So I got a package in the mail from China the other day. I don’t often see Chinese stamps or packaging, so I opened it right away. Inside the ultra light envelope was a series of picture cards set in another Eastern country – Japan! The cards were part of a marketing package that Michael McCabe was using to promote his new book titled “Kustom Japan.” And you guessed it – the book covers the American car culture and the Japanese people that obsess over it.
Now, I realize the word “culture” has a negative connotation among those that are simply “car guys.” I get that. The general assumption is that there are two types of people: 1) Those that are into cars and 2) those that are just into the culture and fashion of the time. However, this reasoning fails to recognize the people that are just lost in it all.
It’s okay to let your guard down, take a real look around, and see that we are all part of a culture. These cars somehow bring people together from across continents and give us all some kind of commonality. Yashitaka Imai’s (Good Fellows Garage – Nagoya, Japan) quote in Kustom Japan kind of drives home that point:
“I remind myself that basically it is the beauty of the cars that creates the power. The original skills that went into designing and making the cars are present. People made these cars in factories, on assembly lines. Sixty years ago people had very different ideas about what cars meant, but I think that these cars were always powerful and beautiful. The ’51 Mercury must have been so exciting to see. I am sure it made people stop and point and say, ‘Look at that car!’ The lines, the materials… Sixty years ago that car changed people. Beauty can do this.”
The picture cards included in the package suddenly made sense…
It’s all pretty crazy – isn’t it? And, it’s all pretty fun…