When you ask a group of teenagers about Japan, most will reply about some lame anime that they like, some buzz kills will go on and on about tsunamis and earthquakes (its not like you can prevent them from happening by talking about it), and if you have a car nut in that group, he or she will reply: they have the best car tuners in the world.
In late 1973, Hiroyuki Hasegawa, an Engineer at Yamaha Motor Company, quit his job. Along with Goichi Kitagawa, and funds provided by the Sigma Auto Corporation, the partnership of Hasegawa-Kitagawa-Sigma was formed.
Starting out by “tuning” diesel engines in a shed at the foothills of Mount Fuji, HKS is now the most legendary Japanese tuner of them all. From racing DTM cars in Germany to leading the pack in JGTC and demolishing world records in drag and top speed racing, HKS was at the top of the car tuning game all through the 90's and well into the 00's.
The cars tuned by HKS are equally legendary: the HKS TRBO2 Lancer Evo VII Time Attack car, HKS Driving Perform Skyline GTR and all carbon Time Attack Toyota Altezza, all are drool-worthy HKS machines, gracing every cover of every tuner magazine imaginable.
HKS has been providing every imaginable upgrade to popular Japanese cars over the past three decades. From high compression turbochargers to adjustable suspension kits for the road, to wild body kits, HKS makes it all. The popularity of HKS amongst our deshi “tuners” is clearly evident through the hundreds of HKS stickers lathered across mundane Coronas and Starlets (even if these cars don't have a single HKS part on them).
One of the names that are synonymous with Japanese performance tuning is Top Secret. Founder “Smoky” Nagata is the perfect embodiment of an Eastern bandit, using his insanely fast steeds (read: Supras, Skylines, and 350Z's) to raid towns and cities at lightning fast speeds. Nagata was banned from ever entering England after he used his tuned 900bhp Toyota Supra to hit 200mph on the M1 before being busted by the police. He was also deported from Australia for doing burnouts on public roads using his crazy V12 powered Supra.
Top Secret, like HKS, makes every upgrade imaginable: from gear knobs to carbon body parts to even body paint, if you can afford it (it's crazy expensive, even in Japan), you can put it on your car and on the road. Top Secret usually concentrates on Nissans and Toyotas, but what's wrong with concentrating on two of the most prestigious and popular marques to come out of Japan?
If you own a Honda and know a little something about the world of Japanese tuners, you should have heard about the holy trinity of Honda aftermarket performance: Mugen, Spoon Sports, and Type One.
Mugen was founded by Soichiro Honda's son, Hirotoshi Honda as an independent aftermarket tuning company in 1973. Many think that Mugen is owned by Honda, such is the close bond between the manufacturer and tuner (it isn't owned by Honda). Every car built by Mugen has a “balance factor” that refines a car's feel instead of lusting after incredible power, like the other tuners here.
Like Mugen, Spoon Sports also believes in a balance of power, light weight and handling, to build an ultimate car from what they believe are already potent starting points. Type One is a subsidiary of Spoon Sports, developing parts and upgrades from the racing technology and experience that trickles down from Spoon Sports' racing arm.
Founder owner Tatsuru Ichishima has been racing Honda cars and bikes since the late 60's, so we can safely assume he knows a thing or two about one of Japan's premier car manufacturers.
Unfortunately, we have limited space, so we end with the most legendary “visual tuner” of them all: Veilside. Established in the hey days of the import movement in the early 90's, Veilside used to cater to performance enthusiasts until one of its employers was killed while racing a Veilside demo car on public roads. Veildside decided to make only body kits after that, and gifted us gems like the Combat kit for the Supra, the Vielside 2000 Honda S2000, and the Veilside Fortune Mazda RX7 (remember that orange car from Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift? Same one).
We want Japanese culture to stay the same forever. With their school uniforms, manga, anime, their mountain roads (touge's), their cars and their tuners, may Japan live long and prosper.
By Shaer Reaz
Laugh At My Expense
By Tareq Adnan
I am tired. There is a suggestion of immense weight on the back of my shoulders and every now and then I stop and bow down. It doesn't really help but in the process I get to close my tired eyes for a few moments. It helps to an extent. But just to an extent. A laugh would help, but the conscientious public minded comics these days aren't funny anymore.
I am the last person you'll ever laugh at. In this world of over sensitivity, I am willing to martyr myself for something as abstract as comedy. These days, with having to think about political correctness and every other form of correctness there is (right down to editorial correctness and Marxist Feminist correctness), the everyday comic, faces obstacle after obstacle, and to what end? What are his rewards? The adulation? There is none for the funny guy, and please, the money and fame only happen in Hollywood.
So, in that respect, let me start. For all you dejected rejected comics, I will help you make fun of me. Let the first cut be mine.
I am overweight, not unlike the oblong tubers you sometimes find in a kilo of potatoes meant to be fresh and new.
That tuber that has all those unsightly eyes poking out, whitish, resembling a human face full of zits. The comparison is furthered by the fact that I like potatoes, the only vegetable that can be conceivably said to have a causal relationship with heart attacks. Oh yes.
I am short sighted. Without my glasses, most people naturally assume that I bump into walls. I don't. But what the hell. My glasses are old, old enough that I've grown so comfortable in them, the idea of replacing them is tantamount to rape in my mind. And yes, that brings me to another detail about myself. I get attached to things that have long outlived their usefulness. My phone, for one. The camera is busted, the screen is shot with scratches, but I cannot part with it. Funny? No? But I'm sure you can make it funny.
I have a debilitating aversion to new clothes. I feel “different” in them. I once described the feeling to myself in front of a mirror. It's like replacing my eyes with a snazzier, sharper set, as you would a camera. Freaky I know. Go ahead. Laugh. Yes, there it is. Also, I find buttons useless. If you can pull it over your head and wear it, why the hell would you go and split it down the middle? I can get irrational about buttons. I have a closet that is the next best thing to empty. I'm pretty sure you can come up with something funny with this little tidbit.
I have a handwriting that can be best described as a careless scrawl and if you wanted to be cruel, any figurative alluding to the aesthetics of excrement would suffice nicely. If I pay attention, I end up somehow messing up my “r's” and my “f's”. And I end up writing in that unimaginative staid block type that I personally describe as girly. Over the years I've fiddled around and obsessed more over my handwriting and changed it more times than I've combed my hair. True story. Make fun of it.
I resist change like a dog resists baths. This particular trait has hindered a lot of personal progress, be it in career or education. Just the other day, I told a friend of mine about how capitalism gives one too many choices. I went further and said I wanted communism, where they give me a standard version of everything. No choice, no trouble. No change, none at all. Let the Commie jokes come in now.
I spend a lot of time reading, thereby screwing up my eyes. I can't stand the female characters. I have yet to read LOTR because I fear I might actually like it. The only human connection that I truly feel is when whatever character I'm reading about punches someone in the face. Because I've never had the guts to do the same to some people I could name. Fat coward jokes? Well that isn't really new. Why not though? Clichés can be funny.
My kid brother, in his English copy, answered that burying the hatchet meant “To end a squirrel”. I was inordinately proud of him for coming up with this jewel of a line. On his birthday, when he excitedly laid claim to the part of the cake that had his name on it, I felt this insane, surreal moment of inspiration. Which I later lost because I was busy eating cake. My love for food has cost me in more ways than merely money. I could have written something beautiful if it weren't for that cake. Tickles you doesn't it, this failing of mine? Giggle.
I remember the first time I ever went into a mosque, one by the sea. I remember my father quietly settling me down, telling me to stay still. I remember not listening to him. I remember getting up and running around the empty back rows. I remember being quietly reproached. I remember when all the people stood up as one and began praying. I remember their synchronised movements. I remember being terrified, because my father didn't respond to my calls. I remember hating my father. Laugh.
Every time I meet my mother I feel an insane urge to hug her and yet I never do. I crack jokes about her weight, about her hair. I can see the welling sadness in her eyes, but I don't stop because I can't.
Breakneck speeds require idiocy. I am an idiot when I'm around my mother, and the most heartless jerk you'll ever meet. I do all this, why? Because I know she has power over me and I hate that. Mummy's unwilling boy? Why not? It's funny.
The high point of my day comes when I lie down in bed and read. No, that's not right; the high point is when I can tell I'm falling asleep. That sliver of a moment, when I know I'm almost asleep and yet… I'm awake. When I know my dreams are just around the corner. And every morning when I wake up, I feel betrayed on a very personal level. Nightmare jokes? Sure. Go ahead. Chuckle at my expense.
I have given you the ammunition. Now, make me laugh.
The pages of Rising Stars are littered with numerous characters. Although these characters have added life and carved a niche for themselves among the fans over the years, very little is known about them. This anniversary we take a sneak peek into the lives of these popular personalities.
Name: Doctor Who
Name: Professor Spork
Name: Sir Doctor Lovelove
Name: Lady Orochimaru
Name: Ninja Murgi and Captain Kauwa
Name: The Gruesome Statistic and The Awful Fact
Name: Le Chupacabra
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