Movin’ on up

I always have a bunch of ideas running through my head at any given time. One that’s always kind of stuck around in the back of my mind was to build a VIP style car. Nothing flashy though. Just clean and simple. Kinda like this:

Perfect. Getting older, need to leave the wanna-be boy racer life behind…LOL!

New shoes

I think the new Volk ZE40s look fantastic. I’m of the opinion that they will someday be as classic as the TE37 currently is. The new STi on the other hand… The front looks really aggressive–which I love, but there’s a big disconnect when you look at the rear of the car. In my opinion, it’s very bland. It’s almost like the front and rear are two totally different cars. It’s kind of disappointing. This looks alright though. 

Planning the return

This photo came up on my Tumblr dash the other day and I instantly recognized the location.

Back on my trip to Japan last summer, we stayed at the Shinbashi Atagoyama Tokyu Inn while in Tokyo. It sits right next to the Atago Shrine (pictured above), which is actually the highest natural hill in Tokyo, although it doesn’t seem like it with all the buildings that tower over it. The story of Atago Shrine, which takes place in the 17th century, tells of a young Samurai who rode up the very steep steps on horseback to deliver plum blossoms to the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. The shogun was so impressed, he secured the young Samurai’s future. As a result, the steps became known as Shussei no Ishiden (stone staircase of success), a symbol for success in life and visiting Atago regularly is important to an individual’s continued success. Now located in Tokyo’s business district, many Japanese business people climb the steps, seeking good fortune in their career. It is also considered a rite of passage, with many fresh graduates coming before starting their first job.

Going back to Japan has been constantly on my mind. In fact, it’s something I think about every single day. It was such an amazing experience. When I was there, I felt more comfortable, more “at home” than in the US, even despite the language and other barriers.

Over the past year, I’ve been developing a working list of places I didn’t get a chance to visit the first time around. Unlike my last trip which jumped around to cities in various parts of Japan, I’m planning to just stay in Tokyo. There’s so much we didn’t get to see and visit the first time, and plus, because it’s centrally located, it facilitates the ability to do day trips to places outside the city. Places on my list include the Gundam statue and cafe on Odaiba, the Prince & Skyline museum in Okaya, and performance shops like ASM and Kameari.

Hopefully, my plans come to fruition soon…

Wounded in battle

So on Friday, my daily driver tC was involved in a little accident. Thankfully, aside from a broken foglight, the damage is all cosmetic. An industrial sized garden hose had fallen off a truck and hit the car in front of me, bounced into the right lane, where another car pushed it back into my lane where I hit and ran over it. My bumper and passenger sideskirt are scuffed up and my foglight is hanging on by the wires. This would be the second time I’ve hit something that’s fallen off a truck. I’m pretty meticulous when it comes to keeping my cars in good shape, and I’ve actually spent a lot of money on the tC recently to keep it looking nice and running well, but I’m getting to that point where I’m starting to get tired of fixing and replacing things on the car. Part of me wants to have the bumper and sideskirt repainted, but I don’t really want to go through insurance or pay out of my own pocket. I just don’t want to deal with it. *sigh* What to do…

Misoya Ramen, Santa Clara

My morning started out with some nice reading material courtesy of Amazon Japan.

No sooner than I start going through the magazine, I get a message from my friend Ryan. Since acquiring a new car, Ryan has been looking for any excuse to go driving, so he invited me to join him for a ramen lunch at Misoya in Santa Clara. I had never heard of Misoya, so I looked it up and was surprised to see it’s actually a chain in Japan with a couple of international locations. It’s no secret that I love ramen, and seeing (mostly hoping) that it was authentic, I quickly agreed.

I got there fashionably late as usual–about 1:15pm. The restaurant was full and there were three small parties in front of us. The wait was about 10 minutes, which wasn’t bad. Finally some seats at the bar/counter opened up and we were seated. However, the server neglected to give us any menus, so we sat for about 5 minutes before someone was available to give us a menu. The servers were more attentive after that.

Misoya’s specialty is their miso base broth of which they have three varieties from different parts of Japan: Hokkaido, Nagoya, and Kyoto. I decided to get the Shiro Miso (Kyoto style) Cha-shu ramen with an extra topping of kimchi and an appetizer plate of gyoza. Ryan got the Mame Miso (Nagoya style) Cha-shu ramen with extra pork and egg.

After about 5 minutes, we got our order of gyoza. (There are six in an order, I had to eat one before I took the picture, haha.)

I liked the gyoza. I thought it was flavorful. I’d order it again if/when I go back.

Shortly after finishing it, our ramen was delivered.

This was mine:

Ryan’s:

Admittedly, I haven’t been to many ramen restaurants, so I don’t have a lot experience to compare to other places, but I enjoyed my ramen a lot. It was kind of a surprise to see so many things loaded in the bowl. I’m used to really basic ramen toppings like slices of pork, some scallions, bamboo, and a little seaweed. At Misoya, the broth was tasty and the kimchi added the perfect amount of spiciness. The vegetables were fresh and delicious. However, the highlight for me was the pork. At other places, the pork looks kinda questionable. It’s never bad per se, but it just doesn’t look natural, I guess. Kinda hard to explain, haha. But Misoya’s pork looked like real meat, it was tender, and barbecued to perfection. Just really good overall. All the ingredients were delicious and it was a hearty, filling lunch.

When our bill arrived, it was about $38 for 2 ramen and gyoza. Yikes. Was it worth it though? Considering what you get on your ramen and the quality of the ingredients, yeah, I think it’s justified. I probably wouldn’t go often, but I’d go back.

After eating, we went next door to the Super Kyo-Po Korean grocery store to check out their snacks. When we walked in, we noticed they had a tiny food court that served some bento-style meals and some other Korean street food snacks. Walking around, I definitely saw some good things to eat, so I’d like to go back and try some stuff. But this time we were there for snacks, so I got a box of chocolate rice cakes.

If you’ve ever had Mallomars, these taste exactly like it, just more chewy.

Till next time…

Variety

This photo sums up why I enjoy Rolex Reunion so much. There’s something for everyone and it’s all so damn cool.

Still alive…barely.

I’m fully on that adult life now. AKA “work”. Coming from a lifetime of school, it sucks. It’s more tiring than I expected. I try to make it out to some car events on weekends so that I keep my sanity, haha. Actually, the last few weekends have been quite busy. I continued my tradition of attending the annual NorCal Japanese classic car show known as Bayline; I finally made it to my first Wekfest event; and this past weekend was the annual Monterey Historics week which included Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca. So all that means I have a huge backlog of photos waiting to be sorted through. I’ll try to not be lazy and post ‘em up. Since it may take some time for me to post them up here, you can always view the photos on flickr as I get around to uploading them.

Since employment has provided me a steady source of income and all my friends are bad influences, I’ve started checking craigslist and other sites in hopes of picking up a real project car. I’m really drawn to the look and functionality of classic cars, and living in California, I’ve narrowed my searches to something pre-smog. I’m generally looking for something like a 240Z or 510, but working around Porsches all day has had me looking for 912s (since 911 prices are astronomically high now). The prospect of a 912 is really tempting because it’s a semi-affordable (for an early Porsche) 4cyl version of the 911 that handles better and has the potential to make plenty power even on two less cylinders. Plus the shop rate would really help out on the ridiculous prices of Porsche parts, haha. I’ve also wanted an early Skyline for quite a while, but after the $220,000 GT-R sold at Monterey, I’m already seeing the prices begin to rise on the clones and lower trims. Even though I want the less desirable 4D 2000GT, like the 911, I’ll probably be priced out of buying one by the time I’m in a position to purchase.

However, as always, life has to go throw a wrench into my daydreaming, making my searches less serious. Mostly being the fact I have no garage or place to keep and work on another car. That means a house, condo, or something has to come first and I honestly don’t even make enough to find my own place in NorCal. (Thank you Facebook, Google, and Apple.) Seriously though, how messed up is that? Rent is so absurdly high here that it makes a project car look cheap. LOL! Another hold-up is my decision to apply for the JET program in which I would teach English in Japan. The application process starts pretty soon and I am excited about the opportunity, so I’ll see which direction life takes me. Who knows, maybe I will end up staying and buying my dream GC10 in Japan, haha.

Anyways, so the post isn’t totally without something cool to look at, since I spend 90% of my time around Porsches, here’s some cool Porsche content I’ve come across recently. Some old photos of the Mid Night 911s:

And this great video produced by the guys at RWB Thailand of the R Gruppe event held earlier this year. I had the rare opportunity to join this almost secretive group for a day and witness a great group of Porsche gearheads and badass early 911 hot rods.