SNJ: The Lowest of Low

Stance Nation (SN), a name that’s been around for a few years now. SN was founded in 2010 by a Californian local by the name of Elvis Skender. Something that started off as a way to document his life with cars soon turned into a global car culture community. Today, we head to Osaka to bear witness to the first ever SN Japan (SNJ) to bless the streets of Osaka.

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The location for the event was at Tarui Southern Beach in Sennan City, about 1-hour via train from central Osaka. If you’ve been to the famous Izumiotsu PA, you’d carry on for about another 30-minutes, to arrive at SNJ Osaka. Two days I would be here at Tarui, with two lots of different cars to place in front of my lens. It was going to be a scorcher of a weekend too, the hat was out, the towel at the ready, and the sunblock slapped on as I made my way to the venue.

This weekend Tarui would not only be host to SNJ, but also to two other events. Believe it or not, SNJ wasn’t actually the main attraction. One of the carparks were used for SNJ, however, the beach was host to the 2017 Music Circus Dance Music Festival. This was a legit, fully-fledged music festival. If that wasn’t enough, in the next carpark over, a meat festival was also scheduled to run throughout the weekend. The excitement level was high.

Before we get into the main part of the article. I’ll quickly blurt out the one thing that potentially ruined this event. If you look closely, you’d be able to tell without reading on any further. THE DIRT. This wasn’t a sealed carpark, it was a carpark with sand and dirt, loose sand and dirt to be more accurate. The hours of effort put into cleaning the cars was ruining straight away by the earth particles being flung all over the place. Apart from that though, I have no more negatives for this 2-day event, in one of the world’s biggest metropolitan area.

That being Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe (Keihanshin – if using their Chinese reading.) If these three cities were a country. It would have the 16th largest economy in the world. Anyway, carrying on…

Saturday and Sunday would show to have a wide spread of makes and models in attendance. Something that Japan does quite well when it’s not a make or model specific meeting. And, as you can imagine by the name of this event (Stancenation), the main theme from the cars at this meeting would be ‘slammed’ and ‘stance’.

If you think about what a ‘stanced’ ride is, you’d probably think “Oh, that’s just a really low car right?” Well, that’s correct to a certain degree, BUT, there are so many sub-genres to stanced cars. So, although yes, it is a very low car, there are also multiple leaves that come off this branch. Today at Tarui, it’s most certainly Autumn (Fall), because the amount of different leaves is extremely high and the view is rather breathtaking.

The Mazda MX-5 series is one of the few sports cars that started in the late 80s early 90s that is still going strong today whilst keeping its FR set-up. Although not in the correct order, here, we have the original first generation (NA) MX-5. Skipping the second gen, on the other side is the newer third generation (NC) MX-5. And, in the middle, is the latest of them all, the aggressive looking fourth generation (ND) MX-5.

It’s always about pushing the boundaries at these kinds of events. How can I stand out and do something different from everyone else? Well, cutting a hole, half the size of your bonnet is a good way to stand out, and a good way to let water slowly ruin your nice JZ.

Sometimes, going back to simple is best is a much better approach. When I was little, I used to think more was best. As I’ve grown ever so slightly, I’ve come to recognise that that kind of thinking is totally backwards. One fighter with 10 years experience, is always going to beat 3 un experienced fighters (unless they have guns of course).

Next, we will have a look at a few of my favourite cars from the event and some cars that were just a little out of the ordinary. First, this S13, with the Honda Odyssey front end, coined the Odyvia. The lights look totally badass on the S13. Along with the Fairlady wheels, the mega wide body kit, and the fully slammed (static) body, it was an easy choice to use it in this article. Next, I’d love to see it drifting around one of the many tight tracks in Japan.

A car that isn’t actually too common in Japan, unless you’re here on August the 7th. I’ve become a fan of the white on white style. I’m also going to assume this is static, which means, the chassis is either destroyed, or the owner is a god-tier driver.

Something that I’m still rather new to is the amount of cars in Japan that we don’t get in New Zealand. It’s like a whole separate world of car names and car types. This Honda S660 belongs to the ‘kei’ car group of automobiles. And as you may have guessed, the name (S660), refers to the engine size that ‘kei’ cars must be under to be qualified as a ‘kei’ car. The little 660cc engine pushes out a massive 64hp, it might not look like much, but for an 840kg chassis, it’s more than enough.

This C10 2000GT Skyline had me stuck in place for a while. The height of the car and the custom rear guards kept me coming back for more. It’s probably the most photographed car by me at the event. It was just that good.

While looking at this car, my mind instantly went to GTA 5. The Benefactor Feltzer is the car in question on the popular game. Apparently, it’s modeled after the Mercedes-Benz SL65. Here we see the Toyota Crown looking more like it’s from a game rather than real life.

The once frowned upon Prius is becoming a somewhat staple at car shows around Japan. Heck, not too long ago I attended an all Prius meeting at one of the rest areas on the Osaka toll roads. These things are getting more popular by the day. I can’t say much for the first or second generations, but the third generation has a much better look to it.

If I was giving out awards, it would have been for this BMW. The award for the most ‘how do you even’ of them all. It looked staunch, like it would win your heart in one second, then tear it apart the next. And the red plus gold colour combo is a classic that still looks fabulous today.

Ahh, the Honda Odyssey. Probably the most popular van to modify all over Japan. It has such a sharp look that no other manufacture has come close to matching since. This one is a little different though, the fronts been shrunk. It has a newer generation Mazda from attached to give it an even sleeker look than before.

At the end of the day came time for the award ceremony. Park your car, get a trophy. Not much skill involved, especially if you pay someone else to build your car. There were multiple categories, as well as some special awards given out by the event founder, Elvis.

On the morning of the first day. We stopped in at Izumiotsu PA which I mentioned earlier to meet up with some other cars before entering the show. This lovely Fairlady was also there taking a pit stop along with a Skyline from the same era. Both owned by older Japanese men. Do you know the best thing about it though? They had a little van with them, like the ones they use in Initial D, full of tools to get the cars back on the road if the worst would to happen.

The name held true to this event. The cars were as low as you could get. I’m sure every car here would be getting a belly clean after this event. All kinds of cars were present, from VIP to high-end supercars. Although it is an event for stance, the variety is most certainly not lacking.

In typical Japanese fashion. Both days, I headed to the exit to watch the cars leave. Unlike the famous parking area in Odaiba, Tokyo, there was no steep exit obstacle here. The road was smooth and silky. You’d think that on a smooth road like this, cars would be ok. Nope, you’d be wrong to think that. Still, we had cars scraping on the slightest of inclines.

The weekend was done, it was time to catch the one our train back to Osaka, grab some okonomiyaki along Dotonbori river, and sip back some umeshu while watching the sunset between the towering concrete buildings. Once dark hit, I grabbed my luggage and headed to the bus station to await my 3.5-hour return trip. Ten minutes later, I was in my seat, and the last thing I remember is nodding off to the hustle of Osaka life.

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Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable

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