Juicebox in Japan: Defending a Kids heart
We managed to get our first sizable amount of sleep since landing in Japan as I was pretty eager to get up early and hit a few shops in the surrounding area before we made our way up to Ebisu. A little digging around led us a strip which has some of our all time favorite shops. The main ones we wanted to visit in Nagoya were Kids heart and Garage defend, the guys from MCR factory were away so that was out…
I’ve wanted to visit these shops for as long as I can remember, this would be another sweaty palm moment where I’d go weirdly quiet and have horrific butterflies once again frantically snapping pics.
We drove down the strip looking for somewhere to eat first. We didn’t have a whole lot of time so sadly a McDonald’s had to suffice. That place would sadly become a local. Strangely enough the Japanese McDonald’s is by far the best I’ve ever had in my life. They take so much pride in serving the food its perfect every time and somehow it feels a little more wholesome or at least that’s what we convinced ourselves!
We found Super Autobacs just by Mcdonalds and decided to go in for a look around.
This place is insane… Once again I’m writing that I had never seen anything quite like it but again we had our minds blown.
You are bombarded with products, sound, colours and information right as you walk in the door its nuts.
Everything you could ever imagine for new car part shop in Japan, a shop with basically all the goodies you actually want to buy.
Most of us spend out Japanese car part hunt through the second-hand world so it was quite alien seeing freshly packages parts from all of our favorite companies.
Every gimmick and gadget you could think of were squeezed between a sea of Bride, Cusco, Tein, HKS.. you name it.
Too much to comprehend at this hour of the morning with a slight hangover in 30+ degree heat we got a few pics and made a quick exit.
Flashy lights, crazy music, classic Japan, something that takes you by surprise as outside Japan is such a quiet country.
Outside there was a service area, a quick peep in revealed a stunning 32 GTR which I should have expected at this point. Must be a seriously interesting place to work.
The car park had a few gems laying around also like this 3000 GT. Im sure these arent too common over there anymore. Always loved these.
Loved this simple EK9 also, looked well used.
This RX7 too, with those wheels!
Right down the streets was Kids Heart. Fuck I’ve wanted to see this place for such a long time. I was left with properly mixed feelings as we rolled up to the store front.
The place was looking seriously bare! All the goodies we had hoped to see were long gone and to be honest the company didn’t look like they were doing so good either.
This is probably a common story all over Japan, the Japanese car aftermarket tuning companies are feeling the squeeze as stuff is exported and the younger generations aren’t chasing the same stuff their elders did.
Made me sad to see one of the greats in its demise but I’m sure this is a similar situation all over Japan and has been for the last ten to fifteen years…
It will be an interesting next ten years for many of our favorite shops we adored growing up.
The more the west latch onto these places, the actual shops are slowly in demise. It’s a weird situation.
Either way whatever was around the store was pretty cool, looks like the guys there are fixing whatever they can to keep afloat these days. Just a single sileighty out back.
Ah well, I felt. One to check off of the list, deffo a little bummed out that the place has long passed its peak but cool to see nonetheless.
Back down the street in complete contrast to Kids Heart was garage Defend. Regardless of changing times, it looks like Defend is still full steam ahead.
Another holy shit moment is driving up to this place, Quite literally some of the best machinery I had ever laid eyes on, once again casually laid out on the footpath. You go from seeing nothing in Japan to basically everything so quickly the brain almost can’t process it quick enough.
This 35 GTR has to be in the top five I have ever seen, I’m not incredibly keen on these models but after seeing ones like this and the others at Endless my opinions quickly changed.
Inside the door, we nervously said hello, palms started to sweat and I walked into the warehouse like a lost child as I laid eyes on another pile of absolute gold neatly boxed in to save space.
A sea of GTR’s RX7’s and their own demo cars, with a stunning 15 getting fresh stickers applied to it in the entrance.
A casual day at Defend. A timeless memory for a few Gaijins.
The owner came out to say hello and we explained ourselves to him, he quickly got excited and started to pop the bonnets of his demo cars proudly showing us his pride and joy.
The 33 has to be my favorite one in the world.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the Defend 33 GTR and finally, it was a chance to have a look around it in real life.
I didn’t really know what to do but just take snaps repeatedly.
Defend is right under the freeway with an entrance to the overpass right at the front gate of their shop.
I can imagine many of these cars have gone for hot run many a time. Such an incredible setup.
Next door to Defends main shop is their service garage.
We walked over for a little nose inside but didn’t want to disturb the workers as yet again this was just another busy day for them at work and we were three spuds lost in Japan.
Amazing cars littered the entire premises right off of the main street, it was completely bananas, no fences nothing!
Inside another sea of incredible beauty, Christ I could have spent hours here but we had a ridiculously long journey ahead of us and it was time to gather ourselves, say our goodbyes and get in the van.
Things were going to get a little crazier from here. Stay tuned for much more next week and leave your feedback below.