When Tokyo Auto Salon weekend rolls around, Japan’s biggest city comes alive with a multitude of smaller meets and gatherings. I always try to attend as many of them as possible, regardless of what my sleep-deprived body says.
Ben and Mark have already given you a quick look at the annual RAUH-Welt Begriff get-together, but one TAS week event that I always look forward to happens at the Akihabara UDX parking garage.
But I didn’t quite make it there this year…
As usual, my inbox had lit up with invites from some friends, hoping I’d be able to head along with Project Rough. I can never say no to an invitation like this, so I gathered up some equipment, jumped in my ER34 Skyline, and headed to UDX.
It’s already been mentioned that the police were out in force at TAS time, shutting down some of the more popular parking areas for ‘maintenance’ long before anyone could even congregate there. With seemingly more people than ever in Tokyo for this year’s show, there was a good chance the UDX meet would suffer a similar fate, so on a hunch I phoned a few friends to ask what was happening inside the garage before committing to the hefty parking fee.
“Don’t come to UDX, Ron. There are way too many people here and the police have already shut it down. We are going to a new place in Shibuya.”
A 20-minute detour later, I found myself entering a parking garage near Yoyogi Park. Inside was a scene reminiscent from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Although Copaze x Level One Japan ‘Meet Me Underground Tokyo’ was billed as a guerrilla-type event with the ‘MP82+83 Tokyo’ plus code used to pinpoint the ‘secret’ location, a lot of people had found out about it. And these days, when you get a big crowd at a car event you just know the YouTube set will be out in force.
I don’t mean this in a negative way, and I’m certainly not taking a dig at YouTubers or anyone else out there hustling to generate enthusiast content. Because, of course, I attend events to generate content, too.
What bothers me is how some people go about it.
I always try to blend into the surroundings and capture things as they organically happen.
Most importantly though, I set out to have a good time; I want to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy cars with people who are out to do the same.
To me, walking haphazardly in the middle of a roadway while talking to a camera is neither of those things. Are you there for the car culture or the likes and view clicks?
Hundreds of photographers blocking the roadway as cars enter and exit the building only encourages bad behavior too, which in turn always prompts the parking garage staff to call the police, which results in you know what.
I really hope that late-night parking garage meets continue to happen at TAS time; it’s something we should all be able to enjoy and experience. To anyone thinking of attending with a camera of any sort in the future, just be cautious of your surroundings and don’t do things for the sole purpose of generating views. That’s not what it should be about.
That’s enough talking from me, though – enjoy the small gallery below from my ‘fly on the wall’ perspective.
Side note: Throughout the evening (read: early morning) I kept coming back to this FD2 Civic Type R. With center-lock RAYS Volk Racing wheels and aero from a GT500 race car, I need to take an in-depth look in the very near future.