Thursday, November 12
JOB DESIGN and GEE Concept SEMA 2009
Half a year ago, I showed JO from JOB Design Japan a picture of a very special '62 Corvette built by the Roadster Shop brothers. JO immediately blogged about the car on his own website and said he wanted to sit in the car when he sees it at SEMA. I made a few phone calls to the owner and the shop and everything was setup and ready for JO.
I first met JO 3 yrs ago also at the annual SEMA convention. JOB Design is a very popular company in Japan that makes Aero kits and complete turn-key cars for customers. They range from Euro to Lexus, to custom Vans. Whatever the customer can imagine, JO and his crew can make it happen. JO is also the editor of VIP Style magazine and he has a huge column every month. So during that time, JOB Design was rarely heard of here in the states, so I did some viral marketing on blogs and forums. Then I found out JO was planning a booth at SEMA with a shop in Socal and I had to come meet him.
Since I work the Goodguys booth at SEMA every year, it is hard to actually get out to walk around and enjoy the show. Everytime I would go to the booth, JO was nowhere to be found. Finally at the Scion Party at the Hard Rock, a friend and I were headed to the bar and out of the corner of my eye was JO BLOOD!!! I literally grabbed him and said WSUP... JO is not a big dude and I'm 200 pounds and over 6 feet tall.. He was so shocked and scare it's still hella funny to think about it. Since JO doesnt speak any English and all I know in Japanese are the bad words, our initial meeting didnt go very far. Friday, the last day of SEMA I took an early lunch to go back to his booth to hunt him down.. from a distance, JO was sitting on a table and he saw me.. the Grizzly Bear coming back for more.. he started to point, with his eyes-wide open and speaking alot of Japanese. We sat, introduced myself, he had a translator and an entire group of ppl and the rest was history. He autographed 4 VIP Style and VIP Car magazines with his feature articles and 3 years later we still meet at SEMA to catch-up.
This year, JO forced a good friend from Japan to come along for the trip. Teru is the owner and operations manager of Gee Concepts. They are a distributor of Klassen, HRE, KW, Brabus, AMG, Alpina, Rotora, and more. TERU caters to the BMW and Mercedes owners in Japan. Did you know a brand new BMW M5 in Japan is nearly $180k.. that's double the price in the US. So the very few owners that actually have these cars are good customers of TERU and his company. TERU first met JO 3 yrs ago through a joint collaboration with Klassen wheels from the US. JO runs Klassen wheels on his personal LS600HL. Today, TERU was hired to be the translator. JO does pay TERU to help.. apparently with oranges and bananas. :)
So when JO saw the Corvette C1RS it was love at first sight.
At SEMA, he was the only person allowed to sit inside the car.
Here is JO meeting the owner, Barry.
Phil of Roadster Shop, JO of JOB DESIGN, SOLO of Goodguys
JO and I catching up after missing each other at SEMA last year.
TERU doing the hand-gesture translation for JO.
Thursday JO, TERU and I had some lunch and discussed the auto industry in Japan. We touched on what's new and cool and the difference between the scenes. We here are definitely way slower than Japan. JO even called our VIP style very old. TERU had pizza and JO had a wezzle-dog. JO is scared of the oil on the US pizza, but he ended-up eating half of TERU's slice. :)
Thursday night we ate at Ichiza in Chinatown and I introduced JO and TERU to the CL family. We had 20 ppl and just took over the restaurant. As we ate the best Japanese food in Vegas, many other Japan companies walked through and greeting JO. It was pretty cool to see. We ate like champs and finished just in time for a local VIP meet.
This year it was especially nice catching up with JO. Meeing TERU and getting to know him was great. What does 2010 bring?.. More aerokit and wheels? Project cars and joint collaborations? Wait and see. We will have something special at SEMA 2010.
Thank you JO and TERU!!!