Locale: NOJIREAL – A Man And His Craft

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Yusuke Nojima.  A man known for many things; his large part in Rauh-Welt, a love for Saber Tiger and Metal in general…but most of all, known for being a master of the 86.  I had initially met Noji at the Circuit Soul grand opening in Vancouver when he came out with Nakai and Yoko for the Matsuri.  I remember listening to him wide eyed on that chilly Canadian night revel tales of him and Nakai taking to the touge in their Corollas and leaving no opponent unbeaten. Later that year, I ran into him again at Idlers at Motegi, as he was in the garage next to ours.  Most recently though, through a mutual friend Tomo of Repzen G.K., we were invited out to his shop to check out his latest build.

 

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When you envision a tuning shop in Japan, it’s probably not common for one to imagine the middle of the countryside.  You’d be surprised then, that buried in the rural prefecture of Ibaraki, lies one of the most famous 86 builders in Japan.

 

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When we arrived late morning, the sun had just established it’s position above the shop’s roof.  I welcomed it as it had been pretty cold that week.

 

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The new car in question, was still in the garage, so while I waited for Noji to position it out on the drive a little better, I meandered around his grounds.

 

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The area was literally a parking lot of Corollas – an Initial D fanboy’s dream per say.  I took comfort in knowing that, although some were in rough shape, that all at one point or another were driven at their limits, each machine getting put to use.

 

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After we had pushed the new build into the makeshift driveway, I was able to get a few pictures of it.  He mainly wanted some before shots to compare to the finished version.  You can clearly see that he had his work cut out for him.  You have to keep in mind though, these cars are reaching in upwards of 30 years old; to restore them is no easy task.

 

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The hatch wing had fallen off so Noji taped it up hahaha

 

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Underneath the hood, the 4AGE sat in patience, awaiting a complete car that it could power to victory in whatever application it was put to.

 

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While he conducted some business regarding another 86, we took a walk around the property.

 

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Yoshi, Park, Matt, and Erika enjoying the countryside.

 

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彼が外人客の接待にあたっている!  Matt is in charge of entertaining foreigners…which in my case was just me because all three of them live here.

 

 

 

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Real Of The World in all her glory.  This car should probably be credited with creating a lot of the buzz around Nojireal.

 

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It’s aggressive stature, it’s menacing matte looks, and a 210+ hp 4AGE that sounds just as you’d imagine it make this car hard to forget.  It’s no wonder it serves as the flagship of Nojireal.

 

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Raise Your Flag.  This is the 86 he drove at Idlers this last Summer, looking like it really hasn’t done much since then.

 

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Actually, for reference here is a picture I took of it last year at Twin Ring…looking, well, much cleaner than it is now.

 

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The engine at it’s core still looking as fresh as ever though – and sounds just as amazing as when it was at Motegi.

 

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The garage, which doubles as a paint booth, has seen some amazing cars in it’s history.

 

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There’s no doubt that what he is working on now, and what he will work on in the future, will come out just as amazing as his past builds.  I’ll be sure to keep updated on the status of this build, as it should be nearing completion now, and hopefully be back to take pictures of the final result.

In Noji’s garage he has a little hidden room where he houses his guitars and what not; a little ‘man-cave’ if you will.  Sometime in the afternoon we retreated in there to take a break and have a canned coffee.  It’s amazing how some of my greatest memories don’t involve cars at all, but simply sitting in a room together with like minded individuals, chatting about whatever comes to mind.  We need to remember that these cars are a result of a specific person; something more than just a machine.  More or less an extension of personality.

Huge thank you to Nojima-san for having us out, Tomo for arranging everything, and Sekinei for driving us out here.