Our writer makes the most of a car show without seeing a single car.

From 14 to 16 January, the Tokyo Auto Salon 2022 was held at Makuhari Messi in Chiba. This marked a triumphant return of the world’s largest custom auto show, having been canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our star reporter Mr. Sato, was especially excited for its return. He has covered this event every year since 2015, and it has become something of a New Year’s tradition for him. The die-hard gear-head that he is, being able to be around so many beautiful vehicles and take photographs with them really helps charge his batteries for the year to come.

▼ Mr. Sato posing with some of the fine automobiles on display at Tokyo Auto Salon over the years.

He eagerly hurried to Makuhari Messi on the first day of the event, realizing that it still wouldn’t be quite like it was before. He would have to practice social distancing and only take photos of the cars from a distance to help prevent the spread of the disease.

▼ There was no way he could get as close to the cars now as he was here in 2018

Just as he was considering ways to get shots using parallax, Mr. Sato was stopped cold by a sign at the entrance.

”No media coverage applications accepted on the day of the event.”

Every year before, Mr. Sato had applied for a press pass upon arrival at the event. It never occurred to him that this system might have changed as a part of their infection control measures.

He cursed himself out for making such a rookie mistake after so many years in the game. It took him an hour and a half to travel all the way out there to make a photo-filled article about the gorgeous cars of the event, and who knows? Maybe he would have even taken a picture or two of the models who he heard are sometimes on the showroom floor.

However, it looked as if he would have to go home empty handed….

Mr. Sato stared out at the plaza in front of Makuhari Messi. There wasn’t a car in sight, but it was rather pretty looking, especially under the crystal clear blue sky. Maybe he didn’t need to see cars to make a fantastic photo-spread after all.

Maybe everything he needed was right here.

He whipped out his camera and began composing shots. The first one was a representation of his rejection by Tokyo Auto Salon and the loneliness that it instilled in him, but also showed his indomitable spirit glistening in the shining sun. The bridge stretching out into the distance showed that he had to choose whether to move forward or backward from this point in his life.

Although his steely exterior belied his inner insecurity, the rays of golden sun appeared to caress his shoulder, comforting him in his time of need.

His spirits lifted, our reporter took a break from being backlit and began to enjoy the scenic beauty of the park. Like a tourist might in front of the Eiffel Tower, Mr. Sato posed in front of this artificial-river-fountain-art-installation thing.

The general ennui of this situation was captured magnificently in this portrait framed with the background out of focus and slightly off axis.

Then, in a stirring example of his dramatic range, Mr. Sato appeared to have stolen the very fire of Prometheus in this highly energetic photograph.

He wasn’t afraid to get a little silly as well, and posed while lying on the ground. Luckily, there was no one around to see this 48-year-old man fooling around in such a way.

No, they were all too busy enjoying the auto show.

Mr. Sato didn’t really feel he captured what he wanted in this shot of him pointing into the distance with his sun in his back. He thought it was ugly and might delete it later. He doesn’t know.

He had also hoped to reconnect with the clothing brand D.A.D. whom he had become a sort of spokesperson for in past auto shows…

…and he even wore his D.A.D. hoodie in anticipation of a possible reunion, but it had become faded and worn, much like his memories of those joyous days. Were reps from the company inside the building looking for him at that very moment? He may never know.

And so, Mr. Sato’s day at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2022 had come to a close.

He didn’t see a single car, but strangely he walked away feeling pretty much as enlightened about automobiles as he did in past years, so maybe it turned out fine after all.

In fact, it might have been the best car show since that one that had a noodle truck parked out front.

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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