The inoculation of Work Equip wheels, the military flag of Japan, riveted fender flares and Japanese license plates into a humble VAZ 2106 sedan is a stunning display of modern tuning culture, where ideas, memes, details and styles flow like bits and JPEGs.

It’s also a looking glass into what could have become the car culture of the islands of Itarup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and the Habomai rocks in a world without the internet. They are the southernmost four of the Kuril Islands, which connect Japan with Russia. Japanese territory until occupied by the Soviet Union after World War II, they remain in Russian hands and are claimed by Japan.

Photo by Pavel Kuneev. Hat tip to Nino Karotta.