My first experience with Japan came in the year 2007 for Tokyo Auto Salon. Looking back at it, there was such a sensory overload about everything that was happening that I almost forgot that my main objective was to study the car culture in what is seemingly one of the holy lands for automotive enthusiasts.
There was just so much to take in. Not just the cars, but the people, the way the Japanese did things – their meticulous approach and lifetime dedication to their craft became my obsession. After that first trip, I promised myself to make it back every year.
Yes the car stuff is amazing. There is a high probability that a build or manufacturer one has idolized came from Japan. But for me, it was oddly satisfying to see the people out there care about so much in whatever they were about. It gave me motivation to do better personally and professionally. They have a word for this called, 道, essentially meaning the way of life and how one should approach it with respect and integrity.
Fast forward to 2014, Wekfest decided to finally penetrate Japan and offer our platform to the community out here. Humbly speaking, I didn’t think we would have such great reception and support. It’s 2019 and this year’s event was the best one yet.
Critics will say that the car community has changed with the times and I tend to somewhat agree. The new generation of enthusiasts may do things some of us will never understand. There is a sense that devotion and meticulous practices are far and in between. Some do it only for social acceptance, while the chosen few will do it because they enjoy this hobby, and have a personal connection to their work. This year’s Wekfest Japan was a prime example that these selected individuals still exist.
I wish we could really hand out awards to everyone at the end of the day because it really felt gratifying to see a community of true believers coming together to keep real car customization alive. 道, is very much well and alive in Japan and we have a lot to learn from this.
*Click on thumbnails for full view