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MQQN SPACE AGENCY Takushi "TAXI" Hatanaka's USA Trip Report

MQQN SPACE AGENCY Takushi "TAXI" Hatanaka's USA Trip Report
Hello everyone, nice to meet you!
I’m Takushi Hatanaka, a member of MQQN Space Agency.
There may be some people who already know about me!? But, life is full of ups and downs! First let me introduce myself. I joined MQQN SPACE AGENCY in May this year. I was born in Kyoto, Japan and a chatterbox whose mouth was born first. I usually work together with "PAN" Sumi-san and “Ossar” Osanai-kun on advertisements, catalog, and other publication work. I’m an Old Rookie at 39 years old, and it has only been 7 months since joining the company.
During the busy preparation period for HCS2017, boss Shige suddenly nominated me for the business trip to USA and the destination is the Last MQQNEYES Xmas Party Show and Drag held at Irwindale Raceway! The place I have dreamed about and only seen in the MAGAZINE before! And the person traveling with me is legendary Pinstriper WILDMAN Ishii. There won't be an experience like this ever again. I'm definitely going!
Despite the completion of HCS2017 on the first day of the business trip, I will send off to the members who are still busy with the remaining work. I was completely carried away with feelings of joy and nervousness from the first business trip and matched the clothing with Ishii-san and forcibly made him take the same pose. It might make people look at us coldly, but I don't care because my tension is high.
Osanai-kun dropped us off at the airport and now the trip begins.
At the airport, Todd Asin of Small City Cycles, Dan Collins and other HCS2017 guests were boading the same flight. After finishing some greetings it was time to board. When I noticed, after a few seconds I was going into a dream......
After 10 hours, we arrived at the country of dreams, even though the wildfire in the southern part of California has greeted us. The flames were spreading on a large scale, but the in-flight announcement easily mentions it just as easily as the "Look at the Mount Fuji ~" announcement in the Shinkansen (bullet train). Hello~ California~!!
This Old Rookie was in a pretty good mood, and although I don't have much experience traveling overseas I’m going to completely rely on WILDMAN Ishii-san who has 20 years of business trip experience. The first destination is MQQNEYES USA. WILDMAN Ishii-san can drive easily without navigation, and while I was thinking of it similarly like Osaka's loop line we arrived at MOONEYES USA.
The atmosphere of the shop, garage and machine shop at MOONEYES USA has a long history since 1950's and it makes us fall into the illusion that time has stopped. Everywhere I shoot will be a complete picture. It is impressive that the MQQN DISC, MQQN TANK and other products continue to be manufactured at this place and it supports several race scenes.

After greeting with the staff of MQQNEYES USA, we will start to prepare for the Xmas Party Show and Drag that will be held on the weekend. Working at this kind of place will make the exhaustion blow away and makes me smile. Shige-san and Chico-san were talking with customers visiting the shop and also busy preparing the MQQNEYES Dragster II. When the engine was turned on I was extremely moved by the sound of the Dragster!

The next day was set up day. First thing in the morning was loading the MQQNEYES Dragster II before departure. The Dragster was loaded on the 1969 C30 trailer and headed to Irwindale Raceway. Transportation was a 1964 Fairlane! It’s amazing! And I was really excited, but like Shige-san's friend Mr. K and veteran car guy I will act cool. The scenery was wonderful from the window during the drive!
After arriving at the venue of Irwindale, we prepared to measure the booth with Chico-san. It is an overwhelming process of measuring the booth and putting the label for each booth by hand for the large venue. After pasting the labels for few meters, there was a mistake in the line and all the labels had to be changed. This happened twice....... Everything is in the head of the smiling Chico-san so we just have to be silent and follow him. lol
Without any problem!? The measurement was completed and the entry cars started to gather one after another. Among them was an outstanding MODEL-A PICK UP! With a BIG BLOCK engine and a supercharger making a thunderous sound. The couple came from Arizona with cool expressions on their faces. Moreover, it had many MQQNEYES AUTO PARTS! The owner said, "I'm very excited to participate in this show". On the other hand, I thought "It is a treasure box of mounted parts from the catalog~! I'm also excited!" So I took many photos.

When I noticed it was getting dark outside and the event was clearly displayed on the signboard of Irwindale Raceway. Although coming here for the first time I was pressing the shutter of the camera overwhelmingly, thinking "this will be the last time to see this". After that, there was a dinner party hosted by Dale Snoke, owner of the 1964 Mercury "The Rocket”. I ate delicious 100% USA food, greeted other participants and the fun pre-party was over. It was a good memory. Thank you! Dale and family!

Finally it’s the day of the show. It was my first time driving here and a mistake! With the navigation by Ishii-san we drove to the race circuit but "open your mouth too often and you're likely to put your foot in it." My tension was too high and I was too keen on talking that I got off at the wrong exit and went back. I was too flustered and although I went back I mistook the exit again. We went around the venue in mystery and managed to arrive finally...... A major traffic jam of the car show entry already begun at 4:00 AM before the sunrise and the surprising numbers are coming in one after another. From here on it’s time for rapid photography. Please enjoy together!

From morning, the legendary WILDMAN Ishii-san was busy with orders! He was working on his art piece efficiently.
It will be the last time that the event will be held here and the drag race, vendors and the spectators were at its highest. The weather was the best and it was an amazing day.
When I have noticed I was enthusiastically pressing the camera shutter while being amazed with every single sight that appeared in front of me. I don't know if it was correct. However, it is true that I was touched by the visitors who were enjoying it 120%. During the event everyone came to ask "Where are you doing it for next year!?" I have reaffirmed that boss Shige-san and Chico-san were amazing at offering this wonderful place.

The next day, Ventura Chopper Fest was canceled due to the wildfire we saw before arriving, so we quickly changed the schedule to the Long Beach SWAPMEET! I was excited to get some parts, but unfortunately there wasn't anything that I wanted. Such is luck. Automobiles sold have some impact. I will look forward to next time.

After that, we went to the MQQNEYES USA Xmas Dinner Party. It was a large party where the staff and everyone involved gathered. Chico-san's birthday was the day before, so there was a surprise cake with other people born in December. It was cozy and everyone looked very joyful the entire time.

On the final day the flight was 9 in the morning, so we departed from the hotel early in the morning and I took a commemorative photo with my travel buddy, WILDMAN Ishii-san. At the Christmas-decorated hotel with no one other than us, we took the photo by ourselves. At the last minute we were caught in the traffic jam by the blockade on the highway, but we successfully avoided it and returned to Japan safely. And now I’m writing this report.
It was 4 days of rush but also really enjoyable and satisfying thanks to WILDMAN Ishii-san, Shige-san’s friend Mr. K, Boss Shige-san, Chico-san and everyone I met on this trip!
Between you and me, at the moment of sunrise at the venue, I was moved by the scenery I had longed for many years and it made my eyes tear up. (This is the part where you laugh.) There are some wonderful places to make the chatter go silent and make you immerse yourself. When you have a chance please go and visit. And please come to MQQNEYES USA for a shop tour.
Thank you for reading this long report! Happy holiday and Happy New Year!!
Next is G.N.R.S!?
by Shige Suganuma
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