Tokyo Auto Otaku 2023 – Hello from the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon!

Well, sort of, because technically I’m already back in Singapore. But with hundreds of photos to sift through, sort out and edit, it’s going to take a while before starting on my TAS highlights.

Sadly, while I wish I could present to you extensive tales of my Tokyo automotive excursion, I was unfortunately hit with a pretty severe case of food poisoning the night before TAS was about to begin and tried as I might (I really did), I had to leave after just a few hours in the event halls. It was an agonising morning that severely crippled my ability to do anything which meant I had to make the difficult decision to head back to my hotel and leave TAS on media day. I essentially slept through the rest of the day and rested until the next morning feeling much better, Allowing me to return to Makuhari Messe once again.

Whilst TAS may be back, things are still not back to how hectic and exuberant as it was before the days of Covid. Trends have also definitely changed, especially for those of us who have grown up back in the amazing 90s-00s JDM automotive glory days. It is a sad fact that I’ve heard not just from the exhibitors in Tokyo, but even from my travels to Germany, that youngsters are just no longer interested in cars anymore.

Though how can we blame them? New cars have gotten crazy expensive and those fun-to-drive, inexpensive sports cars we grew up on and love have either been smashed up and scrapped or are now placed on a pedestal worth their weight in gold.

Add to that a dearth of interesting autos when manufacturers initially pivoted to SUVs has meant a generation of would-be automotive enthusiasts now no longer have anything to get them into the hobby without breaking the bank.

All this has thus led to what we are seeing this year at TAS, a ton more SUVs, more Camper-style vans, and more lifestyle-oriented builds. Catering to, perhaps, the same automotive enthusiasts who kick-started the JDM automotive culture in the first place but have now matured, have families, and just wish to explore a slower side of life.

Though, while many speedfreaks out there would bemoan such a fact, the fact that so many are still enjoying car life albeit with a different style rather than giving up altogether on the hobby should be a silver lining indeed.

What is hopeful though is that with manufacturers now (once again) realising that the automotive public STILL wants cars that are beautiful and fun to drive, maybe with a bit of luck, another sports car revolution could be coming again in the not-too-distant future.

That said, apart from my horrendous bout of food poisoning, it’s nice to be back.

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