JDM in Japan: RickLuu’s Snaps – Part 1

Fortunately for me, when Ricky went to Japan a few weeks ago, he also snapped some sick pics of all the cool car stuff that Japan had to offer. Many of us dream of going there one day, and only a few of us actually do. For now, I have to live vicariously through those that do go and ogle over the pictures they take.

Ricky was able to take quite a few pics of all the car stuff he could – including the Toyota museum that also featured the drool-worthy Toyota GT86 decked out with all the TRD goodies including some from the Griffon concept that are unattainable for us peasants in North America. Among the TRD GT86 are other gems such as the Toyota Vellfire, the Crown and Altezzas. He made a visit to Super Autobacs as well (I mean, what ricer wouldn’t go there while in Japan?)…

I’ll try to post it in a few batches as there are about 200 pics. But it’ll give some much needed content to my oh-so-slow blog. Anyway, thanks Ricky for giving me the pics! Love them!


Starting at Toyota City Showcase – AKA the Toyota Museum


Cool scooters that we will never get. But we get hoverboards…


The parking elevator


Used and abused. At least they cleaned the tires.




Lexus LFA decked out in livery









My favourite pictures from his whole trip have got to be this TRD GT86. As I said above, there are a few parts on this car that are not available to us. One such piece is that front bumper – a street version of the Griffon bumper.


The canards are available for us… So is the TRD BBK and fender fins you see in the pic.


All GT86 TRD goodies you could ask for. HEAVEN.


On the rear you’ll see the street version of the Griffon bumper with dual center exit exhaust. Another unattainable piece currently is the TRD carbon swan neck wing. It’s actually available for the Japanese market at a mere $4,000.
However, the pieces available to us are the TRD trunk lip and side extensions and rear louver.


Close up of the TRD swan neck.


Look at just how perfect that weave is. Dare I say that it even rivals the quality that Voltex and J’s Racing produce. Absolutely stunning.


A pair of TRD seats – one bucket and one reclining. Another thing to add to my wishlist…


All the Modellista aero – rear stabilizer, side spoiler extensions, door mouldings, headlight eyelids.


Modellista parts pics…


Even interior panel sets for those that like to colour coordinate.


The Gazoo Racing GT86 beside the Gazoo Racing LFA.


Best pic ever. MEAN. I wish this bumper was available here 😦


A shot of the Griffon concept.


Moving over… Here’s the new Vitz tuned by GRMN. Some of you may have heard of GRMN through the news that they have just produced some GT86’s that are valued at $60,000 USD. However, they are not going to be available in North America.



Check that rear. The Japanese rice out everything… And it’s bad ass as hell.


Another stranger to us that we wish we had is the Mark X. A popular sport VIP platform car. This one also done up by GRMN.


Looks so crazy.


Quad exhaust



Love these aggressive fronts!


Carbon pieces are always good.


The Toyota IQ – also modded by GRMN. This one is supercharged.


My god. That ass.


Can’t complain about the aggressive front profile either.


A more stock looking IQ – but still also churned out by GRMN.




Speak of the devil – here is the GRMN 86 we I just mentioned. I didn’t even know Ricky got shots of this until just now. I guess it should have been expected with all the other GRMN tuned cars.


Side profile. Fairly modest – no overly done aero except for simple carbon lip pieces and a GT wing out back.


Big brake kit by GRMN.



Rear racing spoiler. Although it doesn’t look like much, the biggest selling points of the GRMN 86 is the twin charger combination. It has a supercharger and a turbo rated at 320hp. For a car this light, that is a hefty amount of power to push around.

The suspension has also been tuned and the interior includes bucket seats, 4 point harnesses and a roll case.


The seating area for guests… You get to sit in GRMN seats 🙂




A few more shots of the Gazoo Racing (GRMN) 86.


And the LFA again




Here is the Super GT Lexus SC





Put a legit GT wing on something and I’ll like it. LOL






That’s it for tonight! More tomorrow!

TRD Carbon Fins AKA Overpriced Ricer Parts

Finally after almost a year of lusting over these bad boys, they are mine! The TRD carbon fender fins are just one of those things that you don’t really need but you really want them. It serves no real purpose other than it looks bad ass on your fenders (TRD claims it helps with straight line down force but who really cares about down force on a pair of fins?).

The fins come in FRP or carbon and if you’re already thinking of getting the, you might as well go big or go home. The problem for us good ol’ Canadians is that you can’t really find these anywhere that won’t try and rape your wallet. See, the good vendors in the US are selling the carbon versions for about $500 shipped, give or take. Considering these aren’t really big pieces, $500 is pretty steep for a part like this IMO… But it carries the TRD name, so you gotta pay to play. $500 shipped USD is a good deal, but due to our lousy dollar, it makes for a pretty bad price no matter which way you slice it. Next, you have all other US vendors that are charging $699 – not shipped – for some insane reason. It’s no wonder you guys keep bumping your thread in the forum classifieds – nobody wants to pay your outrageous prices. Lastly, you have a few vendors here that can get them for you, but they run into the same problem as you did in the first scenario – the lousy dollar… On top of them needing to make a buck as well (not that it’s their fault or anything).

Anyway, I usually browse the forums and classifieds to see if by any chance there is some good-hearted individual that may possibly be selling a part that I’m lusting over. 9.5 times out of 10, they aren’t. and 9.5 times out of 10, it’s usually some replica of a replica of the genuine part. But that’s a different story… Last week, I happened to do my daily browsing of classifieds and a dude in Toronto was selling these BNIB for a steal of a deal. He had them for a while and I assume he bought them when the dollar was still good, so I ended up sharing that same benefit.

Today is Monday and I feel like total shit cause I didn’t get much sleep last night. That paired with a cold and stuffy nose, I just stayed home. What better medicine is there than to get car parts on a sick day? (The answer is nothing except more car parts).

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The delivery man showed up bright and early, handed me my goods and I unpacked them right away. Look at that TRD carbon goodness…

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Up close of the fins…

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A shot of the weave. I know they’re only fins, but they’re super light for what they are.

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The carbon weave follows all the way to the back as expected.

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Weird thing is that Subaru is stamped on this but it’s a TRD part… We just won’t say anything…

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Time to get rid of these pieces of junk. Personally, I’ve never really been a fan of the stock ones when I found out the TRD ones existed. The grass is always greener on the other side…

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It came off in 15 seconds just by prying it a little bit to remove the clips and some adhesive.

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A few clips left behind that just needed to be plucked out, some adhesive that needed to be cleaned and some good ol’ dirt.

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All cleaned up and ready for the new piece!

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All in! For such a simple (and expensive) mod, I don’t know if I like them because of how much they cost or how bad ass it looks.

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Flows nicely if I do say so myself…

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Side shot.

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That TRD sticker

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And one on the driver side.

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And just one last one because you can only take so many pictures of fins before it gets repetitive. Well, that’s part 1 of 4 and this happens to be the smallest one. I’m glad I was able to get these before I parked the car so I can shit on cars without carbon fender fins. Just kidding. LOL

The Return of BIGNJPN: Giuseppe’s Nissan Skyline – Round 2

It’s been a few weeks now since I shot Giuseppe’s Skyline again with Diana, JC, and Punit – this would now be the second year in a row that I’ve shot Giuseppe’s car – and I’ll tell you right now that this isn’t a bad thing. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it in my last post with his photoshoot, but I would gladly shoot his car at the drop of a dime because it’s just that good.

Oh, and for those of you who haven’t happened to see the last shoot, check it here: https://lifewithjson.com/2014/06/16/bignjpn-giuseppes-nissan-skyline/

Anyway, the reason I’ve been holding out on the shoot is because the shoot is originally for Farm of Minds (which you can also check out here – http://www.farmofminds.com/giuseppes-r32-gtst/). I just wanted to give them the chance at posting it first before I posted up my own rendition of the photoshoot. The difference is more that I have a lot of the back end story, behind the scenes, etc rather than a spec list and full fledged feature. It’s not my style anymore… Plus, I enjoy doing the back story edition 🙂

I know Giuseppe has been DYING to see the pictures. I would send him edited teaser pics from my monitor so he wouldn’t have full res shots. I’m the type of guy that goes for a photoshoot and probably has the pictures done the same night with the full post up the following night. Even for me, I was anxious to share the pictures with all of you. Anyway, you all probably know about Giuseppe’s Skyline… And if you didn’t, now you do. Let’s get on with it…

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Diana and I carpooled with JC just so it was easier to get everywhere.

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While waiting for Giuseppe, I just took some randoms.

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JC didn’t want anything to do with it…

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As we were waiting, the train came passing by and at that moment, I was wishing Giuseppe was around to get some snaps. He actually did end up showing up at the right time, parked quickly and let me get some shots. As I’m writing this, I’m wondering why I didn’t edit any… But I’ll save it for the “winter blues” post when all the fluffy, cold white stuff starts taking over…

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We moved on and finally got to work on the actual subject. As always, it’s not hard to make Giuseppe’s car look good. If anything, his car makes my pictures look good…

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Looks like it came right off the showroom…

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The difference in this shoot was that Giuseppe asked for it to be a night time shoot. I was down for a challenge since the last time I shot at night was years ago. We met up a little earlier – as you can see – so that I could capture some sunset shots…

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It’s almost like we were in Japan in this shot. So JDM…

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That bright red Bride bucket…

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Heading over to the next spot… I love shots like these…

As I said above, this would be the first time I’ve done a night shoot in a few years. And since it would be a few hours until sundown, this would’ve been one of the longest photoshoots we’ve had. So I took the opportunity to take some more “journalistic” looking photos and you’ll see some throughout the post. This is one of them…

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You’ll see those wide SSR’s under the flares from last post, but you’ll also spot his biggest and newest addition in this photo as well…

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Ohh la la

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But wait! A wild Punit appears…

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Just some engine bay shots…

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Giuseppe made a point to clean the engine this time 🙂

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And an overhead shot of the power plant.

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We made our way up to one of the parkades to get some shots over-looking the smoggy YYC downtown backdrop. This shoot was around the time that Washington had the crazy fires and everyone up North had a very smoggy few days…

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That doesn’t really stop Giuseppe’s car from shining through though. The downtown office lights start to shine nicely as it gets darker…


One challenge in particular when shooting around this time is that you get two very distinct and nice tones. Either the cool, blue tone or a warm, yellow tone. The few photos above this one is where I picked the cooler tone. The photos you’ll see on Farm of Minds for the next several photos also took that same approach. I decided to sit down and re-edit a few using the warm tone… Both look good, and I couldn’t decide which ones I liked better…


Sorry – enough about photo blabber. Back to Giuseppe’s car… If you hadn’t guessed it, his newest addition was the Rocket Bunny rear diffuser that Giuseppe retrofitted on. Looks great!


A side view of the diffuser. Giuseppe is a great example of bringing in quality parts and putting a ton of thought and even chance into retrofitting them onto his car… And each time, he executes beautifully. There are other parts you’ll notice that you probably don’t usually see on R32’s – that’s why Giuseppe’s car is so great.

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Loved this shot with the Calgary Tower chillin’ in the back and all the office lights…

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A similar shot zoomed out slightly with a cooler tone to it…

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As we moved down the parkade, I took a few more shots with the typical “parkade lights” and they show the lines of Giuseppe’s R32 nicely.

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In between the last shot and this one, we were confronted by the mighty security guard of the parkade and he told us to hurry up and leave. Kind of dumb because we obviously weren’t doing much… Plus, we paid to get in. Ah well… I got the shot!

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Just a few rolling shots as per usual.

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Mother nature

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Down low. Looks like Hong Kong in the back…

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The night falls upon us… The challenge begins.

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Giuseppe mentioned that one of the spots he’s always wanted to park and get a picture of was under the Core’s overpass in front of Holt Renfrew. I proceeded to tell him to get in line, because everyone and their mom wants a shot there… Specifically, they want a shot in front of Louis Vuitton.

Fortunately, I didn’t turn him down and agreed to get the shot for him. It actually requires a bunch of “right timing” and coordination with a bunch of people. First, it needs to be late so that the valet doesn’t come kick you out. Second, the amount of people needs to be minimal or else they’ll get in the way. Third, a spot needs to be available while another driver drops me off on the other side of the street. And finally, you need to take the best damn shot you can because cars are passing continuously.

Anyway, we didn’t get Louis Vuitton, but we got the main entrance, and we got Hermes. Good enough!

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Some shots that didn’t really turn out how I liked, but once I edited them a certain way, they looked real dark and gritty. Totz cool.

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Here’s Giuseppe backing up into the spot you saw above. That truck was the one that got in the way of Louis Vuitton you can see there as well…

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As we were rolling out of there, I popped my head out of the car and snapped a few quick shots of Giuseppe following behind. This was on Stephen Ave – hence the cool lights on the ground and posts all around.

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Heading out for some night rollers…

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A scene from Fast & the Furious.

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Another dark and gritty shot.

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Through downtown, I got a few shots that worked nicely.

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Check that rearview mirror reflection on Giuseppe’s eyes. Means business.

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And one last one through downtown.

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We ended up at a spot JC had been talking about all night and then we found a spot to drive up onto the side walk and take some dope shots. Long exposure, super small aperture, and you get awesome skies, twinkling lights and nothing but shine…

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Loved this shot too. Kind of like the rolling shot above during the day, it looks almost like a Hong Kong city skyline. (or Japan – whatever you please…)

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And one last one over by some cool lights on a wooden walk way…

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And one last shot – which probably ended up being one of my favourite shots – was this one along Memorial Drive. Giuseppe and I were talking and it reminded the both of us of a shot a few years ago of a yellow R32 that was featured on Stance Nation. That shot ended up being one of my backgrounds during my early photographer years. Little did I know, I’d end up recreating it with Giuseppe’s car almost 6 years later.

Anyway – hope you guys enjoyed! Sorry for the lack of content lately… Weather has sucked lately so I haven’t done anything cool. Hopefully I have some updates soon!

FR-S “Always On” LED Headlight Mod

Finally got a chance to meet up with Anthony and get his self-made “always on” LED headlight mod installed onto my headlights. All that the mod basically does is it keeps the LED strip enabled even when the low beams are turned on. In North America, the 10-series/monogram/RS 1.0 versions that come with these headlights have the LED’s only running during the day. In Japan, when the lowbeams are turned on, the LED’s switch from a high output to a low output – that’s essentially what Anthony’s mod does.

I’ve said it before – ever since Arif was able to grab these headlights for me – they’ve been my favourite mod on the car to date. There’s just something about them – they look better than the stock headlights x100. The stock headlights just look too cheap all chromed out IMO. Anthony’s mod makes these headlights perfect – any car guy/girl will tell you that quality lights > anything.

Snapped a few pics for you guys to see. If lights aren’t your thing, then you probably won’t be as excited as I am, but all I wanna do now is drive at night and check out reflections LOL!

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A lot of the pics will be super underexposed so you can see. Here’s a good shot of them lit up. Looks like an angry anime character now.

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A wide angle shot.

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Close up… It’s a bit harder to tell in this pic because the LED’s point directly ahead, so if you’re not looking straight at them, it’s difficult to tell that they’re on.

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Another shot where you can see the LED strip.

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One last one… My favourite shot because it captured the blue/purple that HID’s get upon ignition.