I find it fitting that the first organized meet that I’ve attended since COVID state of emergency restrictions were relaxed here in Japan resembled more of a gathering of friends than a big car show.
Not that there is anything wrong with big shows of course. The huge crowds and diversity of builds provide countless opportunities to hunt unique and interesting cars.
If I’m truly lucky, I may even bump into the owners of these cars and are able to schedule follow-up meetings where I can have better control of the environment and timing to perform proper shoots. This is something that I really want to try and do more of in the future.
Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with bigger shows though, as the human element tends to get lost in the size. The larger the show, the more difficult it becomes to really feel a part of the event itself. Not bumping into anyone that you know only exacerbates this feeling.
So when Shunsuke extended an invitation to attend his first ever attempt hosting a sanctioned gathering at Fujisanmesse – a small exhibition center at the foot of Mt. Fuji – I was both excited and curious to see what kind of meet it would be.
Wanting to keep up an element of surprise, Shunsuke kept the main details of the ‘Off Time Meeeeting’ to himself, only revealing that around 80 cars were signed up to attend.
Upon arriving at Fuji San Mese, it became clear that this was in fact a gathering of friends, and friends of friends.
Although nearly everyone was wearing a mask, and there were mandatory alcohol hand sanitizing and temperature checks upon entering the venue, it almost felt like things were back to normal. =
Even though Shunsuke had opened the event to all makes, styles, and genre of car, the popularity of stance was easily the dominant fashion on the day. It wasn’t all negative camber and stretched tires though…
There is something special about kanjozoku culture that draws us in and gets us excited when we have the rare chance to see it in person.
From afar, this Civic pairing didn’t seem to fit in with the rough and battle-scared image that we have grown used to seeing with dedicated Osaka Loop weapons.
But when you take a closer look – particularly at the interior – the kanjo vibe is there.
I didn’t have a chance to catch up with the owners of these cars, but seeing them in person does make me want to dive a bit deeper into the culture in the future. Who wants to see that?
Even though the variety of cars present was enough to keep things interesting, it was clearly obvious that the Skyline family was the platform of choice.
I lost count of how many 34s in both ER and BNR guise were present, but given that Shunsuke also drives a GT-R – a track-inspired car to be specific – it shouldn’t come as any surprise that a number of his friends would drive them too.
A pair of Bayside Blue R34 GT-Rs were particularly popular at this event, and I’ll be taking a closer look at them in an upcoming spotlight.
The youthful nature of the Off Time Meeeeting reminded me of the energy I used to encounter when traveling throughout South East Asia. Of course, it doesn’t come close to that raw, damn near unregulated sensation that you get from Malaysia or Indonesia – there is simply too much bureaucratic red tape in Japan for that to happen – but you could truly feel that, for Shunsuke, the goal for this meet was fun.
And fun it was. Stay tuned for more…