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All Japan Day; Enthusiasts Unite!

There is a buzz in the air tonight as almost everyone in the South Australian Japanese car community is anticipating tomorrow. Whether you’ve entered your car or not, you are most likely decided on where your Sunday will be spent. We’ve been forecast the standard warm sunny day down by the bay. Sunscreen is packed, pre-meets are locked in and most importantly the cars are shining, ready to go. That is unless you’re up late perfecting that one last element before you steal some much needed rest! Once a year we plan ahead for this day; a humble, no frills car show that displays some of the most beautiful Japanese cars in South Australia. Modifications are planned months in advance, pressures rise to ensure your car is a little different from last year and niche detailers have one of their busiest weeks of the year.

This is the 10th year for All Japan Day; can you believe it? The first AJD, held in 2008 saw 150 excited entrants line the oval, while 2016 ticked off 550 through the gate! And only days ago they announced that they have reached capacity for 2017! They’ve also raised around $40,000 for charities during that time which has included Surf Life Saving SA, CFS, Kick Start for Kids and the Animal Welfare League. This year proceeds go to Novita Children’s Services so be sure to keep your eye out for collection buckets! All Japan Day has grown and developed into an event that is highly anticipated by many and it grew from a concept put forward by one Japanese car enthusiast.

Kristian Appelt is the modest founder of All Japan Day. He took action after realising how Auto Salon had become more about the hype of the show than the cars themselves. Thinking back to the vibe of Small Car Sunday, which is unfortunately just a distant memory now, he brought up the topic on the Nissan Silvia forum. He explains that when he raised this point he had others agree that the days of car shows spent relaxing around a comfortable open area with other car enthusiasts had been and gone. Unfortunately, they’d been overtaken by flashy car shows with high entry fees, promo girls and roped-off displays.

AJD4

A few of these forum members ended up forming the All Japan Day committee back in 2007 and they’ve helped grow and operate every event since. Kristian reflects on the ten years which have passed, “the funny thing is we’ve all grown up alongside each other, getting married, having kids etcetera so it has been a wonderful journey with a beautiful bunch of people.”

All Japan Day brings in all types of Japanese goodness from brand new cars such as the Evo X and the MY16 STI to R34 GTR and 180SX track cars as well as cars that have been around for forty odd years like the Hakosuka. It is a true snapshot of JDM heritage and growth as spectators get to see everyone’s unique interpretation and influences of a culture we know and love. Furthermore, the committee has brought us some incredible feature cars over the years such as the Lexus LF-A and Toyota 2000GT. The minimal entry fee for entrants makes it appealing to all budgets and it’s an opportunity for everyone to show off their pride and joy.

“For the owners of some of the rarer vehicles, it’s a chance to expose them to a wider audience and reignite some passion in enthusiasts for vehicles they may never have seen before.” – Kristian Appelt

Wigley Reserve in Glenelg is a large oval of luscious grass that the Council kindly grants to organisers every year and there is no fencing. Spectators have free entry and it’s clear on the day that people visiting the Bay for a Sunday adventure often find themselves walking over to see what all the fuss is about. Kristian explains that “the venue is great because people can wander off during the day and visit other attractions if they wish to do so.” And how true. Entrants often plan breakfast and lunch with their friends at nearby eateries. I think the Watermark would be verging on a heart attack each year but it is fantastic bonus revenue for the local businesses and they are in a prime location.

All Japan Day 2016

The weather is similar every year and entrants hover somewhere between dying from heat stroke and wanting to peruse aisles of cars that interest them. Although the first year of AJD was subjected to 50mm of rain! The location and climate are just a bonus to why people continue to rate this event and there is hardly any negative feedback besides the cars being packed in too tight or the lack of toilets but these are minor concerns. I believe from an outsiders perspective it runs like a well-oiled machine. Moving forward, Kristian ventures that “our biggest challenge now is to manage the growth without compromising the features of the event that made it popular in the first place.”

Although entrants and spectators are blessed with the chill vibe that is All Jap Day, Kristian and his crew have the responsibility of ensuring the 500-plus cars are parked correctly, utilise the space as best as possible. They have to be on the ball all day maintaining order (and happiness of course!). They have added responsibility around 3pm when crowds line the streets with cameras and enthusiasm to watch the entrants leave – this has probably become a tradition at this stage. The crew are under pressure to ensure that the police or local community aren’t frustrated by these behaviours and that the huge crowd are obeying common sense safety measures.

So as tomorrow quickly approaches, the Slow Life Team wishes you a fantastic day. Enjoy the relaxed vibe, the new friends you make and the simplicity of such a cool event. And if you’re entered don’t forget your entry form! Make sure you give the AJD crew a friendly hello and of course, mingle with other enthusiasts.

AJD1

Happy 10th Birthday All Japan Day!

All Japan Day – 26 February 2017

Wigley Reserve from 9am

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Journalist - Slow Life Australia

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