Recently, TunedJapan travelled down to Himeji, Japan. Home to the beautiful UNESCO site Himeji Castle with its amazing architecture that can be seen from Himeji Station.
As we walked out of the station, we marveled at the glorious castle! It’s really a blast from the past! The beaming white walls sitting atop of precision cut stones and boulders dazzle the eyes, pleasantly. No one can deny the inspiration that can be found in its amazing beauty! It’s easy to understand why the Japanese can be single minded in their pursuit of perfection! This was just the beginning of our journey but it was, otherworldly. After we called Pit Road M as Mr. Morishita instructed us to do, he was kind enough to send a car for us. We used the waiting time to bask in the awe of Himeji and all its glory! Out of the all the places we have travelled to in Japan, Himeji is by far the most beautiful and captivating! When we were picked up, we expected a quick ride to the shop. However, we ended up driving an hour into the heart of mountains that surround Himeji. The scenery brought to mind guardians of ancient realms and images of the tales of Greek Mythology; where the statues of Zeus and other Gods protected the entrances of gorgeous, cities.
After we finally arrived at Pit Road M, we were even more awestruck because the location is nestled in the mountains of Himeji; which provided us with such soothing, visuals. It was exactly what “old school” Japan is all about, in our opinion! It took a minute or two for Mr. Morishita to come out but he finally appeared with his signature 50-watt, smile and exuberant, pleasantries. After the many years we’ve been in Japan, it’s nice to meet a Tuner who truly cares about his customer base. He focuses on their needs and is willing to take time to make sure they are truly taken care of as people and not just as a client. He’s such a nice guy and one the few Tuners who genuinely cares about those who are around him. Enough of us showering him with compliments, let’s let him speak for himself.
TJ:How long has Pit Road M been around?
YM:We opened shop, in 1993. We began right as the worldwide, tuning craze began to hit full steam. There is nothing more fun than building exciting cars. It’s been a fun 22 years to say the least!
TJ:How and when did you know that car tuning is something that you wanted to do?
YM: Even as a child in Preschool I was always building cars out of clay and it was always my dream to build a handmade car that I could drive my mother around town in and take her to all the places she wanted to go. Not only that and I know all everyone can relate to this, a car is symbol of freedom, a means to take care of family and in a sense pure romance for the gear-head.
TJ:What keeps you motivated in this industry?
YM:What keeps me motivated and passionate about this industry is the smiles that we able to create here at Pit Road M. When a customer comes into our shop and sees the end results that we have delivered based on his/her image for their personal cars is very rewarding! I just enjoy showing people what their imaginations are capable of creating.
TJ:What is your approach to car tuning?
YM: My approach to building a car is simple. It must be unbreakable, fast, and able to stop and handle like a “bat out of hell.” When I first got into racing, it didn’t matter what kind of race I was competing in whether it was circuit, drag or drift. I was about power, power and MORE POWER! But this line of thinking limited me in the beginning. As I saw the limitations of what I was doing, I began to believe a car should be set up so that any driver can jump in and take control of a car that can quickly be adjusted and tuned to the different driver’s settings. I think a car should be built with the driver in mind. An example of this would be the addition of a cage or roll bar; which should be built around the driver’s position inside the car. This way it remains fully functional. Many bolt-in cages are functional but limited in how they work with chassis. Tune-ability should be in the forefront of everyone’s mind when building a car. This concept is paramount in a successful tuning. Otherwise, it will be limited unless the car is designed for a single purpose such as, dragging.
TJ: What is your advice to someone just beginning their journey into tuning cars?
YM: Don’t cause accidents! LOL! Actually the cars available today are more diverse and there are different styles for everyone. Whereas, we could only choose between sports cars and sedans, back in the day. I don’t think a person should buy a car just because it is cheap. I believe a person should focus on buying a car that they truly like and can enjoy. There’s something about that feeling of enjoyment that comes with buying something that you like and can call your own. No reason to settle for second best in your mind or in life.
TJ: There have been many changes in the past couple of years. The biggest thing that comes to mind is Tsuchiya leaving D1 and starting Drift Muscle and promoting King of Asia events. Some people that we’ve spoken with feel that he’s betrayed the drift seen and industry. What is your take on this situation?
YM:Tsuchiya is a pioneer in the racing industry. He has done many positive things to help promote and develop the drift and race scene. He started D1. He manages a drift shop, and he has appeared in Fast Furious 3 – Tokyo Drift – with his catch phrase “Mada-Mada Da Na.”. He has already done enough to build an environment that all ages can enjoy. I think the new generation needs to look forward and pave their own way in the industry. There is no need to point the finger at any one person. Let’s face it! Everyone reaches that time in their lives where they should enjoy the fruits of his/her labors. I think that is what he is trying to do. I believe he is just trying to push himself further and pursue new directions. After all, it is about a person’s legacy in the end. I know he wants to continue inspiring the next generation by helping to open new avenues for them. Contrary to popular belief, this industry is not always about the money.
TJ: What are your feelings of the Formula D series coming to Japan and will Pit Road M compete in it?
YM: I don’t think so. It’s not that I don’t like drift, but I prefer more enjoyment out of the cars we build. As I said before, I like to build cars that are multi-purpose. It takes a lot more planning and preparation to build an all-around car. That’s where the fun is!
TJ: Since you’re a member of Club RH9, can you tell our readers what it is and why you chose to become one of its members?
YM: Club RH9 is a group of car-aholics who have combined their knowledge in order to discuss new ideas and innovations. They’re interested in discovering how to better improve tuning capabilities as technology and new cars hit the market. Club RH9 is a vital source of information that helps keep the tuning industry “fresh and innovative.” Initially, I was skeptical about joining RH9 due to fact Pit Road M is Himeji. In hind-sight, I should have joined much earlier. I am excited to be a part of RH9 because only the best can join. Pit Road M is determined to be the best! We believe that our customers deserve nothing less than our best effort!
TJ: What do you think about the current state of TAS (Tokyo Auto Salon)? Many people feel it has become a dog and pony show. And that it’s more about the girls than the cars.
YM: it’s commercial and designed to attract people from around the world. But it’s not commercial in the sense that it’s about the “money,” but rather to further develop the industry. I believe it helps pull the industry together as whole and educate the end-user on the best products on the market. I agree there might be way too many models dressed like “Daisy Duke”, but it is a car show. Without the models, no one would come to show. But it is a car show and without the models, no one would come to show. And if there were no models and camera-kozo (amateur paparazzi and old perverts) it would be like Nagoya Exciting Car Show, and you remember how not so exciting that was! LOL! On the flipside of the coin, you have the hardcore enthusiasts who visit the Tokyo Auto Salon because they are truly interested in the automotive industry and what it has to offer. After all, a car is like someone’s right arm. Life would be very hard without it! Why not ride in style?
TJ: Where can customers and car enthusiasts find you at Tokyo Auto Salon?
YM: We always share the same booth space area with Top Secret. I hope Tuned Japan readers will one day visit us at our booth and see what we are all about.
TJ: Well, we know you are busy man. Thank you for your time.
YM: Thank you for visiting Pit Road M.