You can probably call this a rediscovery. It’s been six years since I first covered Mooneyes Japan’s Hot Rod Razzle Dazzle meet-up at the Honmoku Hill Top Park, and having missed the Hot Rod Custom Show last year due to spending the entire weekend (which included the 2019 Nismo Festival) in bed with a fever, I’d been really looking forward to immersing myself in Japan’s custom world again. A few weekend’s back, I was finally able to make that happen at the 20th anniversary Razzle Dazzle get-together, as hosted by the Chop Sticks Car Club.
We’ve always had a tight relationship with this unique side of Japanese car culture, and while it’s not really something that we’d categorize as a staple of our content diet, it’s always fun to veer off on tangents and broaden our automotive horizons.
And when those horizons are so visual, so disruptive from the norm in Japan, it makes it all the more interesting.
To tell you the truth, I find the atmosphere at these meets something really special, as those entrenched in Japanese hot rod and custom car culture enjoy it so much. It’s like you’re visiting a parallel dimension; you know you’re in Japan, you know you’re in 2020, yet the cars and people don’t quite fit.
If this isn’t the best example of escapism, I don’t know what is.
Conformity weighs heavily on the Japanese, even though a lot would never admit it. But the weekends, public holidays and other time off is when you can forget about Japan Inc., the social expectations, and the bombardment of unwritten rules.
It’s time to take that leap into a different world where having fun with cars is the norm, and hopefully the gallery below goes some way to reflect that.
I’ll close off with a few shots of a car I’ve heard so much about but never seen up close before – a 1953 Studebaker which stood out for its impeccable build quality and top notch materials. It was the perfect sighting to mark an end to a very cold Sunday morning full of hot rod indulgence.