TOPTaking a Ride with a Dekotora Driver

Taking a Ride with a Dekotora Driver

By Alec Jordan

If you’ve spent any time on the roads of Japan, particularly outside of Tokyo, you might have gotten a fleeting glimpse of a dekotora, (a “decorated,” or tricked-out, custom truck). But have you ever wondered about the people behind the wheel of these deeply customized rides?

Last month we were contacted by MEL Films, an LA-based online magazine, and as it turns out, they were just as curious. They recently published a story about Takuya Sosogi, a truck driver who delivers vegetables all over Japan in his dekotora.

Director David Freid explains that he had a personal connection to the subject matter, but he still found surprises while putting the film together. “My grandfather, a hard working old fashioned American trucker, drove for over 50 years — so I went into the project with a personal connection to the lifestyle. I thought dekotora drivers might be a little more like what you’d find at a rowdy biker bar, but like all things Japanese they were quiet and cool; models of respect. A perfect contrast to their booming and glittering rigs. Cherry blossoms and chrome.”

We like the way Sosogi puts it himself: “I always take good care of my truck; by doing so, I’m actually taking good care of myself.”

The clip is below.

Dekotora, Another Roadside Attraction from MEL Films on Vimeo.