Mike is someone living out his automotive dreams.
He’s got a thriving import business, a giant shop space, Japanese-themed speakeasy, and loads of JDM vehicles both in SoCal and on his two-acre parcel in Japan. I met Mike a while ago when I shot his van, and immediately knew there was something special about him.
After I visited his shop in Corona, California I was sure – Mike is fully embracing a life split between America and Japan.
When I asked about his inspiration for the space, Mike said he loves the way many Japanese car crafters have their shop beneath a hangout zone. These can be anything from small lounges to full-blown karaoke bars.
Simply, Mike wanted to apply this sort of thinking to his own workspace.
Speakeasies and well-thought-out shop designs are not something you often encounter in American car culture. It’s usually grimy bathrooms and piles of dusty car parts, which makes sense – the space is designed to be worked in. But Mike transcended this utilitarian perspective.
An R34, crazy van and vintage bosozoku motorcycle would typically be a focus point in a US shop, but here they are important parts of a whole lifestyle.
Cohesion is important in all aspects of life, and Mike is applying this principle to his in an impressive way. I was certainly inspired when I dropped by his shop.