but now it’s common.  So now there are plenty of signs to teach foreigners good manners for the trains and train stations.  I wish Americans were courteous and self-aware like this!


Harajuku used to be Japan’s fashion center where all the young people would congregate to see and be seen. This district was the center of the Harajuku girls street style look. This started in the 90’s and probably ended around 2015-2017 or so because the scene burned out. Blame Gwen Stefani for over commercializing things and making it not cool.  Nowadays when you got to Harajuku, it’s still fun but most of the Harajuku girls you will see are white American and other tourists dressed up how they think a Harajuku girl should look.  Maybe one in 100 Japanese people in the district might still rock the style.  Dunno maybe you can blame Uniqlo too! Now cool young people wear understated clothes and hang out in Shibuya at night.

So being tourists we first had to visit Harajuku’s Meji Shrine.  It is a Shinto shrine located near the Harajuku train station.  Shinto is Japan’s largest religion. You take a fairly long walk down a path and you come across this patio looking thing with a huge sink full of clean cold water.  You take a bamboo cup and use the water to clean your hands, face, and mouth to purify yourself before you enter the shrine.


  1. Kind of confused by the exhaust situation on that concept car, It clearly has side exhausts, plus a big center exhaust at the back, you said it also has a blown diffuser.

    I’m gonna guess that center exhaust at the back is fake, and the “blown diffuser” is the side vortexes from the front exhaust that seal up the diffuser from coanda effect losses.

    If this ever goes to any kind of production they would probably move the side exhausts to that big rear exhaust so that you don’t gas yourself at every stoplight. They could bypass to the sidepipes at higher speeds.

  2. Mike, as a suspension guru, do you have any experience with removing some of the anti-dive geometry a the front to help weight transfer during braking.

    I know it’s not feasible on a low car like that concept car but I know it’s a normal mod for gravel/dirt/snow rally cars.

    Is it a concept that translates to road cars at all or is the grip of a tarmac surface enough that it would negate any gains from that weight transfer.

    1. Thanks, dive and squat are much less talked about than other parts of suspension setup and some cases are still a mystery to me like FWD drag cars.

      Your “Ultimate Guide To Suspension and Handling” was one of the first things I read when I was just starting to work in cars. It mentions dive and squat in that it makes excessive body roll worse “…The driver feels this as a car that is twitchy and unstable at the limit. Dive and squat when combined with roll can make all of these issues worse.”

      Even Herb Adams’s awesome “Chassis Engineering” mentions anti-dive only when talking about how its undesirable for the effect it has on caster. But it does go in depth about anti-squat (those live axle boys sure love anti-squat).

  3. Many years ago I took one of my friends to Manhattan. We planned on eating in China Town (Ajisen ramen the best) But he wanted to go to this mall under the Manhattan bridge.
    Apparently you could get the software to play foreign market DVDs and ps1 games (that’s how long ago it was)
    Well the mall was nice. But in the bottom bottom story of the mall (in a dark corner) they sold things like those figurines. It was a little creepy. But I did find a Star Blazers model. And Gundam figures. So the creepy had a plus.
    I remember he bought about $500 worth of Anime.

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