On our US WRX's, a total of 4 bulbs illuminate (not including the LED on the spoiler if you have one, not the third brake light mounted on the rear deck) to show that we are on the pedal. This includes the outside tail lights that are already on and the inner tail lights that only illuminate when we brake. On the Japanese tail lights, at least for the STi, there are only 2 bulbs that illuminate...the inner lights. I hope that clarifies...
So there was a thread on i-club about the JDM 04+ rear lights being different in appearance from the USDM lights - basically it had to do with which lights lit up when you turned on the lights and what lit up when you pressed on the brakes.
Another poster (WRXBABY) figured out an easy way to get this light appearance without too much work - basically you rotate the lights as illustrated in this thread
1. as the mod stands by WRXBABY - the outside light is a little brighter than the round light when the brake pedals are depressed. I was a little worried about this cause from a safety standpoint, I would like the round bulbs to light up the brightest since they are "in the following driver's face" so to speak.
2. when you shift the inside (round) bulb socket to the outside location, it can be very hard to remove again... not sure why this is since they look like they're the same shape and size.
So I thought about this for a sec and figured out the following - (CLICK ON THE PICS TO SEE THE CAPTIONS)
Instead of switching it as WRXBABY suggests, I removed the stock location middle socket bulb and just switched the inside and outside socket locations (see pics)
This still allows the round bulb to light up when the lights are turned on, but then when you press the brake pedal, the round bulb gets brighter (see comparison pics). Don't forget to remove the middle bulb from the socket (and then replace the socket in the middle location).
The problem with this is that the stock wiring is not long enough, so you have to do a little soldering. I leave it up to you guys to decide which way you like better... <shrug> but like I said, the brake lights are there for your safety really. Granted if you have the 3rd brake light, that should get the driver's attention, but still...
Form + Function. just my 0.02
(FYI - the last pic shows the sockets in their NEW locations - note the colors)