All Revved Up

“It blows my mind that I get to fly on other people’s dimes to travel the world, taking pictures, filming and driving cars. I was a rocket scientist at NASA before but knew I wasn’t designed to be an engineer. Just too much routine tasks and lots of red tape in corporate America. I kept thinking maybe I should do some photography. And I wanted to come back to Japan because I came here once to study abroad during college. I kept putting it off till one of my friends randomly passed away while playing golf. He was 63 at the time but a perfectly healthy guy, and was like a second father to me. He would tell me to follow my dream so his death was the catalyst for me to say, ‘Screw it, I’m gonna do it.’ I met up with another friend and he was like, ‘Yeah let’s do it. Let’s quit our jobs, go to Japan then Taiwan and see what happens.’ I saved up some money, sold the car, sold all my stuff and got on a plane to Japan. After a detour in Taiwan, where the car culture was basically dead, I found myself in Japan again, living on the couch of a shared house. Every day I’d wake up, go to a different random spot, just finding cars. I’d go to parking lots, take pictures of cool cars, delete license plates and just build a portfolio that way. But I couldn’t make money yet because no one’s heard of me. I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere without help. So I got over my pride and messaged an automotive journalist I’ve been following on Tumblr. He was impressed with my portfolio. One thing led to another, I started contributing to this really well-known printed magazine, Speedhunters. That opened doors. Now whenever I go to a car show, people would go, ‘Whoa my car will be featured!’ I went from going to parking lots, finding plates, to people showing me their cool GT-Rs and Lamborghinis. I meet the most craziest of people. Then, after gaining experience, I started my own car blog site with a friend. It’s called Tokyo Tuner. My hope is that when I can pay people (because I’m not about that exposure thing), I’ll bring these Japanese photographers on board, let them take the pictures and write about them, too. Then I’ll have them translated into English for a global audience. That is the endgame.”

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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