Back in June, my brother, Steven, approached me with an idea for a trip. The idea involved me traveling over 12,000 miles, driving on the edge, 10 hours of jet lag either direction, and the potential for good times and good stories…hmmmm, naturally I was in. So where was all this going down? Japan…
Steven and I will attend and drive at Ebisu Circuit’s Summer Drift Matsuri August of 2011.
My brother and I will meet in Tokyo, Japan August 9th. Then travel via Shinkansen, aka bullet-train, to Nihonmatsu, then transfer to a rental car and drive to Ebisu Circuit. After 4 days at the track, we will then return to Tokyo for 3 days of sight seeing before I catch my 11 hour and 11 min flight back to the US.
How it Went Down:
A month before my departure, I began collecting parts for the car Steve had purchased from PowerVehicles.com, a car sourcing service based at Ebisu Circuit. We knew it would be hot at the event so we wanted to keep the car cool via a larger radiator and oil cooler/filter relocation setup. I also grabbed a water temperature gauge, fuel filter, oil filter, stickers, duct tape, electrical connectors, electrical tape, and crimpers.
Departure day arrives, I say good bye to my beautiful wife and son and board the plan for Minneapolis with a connection to LAX with the final flight from LA to Tokyo. A big thank you to Delta for investing in headrest television screens – 4 movies and 4 half-hour naps later, I arrive. A quick note: My brother has been living in Okinawa, Japan since September 7, 2010, this is the first time in nearly a year we will physically see each other.
We say hello and get down to figuring out our game plan for the day. After dropping our bags at Anne Hostel, we proceed to eat breakfast at Burger King…haha. Then we traveled down to Super AutoBacs, which is an aftermarket parts store. I would have loved to have bought several things at the store but with the exchange rate not in my favor, knowing I would have to haul it the rest of the trip, and most stuff was just generally being expensive, I purchased nothing. Eh. We head back grab some grub and crash and get ready for the trip to Nihonmatsu.
We rise, strap shoes on our feet, and start the trek to Tokyo Station. Our ride on the Shikansen goes decent including a quick stop off at an UpGarage in Koriyama followed by getting lost in Nihonmatsu after getting the rental car. We find to correct road and Steven sees the signs saying Ebisu Circuit and Safari Park. Steven informs me Ebisu Circuit also has an animal park, aka zoo, on site. I find this rather amusing but once you get there and see it, it is rather impressive… with lions, tigers and bears, no lie. As we roll up, the track in closing for the day but after a quick phone call we are allowed in by PowerVehicles owners Emily and Andy. They take us to the car and we drive it back up to the landing that PowerVehicles calls home. We tear into the car until light stops us and we head to bed at the riders shack. A brief warning to all those future Matsuri go-ers: make sure the showers are working on site just down the hill from PowerVehicles or have a Onsen (bathhouse) or hotel lined up. I got smelly in a hurry along with many other people…haha.
To be continued…