Japanese Individualism on the Road Home 10/20
Automotive Aftermarket Parts and Car Customization
There are three garages for individualising ones car after purchase. This one specialises in wheels, but also does shock absorbers, suspension lowering, and humungous exhaust mufflers to "Realize" or "Make Dress up Car."
The size of the automotive aftermarket parts market is about the same per capita (about 580 dollars in Japan, 2007 figures, to about 600 dollars per capita in the US) but Japanese cars do fewer miles and are on the road for less time and are of a higher reliability, so presumably a far greater proportion of that market is spent on non-essential, customization of the car.
As another indication of the extent to which Japanese people like to pimp their ride, all of the companies (Mode Parfum (Blow Design), Aimgain, Wald, Junction Produce, Anceltion (RIP)) recommended as offering "Vip Styling kits" in this English language article on how to make your car look like a VIP's (pimp's?) car are Japanese companies.
On my way home today I took some photos of phenomena that seem to me to express Japanese individualism. All of them are visual expressions of individualism. All of the Japanese people invovled in their creation would seem, and in language be, humble, mild-mannered, and introverted. Give them a camera, ask them to design a car, manga, or house however and their taste for individuality stands out.