Tokyo Auto Salon 2013
by Tatsu Tsuchida photos by Akio Hirano
For some reason I think when foreigners (the Gaijin) imagine the Tokyo Auto Salon they expect to see some multi-level parking garage filled to the brim with not only performance cars but also a dance club like atmosphere with music provided by “one-box” style wagons with booming sound systems. Then an orgy of drifting up the parking embankment, scantily clad women in school girl outfits, and J-Pop ensues.
If you're imagining that scene from the third installment Tokyo Drift, then you're gonna be disappointed. First off Makuhari Messe is located near Narita, a suburb of Tokyo. The train ride there is long and boring; far from the neon lights of Shinjiku. For those expecting a SEMA sized convention, you'll again be disheartened. Although your feet will still hurt, it won't be from the amount of walking you do (as at SEMA), but rather from the pace at which you do it. One can't help but feel pressured to walk as fast at the Japanese when in Japan.
|Ok, so maybe there were a few girls at the show.
But the quaint cozy size of this gathering of the automotive elite gives people a chance to get to know the characters that shape the birthplace of “Import Tuning”. The experience is especially different for the well connected. Us media types are from outta town, thus the Japanese have a tendency to treat their guests very well. For many Tokyo Auto Salon (TAS) is a chance to not only see the latest projects, but also to reconnect with those that have the same automotive affliction as we do… on the other side of the pond. Nights of heavy drinking, expensive dining, and touge adventures will happen after hours. But enough with the gloating and a quick thank you to our gracious hosts. You know who you are.
|Aren't you boys supposed to be here for the cars?
TAS 2013, like SEMA 2012 two months prior was all about the FR-S. The “Shot of Penicillin” analogy has been used extensively to characterize what this car has done for the tuning industry and it's spot on. The collaboration between Subaru and Toyota has spawned a resurgence of parts manufacturing and our Japanese counterparts were certainly eager to display.
The Toyota Media Machine calls this insignia Area 86. All hail the return of the 86!