An Surprising Kaido Racer Encounter


Coincidence: a exceptional concurrence of occasions or circumstances with out obvious causal connection.

I discover myself continuously busy as of late with the endless duties of parental duty, leaving only a splash of spare time to tinker with Venture Tough (which is overdue for an replace). I haven’t had a lot time for precise Speedhunting, and due to that I hardly ever head out with my digital camera gear.

On a latest journey as much as Tokyo I had no motive to deliver my digital camera alongside, however I did so anyway. I’m actually glad I did.

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My digital camera by no means left its bag whereas I used to be in Japan’s capital, and as I left the metropolis round midnight I assumed it could keep that approach. My plan was to drive straight residence with no stops alongside the best way.

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My bladder, nevertheless, had different concepts. The Dangozaka Service Space – one of many bigger service areas on the Chuo Expressway – could be my saviour.

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As I approached the doorway, I noticed what seemed to be somebody sitting in a kei van with their smartphone out filming vehicles coming into the service space. I assumed this was a bit odd given it was near midnight, however I’ve seen a lot stranger issues in Japan earlier than.

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By the point I discovered a parking area although, it was clear why somebody could be filming. The sounds of barely-silenced engines and the sights of takeyari pipes reaching for the sky painted an image of one thing I by no means anticipated to see on this specific evening. However that’s Japan for you.

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Whereas making an attempt to mix in with my digital camera, I ran into the proprietor of a Toyota Corona GT that Alec featured earlier this yr.

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John was completely happy to fill me in on precisely what was taking place – a multi-team cruise occasion, because it turned out. I had stumbled upon the ultimate leg.

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Given there was a police automotive parked within the distance, with the officers inside seemingly minding their personal enterprise, I started to assume that this was a sanctioned gathering.

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Nevertheless it was not the case. Now and again the police emerged from their patrol automotive and requested individuals to not park within the spots reserved for giant vans and buses. By no means thoughts all of the questionable modifications!

Wandering round, I additionally met Jon and Astrid, a married couple who construct customized vehicles again in California below the Moonlight Runners banner. The pair have spent years researching and perfecting their craft to be able to create genuine kaido racers in North America, and this pilgrimage to Japan offered an excellent alternative to expertise the native scene firsthand.

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It is a fascinating Japanese automotive subculture, regardless of not being everybody’s cup of tea. It’s not significantly mine, if I’m sincere.

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The engineer in me is consistently bemused by a few of the modifications, nevertheless, that is considerably the purpose of those vehicles. Most individuals are constructing kaido racers for themselves, purely for the enjoyment of it. They aren’t doing it with their critical glasses on.

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Kaido racers could be tough across the edges, and that’s completely cool.

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On the flip facet, some individuals go approach above and past. You may need noticed an BMW E21 earlier on on this story. Properly, it’s not really a BMW in any respect; it began life as a KE70 Toyota Corolla.

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On the finish of the day, this subculture is all about having enjoyable and sharing that have along with your kaido racer household. That is one thing I can genuinely get behind, even when issues are a bit chaotic at instances.

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I feel I higher begin bringing my digital camera with me all over the place I am going. You recognize, simply in case…

Ron Celestine
Instagram: celestinephotography

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