Hello, and welcome to another jam-packed edition of The Hot Seat. In case you missed last month's story, each month we take a person who has been a vital part, a mentor, or made some significant impact in the scene, and expose him or her and make them blush for your reading enjoyment.
So sit back, light a match, do a courtesy flush, and enjoy this month's installment.
* If you have an idea for someone you want to see in The Hot Seat, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions, questions, or comments, and maybe your favorite person will be our next victim!
This month, we bring you Makoto Okamura from Truck Trends Japan. If you don't know him yet, you're about to know it all! For this special feature, we left some of the language unedited for your enjoyment.
Full Name: Makoto Okamura (some calls me Mark)
Age: Biggest secret!
Place of Birth: Tokyo, Japan
Current Residence: Inagi-city, Tokyo, Japan
Daily Driver: 1996 Honda Accord Wagon
Who are you?: Editor of two magazines that represent America's car culture to Japan. One named Truck Trends while the other is Cruisin'. Also first member of Severed Ties Japan Chapter.
Q: What is in your Toilet Tower/Lavatory Library? Be honest, not the obvious ones like Mini Truckin', we want to know about the US Weekly, the Better Homes & Gardens and the Luscious Large Woman mags.
A: None, because Japanese style toilet is way different from ones you sit on in US so we have no hands to grab magazines, I just hover and make it quick. (see pic)
Q: Tell us one thing people either don't know about you or would be very surprised to hear?
A: I really love to travel all over U.S. so I always drive anywhere I can go by myself. Where Mike Alexander and I first met was not So-Cal, it was actually in Salem, Oregon where I drove from LAX! I can go anywhere without GPS, just let me know your address so I can get you soon.
Q: What is your favorite show of all time?
A: Truck runs like Drop Zone, TexMex, and West Coast Nationals are my favorite. I miss Drop Zone!
Q: What got you into the minitruck scene?
A: American-style customs got into Japan in middle of '80s so younger guys started to drive minitrucks. I used to drive wagon with back on Monroe air shocks at that time, then I sold wagon to buy my own minitruck in 1987.
Q: Now the fun stuff! We heard a rumor that when you were petitioning Severed Ties the Texas ST boys were kind enough to order you a present for the last Reso show? Tell us about it!
A: Oh you want me to talk about my worst nightmare? Okay, I was asked to step forward to stand in front of big crowd of ST members. Then I took an order from them to go into a tent. Then what I saw in that tent was a "large" girl who was waiting for me... And that was the worst present any petitioner ever got!
Q: You worked hard to get a Severed Ties Japan chapter. What's your proudest moment as a member of Severed Ties? Worst moment?
A: I really love atmosphere when we're working to get everything ready to show in the morning, like unlock tie-down belts to roll trucks off trailers, help members clean up their rides, work to set up booth. I love everything I do at shows, even help show staff cleanup huge fairgrounds after people had left show. Worst moment was, yes, needless to say, my "not so happy ending" at Reso show nightmare I told you before!
Q: Many people know you as the "Barracho from Japan" thanks to Lowlife Video. But you're actually quite a serious guy, right? As the head Editor for two Japanese magazines your workload demands a lot from you, so what do you do to relax?
A: Yes, I play like American kids when I'm in U.S but I work like Japanese business man when I'm in Japan. Big difference! I used to go fishing to relax because I'm an old guy. I sometimes go fishing to Tokyo bay at midnight.