Nissan GT-R

What the executives of Toyota, Nissan and Honda chose to drive on to the stage at the Tokyo Motor Show was very telling.
Of course, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn drove the GT-R.
My story on the Tokyo Motor Show.
Toyota’s Watanabe scooted out on a single-seater.
And Honda’s Fukui appeared in a ball-shaped fuel-cell car of silicone called Puyo (as in cuddly, friendly, rubbery “puyo puyo”)
My story on what Mr. Ghosn had to say.
Reporters get to carry around a ton of material automakers give out about their new models.
We trudge around massive Makuhari Messe from booth to booth, which are all packed.
The seats are all taken when the executives give their demonstrations so we’re on our feet all day.
Fortunately, there are also monitors to see what’s going on in case photographers’ heads are in the way.

Tokyo Motor Show

The Tokyo Motor Show opens to the public in a week, and the day reporters run around at sprawling Makuhari Messe is Wednesday Oct. 24.
We already saw some models in previews:
My story on what Toyota is showing.
And my story on cute cars at the show.
The themes of Japanese-ness and cute culture have always fascinated me.
For decades of modernization, companies like Toyota were playing catchup with the West.
Now the time has come, in this age of globalization, for Toyota, and others, to strut their stuff as far as what’s unique about them as Japanese.
This is a very very difficult question.
You have to be unique if you want to compete.
But do you set off with the idea/goal of “wanting to be Japanese.” (or “wanting to be cute”)?
Being Japanese is what you end up being _ as a result of your being yourself.
No matter what you do, if you do it well, and you do it honestly, you can only be yourself.
And if you are Japanese, then your product will be Japanese _ without even trying.
A writer doesn’t sit down: Yes, I am going to write that great American/Japanese/Japanese-American novel.
If he/she does, it’s likely to be pedantic.
It’s backwards.
This is not to deny that it is critical and useful to recognize how you’re being yourself/Japanese.
By seeing the world, and studying diversity, a person gains insight into what is unique about a national culture _ and also what’s universal.

Auto show previews

Reporters in Tokyo are very busy these days going to previews for the auto show coming up later in the month.
The automakers aren’t kidding when they call these models “concepts.”
That’s exactly what they are.
The guy with the sign is leading reporters to the Mazda cars . Nissan showed the playful Pivo today.
Amazingly enough I took photos for both previews.