IT'S A SHOW of novelties. Many of the show cars take your breath away. They're not pre-production vehicles; they are simply creative examples of cars that wouldn't make sense anywhere else in the world - except at the Tokyo auto show.
It's hard to understand the global automobile when you visit Tokyo.
Most of the cars you see wouldn't be exhibited at the Frankfurt show or the Detroit show. They are Japanese cars, and they are for the Japanese market. That's it.
There are, of course, exceptions.
The Ford Focus is the most notable example of a car that has been introduced in Europe and has been successful in North America and Asia as well. That's a rather remarkable record and not a simple accomplishment. It's a local car wherever it's sold.
The Tokyo show, meanwhile, is filled with cars with huge personalities.
Those cars must make manufacturers outside Japan wince at the thought of seeing thousands of them running around in their countries.
Of course, most of those cars are nothing more than creative expressions of what Japanese designers are up to these days.
And they're up to a lot.
Not that long ago, Japanese companies were viewed as less than competitive in design and engineering. Well, if you spend any time at the Tokyo auto show, you'll realize that isn't true anymore.
The companies display some of the wackiest, wildest vehicles that anyone could create. They are exciting and innovative - even if sometimes they are over the edge.
There is always excitement at the Tokyo show, and this year was no exception. Attendance on the big media day seemed to be as large as ever, and auto companies from all over the world were well represented.
There even seemed to be a quiet sort of optimism. The show was very upbeat but within reason.
Tokyo was as good as it ever was.
It's a tradition that seems to work very well.