Within the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles there is a neighborhood near downtown affectionately known as Little Tokyo. Not as big as San Francisco's Japantown, Little Tokyo is, well, little, but nonetheless home to all things Japanese. Hollywood celebrities flock to the authentic Japanese restaurants, and tourists shop at the trinket and craft boutiques. Ironically, even Japanese tourists shop here, with Little Tokyo being the destination to pick up Ichiro jerseys and other Japanese-turned-American sports stars' gear.
Every year for the past 66 years, Little Tokyo hosts Nisei Week Japanese Festival - a festival that includes Japanese cultural performances, food vendors, and artist displays. Indicative of what a large role cars play in the Californian Nisei culture, the annual festival is also home to Nisei Showoff, a special edition of the Import Showoff series. We at Turbo always look forward to Nisei Showoff every year because you couldn't pick a more beautiful backdrop for a car show. Under the towering downtown buildings cars shine as the sounds of Japanese drums ring melodically in the background and the aroma of tasty Japanese foods being cooked sweeten the air.
Nisei Showoff is like a gathering of old friends. With a mix of vendor tents among cars on display there is plenty to see. We talked with manufacturers, like APEX'i and Falken Tires, about new aftermarket products they have in development. We also chatted with the judges about what their impressions were of the show. On hand was a good showing of Hondas and loads of wild naturally aspirated vehicles. We were a little disappointed that there weren't more impressive turbo-charged vehicles on display this year. Also available for entertainment for attendees was a drifting radio-controlled car track. If you were in the mood for shopping, there were more drifting t-shirts for sale than you could shake a stick at.
After touring the show we hung out in Little Tokyo for a bite to eat, bought Initial D Stage 4 on DVD and a bonsai tree for the Turbo office, and checked out some drumming. Can't do that at most car shows.