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Making a Square in Japan in a California 67 VW bug.

Posted on 4th Sep 2012 @ 10:54 PM

Recently, I happened to find a dsk with some images on them and I had to stop and laugh a bit when i found the following picture:


In December of 2005, Dave and i decided to go to Japan and not only be a spectator of a Japanese VW show but also a participant. Never having gone to Japan, but having a lot of great friends there, I thought it would be a kick to take our own 67 OG beetle and cruise it around the streets of Japan. It was a long trip and a very long night thereafter once we got to Narita. We cruised the famous parts of Roppongi and Shinjuku, but we were following our fearless leaders, Kenji and Shin, in Kenji's Kubelwagen/Camera car. Once the night was over, we retired to our condo in Tokyo but considering that Dave doesn't sleep in and wakes up at 6AM no matter where the heck he is, I told him that we should go for a cruise in the bug, around Tokyo. A little bit puzzled, he looked at me and asked "how the hell do you know where you're going?" to which I responded "it's easy, we'll just make a square. Considering the streets weren't familiar to us, I figured that we could drive in one direction for X amount of time, and then turn left or right, then drive for X amount of time and turn again, and so on and so forth, I could find our way back no problem. So, we went. We also left Johnny (Barndoor Mafia now, then LA Times Johnny) behind snoring. Our little 67 VW beetle fired up every time with it's OG 1500cc engine and 138K original miles. Sporting its black and yellow TZN 168 California plates and LEE WOOD, WHITTIER dealer frames, our little beetle's heater kept us warm as we headed out on the streets of Japan. Remember, we're on the left hand side of the street now, so people are pointing at me when I'm making radical turns to get back into my lane. As we headed down what seemed to be a good street, it narrowed a bit and rather than turning, I kept going. A couple of blocks down, I couldn't believe my eyes..........a bus???? With California plates in the back window????? Huh? Trained to stop and either knock on the door and/or leave a note on the window offering to buy the bus, we parked the 67 in front of the bus and went to investigate. it was a gutted bus for the most part but nevertheless, it was a bus. Suddenly, from inside the shop that it was parked in front of, a light came on and someone was making their way to open the door. Not knowing a lick of Japanese, I looked at Dave and said "dude, I don't know what to say", but then to our surprise, the gentleman opened the door and said, in English, "I know you guys". This was a trip and I thought, man, I know we haven't exactly been sleeping much over the last 48 hours, but this is like a Twilight Zone dream. The gentleman invited us in and said that he had coffee brewing and offered us some. I asked how he knew who we were and he then said that he'd been reading a blog about us being the first Americans to take their VW to Japan. While he was speaking English and telling us this, I was in a zone thinking "there's a blog about us?". I asked him how he spoke English so well and why he was brewing coffee rather than tea and he then told us that he'd lived in Riverside, Ca while he was studying to be a helicopter pilot. Wow! Small world. Then, my cell phone rung, and it was Shin. After greeting him, he asked what Dave and I were doing in Kohey's machine shop!! How did he know where we were????  Still a mystery to me but whatever. We visited with Kohey and when we left, we finished completing our square and got back to our condo safely. Great trip. Wonderful people.