When we set out to create a magazine from scratch that mixes the very best elements from both print and digital mediums, we knew we had quite the task ahead of us, but we were armed and ready! One of the agreed upon elements that was “a must” on our hit list was worldwide coverage; bringing different automotive cultures and genres to the masses. So first up in our globe trotting escapades was an amazing trip to visit our friends and fellow enthusiasts in Japan for their inaugural Truck Trends Day show thrown by Japan’s largest custom truck magazine.
Photos: Mike Alexander, Brian Goude, and John O’Neill | Words: Mike Alexander
Held in a quaint country town outside of Mt. Fuji, both the venue and surroundings couldn’t be any better! Well, maybe if it wasn’t threatening rain all week – but other than the heavy clouds and light misting here and there it actually was the perfect location and atmosphere for such a large gathering. What makes this show so unique is the idea to host an ALL TRUCK show, so trucks only. Everything from slammed minitrucks to lifted Ford Raptors, and everything in between was in attendance at this first year event. One of the coolest things about checking out the recent truck scene growth in Japan is how they all stick together and travel near and far to support the truck shows that are held, some traveling as far as 14 hours to attend a one-day show.
Trucks only as far as the eye could see, from laid out minitrucks, body dropped full-size haulers, to sky-high lifted fullsizes – even with the threatening weather, more than 600 trucks came out to support the cause. For a first year show to hit 600+ trucks just proves how thriving and prominent the custom truck scene is in Japan. It was also a great experience to share our Slam’d and GrinderTV brands with our friends from overseas and humbling to see it so well received. It’s an amazing culture of enthusiasts where the positive vibes emanate through every tent, car club, shop, and vendor. An automotive culture with such integrity and respect was definitely a refreshing experience and something we can all learn from.
For the sheer numbers packed into the venue it was amazing to see that it wasn’t just row after row of stock or beat-up trucks with a couple bolt-ons, there’s a place for the daily drivers and mild customs to show together, but there was also a full-custom Truck Trends Cover Truck Row where the baddest trucks from all over Japan came to duke it out for the coveted Best of Show award. Which brings us to another really cool part of the Japan truck shows that we could also learn a thing or two from. They only give out a hand full of trophies (about 8 or so) for the BEST of each category and specialty picks which gives the attendees a bit of pride and something to strive for rather than just another “Top 50” award.
Obviously for most it’s not about the trophies so they are happy to come and support without a gripe or moan for not placing in their class. It’s ALL smiles and best of all, row after row after row of jaw-dropping trucks! And of course while we were in Japan we had to take in all of the sights and sounds. With a few shop visits to our friends at Jointz Customs, Seek Auto, and Liberty Walk (coming soon right here in Slam’d) and plenty of touristy temple sight-seeing, we got our fill of Japan’s history and culture. We even got to try a few “custom meals” from a friend’s ramen noodle shop who opened up on a holiday just to prepare us some traditional style meals. All in all it was a trip of a lifetime and we can’t wait to go back! Stay tuned for the GrinderTV video coverage of our trip and for the follow-up stories coming your way next month.