Here's the coolest thing about Japan. Well, besides Hentai anime, the ubiquitous beer and corn soup vending machines, and the fact that JDM Wong, Eddie Lee from Mackin and I are now spit brothers (don't ask), it's the wide range of people who are into tuning and their vehicles. Take this FD for instance.
If you came across this Mazda in a parking lot you'd come up with a driver profile: a young dude, no older than 35, probably listens to hip-hop and rock, possibly a student or is into dating students, and really likes MTV. You'd never guess the owner of this vehicle had a Ph.D. and was a medical doctor practicing gastrointestinal endoscopy. While you're busy watching Linkin Park music videos, Dr. Wada, the owner, gets paid to watch lower intestines. Eww.
And when he's not busy checking for IBS, Dr. Wada's chin-checking the competition on the track in this very FD. In fact, he holds several course records in the stock twin turbo'd rotary. Pretty damn cool for a doctor. Before meeting Dr. Wada at CAM (tuning shop responsible for the build), the coolest experience I've had with an M.D. involved a catheter and ice packs-many small ice packs-and long, yawn-inducing accounts about the Vietnam War and trans fats. By the end, I was wishing the catheter's steely tube would put me out of my misery.
So that, my friends, is another reason why Japan is cooler than the U.S. Besides extensive research on the female anatomy, it's a place where you and your doc are into the same cars. Ask yourselves this: When's the last time you and your doctor had a heart-to-heart about setting up your vehicle before a track day?