During my March-April 2005 Japan visit I attended the "MICRA" club's Annual Meeting in Sagamiko Picnic Park, Kanagawa. My Japanese friend YUSU san was awesome enough to pick me up from Yokohama bullet train station in his super funky HK11 audio car and be my guide for the meeting. The sat nav system kept us on the right road, speaking out whenever we had to turn. Britney Spears was pumping through the high quality sound system and playing on the DVD screen. At some stage we must have been doing 20kmh over the speed limit, because this police officer (koban!) popped out from some side street waving a stop (tomare!) sign in our faces. They must have had some hidden camera somewhere. YUSU san and I were very surprised and disappointed - KOBAN!
Spirits still remained very high. Soon we arrived at the meet yelling out "MARCH MARCH MARCH!!!" overwhelmed by how many marches there were all lined up in their dedicated parking spaces. It was an instant overload. A meet official guided us into our dedicated parking space and out we stepped into micra heaven. I filled up my half gig camera memory card pretty quickly, but luckily got photos of the majority of everything. There were a couple of k10s, a heap of K12s and a big heap of K11s. Although I was told by everyone that this was the smallest micra meet they've ever had! The best one had 5 times as many cars as this, so probably around 200 cars! Wow! And I was even so impressed with this meet as it was.
They had an official marquee and the host DEBU DEBU san had a cordless microphone. He even officially welcomed me from Australia to the whole crowd over the microphone - haha! DEBU DEBU san is a very very well known march enthusiast and club organiser. He used to own the very famous turbocharged white k11 which is shown in this site's image gallery. Sadly, that car is now scrapped and sold for parts and DEBU DEBU san now runs a nicely modified K12 March. DEBU DEBU san is a complete legend. He is such a bubbly, happy personality. He really lifts the whole atmosphere of the meet, so he's a great host. He was also assisted by some other guys including KANEDA san who is another extremely nice guy. KANEDA san's k11 is one of the most elaborate in the world. Its all about aesthetics and audio/visual gadgets. Everything is tricked up to the max, it even has hydraulic suspension and rises and lowers when he parks it. When its parked, it sits literally on the ground, you couldn't drive 1 metre with it like that haha, but looks totally awesome.
Most of the day was open-car socialising. There was time scheduled for lunch. You bought your own lunch from a convenience store on the way to the meet. Obento was recommended. This is a Japanese assorted lunchbox. There are millions of kinds of obento, and they are extremely delicious and very reasonably priced. Walk into a 7-11 convenience store and find like 50 types of obento ready to go in front of you, and all beautifully fresh.
There were full on race-only k11s, tricked up k11s with 6 TVs in them, absolutely everything. It would blow your mind. The Japanese really take things to the n'th degree. You could basically pick any single car, and if it was in Australia, CMF members would spend all day looking at this one single car and you might find it had like 10 interesting things about it. But my situation was so difficult because there were so many cars just like that all around me. This meant overload and made lots of great photos, but also meant that I know there would have been so many awesome clever gadgets and creative things that I wouldn't have even got time to check out or notice because of the overwhelming situation and the limited time!
Fujita san from B-Crews k11 performance garage showed up. He was in his second k11 demo car. It was a plain and simple looking vehicle on the outside, but was packed with awesome clever equipment on the inside - the ultimate stealth! Fujita san had his three different models of March pre-made exhaust systems on display, as well as his own custom made coil-over height adjustable suspension system (which I'd already bought a set of a week earlier), alloy light weight alternator and power steer mounts, remote battery mounting kits, engine damping kits among many other things. He's a real creative and talented man Fujita san. Someone also who was very kind to me and I will keep in touch with. Fujita san I would crown the world leader in customer service. He picked me up from the train station, took me to his shop, sat me down in his office in a pair of guest Japanese thongs, his secretary made me a cup of coffee, took so much time to explain everything to me about his products, gave me awesome surprise discounts even after I'd agreed to pay normal prices for his goods, sent all the things I'd bought to my hotel for free his compliments, then dropped me back to the train station in his company's demo car Suzuki Swift (wow what a beast also). Fujita san, you can hold your head up very high and be very proud.
Two awesome editors from Hyper REV magazine also showed up to photo shoot the meet. Hyper REV is one of Japan's leading performance car magazines. They've already released a dedicated March k11 edition magazine which I have a copy of. Anyway, far out - they assembled the entire meeting group into a large photo shoot in which they got me to be front centre holding up this "MICRA March Owners Club" sign right up at the front. Then they interviewed me and took my photo, asked me all about why I was here, my passion for the k11 micra, about my own car and what kind of parts I've bought while in Japan. That was crazy. They are releasing a new K11 and K12 March dedicated edition magazine in June 2005, so I'm definately buying a copy. They are going to feature this meeting in the magazine, so I wouldn't be surprised if my photo shows up in there somewhere. The guys asked me to send in photos of the blue monster, they were pretty interested about some of its specs.
By mid afternoon it was time for the traditional Japanese game of Jan Ken Pon (Scissor Paper Rock). The March Owners Club do this at all of their annual meets. There was an enormous amount of prizes and recycled micra goods up for grabs - it was very exciting! You could even win NISMO performance clutches for your K11, so it was very full on. This was so popular, everyone was laughing so much for so long, all the little kids loved it aswell. Everyone seemed to take home something special. Such a good demonstration of Japanese kindness which you will find all across their whole country. Basically the auctioneer or host (DEBU DEBU san) holds up a particular item for the next game, if you are interested in winning that item, then you raise your hand. Then the game begins, and you play Jan Ken Pon against the host and everyone else in the same game. The last remaining winner claims the goods.
After that it was time for a competition to elect the crowd's most favourite March. There were about 8 vehicles already nominated to be in the final running. Every guest was given a small laminated card with their name on it which you would place in the driver's seat of your most favourite March out of the 8 in the running. My friend YUSU san's March was one of them. I voted for YUSU, I really loved his k11 audio car and also wanted him to win! But it boiled down to KANEDA san's awesome HK11 and some other guy's superb fully decked out K12. So then if you didn't vote for these guys you could re-vote again for one of the remaining two. I voted for KANEDA san. His car was ballistic, its the crazy dumped white one in the pictures, but apart from that, he's such a nice guy. I gave him a micra lanyard and a CMF sticker. He was quick to place the sticker on his awesome car (see some of the photos near the bottom below). Unfortunately, the K12 took out the victory, but congratulations to him, it was a fantastic car also (just not a k11!).
I met some brilliant lovely people all through the day. I walked around talking to everyone and heaps of people also came up to me and introduced themselves. I met Kohta Kawana - a Japanese micra friend who I'd met only on the internet like 5 years ago! It so happened that he'd turned up to the meet in his new orange K12 (there is a photo of Kawana san with his K12 somewhere below also) - that was a very nice surprise to meet someone in real life unexpectedly. I also became good friends with HIRO san. I still keep in touch with people from the meet and it was fantastic that I got the opportunity to go and meet so many of them - WOW what a high. I was also given so many stickers, laminated cards, printouts, badges etc all as souvenirs from my micra friends.
This was definately one of the key highlights of my trip to Japan. If you ever get the chance to hook up with these guys, I would highly recommend it, you will wet your pants.
A massive thank you to YUSU san, the Japanese "MICRA" March Owners club and its members and all who made the day such a blast and were so welcoming to me.