Reader Alexander Rose passed on a website featuring these really cool truck decorations found in Japan. The blogger who posted the images say this about them:
"If you meet such an embellished apparition on a highway at midnight, it may either scare you off the road, or cause you to start to believe in alien encounters. The amount of chrome on these babies is probably equal to a monthly chrome production of a small African republic. I have to admit I'm still scratching my head after seeing this."
These chrome beauties are known as "dekorota' in Japanese. According to Wikipedia, "Dekotora (デコトラ) commonly have neon or ultraviolet lights, extravagant paints, and shiny stainless or golden exterior parts. These decorations can be found on both the cab and the trailer, and not only on the exterior but also in the interior. Dekotora may be created by workers out of their work trucks for fun, or they may be designed by hobbyists for special events. They are sometimes also referred to as Art Trucks.
In 1975, Toei released a movie Trucker (トラック野郎 torakku yarō) that featured as the protagonist a costumed trucker who drove his garishly decorated truck all over Japan. [YouTube clip from movie here.] This movie was a big hit with both old and young, and caused a wave of Dekotora popularity to sweep over the country. While Dekotoras were present throughout the 1970s, before the movie they were restricted to the north-eastern fishing transport trucks. It is possible that the movie was an attempt to popularise this kind of trucks. In those days, ready-made parts for trucks were not easily available, so these trucks freely utilised parts from sightseeing buses or US military vehicles.
Since the late 1990s, Dekotora have been heavily influenced by the art of Gundam [think lumbering Japanese manga robot]. In addition to the Gundam-influenced designs, it is common to see decorations that are more akin to modern art, or even retro designs that closely resemble those found in the movie Trucker.