The annual RAUH-Welt Begriff New Year Party might well be the best way to start exploring Japanese car culture during Tokyo Auto Salon week. I say this, because it’s an event that anyone can join in on.
Since the last time I attended an RWB New Year Party in 2020, I’d been looking forward to coming back. So, when I heard that the 2023 event was being held at a shrine, I could not keep my excitement in check. Flights and accomodation were booked; the New Year couldn’t come around quick enough for me.
In Japanese culture, early January is a time that many families come together and visit shrines where they wish for a prosperous, happy and healthy year ahead. I was amazed that Nakai-san managed to secure such a venue for this year’s RWB party, but it turns out he is close friends with the custodian at Kashiwa Jinja-Shrine in Chiba, just 15 minutes’ drive away from RWB HQ.
Leading up to the event, a 20-car limit was announced, but after seeing the location I wasn’t so sure they’d manage to fit that number in. My suspicions were confirmed on the night, with only 13 cars admitted given the sheer number of people attending. I arrived early to see the cars roll in, which is always an amazing sight.
When I attended the 2020 RWB New Year Party, Nakai-san’s 997 conversion was still a prototype, so seeing a few customer cars together was awesome. They look amazing, especially the cabriolet version. It’s definitely a new era of RWB moving forward, although it was also great to see the 930, 964 and 993 RWB classics.
While I saw Nakai-san early, he disappeared to pick up a special guest. No one expected Cody Walker to make an entrance, and that really got the crowd going.
Once everyone in the RWB family had arrived, speeches were made, including a few words from the shrine custodian, followed by a Miko-mai, a Japanese traditional Shinto ritual ceremonial dance, which I’ve always wanted to see in person.
As I hoped it would be, the 2023 RAUH-Welt Begriff New Year Party was a great way to start Tokyo Auto Salon week. Just being able to visit Japan again meant the atmosphere was electrifying, so I know it’s going to be an exciting year ahead.