Richard StevensJapan

Godzilla Meets A Phoenix

Richard StevensJapan
Godzilla Meets A Phoenix

During our last trip to Iwakuni, Ben finally got to drive the FD3S RX-7 he bought from Garage Fukui (Phoenix Powers). Having brought his equipment with him, I knew hewanted to take some great shots of the car and I knew the perfect spot.

The seawall in Iwakuni runs along either side of the Nishiki River to where it feeds into the Seto Inland Sea. The road next to the wall is pretty small, but there is an area on the opposite side of the river from the base that is mostly farmland. I knew it would be the perfect spot for Ben to get some amazing shots of his car. While we were at it we decided to steal Jim's awesome GT-R for the day so we could do a supercar photoshoot of sorts. As you can see, Ben's shots came out pretty amazing.

The two cars are an interesting contrast in style, with FD running full RE Amemiya aero and the GT-R running factory aero. Sleek supercar vs. Japanese muscle.

RE Amemiya can do no wrong in my opinion. Pictures do not do this car any sort of justice. In person it quickly became my favorite FD look of all time. While I do love the more modern canards and diffuser-laden kits you see out there, there's something about the smooth and flowing design of the older RE kits that is perfect.

I think the best adjective to describe Jim's GT-R is simply menacing. The bulging fenders combined with black Regamasters looks so aggressive. The fact that it's fast as balls certainly lends to the menace.

Because of the 25 year import limitations in the US, Ben can't import his FD for a couple years, but he keeps it registered on the road in Japan so he can drive it when he visits.

What an awesome shot. It looks like farmland as far as the eye can see, but we were actually a short drive from town. The white van up the road is the Delica, which Jim lets us run around in when we visit.

The typical farm in Japan is very small and I've heard some people refer to it as "heritage farming", an assumption that traditionally farming was always done by families on land they owned. The reality is that prior to the US occupation the majority the majority of farms were owned by "Zaibatsu", powerful industrial conglomerations. At the outset of the occupation the US sought to weaken the Zaibatsu by essentially putting an end to the tenant farming system. This land redistribution policy affected nearly 6 million households and resulted in more rural income equality. 

One thing I've always noticed about Japan is the power lines. They're everywhere, and sometimes they can be the only sign of modernity in a picture. Behind the farmhouse in this picture you can actually see a modern building from the Marine Corps Air Station. It's one of what seems like a dozen mid-rises the base has now and is where service members and their families live. When I was in elementary school I actually lived in that particular mid-rise. Back then there were only two of them. Now, thanks to an explosion in the base population, there seems to be almost a dozen of them.

Another great shot by Ben. You can see Cowboy Charlie standing on the top of the seawall and directly behind him is where the Nishiki River feeds into the Seto Inland Sea.

This part of the seawall is also where guys take their girlfriends at night to park and make-out. Thankfully it wasn't dark out so I didn't have to worry about Ben and Charlie having a go at one another...

The man at work.