Japan Rendezvous

So we were enroute back to Malaysia when a friend calls. Why don’t you do a quick stop over in Japan. Got some pretty good car spotting and food to spend the new years with. Sounds like a plan. Instead of being stuck in the air, Japan sounds great.

7.15A.M. Minus 2 degrees in winter, we land. And we thought Germany was cold. Back into the airport we ran. Reinforcing the body with more heattech, we manned up. All the better because pick up arrived in the form of a convertible Celica.

We agreed to ride on one condition. That we would drive with the top down. Agreed, awesome. Not knowing where we were headed, cruising top down along Tomei expressway in winter is such a sweet experience. The clear blue skies, sharp frosty winds against the warm glow from the rising sun give you the sensation of spa-dipping in Icelandic hot springs.

And this was going to be a 4hrs "spa" as the destination was Nagoya. Why not. We were on tourist mode. Really good scenery throughout from rolling hills to seaside. Seeing Mt Fuji, was fantastic. The peak was hidden in clouds but we were promised a better view enroute back in the afternoon.

First spot of the day, a very clean Aston Martin DB5. The most famous James Bond car. At 8am, near New Year’s Eve, either Japan wakes up early or this owner likes a clear and peaceful route.

4 hours is too long. Hunger strikes but our tour guided insisted we do not stuff ourselves too much. With our Malaysian appetites capped, we stopped over for a bowl of random ramen. Really good. We take notes to compare with the Malaysian counterpart. Flavours are not as intense but the ingredients are more clearly defined.

Back on the road, the temperature rises to 3 degrees and traffic increases. We were joined by a touge icon. Complete with part roll cage, his wife and parents at the back!

At last we reach our destination in Nagoya. It was a quaint restaurant on the outskirts popular for its local farmed eel. Unlike Malaysian menus with unlimited choices, this place only has 1. The dish was simple with two strips of eel and rice. But that is more than enough as the eel was so fresh, there was no need for the usual thick sweet sauce basting. You could taste the sweetness from the flesh itself and a hint of smokey from the charcoal grill. Well worth the four hour drive.

After that treat, we were headed back to Tokyo. As promised the return trip yielded fantastic views of Mt Fuji. Through valleys and seasides, the dormant volcano’s presence is unmistakable and forms part of the picturesque view of any landscape. Pure beauty.

Back in Tokyo, the scenery turns to concrete. Ginza, beer, noise and more food ensues till we were knocked out.

The next day car spotting starts early. First for some food. Tsukiji Market was ground zero for freshness. So we went to a friend’s place in the vicinity. If not for the reservation, we would only be fed by lunchtime.

No need to order. The chef prepared for us- Three Taste Tuna. Fantastic, very fresh, texture, colour and taste. It’s amazing how fish can taste that good without being cooked. Very superior produce indeed and why some can queue for hours to get a seat.

And who says beautiful cars shy away during winter. In Ginza, a De Tomaso Pantera outfitted with flares in grey coat is first to arrive on the scene.

Then we spot the rear of a beautiful Dino 246 GT looking sublime.

458 Spider with the top down along the high street.

A polished aluminum Lotus Caterham 7 with minilites. Driver's legs should be warm and snug here.

Followed closely by another Lotus, the Exige Cup 260

The all weather Porsche 991 Carrera S at crossroads.

Fiat Abarth in Flat Black.

A clean bodied R32 GTR also carrying a father, mother and wife. Amazing the elderly still fit.

And we spot another Dino 246 GT. Weren’t they supposed to be rare?

To Be Continued...