When the notion of working for a tuner magazine became a reality, I was torn. On one hand, I would be working in a field I love: cars. On the other, economics was my major, not journalism, and there was the issue of pay, or lack thereof. So when it came down to making a decision, I wrote out a list of pros and cons: I'd get to write and shoot pictures cars, versus not being able to afford a new car; flexible schedule, versus I'd have to be flexible on working weekends; I'd get to travel to automotive events, versus the non-event of me traveling on my own budget. The list was dead even. The tie-breaker? Tokyo Auto Salon.
From the first time I saw pictures of TAS in an Options magazine eons ago, it climbed to the top of my bucket list. Super clean body kits, immaculate engine bays, car makes I've never heard of but now pine for, mad crazy parts for days, boutique tuner shops displaying never-before-seen wares; TAS was, and is, the proverbial Mecca for tuners-as an enthusiast, a pilgrimage was a must. Plus, fobby chicks abound with busted-ass teeth? Yes, please! And since I had no clue on how to get there on my own fruition, I took the editor position and haven't looked back (nor at my bank account, for that matter).
For 2009, TAS once again packed the convention halls of Makuhari Messe. Nissan dropped the 370Z weeks prior to the show and a few overachieving tuners had already made their mark-judging from the show, the Z34 is going to be the "it" car for the upcoming year. The lightly tuned, new-at-the-time R35s, CZ4A EVO Xs, and GR STIs from last year were now in full regalia, sporting turbo upgrades, full tunes and even one with a twin-charge. VIP sedans made their mark, as did wagons and ultra-compact Kei cars. Showing a sign of the times, a few budget-conscious regulars pulled out of the show; Super Autobacs, Trust, HKS and Mitsubishi were noticeably absent, but on the flipside, we witnessed the return of APEX'i. In the end, take all the auto otaku goodness with the goofy toothed, but very kawai booth babes, and TAS once again cemented the fact that I made the right choice, 50 times over.