In the wake of devastation, north-central Japan showed little signs, if any, it’d recently been victim to the worst dose of disaster Mother Nature could possibly muster up. Matter of fact, if I hadn’t seen the televised catastrophe myself, I’d have never even suspected anything ever occurred near Tokyo—and I’m not necessarily talking about visible structural damage, either.

Having had the great fortune of attending Mooneyes Hot Rod & Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan, a number of times over the last 10 years has, among numerous things, allowed me to immerse myself in the Japanese hot rod/custom/motorcycle community … language barriers notwithstanding! Out of all the various, often unique characteristics, what’s always stood out most predominantly to me is each car/bike owner’s sincere dedication to their distinguished hobby, something many Americans take more for granted than anything else.

Naturally, my first instinct upon arriving in Yokohama this past December was to find that sense of dedication compromised in the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that rocked southern Japan to its core. To my elation, from the minute I cleared customs at Narita Airport, I found myself in an amazingly spirited Japan. And once the doors of the Pacifico opened Sunday morning and the 20th Annual Hot Rod & Custom Show commenced, the atmosphere of those in attendance was not what you’d expect from a people overcoming such a horrific event. Quite the opposite, to be honest.

People flocked to the Pacifico to see such four-wheeled “foreign” attractions as Chris Broder’s ’49 Chevy (fresh from its recent appearance in The Rodder’s Journal), Marky Idzardi’s “Purple People Eater”, two of the Bean Bandits LSR cars, Gene Winfield’s custom candy green Chevy pickup, Pete Chapouris’ SO-CAL roadster and Triumph Thruxton, and a wide array of custom motorcycles. And then there were all the “domestic” entries—of which we have but a minor sampling for your visual perusal (go online to www.mooneyes.com to see more).

For the first time since its inaugural show back in December 1992, Mooneyes packed the entire Yokohama Pacifico convention center—with people and vehicles. Mooneyes set both attendance and participant records, facts you’d have been hard pressed convincing me of had I not been there to witness it myself. But witness it I did, and I’m more than grateful having had the opportunity to do so … once again. Thank you to Shige Suganuma and his entire Moon brigade for making that possible … once again!