The true beauty of the Bay Area is it's an incredibly inspiring place to be. On every corner it's not uncommon to find amazing people doing something incredible with their craft, especially with cars. And believe it or not, one of the highlights of the car show season doesn't happen in Los Angeles but in northern California. We all know Wekfest originated in the Bay Area; additionally, the EVO car show had a great thing going with a unique venue, but unfortunately didn't pull through this year. Head an hour down from San Francisco to San Jose and you'll find one of three remaining Japan Towns in the US! It also happens to be the place where Cary Inayoshi hosts the annual Shukai meet.
If there was one thing we noticed about this year's Shukai event, it was a significant increase in foot traffic. Not only in JDM snobs either; as a family-friendly event, there were plenty of kids and pets strolling through Japan Town. Cary explains, "Shukai is not only about cars, it's also about culture and community."
Even the awards and annual shirts that were given out are designed based on a popular Japanese card game called Hanafuda, which literally translates to "flower cards." Some of you may remember last year when I talked about the unique way they judge cars at Shukai. Instead of the typical jaded judge with a clipboard, you have the sponsors of the show, who are safe to say a bit more passionate, giving out awards to enthusiasts. Cary himself gave out an award to Shaun Hawkins who drove to Los Angeles for a VIP event the day before Shukai, and drove back to the Bay Area at 3 a.m. just to support Shukai. Another notable award was the GM Spec Choice Award, which went to Thadya Virginia. This girl not only daily drives her Integra, she also tracks it and does all the maintenance on it herself. There's no way, her Integra would get a second glance at any other ordinary show.
Cary mentioned there's already another Shukai show made in Japan. A bit ironic that he's inspired somebody in Japan, when he himself was trying to spread Japanese culture. A few visitors compared the show to the good vibes you'll find a Nisei. If you missed it, you'll need to wait till next year. Definitely mark your calendars ahead of time and prepare yourself for a day of culture and hella inspiration.