At the same time the Bug-in 38 was held in the US, a little VW cruise was held nearby Tokyo. Over 60 VWs were attended to the cruise so I took my new camera for shooting them.
It was a bit cold that night but I managed to shoot some pictures with my shivering hands. Needless to say, a tripod was necessary to shoot them because of my lack of skill!
I had to discard many blurred photos...
I like buses even more than I like other types of VWs. Here are the photos of buses that were at the show, though I didn't get to shoot all of them because I was busy with my booth.
I will probably buy this '62!
There were many bay buses attended to the show as well but I took only two photos of them...
All VW buses have covers underneath the frontend of the bus. But in Japan, only 20 or 30% of buses have covers in good condition. Also, many people don't care whether they have one or not.
In my opinion, the cover is a very important parts for protectng the levers, pins and the master cylinder (especially if its boot is cracked) from dust, dirt and water.
When in the US, I always try to find used covers in good condition/shape. This year, I bought about 80 covers from jankyards and shops.
I need more covers so please let me know if you have information on where I can get more covers.
The biggest custom car show in Japan will be held in Yokohama next month. We're gonna have a booth with Vintage Speed. This year, the show will be putting emphasis on air-cooled VWs which makes the show especially exciting for us VW-lovers!
Usually, there are only 10 VW show cars in the show but this year, there will be over 80 VWs have applied the show!!!
Finally, I got a plane ticket to the US for a one-month visit although I haven't decided when I will return to Japan. I can't wait to drive my patina bus that I left in the US.
I was thinking of going back to the US sooner but I coudn't go until now. My work had been keeping me from going.
I'm building the engine for my bus using the NPR 88mm cylinder kit (a Japanese brand kit) that I have been reserving for myself for a ling time. Needless to say, it's already no longer available (please let me know if you know someone that has the kit in stock).
I have only 10 days until my US trip but haven't finished building the engine yet...
I have to hurry.
We participated in the largest outdoor custom car show in Japan. It was held in Daiba, Tokyo. The wheather was great and it remainded me of California.
Over 1000 cars which included old American cars, Japanese cars, pickup trucks and of course, VWs were entered at the show.
We had a booth to sell retro items like very old radio flyers, lanterns, signs etc. but couldn't make plenty of money this time.
Anyway, I had a great time.
Here are the photos we took them at the show.
Happy new year everyone! I hope you all a prosperous and glorious 2012!
Usually in Japan, people go on winter break from the end of the year to the beginning of the new year, taking about 5-10 days off. But that didn't apply to me because business doesn't stop or me. Everything stayed the same. As usual, I had parts to ship, customers to attend to and maintenance work to do.
By the way, I got a great Christmas present from a friend in the US.
I miss their burgers. I went In-N-Out burger often while I was staying in the US for three months. I don't know how many times I ate there. I always asked to have my burger with "additional everything."
Beginning from June this year, I went to California and stayed that time for three months. Experiecing a fuge earthquake made me think about my life and pushed me to do what I had always wanted to do but couldn't.
It was a wonderful experience. I stayed at friends house and they took me to various places. I was able to experience many great things.
I have been extremely busy since I returned to Japan, especially because I had to make up for the three months while I was away from regular work at my shop. My Bows has been growing tremendously and is doing great right now so that makes me even more busy.
I've been writing about my three months trip on my Japanese blog but there is just too much to write about and I'm still far from done reporting. I've got an offer from a Japanese VW magazine publisher to write a series of articles on my US trip. I also have the daily task of updating my Japanese blog and home page that makes it hard for me to get around to writing here on my English blog. Writing in English is still something I don't easily do and it takes lots of time to do.
But there is a lot I'd like to write about in English so I'd like to try as much as I can.
The earthquake made 2011 an awful year, but the US trip is what changed 2011 to be a great year for me.
On the bottom line, I'd like to thank all the people that I've come in contact during my trip, especially to Chris Cocks and his family for providing me with a base.
Without their help, this US trip wouldn't have been possible. I greatly appreciate all they've done for me.
I've got to get back to the US again as soon as I can. I've still got a lot of things to do back there.
And in 2012, I'd like to go to other countries as well. Of course those that are VW related.
I was able to do many things on this trip but among them, buying a VW bus and driving in the US was the best thing!
A great many people helped me to make this my big dream come true. As for the details, I'll explain another time.
I will be staying the US for three month from the begging of June. My US trip are usually only about two weeks so I'm especially excited about this one!
The 311 quake made me think about life and I thought of the things I'd like to do while I can.
I always experience new things when I travel. Having lots of time on this trip, I'm looking forward to experiencing many things to add to my experiences.
I've already written about having bought sweets with the money Mr.Leonard donated, so now I'll write about sending th sweets.
I considered sending the snack food to a shelter in the city og Onagawa, Miyagi. But I thought, "Since Onagawa is in Miyagi and because there's a VW shop in Miyagi called Juice UP I have a good relationship with, why not hace them take the sweets directly instead of having people I don't know take him. Gosh, I'm always full of great ideas!!"
So, that's what I decided to do.
I called up an owner of Juice UP and asked, "Hey, your place is close to Onagawa, isn't it Kimura?"
In reality, he told me you have to drive abut an hour a half to get it to Onagawa, but he kindly accepted the job. So I sent the snacks to his shop.
And within a few days, I was told the sweets had safly been delivered.
Below is what he wrote in his e-mail.
I was finally able to deliver the sweets today. It turned out that most chelters are already aupplied with everything, and I finally went tto a shelter near the nuclear power plant (at an elementary school in Ishinomaki).
The children were away because it was a schol day so I handed the sweets to a fishman staying at the shelter. He was very kind. He said "Please send my word : Thank you very much."
The photos below are sent from Kimura (the owner of Juice Up).
I participated in the biggest outdoor car show for custom cars (including VWs) on March 24th. I had a booth at the swao meet this year as I've had every year.
I didn't bring VW parts to sell but I brought lots of old American goods instead. The weather was great and a lot of car freaks came to the show.
The only VW item I brought was a muffler of Vintage Speed for display.
At this event, they had a car, brought from an area affected by the tsunami, on display which caught the attention of many people.
I really had a good time as I always have at events!
I have an ad up on Samba to introduce LED lights for VWs. I got lots of inquiries, and this time I'd like to write about a very wonderful e-mail I got.
I had been exchanging e-mails with Mr.Leonardo, a VW owner in the States, with him being interested in our LED lights. LED installation becomes complicated when changing the turn signals, and I had to explain the installation process, possible problems, and trouble-shooting procedures. Explaining such things in English is very difficult for me.
It was taking quite some time for me, and then the earthquake hit on March 11th. The quake brought panic, stress and confusion, and I had forgotten about having to explain about the LED lights.
About a 2week ago, I was reminded of our e-mail exchange by Leonardo's friend request on Facebook. I appologized for my absence but his responce was far from being a complaint.
He sent me the following e-mail.
CHIAKI... PLEASE LET ME SEND YOU 250.00 DOLLARS .... I WANT YOU TO HELP ANYONE WHO IS HUNGRY WITH FOOD... I KNOW IS DOES NOT GO VERY FAR BUT . I DONT HAVE THE HEART TO BUY LED LIGHTS FOR MYSELF WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH TRAGEDY SURROUNDING YOU.DO I SEND IT TO MYBOWS@NIFTY.COM? LET ME KNOW ASAP. I WILL GET TAIL LIGHTS ANOTHER TIME. I KNOW THE MONEY IS IN THE RIGHT HANDS TO GET IT TO THE NEEDY
What an act of kindness.
Before I was able to decide what to do, the money came to me by Paypal. So I decided to accept his donation. This money is more than just plain money. It holds a man's wish. I should put it to use in the best possible way.
Leo said in his e-mail that he's especially heart-broken to think about children being hungry, so I asked different people for advice andacame to the conclusion to send sweets. The food being donated are mainly rice balls and cup needles so snacks (especially sweet things), according to the staff at a distribution center, would be greatly appreciated. It sweets that I thought children would especially enjoy.
With Leo's 30,000 yen in hand, I went to a wholesale shop selling sweets. I chose aweets that I thought children would especially enjoy.
It was quite a load. I put package after package (many of them by the box) into the shopping cart but when I took it to the cash register, the total only came to 20,000 yen. I thought of buying more but changed my mind and decided to donate the rest to the Red Cross because money could be used on various things.
I hope the children enjoy the snacks.
Again, I'd like to thank Leo.
(to be continue)
I stuck my girlfriend in Mickey-chan, my 356, and went for a drive along a street lined with cherry trees. I do this every year. The street is part of a park in the neighborfood. It's the second largest park in Tokyo.
Spring has come. The temperture has risen and many flowers are in bloom and they get me excited.
The largest VW show following Jamboree, "Flash Bugs Meeting," that was scheduled in May has been canceled. It's a big disappointment but there's nothing to be done when you think about all the quakes and power outages and other things going on in this part of Japan.
The photo above is from last year's "Flash Bugs Meeting" show.
I visited several VW shops, yesterday, in Chiba (the prefecture east of Tokyo). I went to give shop owners a chance to see the mufflers from Vintage Speed first-hand.
It's very interesting and even educational for me to see the garages of other shops.
Discussing different things with other shop owners very much stimulateed me. Next week, I'm thinking of visiting shops in Saitama (the prefecture north of Tokyo.)
Ming Tang of Vintage Speed always accept our special requests. We've had him make modified mufflers for bay-buses just for us. Of course, there were a lot of installation tests and data reserch we had to do before we finally had our customized mufflers.
What our customized mufflers for bay-buses 68-71 are like, compared to the bay-bus mufflers (for all years) that Vintage Speed had been selling overseas. is as below:
-the mufflers body has been moved forward 1cm
-the tailpipe has been moved towards the rear 1cm
-the tailpipe has beem extend 10cm streching to the left
-the tailpipe end faces down by a 30 degree angle
The products numbers end with "MB." You may have guessed it but it stands for "My bows."
One newly customeized mufflers for bay-buses 72-on (T-1 engine) have muffler body at the same as before but have the following differences:
-the tailpipe has beem extend 10cm streching to the left
-the tailpipe end faces down by a 30 degree angle
Thier products number will be "054MB."
I'd really like to thank Ming Tang for all his work and consideration he's been putting into it, and to give my best in distributing more and more Vintage Speed products to VW owners in Japan.
I was planning to have an open-house party before the Jamboree event, but because the event was postponed due to bad situations after the earthquakes, I have canceled the party.
Instead, I invited close customers and had a little party on the same day I had the open-house party planned. With saving electricity being the trend(?) in Japan, we turned all the lights off and lighted the shop just with lanterns.
I'll have the open-house party when the Jamboree event is scheduled again.
Things are slowly getting back to normal. I'll get back to writing about subjects that aren't about our earthquake disaster.
A lot of aftershocks have been occurred in Tokyo. but the number and size are not to be concern.
Moreover, I am accustomed to earthquake. For a while. after the first biggest quake hit Japan, I ran from my shop holding a shop cat when big quakes occurred. But recently, I only turn off a Kerosene heater!
Spring is coming but I know winter is not over yet...