I’m really not a morning person. The only early mornings I like are when I get to roll around in bed for an hour without having to get up. But on those rare occasions that I do find myself up and about before 7:00am, the sky always seems brighter, the birds more cheerful and the air clean and fresh. I can see the appeal then, for those people who wake up at 4:00am and go running before breakfast. I personally still think breakfast should come before anything, and definitely not before 7.30am. It’s just not my thing. This mindset, of course, makes going to events a little… difficult.
So, when I caught wind of a primarily stance-centric event called A-Messe Japan being held at Fuji Speedway, I knew exactly how I’d feel.
I wouldn’t want to go, staying in bed until the last minute, having a late breakfast and stopping for one too many coffees along the way. But I also knew that there would be plenty of good stuff to see if I just pushed through.
You most definitely can’t teach an old dog new tricks, it would seem, because that’s exactly what happened. I rolled around in bed all morning, drank too many coffees, then found loads of amazing cars despite my fussy preconceptions.
Stance and VIP are obviously cool; there’s definitely a huge amount of time, labour, love and skill that goes into achieving ultimate lows and a serious luxury image.
Some of the fabrication that goes into these cars is mind-blowing too, and the above slammed Hilux trio will get a spotlight along with a few other favourites from A-Messe Japan 2022 in a later post.
So while I appreciate stance and VIP, I still can’t seem to fully get on board. But luckily, that’s the great thing about the car scene in general. People are free to build whatever car they like, and like or dislike whatever car they see. There are no hate crimes against Silvias or prejudice towards Preludes.
If only the rest of society was as carefree about diversity…
In a way, VIP kind of makes more sense to me. These are cars which are meant to be cruisers, so keeping them low and blinged out fits with their intended purpose. What makes no sense is throwing ridiculous amounts of camber at a car and making it look broken. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer my tyres to have as much contact area as possible.
Thankfully, variety was plentiful at A-Messe Japan, the weather a few degrees cooler than in my city, and the crowds pretty small and friendly.
As predicted, it was pure joy walking around the candy shop of cars, looking for those Goldilocks builds that sat just right.
Nothing says Japan more than a slammed Honda Beat in the same vicinity as a donk-style GMC van. This was more like Goldilocks walking into a candy shop full of cocaine and deciding that she wants all the porridge all of the time.
For a show whose attendees seemed to be made up primarily of display car owners, the vibe here was more like an afternoon meet at Daikoku PA than an organised event with sponsors.
I’ll drop the full A-Messe Japan 2022 gallery below, because if I try and talk about every car I snapped on the day, we’ll be here until the winter of 2034. There’s also a full gallery of the pack-down and roll-out after the show finished at 4:00pm.Special Guests
Aside from the vast numbers of cars on show, A-Messe Japan had also invited some special guests, whose cars were assembled under the awning at the rear of the entertainment area. They included Yanagi-san with his fresh-liveried EG Civic, Kazuki-san from Madlane with his brand new bagged 25th Anniversary Lamborghini Countach, and of course Souki-san and his wild Lamborghini Diablo.
This alone was worth dragging myself out of bed for, although in retrospect, perhaps knowing they would be there was the much-needed carrot at the end of the stick.
I’ll soon be giving you a closer look at this super-cool project from Madlane, as well as checking out Kazuki-san’s new workshop and showroom. Stay tuned for that…
Seeing two Lamborghinis side-by-side, cooked in two very different ways, was pretty special, and a rare opportunity considering the distance these two friends live from each other.
But, sorry Kazuki-san, if I had to drive one of these cars home, it would have to be the Nissan Skyline GT-R V-spec II Nür. Although, if I owned this, I’d probably end up parked on my driveway for a few hours every time I took it out, running my hand across the plush interior before heading inside for a beer.
I’ll leave you with that image, and let you scroll through all the great cars on show at A-Messe Japan 2022. They may not all be to your liking, or mine, and we may not even dislike the same ones, but this car culture, we’re all friends here, and there’s something for everyone.
In the words of a poorly translated Japanese t-shirt… enjoy happy car life.