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Bowls LA Observes 7’s Day Holiday with a Rotary Meeting in Little Tokyo
BY Sam Du //
July 10, 2023
@duspeed
Photography: Brandon Lim
@brandoodle
  • 7’s Day is an unofficial holiday made popular by PrimeNYC to gather Japanese car enthusiasts and celebrate the Mazda RX-7 on July 7th, aka 7/7. 
  • This year, PrimeNYC hosted its eighth 7’s Day event in New York, meanwhile in Southern California, Bowls decided to create a pseudo version of the celebration.
  • Nicknamed “Little Tokyo Rotary Meeting”, Bowls welcomed the LA car community to watch as a first-generation RX-7 was loaded inside its retail store.
  • A collection of FD RX-7 builds occupied the street outside including Jonny Grunwald’s 1,200hp widebody, Ilia Smolov of Final Bout’s drift car, and a Fast & Furious replica car.

A handful of unofficial (and sometimes corny) car holidays have gained popularity over the years. On August 6th, Toyota fans commemorate the AE86 Corolla, on March 7th, you’ll notice everyone who rocks a set of Volk Racing TE37 wheels make a social media post, and then diehard BMW E46 owners will make sure you won’t forget April 6th. But of all these enthusiast holidays, nothing has made as big of an impact as 7’s Day on July 7th.

What is 7’s Day?

What started out eight years ago as a casual night cruise of Mazda RX-7s through New York City by PrimeNYC has grown into a phenomenon in the modified car world. While I’ve never attended personally, I’ve always marveled at the caliber of JDM cars that 7’s Day attracts, all while PrimeNYC meticulously organizes a cruise through the busy streets of Manhattan. As you can imagine, no easy task. The result produces visually stunning media of JDM’s most coveted under the bright lights of Times Square. I find it to be one of the coolest spectacles we have in the U.S. car scene today. There are no sponsors, no money grabs, no drama. Just good people and sweet builds representing JDM car culture in America at its finest. PrimeNYC’s 7’s Day success inspired Bowls to bring together the LA car community in a similar fashion on 7/7 and pay tribute to our favorite rotary-powered sports cars.

What is Bowls?

Bowls is a small retail shop located on 1st Ave. in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles. Founded in 2007, the Bowls brand has evolved from carrying luggage and leather goods to general carry-all items and accessories. This year, Bowls has embraced a new identity as an automotive lifestyle and apparel store that sells only the coolest gear from performance brands like RAYS, Spoon Sports, Evasive Motorsports, and Yokohama Advan. Bowls has also become a weekend tourist attraction: smack dab in the middle of the store is a featured build that rotates every month. With 7/7 circled on the calendar, it only made sense for them to load in a Mazda RX-7 as July’s display vehicle. This also presented a perfect opportunity to invite the local car scene to hang out for a 7’s Day-inspired get-together called “Little Tokyo Rotary Meeting”.

Little Tokyo Rotary Meeting

The obvious car for Bowls to shoehorn inside would’ve been the ever-so-popular FD RX-7; however, the narrow opening of the storefront’s doors limits what cars can actually fit. Hence, there was only one option: a first-generation SA22C or FB RX-7. Only sold for three years in the U.S., these cars are extremely rare to find, but luckily, Pit+Paddock’s very own Daryl Sampson is a longtime owner of a silver SA22C RX-7 that sits pretty on SSR MKIII wheels. It just so happened that the car was stored locally in Los Angeles.

As 7:00 PM rolled around, people started filing into Little Tokyo to watch Bowls’ “changing of the guard” ceremony as Jonathan Wong’s EF Honda Civic was replaced by Daryl’s FB. The process isn’t the easiest; the doors must be removed to maximize the width for each car to enter and exit. Then there’s stopping traffic on a busy Friday evening while finessing both cars up and down the sidewalk via race ramps. It’s a procedure that can take up to an hour, but luckily this is the sixth display vehicle at Bowls, and it’s become more of a streamlined than a stressful affair.

Once Daryl’s RX-7 was positioned into place, the sound of rotary engines echoed through Japantown as RX-7s and RX-8s cruised up and down 1st Avenue. Just outside Bowls, seven FD RX-7s secured primo parking spaces, which included a special appearance from Jonathan Grunwald. You’ll remember Jonny as his white TCP Magic widebody RX-7 was the very first Pit+Paddock poster giveaway two years ago. His other FD project car is this bright green one that summons 1,200hp and makes so much noise that it could easily deafen anyone who’s standing within a 30-foot radius. In addition to Jonny’s race car, Ilia Smolov of Final Bout stopped by with his Team Proceed drift car and a Fast & Furious replica car which couldn’t have looked more at home in downtown LA.

Bowls announced the Little Tokyo Rotary Meeting with less than a 12-hour notice and it was heartwarming to see so many fellow enthusiasts come out to celebrate. As a very close friend of Bowls, I was honored to help and be a part of this last-minute RX-7 celebration.

It brought together a sweet collection of cars and showed how tight and supportive people in the car community can be, which is what the spirit of 7’s Day is all about.


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