The Shibuya Boogie

Japan shows LRM how it’s done

This past summer, I enjoyed one of the perks of being in the magazine business. I was fortunate enough to have been flown out to Japan to tour Pioneer’s facility in Tendo. While the trip was short, it was definitely memorable. While there, I spent a night in Shibuya, a place best known for being the famous fashion district in Tokyo. Aside from that, Shibuya is also famous for having the busiest street crossing in the world, and when I first heard about it, I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t think much of the reference. Needless to say I was open for some city exploration, so I figured why not check it out, and I’m glad I did because it did not disappoint.

On the way up there I also found out that the district serves as a central hub for lowriders in the East region of Japan. On the first Saturday of every month, local lowriders swarm Shibuya to cruise, and as luck would have it, we happened to be there just in time for their August cruise.

On that particular evening as the sun began to set, I got in touch with homie Toshi Miyamoto of Eternal Impress Car Club. We talked about the plan for the night and soon enough he pulled up to the hotel in his Rose Gold 1964. To be honest, I was a bit taken back, as it was a surreal experience to be in a foreign land and to see an Impala pull up. With the top down we made our way to Tower Records in Shibuya. It is here where most of them meet up and upon our arrival I was blown away. Impalas and Cadillacs were on the strip three-wheeling and gas hopping, crowds of spectators stood nearby cheering them on and recording the festivities on their phones, and when it came to mass numbers, well let’s just say that I have never seen that many people in one intersection … ever!

But here’s what gets me; the quality of Japanese lowriders is intense. It felt as if I never left home. The pride they take in lowriding is unmatched and unrivaled as their cars were built to only the highest standards. In addition, the variety of their cars was deep.  I saw a few time capsules from different eras and to see a bunch of lowrider Euros and mini-trucks was a definite treat—especially when one considers that these haven’t been seen in bulk numbers in L.A. since the late ’90s and early ’00s.

As I got lost in the festivities, I began to think I was in Wonderland but just when things got going, the police showed up to issue traffic citations and it was our cue to cut out and call it a night. Fortunately, I was able to grab a few flicks but I can assure you that pictures do no justice to actually being there. The energy I felt was unreal, the ambiance unmatched, and I urge all of you to head out there and see for yourself why the lowriding scene is alive and well in Japan.