Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 Finale – Attack On Umihotaru

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports, Time Attack


Well, we’ve reached the fifth and final installment of the coverage for this year’s Winter Cafe.  I’d like to again thank everyone who came out and I hope you all had a really good time.  Having a chance to look back while posting this has been really neat for me, as I feel like I get to relive it all again without being so frantic.  I’m going to be traveling again for work so I wanted to get this last post up of the event before I leave tomorrow.  This post focuses on the cars that I have more of a personal connection with as far as the main focus of the site goes.  Cars from Garage Work, CSG, Mak, Nakajima’s FD, TM 240, etc.  The relationships I have with the people behind these builds is something I’ll always hold in high regard.

Let’s take a closer look!


This was actually when Work and company were leaving, as I was upstairs when they arrived.  Earlier in the week when I visited the shop for his birthday, he mentioned the Cafe and that he wanted to bring out his cars.  Initially he was going to drive the shop Kei-car, but I was taken aback when he mentioned bringing out three of the shop cars.


They had to cheat a little bit and drive up the opposite way to get to the third level from the ground.  It all worked out though; so strange to see this car amongst the general populace.



Surprisingly enough, not trailored, was Kubo’s EG!  I can’t believe he drove this thing from the shop.  He had panels of cardboard blocking the holes of the firewall because it was so cold outside haha


I had a chance to do a photoshoot with this car earlier in the week, so please look forward to a more in depth look.


Makoto-san made the trek across the bay along with the Work guys in his silver EK, adorned with full aero.


I was glad I finally got to meet him and see his car in person.  It’s been nice watching it evolve through Minkara and the random pictures that Iwata sends me.


I like this shot of Kubo leaning up against the hood.


Again, I’m pretending this is Hara-san offloading his FD, while in reality it’s him loading it to leave.  I was upstairs when Hara and Ken arrived.  I actually ran into Ken on the third level and he asked me if I had seen Hara…I hadn’t!  I definitely heard him when he pulled up though.


Nice to see the new aero package before it got track time.  Another Zest amalgamation of both Voltex and custom carbon work in both the front and rear of the FD.


I really like how well the new end plates came out for the wing and rear diffuser.  A part of me wants Yamazaki to connect them somehow haha


Profile shot of the new look.


I was able to snag a shot of the guys hanging out.  Hara, Iwata, Makoto, and Suwa.  Really happy Tomoki-san was able to come out with his family, despite not having his 86; very grateful.  It’s a testament to how close knit the Attack family is.  Click that link if you want to learn more about Suwa and Iwata’s relationship.


Technical Motors 240 again!


I wanted to try and get a couple abstract shots of Toshitake’s S15 as the body work is incredibly unique.


The front fenders looking more akin to a Super GT machine than anything else…


…and the rear matching in fashion.


This picture, to me, was pretty remarkable.  So many good cars in one shot, and the best part about it is the majority of the owners are friends of mine; truly grateful!  I think even Misa was surprised looking down the row in front of her FD.


Back on the other side Iwata was able to find parking…


…while Suwa son caught a ride on his dad’s shoulders.



Nice to see other media!



Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end though, and about 1:30 am people started heading out.  Especially those that had a long drive ahead of them, or were off to hotels.  Seki and the rest of the Mak guys were staying at a hotel in Sakuragicho, and were keen to get some rest after their long journey.


Ame-san heading out.


…and back downstairs the Work boys were taking off back to Chiba.


To be honest, this year’s event left me in sort of a daze as to what is in store for next year.  It’s obvious that we experienced some growing pains within just the past year, and I may need to step it up for 2015!  It’s both exciting and overwhelming, but I know with the support of those both behind and next to me we can make it happen.

Thanks again everyone for an awesome event, and an amazing year.  I hope to see you all again soon.


Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 V.4

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports



We’ll pick up installment 4 of the Winter Cafe coverage by taking a stroll on the lower level of the PA.  A lot of cars gathered here after the parking spots inside filled up, and it just so happens there was quite a lot of drift cars.  I’m glad that Masakazu-san was able to come out with his insane SW20.  I love this thing…





Such style.






Ken from Car Shop Glow drove the R32 out, while Hara-san towed the FD on the work flatbed.









Yuya’s R33




Yuta catching a ride on the back window of this EVO.









Cool Silvia.




Good style.




Pretty beat Silvia outside; I really liked how street this was.




Saito-san and his now famous S14.










Couple really cool drift cars outside.





Snagged this shot of Sakamoto-san as he was leaving the PA.




Wings on wings.




Full Veilside FD in a gorgeous light blueish grey color way.








I like these last two shots of the people gathered around the area.  Vending & Veilside.




Another shot of Totsuka-san’s Z32 that he towed here.




Matt and friends at the store.





My good friend surprised me again and stopped by later in the night in his S2000.  Since he is quitebusy with his day job, he doesn’t have much time for motor sports anymore, but I’m really glad he still has his car – always good catching up.





Pondari’s custom widebody Z32.




Low down.




This really unique quad-rotor FD stopped by as well.  It’s clean, OEM looking exterior a front for what was hidden under the hood.







Really crappy picture of the engine bay; still very cool though.




The Silvia that was parked outside drove up to the 3rd level on his way out to say goodbye to some friends.






Stick around for the last installment of NDF Winter Cafe 2014 coverage; you won’t want to miss it.


The final variant; V5 – Attack on Umihotaru, coming next//








Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 V.3

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM




To be honest I’ve completely lost track of any sort of timeline that existed for this event, so continuing coverage of the NDF Winter Cafe Umihotaru takeover, part 3 will be a bunch of random shots of people and cars throughout the night; as will part 4 and 5 I’m sure.  I liked this shot from across the other side of the PA looking towards Matt’s C35/NDF shop.  One thing I enjoyed, and sort of lamented at the same time, was the ability for people to come and go freely.  Since this isn’t a pay your way in, privately organized event, you had a lot of flow throughout the night.  It was sort of refreshing; except it made it near impossible for me to shoot everyone that came.





Pretty nice lineup!






Colin from Dohc Research came out to say hi in his cool Miata.  It was nice to finally meet him!





Really cool S15 with BMW front clip on TE37SL’s.






Next to it was this Nismo styled ER34.






Not to be confused with this similar two door GTR on SL’s that was parked on the opposite side of the PA.




Super cool R32 on G7C5C2’s with a very pink front lip.





Very well put together S14.






White on white and blue LED’s; winning combo.






Good to see this R34 again.  He attended last year’s Cafe, and I see him often at other PA’s in Japan.  Very enthusiastic expressway running.








If you’re familiar with NDF then you’ve seen this TFR equipped FD on the site a few times.  Namely at Shibaura PA.









Masuhara-san’s other Z32; most of you know he owns a silver one as well that he’s usually in.  Nice to see him take out the red one…both are very, very quick.  If you know Masuhara-san you’d know why.





Something also red, but not quite the same, is Atsushi’s candy 3 series.






A man who should need no introduction; Mizota-san of Revolfe S.A.  Supporter and inspiration to myself in many ways.






Coupe Skylines along side this really cool 33 GTR.















Kume-san!  I saw Kume at Narita when I landed at Narita the previous week which is always good because he’s awesome.  We met briefly at the meet, but I wasn’t able to say goodbye and thanks before he left.









Liked the color on this 34.






Despite me seeing Nao’s car several times, I never actually saw Nao…this is another one of those unfortunate running around too much incidents.  Nao is actually expanding his shop in Misato (which may benefit me soon hehe), so I’ll be sure to see him next time.






Amisaki-san’s bright  yellow Z32, which he drove all the way from Osaka to attend.  I made sure to find him and talk for a little while.  He ended up just sleeping at the PA and driving back the next day.  Part of me felt really bad, but also very grateful haha.






Another Z you’re probably familiar with; Totsuka-san, who drove from Shizuoka…..







….with his Z on a flat bed.  His registration expired that week and he was unable to get time to renew it in time for the meet.  So instead of saying, sorry can’t make it, he loaded it up on a flatbed and drove it out to the PA.  Again, so grateful to have such support.






Do you know Hirata-san!? Super crazy style FF drifter extraordinaire.  平田 ゲンキ!






Hiroyuki moved his black NSX along side the two Advance ones once the spot opened up to make me nearly collapse with excitement of seeing three of my favorite NSX’s together in one place.






Profile shot of Naota-san’s Phase One S15.






Really liked the color on this FD.






Among all the chaos, I somehow managed to stumble upon Harada-san’s Z32.  Looks like his front bumper has taken some damage over the past few months.  Car is still looking amazing though.






I couldn’t beleive it, but even around midnight people were still rolling in; like this extremely clean FC on G7’s.







Also, while I was running around, Hara-san and Ken arrived along with the Garage Work boys.


Stick around because there is plenty more to come from the 2014 Winter Cafe!





Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 – Constant Fun Casual Snaps

Event, Japan



Before we left to Umihotaru I gave young Matt this 1600 speed disposable camera I found on the clearance rack at a convenience store in Yokohama.  The goal, since Matt is so energetic and speaks fluent Japanese, was to go around and collect a bunch of photos of people (who, of course, agreed to).  Well, a good idea turned into wishful thinking because unfortunately he got pinned with running the makeshift storefront all night.  He was still able to grab some good shots though, and I thought it would be fun to break up the coverage with this random excerpt.  If anything it will buy me some time to edit more photos for the third variant haha


If you want to see more, please check out Constant Fun.


The team for this years Narita Dog Fight Winter meet gathered at Car Shop Seki.






At Umihotaru Jack, Jay, Brian and Noogz; a couple of foreign people that came…I don’t really know them.


Just kidding.












Seki and someone with a Yuta head.







Misa and her FD






Sakamoto being super boss like.






Fun fun









Couple of Matt’s friends from Chiba that stopped by.









Cool FD that you can find a wallpaper of in that section.






Toby and his girl.






Advance and the Hobio.





OK, back to editing.
Thanks for everything Matt!





Event: 2014 NDF Winter Cafe V.2

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports




Continuing coverage of the 2014 Winter Cafe with more shots of the cars on level 3 of the PA.  Again, so many cars were coming and going, that it was hard to catch everyone, especially with me stopping to chat with people.  At this point I had gotten frustrated trying to hand held everything so I went back to the Hobio support car and got out my tripod.  I really don’t prefer taking photos with a tripod because the shots end up coming out very similar to one another, but with the dim lighting at Umihotaru it’s almost a must.
After I grabbed my tripod I went back over near the entrance to level 3 to chat with Baki and the Garage Mak guys for a little while.  It’s hard saying you have to go in the middle of a conversation, but I really did need to start taking pictures…this show, not being very well known, doesn’t have a ton of other media that attend.  I was lucky that a couple really cool guys in Japan took photos as well; TMK’s Works among others.


Next to the Garage Mak cars was the Phase One S15 that was recently in a number of magazines actually…








Rather impressive body work and paint.  I really couldn’t capture how shiny this car was.









S15 lambo door central.








Couple other drift S15’s – Baki gave a heads up to his S15 friends that live in the Chiba and Tokyo area to attend if they could.  Ended up being a good amount ~






Couple cars from Sencist Works in East Japan.





Really liked the scheme of this S14.  Reminds me of LA in the 90’s for some reason.







Well put together Z33.







Another shot of the Sencist Works S13.











As more people kept coming ~






Enjoyed seeing this FD again.  Really like the blue on the Wedssports SA-60M’s against the white body.





I liked the hood on this wine colored FD.







Same tails as the white FD.  Much different look otherwise with the Abflug parts ~






Somehow a lot of the FD’s got parking together as well.  That Benz managed to hold it’s spot for quite awhile though haha






You may remember this 240 from Technical Motor from our Attack meeting coverage in Chiba.  Still one of my favorites.







Huge cutouts in the front bumper to allow more air to flow through the front mount.














Seki’s Garage Mak built S13…and if you think, for whatever reason, that Garage Mak cars are all show; you’d be horribly wrong.  Not only are they tracked regularly, but Seki’s car makes something like 700 whp…it’s really, really quick.






This S15, although not adorned in Revolution aero, is very close with Garage Mak.  The owner, Toshitake-san, is responsible for all the engine builds for the Mak cars.  With that said, you can imagine how built his own S15 is.






Super out of order, but I decided to throw a few more shots of Mr. J’s NSX in.






The silver Advan RS go beautifully with the blue exterior and paint matched Brembo calipers.  Actually, all Advance cars use Endless pads, so even the brake pads would match the theme.
















So well put together; really one of the most beautiful NSX’s in Japan.






I owe Matt a huge thank you for running the makeshift store front all night.  I feel bad because he didn’t get a chance to go around and say hi to all his friends, as he knew many people there.  I had a hard time taking photos anyway, and if I had to go back to the car every time someone wanted any merchandise I really wouldn’t have anything to show you guys.  So a huge thank you goes out to young Matt – awesome work.








Yuki Oshima drove all the way down from Niigata to attend…and he drives the car like this.





Something about this car…






Hara-san unloading…maybe loading, I can’t remember the Car Shop Glow FD from the flatbed.  Always appreciate the support from the Attack group.


Next variant we’ll continue coverage of the third level, as well as take a look at what was overflowing outside.


Still lots to come!


Event: NDF Winter Cafe 2014 V.1

Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM


After I had gotten back home to Yokohama after this year’s Winter Cafe I was nothing short of exhausted.  Around 330am, I sat down on the couch with Sekinei and we talked a for a few minutes in fatigued excitement about just how big the turnout was.  As I slowly recalled the night I tried to formulate some of my thoughts into words but just kept coming up with a blank page; I was truly at a loss for words.  We managed to draw close to 400 cars, and near thousands of people to a parking area in the middle of Tokyo Bay for the simple purpose of enjoying each others company, and sharing what they were passionate about.  That in itself was daunting to me as I had no idea of the growth we’ve had over just one year.  Friends from all over East Japan came to show support; Nagano, Osaka, Shizuoka, Niigata, and other very far away places.

I couldn’t really sleep that night (morning?), mainly due to my mind still trying to digest the past 5 hours, and probably a small mix of jet lag.  I kept thinking about the future of the event, everyone who attended, if I missed greeting anyone, remembering cars that I saw but never got to say hello to their owners, hoping that I had given each friend ample conversation time, etc.  Sekinei and I had been so busy greeting everyone and trying to accommodate everyone on either of the PA floors (all parking spaces were filled), and running up and down from the 3rd floor to the bottom level, that I am sure I missed many people that came; the amount of photos I took is actually quite embarrassingly low.

For all the thoughts in my head, however, I kept coming back to one; and that is how grateful I am to have so many friends that support me in a country that means so much to me.  I had quoted in my initial Instagram post that we ‘often times forget just how much is given to us, in relation to how much we give, and that it’s only through gratitude that we can enjoy life to it’s fullest.’  I stand by that in more ways than one, and rest assured I’ve accepted that NDF would not be what it is today without the support, the friendship, the contributions, and the network of people I know and have reached out to with the site.  In that sense, the only thing I can hope for is more of the same, and in return I will keep delivering to you what we have been over the past handful of years.

Now then, let’s see some cars eh…


Unfortunately, these photos won’t be in the most desirable order.  Because I was running around so much, and trying to talk to everyone, the shots are very sporadic and a lot of time passes between each one.  I’ll do my best to keep them in order.

The first two to arrive at Umihotaru (quite early actually), we’re Idjiri-san and Mr. NH565 aka Sardony-san in their respective Advance built NSX’s.  Actually, as I was driving the Kei car with all the supplies through the Aqualine, these two came blasting past us.  I was unsure if they were going to make it as they were demoing at a meet at the Autobacs in Kawasaki that evening.  Our meet was much later though, and the West entrance to Umihotaru is in Kawasaki anyway, they were able to come.  Good start, I was excited!


If you want to follow this car, he has a very frequently updated Minkara page here.


Sardony-san’s white varient; absolutely gorgeous.


I’ll have more on both these cars a bit later, but if you want to see a little more now, I posted on them a few months ago; you can see the post here.


Slowly more and more people started trickling in, and although the meet was slated to start at 10pm, a good portion of the 3rd level was full already by then.  Here’s a shot of Shingo’s very low Z32 parked with some others.



Junya-san’s beautiful Jade Metallic R34 sedan.


Mr. Go-san’s really cool hatchback.  Was glad to finally meet him!



Another friend we saw in-route was Yui in her Z33.  Good friend and even better enthusiast!  She’s been to pretty much every meeting we’ve ever had, and I’m always glad to see her and her awesome Z.


Yuuji-san’s white Z32 sandwiched between Masa’s Porsche and Yuichi’s Z.


Always good to see Masaki-san and his awesome wife まみラン, who actually ended up being a priceless help towards the end of the night during a very, very strange and random situation that happened.


Super happy that not only was I able to see Yoshi-kun and his new Noji built 86, but that he also was able to come to the meet.  I’ll have more of this later as well.


Takahiro-san’s and Norito-san’s white and black R32’s among a couple others that were on the third level.


Partially due to Sekinei’s hand in NDF, we’ve always had huge Z car support in Japan, and throughout the years I’ve gotten to meet some people that have built incredibly nice ones.  This one has always been among my favorite.


As well as Yuichi’s Z car.  Yuichi has been posting a lot of good stuff from the meet on his Instagram page, you should check it out – @yuichi_katoh



These were all taken before 10pm.  Before the actual start of the meet, so I was just running around with my camera and no tripod while Matt, Naoyuki, Brilau and Jay helped set the makeshift store front up inside the trunk of Matt’s C35.

This FD was caught here once before, and is actually offered as a wallpaper on site.


Super cool EP in Mugen livery.


Making my way back around a few more cars had arrived…


…and more just kept coming.  At this time there were still a few regular cars in the PA that were either resting, eating, or in the arcade so parking was still at a minimum.  It wasn’t until after 11 and all the normal patrons had left that all the spots had opened up.


…as a result you get silly shots like this.  Tomoyoshi-san’s aggresive FD parked between two family vans.  I laughed a little when I saw it.


I love how intense that front aero is.


Pretty cool FD on Desmond’s.



It was good to see people hanging out, walking around, meeting new people, and sharing their cars.  I had the opportunity to meet many new people~!


From the 3rd floor entrance I heard two really loud cars and turned to see the bright green and white of Art Engine’s race cars.  Sakamoto-san had brought his drift spec JZX90 along with his shop mate Kawamura and his S15.  We both blew up in laughter when I ran up to him – super excited he came.




He even brought out some Art Engine nobori flags to accomodate our NDF and Garage Mak ones.  Seriously, one of the coolest dudes I know – check out more of his Cresta here.


Also nice of Toby to come out as well – it was good to meet him and check out his cool R33.


Do you remember Misa-chan’s FD ‘Blacky’ from our Minkara meet coverage last year?  If not, you’ll get to see more of it soon.  She came with a handful of other FD’s and I was surprised to see her!  When I said hi to her I asked if she remembered talking last year and she said of course.  She’s made a few changes since then, namely the new ZE40 wheels, which in my opinion match the car much better than the Gram Lights she had on previously.


Of course I appreciate everyone who came to the meet, but it still stands that there are some that really went out of their way to attend.  Among them are the shops who towed cars, the Garage Work boys, Hara-san and Ken of CSG, Totsuka-san who towed his car from Shizuoka because his registration ran out the day before, and countless others.  There is however, a group of friends that not only drove 3 cars from Nagano, but worked together with myself to make Tsubaki’s S15 the first ever NDF demo car in Japan.  A very simple, blended look that highlights the LINK series with GM, that will stay on through HKS Premium Day in January of next year.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Garage Mak for a good year now, and our first ever LINK collaboration has been very successful.  Most importantly though, I’ve gotten the chance to become good friends with them all.


Baki, Ame, Seki, and the 所長 brother’s of Mak, Kazunori and Tatsuhiro Miyagawa all made the 4 hour trek from Nagano to be a part of the event and I cannot express how thankful I am.

Stay close for more Winter Cafe coverage, as I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Check out the Wallpaper page for an updated hi-res shot of Amemiya’s and Baki’s S15’s during our pre-meet shoot around Yokohama.

Thanks everyone!


Editorial: Blueprint – An Exploration in Japanese Aesthetic

Editorial, Japan, 日本を見つけた




The first time I went to Japan was in 2006, and believe it or not, it had nothing to do with cars.


Growing up I became enthralled with the country and it’s idiosyncrasies that seemed a polar opposite from that of America’s.  I’ve always seen Japan as a country that possesses a distinct sense of restraint, a beautiful calmness that resounds over even it’s most chaotic metropolis.  From the simplest of details, like the coruscating translucency of flower petals in the morning sun, to the seemingly complex, and overwhelmingly dense expanse of steel and concrete in the city.  Tokyo, although now a bit too heavy for me, has a sort of accidental complexity to it that is limitless in both diversity and beauty.  This attribute is something that resonates throughout the entire country, and is harbored in not only the tangible, but the unobservable as well; it’s an evading feeling.  For whatever reason, I felt this strange need to articulate my thoughts on this through photographs (despite me being very green to photography at the time).  I wanted to capture it, and I wanted to share it.  It’s something I saw in strangers faces, a difference that I could sense in the sky, an anomaly I couldn’t quite yet express.  I began to try and communicate this through my street photography, and although I believe people saw it at surface level, I think my feelings were diminished as a result; no one really understood it.  It’s hard to convey a feeling you don’t fully understand yourself, let alone channel it through the face of a stranger captured in secrecy.  Most likely a failure on my part, I’m not the most articulate person and on most occasions will omit my thoughts on the basis of not being able to portray them accurately, or rather, I’m sure that the person listening won’t understand or even worse doesn’t actually care.  I quickly learned though, that moments are so much better when you don’t get people to write their names down to prove things, or take pictures to prove things. There is no speed of film in the world that will make a skyline look like a skyline really looks (can thank JM for that); and no two skies are that same.  It’s something you have to feel for yourself.  Can’t blame me for lack of trying though.  I suppose if one person was inspired to visit themselves based on anything I’ve posted in my galleries or personal blog, then perhaps I can say I was successful in my venture.  I’ve actually just renewed my personal blog, you can view it here.  Nearly a hundred posts have been made private in an attempt to cultivate a new look, but if you’re interested please feel free to take a gander.  The close of 2014 will see my 27th flight to Japan, and a renewal in conviction.


I’ve been absent over the past couple weeks as work has gotten very busy for me.  Throughout the better part of September and the first half of October, I’ve been traveling almost non-stop.  I’ve spent more time in airports, hotels and airplanes than I have at home; comes with the territory I suppose.  You can take that as a weak attempt at me justifying my truancy from NDF, as I honestly do have gigs of content to share, but haven’t done so for lack of time.  During this leave though, I’ve had a good amount of time to think about what direction I want to steer this site in next.  I am a big believer in constant development and being stagnant in life is not something I practice (or recommend for that matter).  My thoughts consistently lead me back to the site beginnings and why I had originally began the endeavor in the first place.  This editorial is a small glimpse into what you can be expecting more of in the future.  Don’t misconstrue that statement though, this is a motor sport site first and foremost, but it’s a motor sport site that’s deeply rooted in the essence of Japan.  I feel that this is the reason we can develop the relationships we have; we share a mutual empathy.  There are people behind the cars we enjoy, and those people are molded by the country they live in.


For myself, it’s an understanding of emotional values; a recognition of the blueprint that makes up every day.  It’s an appreciation of the aesthetics of Japan.






Unforeseen intentions looking out the window of a hotel room, where one building takes an impression from another to create a scene that appears unconsciously connected.  It’s often said we’re molded by our surroundings, so it would appear a scene so convoluted as this couldn’t possibly yield anything less than complex; it’s a bit misleading though.  The personality of the aesthetic is hidden deep within details, and something as simple as a yellow door could yield an underlying premise…






…a rationale of something as simple as the yellow leaves on an Autumn tree…






…or perhaps something more arduous like the rays of sunshine that once shone on the painter on a day spent engrossed in youthful love.







Whatever the reason be, I feel it was chosen with sentiment.    As a result, we have an entire country that was built around the tender inclination that everything has reason.  A place where we can find aesthetic logic behind all things.  Something the vast majority of people don’t understand, or rather, aren’t willing to put the time in to do so.






It is with this outlook that Japan operates.  A network of interwoven postulation that pulses throughout the city, the country.  A mutual aggreeance on operation and accomplishment.



I invite you to follow me as I disect the blueprint through my eye, as it peers through the viewfinder of a camera, that is pointed at one of the most interesting places in the world.



– Sean