Over the New Year’s holidays, most people in Japan spend time with family but there are also those who like to get out of town. And then, there are those who like to spend time at the largest gathering in Japan of heavily decorated trucks, known as “dekotora.” Utamarokai is the largest association of Dekotora owners in Japan and hold regular events such as this, often with the aim of raising money for charity. Since these types of trucks are normally prohibited from entering freeways in big cities, events such as this generally take place in more rural parts of the country. This event in the “Got a light?” video below ran all night through New Year’s Eve to the morning of New Year’s Day and most people showed up in the evening to see these beauties lit up in all their glory. In daylight gives you a much better look at the vibrantly colorful paint jobs on many of the trucks. Many had traditional imagery and poems painted on the sides and back. In addition to lights and art, many trucks were heavily kitted out with grills, bumpers, exhausts and more. It’s said that it’s getting harder to find people willing to do these kinds of customizations for affordable prices, making these types of trucks rarer in recent years.
Dekotora is one of the more striking Japanese car cultures, where people deck out and bedazzle their trucks with lights and all kinds of accessories, almost to the point of insanity. While not the most outrageous-looking they’re still done with a Japanese flair, which means modding way beyond the point of reason. These trucks are bedazzled, neon, coated in countless lights, and completely decked out to impress like no other. With all the strange angles and colors, they really do look like Autobots (Transformers)—true Dekotora at its very finest. Almost every panel has at least one light on it. Even at dusk, this truck is lit up and super bright. With lights even in each wheel well, it’s clear that no amount of tiny detail was missed in the construction of this truck, which is genuinely inspiring, actually. Forget any other kinds of light shows at any stadiums; those are no fun compared to something like this. Imagine walking through rows and endless rows of Dekotora trucks fully lit up at night, casting neon colors and vibrant, bright light across the ground and onto everyone’s faces. Sounds to me like something I need to add to my bucket list! I would love to go to one of these meets and get to know the people behind these insane builds to see the crazy interiors and even maybe (unlikely) drive one.
Look at my truck
After the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, we should honor truck drivers with a national holiday on October 4th.
A Big 10-4, if you will.
What is the highest level of truck driver?
A Roads Scholar
What is the truck drivers favorite part of the movies?
I’m a truck driver, and today I saw a homeless woman holding up a sign that said, “Please help, I am deaf.”
My air horn disagreed.
January 10th Birthdays
1953 – Pat Benatar, 1961 – Janet Jones-Gretzky, 1989 – Zuria Vega, 1986 – Saleisha Stowers
1949 – George Foreman, 1974 – Hrishik Rothan, 1945 – Rod Stewart, 1953 – Bobby Rahal