Hagerty Video: Tokyo Drift in real life: Underground car meet downtown Tokyo | Capturing Car Culture

Posted: 2023-03-11 13:00:15
Author: Hagerty
People seem to be drawn to Tokyo for many things. For car enthusiasts, it’s definitely for the rich car culture, not just of Japanese cars, but of ones from every corner of the world. In this episode, Larry surrounds himself with quite the unique selection of cars in a not-so-secret secret underground car meet right after Tokyo Auto Salon.

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Hagerty Video Transcript

– I’m Larry Chen. I’ve been shooting car culture all over the world for the past 18 years. From the best builds, to the fastest races, I’ve seen it all. In this series, I’m highlighting the gearheads that inspire me in our generation. For the first time since 2020, Japan opened its borders to everyone. Just in time for Tokyo Auto Salon, which is Japan’s largest car enthusiast gathering. It’s only natural for there to be smaller car meets outside of the event itself. One of our friends is tied in with the local modified car scene,

And he put together an invite only underground car meet. As soon as we got to the meet, I knew I messed up. I didn’t have my cameras with me, and we were late. I picked up my cell phone and I just started taking pictures as fast as I could.

Meanwhile, I was calling my friends, Louis and Richard, to bring my cameras. As soon as they got there, they started shooting video and they handed me my cameras and I just went berserk. – [Videographer] Hey, get the shot. Get the shot. Get the shot. (chuckles) – [Larry] I’m trying. This is crazy, dude. This is the craziest meet I’ve ever been to. – I told you it was gonna be good. – This is so… This is crazy. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m sweating, and I’m actually really high because it’s a lot of exhaust fumes here.

– I’m so high right now. – Okay, so what happened was, we… Oh my God, it’s Louis. That’s my car. This is the craziest meet I’ve ever been to, dude. – Yeah. – This is insane. – I tried going to 7-Eleven- – [Larry] I think you might have to park upstairs, dude.

– Oh, for real? – All right. (chuckles) Good luck. All right, I’m gonna attempt to shoot photos while Louis is driving. This is crazy. – That’s funny. – Really, yeah. – [Larry] I’ve been to so many different meets all over the world, including in Japan, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It legitimately felt like stepping on set to “Tokyo Drift.” This is all the brainchild of our friend, Takashi, who is a big car enthusiast. He drives a R34 GTT drift car,

And he has a matching brown G wagon, both with HRE wheels on it. He knew that so many people would be in town for Tokyo Auto Salon, so he actually reached out to his extended network of builders of car culture enthusiasts to come together for this meet.

What blew me away was how exclusive this meet actually was. Just two hours before the meet, was the first time they announced the actual address. That way, a lot of people don’t just randomly show up trying to get to the meet. This is legitimately the craziest meet I’ve ever met.

– [Videographer] Get the shot. Get the shot. – [Larry] Look at this. – [Videographer] Oh, that’s a GT-R, mate. GT-R. (beep) GT-Rs. – Look at it. Look, look, look. – [Videographer] (beep) 911s. 911, 2012. (engine revving) Oh, here’s the Gallardo. – Oh, oh. – [Videographer] You all right, bro? – Yeah. – Oh. – [Larry] Could this be… – Hey, does that have VTEC? – I didn’t think it could be. – [Videographer] Does it have VTEC? – I didn’t think this was possible, dude. – Go, go, go. Run. – Actually, can you hold on to this jacket? – [Videographer] Okay. Give me your jacket. (chuckles) – I’m like- – Pat your forehead down? – I’m overheating, dude. – Pat your forehead down? – Okay. (videographer laughs) I’m overheating. (engine revving) – [Videographer] Oh, it’s like wet!

Larry, what’d you do? (chuckles) – Dude. – [Videographer] All that cute cars just coming out. – Oh. (people chattering) This is genuine, dude. – [Videographer] Yeah, I think there’s another- – There’s more cars coming up. So we’ve just been shooting. I can barely see, and it’s kind of getting really lightheaded. But we’re just in mode push, dude. Look at the scene right here, dude. I’m just gonna keep shooting. – [Videographer] Hey, Charlie. What the hell, man? – Dude, this is ridiculous. – [Videographer] I feel like every other person has the camera out. – I’m like about to have a heart attack. – Yeah, I am actually- – Oh. – having it right now. – It’s so hot.

I’ve been running around. – My heart attack is happening right now, – Oh God. (exhales) – Hey, you have the right idea. You got the water going. – I got my Ritz water. – You’re Ritz. – Can I get a little swig of that?

– Of course you got. It’s warm, it’s been in my hand. – It’s okay. – [Videographer] You know, warm water is better. Whoa! Hey, hey, Hey. (Kat laughing) Cars. Cars. Hey, you should be shooting. – Go, go, go, go, go. – Go. Go. Go, go, go. (chuckles) Get back in the action.

– [Larry] Oh, we were ready. – Get back in the action. – Look at Dino. Look at Dino. – [Videographer] Where’s Dino? – Everybody’s inviting him. (people laughing) – [Videographer] Follow Dino. Dino knows the culture. (engine revving) Follow Dino. (chuckles) 911 to the front. (upbeat music) – [Larry] The owners of the garage

Didn’t realize how many people would actually show up, and they didn’t realize what kind of event it would turn out to be, so they actually started kicking everybody out very respectfully. There’s such a big contrast between the meets in the US and in Japan.

In Japan, the owners of the cars are so respectful. There’s no revving. There’s no burnouts. There’s no sideshows. They’re just enthusiasts. They love the builds. They love the craftsmanship. They love the rare parts. They love the stories. That is what everybody is gathered to enjoy. (engine revving) That was probably

One of my greatest car culture movements in Japan of all time. We’re actually following Dino right now to the secondary location. Wow. What a night. I’m just kinda recovering right now. I’ve been trying to breathe deep, like fresh air, and the nice thing about this parking garage is it’s open, so we won’t all get gassed out. Dude, this is crazy. So, legit, first like, the highway patrol guys came, and then they were basically saying- – Well, they- – politely, to tell everybody to leave. – They give you a warning. – Yeah – They’re like, “Hey…” – They give you a warning, and then the cops came

And they actually brought out their little digital camera and now they’re starting to take pictures of people’s license plates. We didn’t wait for Richard. I just jumped in my car- – And just left. – and left. And now Richard’s running out to meet us.

So we get can get out- – Like, as we were- – of here. – hopping in, the cops took photos of, like, four different license plates in that, like, short time span, and everybody just started running to their cars. – Look at this guy. – Like…

– This guy, dude. – I don’t know. That Ferrari got his plate taken. – [Larry] Oh, no. (engine revving) – Yeah, this one. – [Randy] Later, guys. – [Larry] Dude, this thing is so sick. I love it. Hey, thank you so much. Thank you. Enjoy your night. – Thank you. – [Larry] Yeah, nice to meet you. – Nice to meet you. (engine revving) – [Larry] So sick. Look at this.

Look at this car. Oh my God. – Whoo! (laughs) – Oh, oh, oh. – Whoa. – Oh my God. – [Videographer] Dude, you’re 34 is a Prius compared to that car. – Yeah, yeah. Well, yes, actually. Here he comes. Here he comes. Here he comes again. (upbeat music) – The night was young, so we actually headed back to Tokyo because we heard that the lowrider scene was actually cruising around in Shibuya. As soon as we got to Shibuya, I was completely blown away at what I was seeing. These enthusiasts were just driving around on three wheels,

Hopping up and down in the middle of the city. The police actually came by to tell us to move one block over just so we’re not close to a residential area, and then the balancing and the shenanigans kept going. – Dude, Robbie, where did we… Is this Japan, dude? – I thought we’re still in Japan. (laughs) I don’t know. – Wow. – Incredible. (person speaking Japanese) The culture here. – I know. – I love it. LA, dude. LA, my home. My home. Makes me miss home. I just couldn’t believe (upbeat music) the amount of lowriders that were there. I know there’s a very, very big subculture in Japan when it comes to lowriders and the scene surrounding it. But I just didn’t understand it was like this.

It was fun for me to watch because these enthusiasts, they’re into the culture. They’re into the cars. They’re into the clothing. They’re into the music. But they’re bouncing up and down, and they’re just laughing and giggling, like school children, because they’re having so much fun. And it’s not just the men,

There were so many female lowrider owners. This is what I love so much about the car community. I can take pictures of cars and car culture for the rest of my life, but I’ll never uncover all of it.