Japan: Let's plan a trip Part 2!

So let’s face it, this is the main reason I am planning a trip to Japan, I think it is for any car head even if you a euro fan, Japan has something like a magnet effect I think you just want to go and experience everything it has to offer. So in this part I will or at least hope to enlighten you all with some might I call it car terminology and maybe even be a help in learning some Japanese!

Kyusha, so what does this mean in Japanese, basically it means ‘old car’ modified or not once it is a classic it is a Kyusha. However people who are Kyusha lovers do enjoy some customization to their cars, be it something simple or something more modern! Even such customization that you might not recognise what car it actually is!

Shakotan, simply means lowered car, which the majority of us are fans of, in Japan it often goes with wider arches, smaller wheels I am beginning to see similarities between Japan and Ireland!

Kaido racers, basically means highway car, crazy colourful cars, with long exhaust pipes and boxy body kits that’s the style of Kaido racers. This style was partly inspired by the Supper Silhouette of the 70’s and 80’s Japan but can also be sometimes called Granchan or Grachan.

Supercars & exotic cars if you fancy some car spotting of this nature Tokyo is the city for this as it has a lot of wealth business men and woman living here so this is where you need to be. May the best part or side of Japanese car culture that the people who can afford to have such cars are also not afraid to modify them with many supercar and exotic garages in Japan who have a wide range of modifications for these cars, neon wheels, big wings, aftermarket wheels and the likes!

Low-riders and hot rodding this side of America car culture has always fascinated the Japanese people, despite having easy access to some of the world’s coolest cars manufactured in their own country Japanese people are fans of Chevy pickups and the likes of old mustangs.

VIP Style known in Japan Bippu style ‘invented’ in Osaka in the 1980’s, how no one knows but people think that the Japanese mafia may have had a hand in it, driving such cars as JDM racers so it made them less noticeable to the police. Although years ago it may have been associated with gangs the term VIP style really in this modern age about….well style. Certain cars in Japan are regarded as VIP style cars, such as Toyota Aristo, Crown and Celsior. Cars in the VIP style have such modifications as heavily tinted windows, excessive camber which is termed as onikyan, in English termed as demon camber! Fancy interiors, dished wheels and lowered to road scrapping standards, I think we’ve all had experience of road scrapping lowered cars!

Kei Cars you will instantly know these cars! How their yellow number plates and the sheer size they are well small very small. They first came about after World War 2, when people needed some sort of transport but didn’t have the money for what they called a full sized family car. They are compact, can fit into small spaces and have an engine of 600cc or less, which makes them fuel efficient to say the least, road tax and tolls are even cheaper with these cars! With every car in Japan these are also modified in different ways, fun to see I bet!

Drag Racing or zero-yon in Japan means literally a quarter mile. Unfortunately it isn’t as popular these days in Japan as it was, this was one of the reasons I personally wanted to visit Japan, I guess I will just have to go looking for some drag racing as it still popular with some people in Japan but not as much as it was back in the 1990’s. There is however some serious drag racing builds taking place all over the country for some drag racing events which still take place.

Time Attack just like drifting it began in Japan, it has gone on to become increasingly popular all over the world, I think we have all been in Mondello Park when there has been a time attack event on. A huge number of modified cars take part in drag racing event in Japan. In Japan the main place that modern day drag racers go to compete is Tsukuba Circuit and Fuji International Speedway, two places I guess I am sure to visit on my trip.

Street racing in Japan in the 1980’s and 1990’s street racing was what I suppose was the highlight of Japan’s whole car culture. From my research I’ve learned that the best known street racers were a club called Mid Night Club, who were 30 or so street racers, a somewhat club which was together for over 10 years until things went wrong and both members of the club and members of the public were involved in a serious accident, they went back to their normal everyday lives and never street raced again after the accident.

Kanjo racers these are what is known in Japan as illegal racers their full title is Kanjozoku. Kanjo refers to the loop an elevated part of the Hanshin Motorway that runs through the city centre of Oaska.

Itasha Style what is this style well basically it’s something we have all seen be it in real life or just on line, yes you got it, those cars with the cartoon stickers on them. Anime plays a big part in the Japanese car culture and it is closely associated with otaku culture which I wrote about earlier on in this article. In recent times itasha has become popular in global car culture and styling also. Common itasha liveries are based around a cute female character.

So we are heading to Japan, it’s going to be helpful to know some Japanese to say the least, so what have I learned so far? Basically to count to 10, it’s just like been a kid again! While I hope I have the right pronunciation for this I very much doubt it! If you want to learn here it is 1 to 10!

1 = ichi, 2 = ni, 3 = san, 4 = yon, 5 = go, 6 = roku, 7 = nana, 8 = hachi, 9 = kyuu, 10 = jyu u

The next thing I wanted to know or should I say learn were the names we have for Japanese cars are they the same as what Japanese people call them? I remember when I first ‘got into’ the Japanese side of cars, it confused me and it wasn’t until I started to work in a Japanese import garage, more and more of my friend’s we buying Japanese cars I began to understand all the terminology. We Irish sometime use the chassis code to name a car this isn’t the case with Japanese people, the best know slang I suppose is for an Toyota AE86 hachi-roku, Hachi means 8 and roku means 6 each number is said individually.

Toyota Corolla Levin/Sprinter Trueno

Irish say: AE86 or AE85. In Japan: hachi-roku or hachi-go

Nissan Skyline/GT-R models

Irish say: R32. In Japan: san-ni

Irish say: R33. In Japan: san-san

Irish say: R34. In Japan: san-yon

Irish say: R35. In Japan: san-go

Nissan Silvia models

Irish say: S13. In Japan: ichi-san

Irish say: S14. In Japan: ichi-yon

Irish say: S15. In Japan: ichi-go

Part 3 coming soon! Next piece of research commences now!