It's almost impossible for a foreigner to take in the Japanese car culture in one day. Tokyo Auto Salon is almost like SEMA, except better in every single way. To put it in a better perspective, think of the best car show you've ever been to, then multiply that by ten. A lot of the cars shows back in the U.S. tend to focus on the newest car platforms, but here they still embrace cars from the 90s, 80s, and even the 70s. Hell, Takahiro Ueno and his Vertex crew made a Toyota Prius look and sound really really cool.
I found myself outside with the Hardcore Japan crew and Formula D driver Matt Field and then you smell it, burning rubber. I turned to Matt and we both smile because we know it smells like a good time. If the cars inside the Makuhari Messe halls aren't going to blow your mind, seeing the D1GP cars in action will. It's exceedingly better than watching it on Youtube or on a DVD. It's something that I can't really explain, but it's a different style of drifting here in Japan. Instead of the brute animalistic style in the U.S., the drivers here have more finesse. But don't think for a second that these cars are underpowered. I tried my best not to act like a fan boy when I met Team Orange's Nobushige Kumakubo and Naoto Suenaga.
There's just too much to take in for one day. It's like the most addictive drug you've ever had. Even though you're hungry, body aching, running on two hours of sleep, you have the urge to dig deeper and deeper in the halls at Tokyo Auto Salon.