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The Neon Glow of Tokyo Modified Car Culture (kottke.org) 77

Jason Kottke: New Zealand drift racer Mike Whiddett recently travelled to Japan to explore Tokyo's "extraordinary after-dark modified auto scene." He found people making California-style lowriders, Dekotora (my favorite, if only for the sheer spectacle), illegally modified cars, and a man who says with a straight face that "driving an unmodified Lamborghini is boring."
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The Neon Glow of Tokyo Modified Car Culture

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  • This "story" - such that it is - reminds me of websites targeted at mobile users that route you through dozens of pages with a little disappointing dabble at each stop, just enough carrot to convince you to click one more time... until halfway to what you maybe want to see, you just give up and bail out.

    • You know....

      If you have a real car that can perform, it doesn't have to "glow" in the dark and look like some circus side show display....

      I'd think money would be better spend on things that actually make the car perform better, rather than adding a neon underglow light system, spinner hubcaps, and a coffee can exhaust that does nothing for performance or good engine note.

      • The same could be said about PC [techpowerup.com] vs Mac [cbsistatic.com]...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Based on people I have known in California...
        Real street racers don't keep the same car for long, or in some cases even have them legally registered.

        Having a car that glows is explicitly for show. Either it is a trailer queen or it is rolling probable cause (Neons are illegal in most/all US states and are also illegal in most other parts of the world, especially red, blue, and yellow flashing, which are explicitly intended for emergency vehicles and public utility trucks/contractors who need to operate need

      • You know....

        If you have a real car that can perform, it doesn't have to "glow" in the dark and look like some circus side show display....

        I'd think money would be better spend on things that actually make the car perform better, rather than adding a neon underglow light system, spinner hubcaps, and a coffee can exhaust that does nothing for performance or good engine note.

        The submitter should have added the final copy/paste paragraph, it's wraps up their (the modders) sentiment nicely (or it's all bravado):

        "What’s interesting is that more than one of these guys in the video repeated some variation of “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me” I. ...don’t believe you? If there’s one thing most humans care deeply about, it’s what other people think about them, particularly when you’re driving million-dollar, pulsing-neon superc

      • I'd think money would be better spend on things that actually make the car perform better, rather than adding a neon underglow light system, spinner hubcaps, and a coffee can exhaust that does nothing for performance or good engine note.

        Definitely. Adding a nitrous oxide system would definitely be a better idea. Just don't pump the nitrous oxide into the engine . . . pump it into the driver.

        The car will not look any cooler, but the driver will be wiggin' and think that it does look cooler.

        . . . now about my idea for LSD steering wheels . . . and I don't mean limited-slip differential . . .

        . . . so do any other folks have some ideas combining modern automotive technology with dangerous psychoactive medications . . . ?

        Maybe fentanyl f

      • Simpsons did it... [youtube.com].

      • You know....

        If you have a real car that can perform,

        Maybe not everyone wants that?

        I'd think money would be better spend on things that actually make the car perform better

        Perform at what, being stuck at the next red light? If getting from A to B as quickly as possible is how you measure performance then your wasting your time with any car...

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      In this case, the entire article is only twice the size of the very short story summary here. What's the relevance to slashdot? That ricers exist in Tokyo too? Hardly newsworthy, I should think. This would probably not even get a mention on Jalopnik.

      • Ricers driving million dollar 'Italian trash' exist in Tokyo. Still act like Ricers, glue on some JC whitney bullshit and call it 'custom'.

        I'd be more impressed with a smart car with a Lambo body kit, then add the extra bullshit on top of that steaming pile. Make it a rolling monument to 'hello kitty tentacle rape'. Then put the 'busa motor kit in it.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          I'm more for wolf in sheep's clothing cars. Now if someone managed to put a 600+ HP low-weight engine in a Mercedes 240D, and managed to make it street legal, I'd be far more impressed.

          • You need to lookup the Youtube videos of a Smart with a Hayabusa engine. It's really really cool. Obvious death trap. Faster than stink.

            600HP is _easy_ (not cheap), making it reliable, not so much. Getting it to hook up, even worse. Better start with a smog exempt chassis. In CA that's pre 1975 IIRC.

            Shoehorning a mouse or LS into that Benz shouldn't be too difficult. Tub the chassis for tires and put a shortened Ford 9 inch rear end on an adjustable 4 link and she's good to rock and roll. You'll only g

            • by arth1 ( 260657 )

              But I disagree on the car selection in the first place. I'd go with something lower mass. 240SX is a popular choice.

              Because the 240D is recognizable as one of the slowest non-economy cars that actually sold a lot? Even slower than the Volvo 240. To top it off, the Merc couldn't corner well, and the Volvo couldn't brake well (the old joke was that the heavier Volvos were even slower at 60-0 than 0-60), so it was probably a good thing that they were boats.

      • In this case, the entire article is only twice the size of the very short story summary here.

        That wasn't an article. That was the introduction to a video. The video was the point of the link.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          If it's a video, it should be clearly marked as such in the submission.
          This is /. and many here browse with multimedia turned off, and even more have "Other content" checked off in the preferences.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand why this is on /.

  • after watching that, youtube suggested:
    C64 Longplay - Weird Dreams
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Seemed to make more sense. :)

  • It drives itself?
    Has a cluster Beowulf in the trunk?
    Spaceship grade engine?

    Fail.

  • Jason Kotke presents (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @05:07PM (#55703931)
    a Jason Kotke blog posted by Jason Kotke
  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @06:07PM (#55704193) Homepage Journal
    The guy in the video with all the Lambos is widely described as a member of the Yakuza. No big surprise. When you look at those cars rolling down the street, understand that they are financed with the broken lives of a great many people.
    • by Falos ( 2905315 )

      >When you look at those cars rolling down the street, understand that they are financed with the broken lives of a great many people.
      This holds true in most countries.

      The only difference is pretending there's an extra Degree of Kevin Bacon or two, so you can sleep at night.

    • A lot of gaijin in Japan regard the Yakuza as super cool and like to tell stories of hanging out with them. I'd be more sensitive before denouncing them.
  • Apparently single men in the 30's that still live with their parents have way to much disposable income... somebody ask each of these guys if their mother still makes their bed for them!
  • ... if they can screw in the back of a lambo!
  • by sheetsda ( 230887 ) <doug...sheets@@@gmail...com> on Friday December 08, 2017 @06:35PM (#55704319)

    From article: "more than one of these guys in the video repeated some variation of “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me”. I.don’t believe you? If there’s one thing most humans care deeply about, it’s what other people think about them, particularly when you’re driving million-dollar, pulsing-neon supercars around the world’s most populous city."

    I don't have the means to drive a anything close to a multi-million dollar car but I am a car enthusiast. So here's what I suspect the quoted person's response would be to reading this....

    This says more about the writer than the person being quoted. The writer's perspective is very self-centered - "you did a thing to impress me, and I will not accept any other explanation". No - I did it because *I* find it beautiful and enjoy having this fusion of art and engineering around, and would enjoy it even if even if I was the only person on the planet.

    • To be honest, I stopped reading the article at the point where it claimed Tokyo is

      the world’s most populous city.

      Tokyo is nowhere near. By number of people, that's Mexico City. By overall density it's Dhaka. And by density in a single district it's Hong Kong.

      • To be honest, I stopped reading the article at the point where it claimed Tokyo is

        the world’s most populous city.

        Tokyo is nowhere near. .

        You must be fun at parties.
        But since you went there, it depends on how you measure, since the greater Tokyo area, ie the urban sprawl that extends past the Tokyo city limits, but forms the same contiguous urban area, comprises more than 30 million people. It is generally considered the largest contiguous mass of people on earth.

  • and I'm blind now.
    Honestly, as someone who used to drive Italian exotics, what they did to those is a crime against humanity.

  • by tquasar ( 1405457 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @08:46PM (#55704723)
    Drifting is not racing. It is "Look at Me!!!!!" Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    • Took a lady with cancer out to do donuts. It was on her bucket list. I insisted she had to drive to 'do donuts', riding didn't count. But no high speed drits. Just letting her play, not telling her I put skinny tires on the back.

      Stadiums have huge empty flat paved lots. Just scout ahead for crete.

    • It's not racing, but drifting is definitely not just dumb showboating; there is actually a very high amount of skill involved. Mike participates in Formula Drift, which is the best of the best and is judged technically.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Drifting is not racing. It is "Look at Me!!!!!" Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

      Drifting is a skill, and not one that should be confused with power sliding. Also, its not racing, it's a competition.

  • Car owners modifying their cars? This can't be allowed because nobody would ever sell a car (and clearly businesses must be given primacy in society). Independent garages and individual car owners might learn things that let them offer repair and augmentation services, and then car sellers would be run right out of business. We need people buying new cars to railroad them into accepting features they might not like (built-in GPS that the customer isn't told about and is therefore unlikely to remove), not le

  • Granted, my Japanese is limited to what I've learnt to pick up from watching a lot of Japanese TV/movies, which is not much, but even if you don't know a single word you will realize that the interviewees are going on and on and there is a single sentence as a "translation" in the subtitles. Quite bad for something that purports to be a "documentary" film.
    I'll leave the discussion of things like why is this here, what are these guys who can afford million dollar cars etc to other threads ;)

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