A Car Nerd's Guide To JapanAn insider look at car culture in Japan.  

Japan on a normal day is crazy and different enough from the rest of the world, but come Halloween and it’s like a whole other planet. There are a few holidays the Japanese take as seriously as Halloween, except maybe for Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day. And this one has some fun stuff involving cars.

In an ironic twist of fate, Japan comes to life thanks to a holiday about the dead. It’s an excuse to let loose after countless hours of overtime and hard work at some oppressive office job. For some of the car people here, it’s an excuse to decorate their cars in an appropriate way.

It doesn’t happen across the whole spectrum of the Japanese car culture but the are enough people here willing to decorate their cars—be it supercars or JDM staples—with some bats, pumpkins, or a famous character.

For three years I’ve caught up with Morohoshi-san and his crew for their Halloween parade around Tokyo. They hit every major area, including Shibuya, Roppongi, and Ginza right at peak times to get the most attention. What else are you going to do with a bunch of Lamborghinis during Halloween in Tokyo?

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Every year their decorations get crazier, and their costumes crazier still. This year they had costumes ranging from Spirited Away’s No Face, a maid, a cow, a Pokémon, tokusatsu characters and more.

Even Donald Trump put in an appearance.

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The white Liberty Walk Aventador recently received a half “Supreme Louis Vuitton” wrap, replacing the old carbon wrap it had before. Compared to the rest of the parade the chrome pink-wrapped Aventador SV seemed tame but compensated with a LED light show.

Then there’s the gold chrome Aventador with Morohoshi’s original “Fighting Star” body kit. This car has been around for a while but now has a bedazzled samurai on a koi fish on the bonnet. Because Japan.

Having all the cars lined up at a typically quiet part of Tokyo brought some interesting visitors too. There was an Infiniti G37 Cabriolet with overfenders and a kitten on the dashboard. As car ‘mods’ go, this was an odd accessory even for Japan. The police showed up as well. Once in a marked Toyota Crown patrol car, and a second time in an unmarked Subaru WRX, possibly the coolest police car I’ve seen.

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Once all the cars had gathered up at their meeting point in Aoyama, the parade made their way to Shibuya and Roppongi where they parked up again. It was an opportunity for some cars to refuel and for some of the drivers to go out and have a smoke in the rain. Of course, it wasn’t the lineup of bright Lamborghinis parked illegally on the road that caught the attention of the security patrol guys—it was the owners smoking in public.

After this stop the cars accelerated, quite loudly I should add, to their final destination for dinner. But the Halloween celebrations didn’t end there. While the Halloween celebrations continued at the clubs and restaurants all around Tokyo, go out to where the car meets tend to happen and you’ll be able to see some partying and celebrating there too. Daikoku was especially good on Halloween weekend. The spectacle included sound vans to the Anija A-Team crew doing their own Halloween parade.

If you’re not familiar with the A-Team, they’re a group of guys who love modifying their cars to their own style, usually with bedazzled badges, chrome rims, and loud exhausts. They drive their cars everywhere and are always happy to share their experiences with everyone.

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This was my first time going to Daikoku on a Halloween weekend. It was quite a wet one, so I wasn’t expecting much to show up. Luckily, I was proved wrong.

The sound vans were in full force tonight turning the rest area into an outdoor nightclub. These things get more ridiculous the more I see and hear them. Blasting EDM at unholy volumes and blinding people with their epileptic LEDs was Japan’s eccentric car culture at it’s best.

Because it was still a Daikoku Night meet on a weekend there were some interesting cars dotted around, not all Halloween-related either. There was a Toyota Celica ST165 in full rally livery, stripped out interior and all.

Further down there was a lovely ST185 GT-Four RC with some O.Z. wheels and even a spare set in the boot.

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Elsewhere at Daikoku some of the guys from the Anija A-Team held their own Halloween parade dressed as cops and robbers.

They’re a nice bunch of guys who don’t take themselves too seriously. They go to most shows and events and always open up the doors for kids to sit in. The cars were parked out in the parking bay for trucks and buses but before they left Daikoku they made sure to do a slow loop around the parking area, scissor doors up of course, for everyone to see and hear.

One of the Diablos even parked up next to the sound vans with its LEDs on and drowned out their music with a few revs from the V12. After a while the police came and shut the party down. There’s a police station at Daikoku, but the police gave these guys an hour or so of fun before shutting down the party.

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If the weather was better I’m sure it would’ve been a much crazier night. Halloween was a good excuse for everyone to come out and have a good time.

It’s the perfect example of the diversity and inclusivity of the Daikoku meets and car culture in general in Japan—as well as an example of how loud and bright it can be too.

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