Friday, April 22, 2005

American Touge

AT Finally, I'm able to post a photo on to this blog. That Picasa software is no good. I love this DVD cover. I think it's the best we've had so far.

LA bound

American Touge is about to hit the streets next week and we are bound for LA again for a Best Motoring shoot this time to shoot the Ford GT. Organizing a location shoot is a really hectic process. Producers, directors, the cast and coordinators all have to work together for it to go smooth. Lucky we have Zigzag Asia (America) that basically takes care of every thing we need to in the US. Masa and Ken at Zigzag Asia (America) have been working overtime to make sure all transportation is taken care of, all the cars are in place when we need them, all filming permits and licenses are taken care of and even make sure there is lunch for everyone. This is going to be very interesting shoot since not only were we able to get a hold of the new Ford GT but we were also able to get a fully restored origianl Ford GT40 to appear as well. Talk about a blast from the past. We won't be able to go full throttle on the GT40 but we will for sure on the Ford GT. Gan-san will make sure it will be tested.
Somehow I haven't been able to upload photos onto this thing lately. It's not working.
Next, I'll put some more stuff from my trip to LA. Hasta luego.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hot Version Volume 3 American Touge

Sales Start April 30, 2005
Hot Version goes West for the first time as Tsuchiya and Orido travel to California. As you know the Touge Showdown is one of the popular segments in our DVDs and we are proud to been the one to export the word "touge" from Japan. With drifting gaining more and more recognition, the touge is being recognized as the place where it all started. That being said, Keiichi Tsuchiya and Manabu Orido were both notorious touge racers before entering the world of professional motor sports. But they never forgot their roots were at the touge. In this special American Touge Showdown we gathered cars from America's top J-car tuners willing to step up to the challenge. Will the US tuners endure heavy bagging? Or will they gain respect from the outspoken critics of the two experts from Japan? In the end they race the touge tail to nose to see which tuner will walk away with the first American Touge champion. This English version has a longer director's cut compared to the Japanese version video! Footage you can only see here!
Featured Cars : Comptech NSX, Comptech S2000, Hasport EP3 Civic, Top Setup EG6, Techno Toy Tuning AE86 Corolla, Vishnu EVO VIII, XS Engineering Impreza and Honda S2000. Featuring: Keiichi Tsuchiya, Manabu Orido and Kazumi Kondo

RX-7 Real Sports
We love the RX-7 and we cover both tuned and stock. An indepth look into the FD3S.
Featured Cars : Fujita Engineering FD3S, Yumekobo FD3S, Panspeed FD3S, Auto Produce Boss EVO, Zero Sports Impreza, Sanai Works FD3S, FD3S Bathurst R A-spec, Lancer EVO VIII GSR, Impreza STi spec C and NSX-R
Featuring: Keiichi Tsuchiya, Nobuteru Taniguchi, Daisuke Ito, Katsumoto Kaneishi, Shunei Kawasaki

Life in the Fast Lane - Orido & Wakisaka [ episode II ]
Our cameras follow the two Japanese racing stars throughout the season of JGTC, Super Taikyu and Formula Nippon. Featuring: Manabu Orido and Juiichi Wakisaka

BONUS FOOTAGE Keiichi Drives a Cop Car!
You know Japan is the land with GT-R and other sport compact police cars. This day we followed Keiichi where he was greeted as a driving instructor for the Japanese traffic police. He even takes some lucky guys in blue on a drift demo!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Getting Ready for Another Trip

Next week I will be leaving for the US again. Another trip to LA for a Best Motoring video shoot. This time we are test driving the Ford GT.
Also the Lexus GS430 and Infiniti M45 which have been released in the US already but still waiting to be launched in Japan. Actually I had a chance to test drive both of these cars for Road & Track SPEED back in January when they just came out. A group of us drove from LA to Las Vegas to do a comparison test. The Lexus GS430 was so nice that I forgot how fast I was going and I got stopped... I showed my international drivers license to the highway patrol officer and he took a loooong look at it without saying anything. I was telling myself " he's not going to give me a ticket". I was wrong. I'm probably the first Japanese to drive the car and probably the first to get a speeding ticket! The Speed 2005 Spring issue should hit the stands pretty soon. I'm looking forward to seeing how it came out.
Getting back to our US trip. Gan-san is our reviewer this time. He's old school but knows his stuff. Those of you who are familiar with BMI know that he's the back bone of the series. He's actually the only one left from when BM first started in Japan 15 years ago. He's really happy with how the English version BMI is doing so well abroad. Many people now recognize him at US events. When he was in LA with us last time for GT Live, he was swarmed by fans. First it kind of took him as a surprise too. But a very pleasant one.
This shoot is not a battle but just Gan-san test driving the cars. We will be at Willowsprings, Streets of Willow course on April 26. If you're interested in seeing a Japanese legend test drive an American supercar, feel free to drop by and say hello.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

American Touge

We are just about to release our 3rd Hot Version DVD American Touge. This is actually something we've been wanting to do for a long time. To bring the Japanese cast and crew to the US and make a US version Touge Showdown. It didn't even have to be a Touge Showdown. It could have been anything if we can get everybody over to the US. For us it was a small goal achieved. For a company that had been exporting Japanese car culture to the US, we wanted to do something more integrating. Not just bring over finished programs to the US and translate them but actually do something in the US. Our market is a very niche one but what other Japanese content has actually made that cross over besides anime? Even with anime, there are pretty bad ones. Just because they are from Japan doesn't mean they are good.
So for us, if bringing Japanese car video programs from Japan was step one, mixing more local US stuff in our show was step two. We're proud of this next Hot Version not just because it's as exciting as hell but because of what we worked for. It took us a whole 4 years to come this far and we're very very happy about it.
There were so many people involved in the production of this DVD. Of course the Japanese cast, crew and the US tuners that showed up despite of the short notice. We really appreciate it guys! We made sure everyone's car got a fair judgment just like in the J-version. I don't want to give out too much stuff before the DVD goes on sale at the end of this month but Tsuchiya and Orido were very impressed with the level of tuning in the US. Seriously they had no time to test drive the cars before we shot. What you see is really their first time driving the US tuned Japanese cars.
Also I want to thank Takara USA for sponsoring the segment. Without them it would not have been possible.

Power House Amuse

Power House Amuse is a very popular "tuner" in Japan. Hideki Tanabe is the man behind the brand. All you need is a couple minutes with him and you can feel his love for cars. It's almost freightening. I was able to meet Tanabe through the production of our DVDs. Since Keiichi Tsuchiya named the Power House Amuse S2000(photo) the "Touge Monster", he's been a regular at most of our Touge Showdown video shoots.

Amuse S2000 (AP-1) Specs
Power 260,2ps/8439rpm
Torque 23.9kg/m/6447rpm
Weight 1124kg
Engine Normal F20C
Air cleaner Mugen
Plugs Trust/Greddy
Exhaust Manifold Amuse R1 EX Manifold
Muffler Amuse R1000

Suspension Kit Amuse Hi-TECH Damper kit
Spring rates F 12Kg/mm R 14Kg/mm
Brake pads Amuse R1 Brake pads
Tires Yokohama Advan A048
Tire size F 255/40/17  R255/40/17
Wheels RAYS CE 28N
Wheel size F 9J-17  R 9J-17

Front spoiler Amuse front lip spoiler
Front hood Amuse Dry Carbon Bonnet
Trunk Amuse Dry Carbon Trunk
Wing Amuse Dry Carbon GT Wing
Top Amuse Dry Carbon Hard Top
Mirror Craft Square

Seats RECARO SP-G ×2
Steering Custom made
Meter Amuse 300km/H Meter
Amuse Twin Meter panel (water and oil temp)

Monday, April 11, 2005

Formula Drift

Last week Zigzag Asia coordinated the Japan shooting trip for G4's new Formula Drift TV show. It will be the 4th program of the season where Chris Forsberg, a Formula D driver, comes to Japan. Dai Yoshihara, another Formula D driver and friend, is his guide to Ebisu circuit and the touge of Japan. Ebisu circuit is where we shot the Drift Bible and I think it was an interesting opportunity for Chris to be able to see the roots of drifting. Especially when Dai took him to the touges of Hachioji. Look for the show on G4. Photo is from when we went to eat shabu-shabu in Roppongi. From right; Chris, Dai and G4's VP of Motorsports Josh.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya

What can I say Keiichi Tsuchiya is a legend. I've been lucky enough to see him drift up close and there is no better nick name than the Drift King. This is a photo I took last December at Willowsprings International Speedway when we shot HVI Vol.3 American Touge and Drifting 101. Standing next to him is our director Katsu Takashi. Keiichi took Katsu around for a spin in his Kei Office S15. Katsu said he lost all sense of direction after only a few corners. Everything was going side ways unlike what you're used to when normally driving a car.
Even though he's a former top driver, superstar in all of these videos, judges D1, has a regular radio show and appears on TV all the time Keiichi is still a cool cat. When RJ de Vera was in Tokyo, he took us out to Roppogi to some bars that he's a regular at. RJ got to ride with Keiichi more than a few laps when shooting Drifting 101. I know he was feeling woozy after a while. I don't blame him. Seeing is believing, the Drift King rules the tracks when it comes to drifting.

Best Motoring International Vol.13 Carrera Invasion

Best Motoring Vol.13 Carrera Invasion Posted by Hello

This was just released at the end of March. We release a new BMI video every other odd month and a new HVI video every other even month of the year.

First post

Hi. Ok so this is my very first post on my own blog. I used to have something called the CEO's journal on our very first Zigzag website but we decided to tank it when we closed down our portal and decided to go a different way. Here I just thought it would be interesting to experiment again and try something similiar but keeping it much casual. Lots of interesting things are happening for me and my company so I'll just keep posting things as they happen.

So what do I mean by "different way"? Well Zigzag Asia is now a production company of Japan car programs. We are a production company but we spend a lot of our time marketing and selling our programs. Producing something makes no money unless you sell it. If you sell, you make a profit and go on making more DVDs or do other fun stuff. Well, enough of that. I can get into that at another post.

What do we produce? We make Japanese car programs called Best Motoring International and Hot Version International which are originally produced by a Japanese company called Kodansha. Best Motoring has been around in Japan for about 15 years. It's a video magazine that tests cars and battles them out on the tracks by professional Japanese race car drivers. Hot Version is also a video magazine that tests and races tuned cars. This show is hosted by Keiichi Tsuchiya who is also known as the Drift King.
We're really fortunate that the international market has accepted our programs. I'm just happy that we are able to provide something fresh from Japan to car fans everywhere.

Kodansha is our biggest partner since most of our programs are originally from Kodansha. We produce programs from scratch as well like Tuning into Tokyo which was a show coverage show we produced. Recently we produced a 20 minute promotional DVD for Valvoline called Drifting 101. Drifting 101 will be handed out at every Hot Import Nights show this year. We're very happy and proud to be a part of this project. It is a win-win situation for everybody involved.