I had the real pleasure of shooting Ame’s car underneath the Yokohama Bay Bridge back in 2014 before the Winter Cafe. Back then we had talked a bit online, but that was the first time I met him in person, and being a bit humbled at the time, wasn’t really up to asking many questions. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to stay in touch, and continue our friendship from a distance. The car has also undergone some fairly dramatic changes, so when I visited Nagano at the end of last year, I jumped at the chance to photograph the car again in it’s evolved state. This time, I had the intentions of re-writing an article not just about the car, but about the owner as well.
There are few companies these days that go out of their way to cultivate a culture of quality. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for people to squeeze out as much profit as possible from mediocre products, sacrificing integrity for a quick buck. While it may be the more difficult route, those companies that are dedicated to ensuring the experience of buying and owning a product goes further than just fulfilling a desire, are the companies that are likely to be around for years to come. The Nagano based tuning shop, Garage Mak, falls into this category, ensuring that the reputation of their brand comes before all else.
Years ago I had the good fortune of befriending a couple of Garage Mak customers who have close relationships with the Miyagawa brothers; owners of the Nagano based tuning powerhouse, Garage Mak. Amemiya, Tsubaki, Seki, and others, have become good friends of mine, and have also given me the opportunity to meet, and work with, the two men behind one of Japan’s most comprehensive tuning shops. This last week I made the drive out to Nagano again to talk to Tatsuhiro and Kazunori Miyagawa about the upcoming Attack season, and get a better look at their new line of R35 GTR aero.
The beauty of being involved in a global hobby is that you get the opportunity to connect with a multitude of awesome people. I’m fortunate that the majority of them come from simply supporting the website; I need not travel further than my inbox to find a handful. I try to answer everyone in a timely manner, but sometimes I get really backed up. It just so happens though, that this week I’ve been held captive in my own home due to knee surgery. While the inability to move has it’s downsides, it has allowed me to catch up with correspondence. This weekend I was able to chat with Masao Otani, a resident of Chiba who happens to be associated with a mutual friend of mine. I’ve been following his build for awhile now, but until we talked, I had no idea just how parallel his mindset was with that of NDF.
To say that this Silvia has come a long way in the past few months would be an understatement. It’s not all too often we know the background behind a specific car build in Japan, partially because it is not commonplace to make it known to the world what the builders are doing in real time (i.e. build threads or frequent outlets for updates). So it would probably be a surprise to most that not too long ago this car used to be a gloss white, stock-bodied Silvia until it was involved in an unfortunate accident, leaving it in need of some intense repair.
I wonder if it’s acceptable, in the off chance one falls victim to writer’s block, to type freely their thoughts? I mean, this is a blog after all, and blogs are typically written in an informal or conversational style. It would be difficult to keep it informational to the topic however, if I were to just start spouting off about a random thought. In the case of the Garage Mak Z33, I could start typing about Nagano; the hometown of the shop. Or perhaps about the Miyagawa brothers, the two creative powerhouses behind the brand. I could always fall back to uncreatively (is that not a word?) listing off the modifications to the Z33. To be honest though, I’m pretty sure I’ve covered all that basic stuff in prior articles – it seems redundant to keep typing it. I could talk about how I was naked in a public bath again…does anyone even read this?
No stranger to magazine interiors, Hiroshi Amemiya’s S15 has been the center of attention for many publications throughout the past year or so including Super Street, Hyper Rev, Option2 (twice!). In fact, Enkei […]
For a good sixteen years now, the Miyagawa brothers have been designing body panels for a wide variety of cars under the Garage Mak name. Creative to say the least, they are able to envision […]
Toshitake’s S15 in the underground lot of Osanbashi Pier for the Option2 farewell meet.
As you may or may not know, I work in the airline industry; and in my position I travel quite frequently. Over the years I’ve come to not only enjoy flight in itself, but […]
The Landmark Tower in Sakuragicho, since it’s completion in July of 1993, has always been a favorite building of mine. The area around the tower has since developed immensely, and it’s turned into quite […]
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. […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
One bonus of setting out to shoot a car for a magazine is that you’ll always end up with ancillary shots not used in the feature. I was organizing some of my files tonight […]
When I had initially announced that I’d be making shirts for the site, I was met with a lot of ‘Finally!’s from friends and fans. Needless to say, in the scheme of things, […]
Our partners over at Garage Mak put on a very impressive display at Motor Games last weekend at Fuji. Amemiya’s S15 looked particularly great on the new Enkei RS05RR. その後、程なくして、Formura Driftの写真。午前の予選が終わり、Offset Kingの会場へBakkyさんにあって、彼のS15の写真をパチリ。相変わらずかっこいいです。そこで […]
You know that saying ‘opposites attract’? Well, there is no better tangible proof than this pair here. Back when I pitched Baki’s S15 to Import Tuner at the beginning of the year, I […]